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King Crimson at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier / Massey Hall

John Kelman By

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All of which leaves Fripp, the guitarist. Perhaps the only disappointment of both nights was the absence of the briefly revived "Fracture," not just the highlight of Starless and Bible Black (Island, 1974)—and, again, collected in an even more massive 31-disc/1-download box, Starless (Panegyric, 2014)—but one of Crimson's most challenging guitar pieces ever, performed during a handful of shows in 2016 and even fewer at the start of the 2017 tour. It may be, along with music from Lizard, one of the Crimson compositions that fans have been most eager to hear interpreted by either the seven or eight-piece band. At this point, the only hope is that it will be included in the upcoming live release...or, if not, then perhaps on a subsequent one.

But this disappointment aside, Fripp—like the rest of his band mates—performed with even greater freedom and improvisational élan than on any of the 2014-2016 tours. His solo during both nights' "Easy Money" drew rounds of applause. Jakszyk had expressed the hope, in a conversation back in 2015, that he'd be able to encourage Fripp to perform "Prince Rupert's Lament," an elegiac piece where Fripp's sustaining guitar lines are supported by a simple bass and mallet-driven tom tom ostinato; in Toronto, Jakszyk could be seen watching Fripp during the entire piece with a big smile on his face. Sometimes wishes can come true.

And, for any who've seen the group multiple times on multiple tours since Fripp brought Crimson back into active duty in 2013, in preparation for its first US tour since 2008, many, many dreams have come true.

With four-fifths of In the Court of the Crimson King and significant portions of In the Wake of Poseidon, Lizard and Islands being heard by fans for the first time since the '70s (for the younger ones, the first time ever); with all of Red's composed tracks available to the setlist and much of Larks' Tongues in Aspic; and selected pieces from Discipline, Beat, THRAK, The ConstruKction of Light and The Power to Believe also making appearances, what's most exciting about the current Double Quartet Formation of Crimson is, beyond its actual performances, that there is still plenty of material yet to be culled from all of those albums and more, along with an album's worth of new material already being performed and, hopefully more to come.

How long this version of King Crimson will continue is uncertain; but, then, isn't that true of the best things in life? Certainly, for fans of King Crimson's rich and varied discography and a lineup that clearly is the most enjoyable one Fripp has, for himself, put together since, perhaps, the group's very earliest days, with plenty of dreams already a reality, there are plenty more still to be fulfilled.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of DGM Live


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