An Evening with King Crimson, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review
Jimi Hendrix reportedly declared them the best band in the world back in the 60s - and now, around 50 years later, prog rock pioneers King Crimson remain one of the top acts to see live.
Armed with a trio of tremendous drummers, the band’s sound was nothing short of faultless throughout the gig as they blew away fans at the packed-out Symphony Hall last night.
Their varied set - covering an array of genres including jazz, folk and heavy rock - captivated crowds, taking them on a journey with each of their uniquely enthralling numbers. From the very start of the city centre show, the band’s performance was instantly astounding - ferociously powerful, yet beautifully intricate.
Every member of the eight-man band was wonderfully talented, swapping instruments throughout the songs and showing tremendous stamina in performing what was a near three-hour show.
Founding member Robert Fripp - whose wife is none other than Birmingham star Toyah Willcox - shone with tremendous performances on guitar, while bass player Tony Levin wowed on the rarely-seen Chapman stick and upright bass.
Jakko Jakszyk, meanwhile, stunned on vocals; his outstanding wide range and awesome strength shining brightly with each of his passionate performances. The Court of the Crimson King was among the best displays of this, as he and the band treated fans to a spectacularly mighty rendition of the 1969 number which received a most deserved huge round of applause and cheers from the crowd.
The three drummers were superb too - each of them playing a different role in providing the stupendous sounds on a huge range of different percussion instruments and drums.
A pin could be heard drop as the band mesmerised the packed-out Birmingham venue with outstanding performances of songs including Epitaph, Moonchild and Cirkus - each number played as brilliantly as the last.
And there was no question over whether their fans, young and old, were impressed, as they gave standing ovations when the band broke for the interval, at the end, and following the group’s superb rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man which they performed for their encore.
King Crimson may have spent half a century in the music industry, but they absolutely remain at the top of their game as prog royalty. Phenomenal.