King Crimson performing their Uncertain Times Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 7th November 2018.

Review by Kevin Cooper

After a taped announcement politely asking the audience not to take any photographs, the sold out crowd at the Royal Concert Hall last night were silenced as they watched the eight members of one of the greatest progressive rock bands, King Crimson, take to the stage.

With three drummers at the front and the other players on a riser behind them, this fearsome array of talent started their show with the drummers fighting it out on The Hell Hounds Of Krim and as they revved up for Neurotica, they sounded just like a timeless progressive rock unit who are as fierce and dynamic as any of their modern imitators, but unbeatable on any technical level.

With Robert Fripp being the constant in this line up, he has allowed the group to experiment with vocalists and singer-guitarist Jakko Jakszyk impressed with his playing and singing skills as he introduced a new melody into the original version of Indiscipline.

With a set list that was split into two they captivated the crowd; taking them on a journey with each of their uniquely enthralling numbers. The tender Epitaph was given the three drum treatment which turned it into something that was much more brazen and urgent as was Meltdown that seemed to encompass nearly all of their incarnations.

Level Five featured superb spider fingered interplay between Fripp and the amazing Tony Levin on bass, before the moving piano ballad Islands brought the first half to an end and the audience on their feet for the first time in appreciation of a wonderfully talented band.

The second half opened in the same intense way with drummers Pat Mastelotto, Jeremy Stacey and Gavin Harrison dazzling with The Devil Dogs Of Tessellation Row. And with multi-instrumentalist Mel Collins now back in the line-up after a forty year absence, it was his flute and saxophone that conjured up the heady days of the bands 70s peak along with Bill Rieflin, who used to be one of the drummers but who know adds a new depth on keyboards to make the majestic instrumental Red one of the many standout moments.

Moonchild took the audience back to the band’s earliest days as did a spectacularly fabulous rendition of the 1969 number, The Court Of The Crimson King, with its extensive use of the mellotron, and the crowd were silent and engrossed for the brilliant Girkus which for all manner of reasons was heady stuff.

Closing the second set with a wide ranging, breathtaking version of Starless, the audience were back on their feet and for encore song 21st Century Schizoid Man, they were simply besides themselves having gorged upon an instantly astounding, ferociously powerful yet beautifully intricate evening of music.

Last night King Crimson showed that even after spending half a century in the music industry they are still a unique force and most certainly not ready to be relegated to the scrap heap just yet. Thankfully.