|| June 08, 2003
|| Finlandia Hall Helsinki, Finland
After touring Northern America and Japan between February - April roadshow KC went to Europe. Five days in the team turned up in Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall which had sold out several weeks before.
The careful listener will notice that there’s an extraneous sound or two in the very beginning of the soundscape - a result of Fripp initially ‘scaping alongside what one eye-witness described as “the Elvis music” being played over the PA prior to Fripp taking to the stage.
Following an especially assertive rendition of Level Five and a flawless TCOL, FaKcts Of Life takes us into some serious kick-ass territory, as the saying almost goes. As with most Crimson shows, however much is going on in the crash-bang-wallop department, there’s lots of small-scale detail to like and admire.
The intricate clockwork-toy percussives of TPTB II are especially spellbinding here, with Ade’s abrasive flourishes gliding over the top, and there’s also a couple of interesting moments where Fripp departs from script in terms of voice-settings and notes toward the last section of EleKtriK. The double-whammy of Dangerous Curves and LTIA IV provide the thrills and spills highlights from Mastelotto, and Belew respectively.
This download follows a request by Toni Suominen who was keen to hear KC’s only appearance in Finland once again. Sadly, the board recording we have is incomplete with Thrush, Oyster Soup, ET and Red evading posterity despite our very best efforts. That said, Alex Mundy’s description of the show as ‘nearly 80 minutes of stomp’ is a fairly reliable summation of what goes on.
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Band Member Diaries
Sun., Jun 8, 2003
Written by Robert Fripp
Crimbus This-Is-The Bus-For-The-Rest-Of-TheTour, Outside Venue, Helsinki.
Fripp Mobile HQ has now moved to the back of the bus. We were unable to get a double-decker registered in time for our entry into Russia, so our about-to-be-becoming-replaced tourbus is now our this-is-it-forever Crimbus.
Imagine - having to register vehicles to drive them into another country. Well, we couldn't get the bureaucratic arrangement settled in time and, even if we had been able to, the double-decker would only have been available to us for a few days - the Rolling Stones have 10 double-deckers out on the road & that diminishes the stock available to other Touring Gigsters.
The re-equipping of the front lounge is so successful, and popular with the band, that they have moved from the back to the front of the bus, so I have moved my computing off the front lounge table. This PowerBook is now in the rear of the bus, but the table & seating are not ideal for anyone suffering from a back problem. An inflatable Back Buddy fills the distance between the back of the seat & the back of my back, and I am now close enough to the table for computing to be possible.
This inflatable Back Buddy, one of the many travelers' aids one sees in travel shops & airports that provoke hoots of derision directed towards anyone that invents them & all who buy them, was for sale in an airport store in Stockholm. When my eyes fell upon it, I bought it immediately.
This morning we flew from Stockholm to Helsinki on Finnair. In-air rock-&-pop played throughout the 40 minute flight. Conventionally, once the cabin music has (presumably) lulled the passengers into an on-board sense of safety & security, the music stops just before/after take-off. Not on Finnair, not today. I asked a flight attendant if the music stopped during the flight. "No" they replied, "we can only turn it down".
Noise pollution has become a significant problem for this Touring Gigster. This morning also, the lobby of the Stockholm hotel pelted the ears of guests with inappropriate music while they were sitting & having smoke blown over them by other guests.
Today, we are in a city that King Crimson has never ever played before, and the show was sold out. This is significant for the tour's budget: European touring is hugely expensive, and a sell-out adds a bonus to the guaranteed fee. What a pity, then, that the show was a triumph in futility. Why travel all this distance, why sell every seat in the house to good people for too much money, only for the venue to be have such an appalling sound that the band didn't have half a chance to present who & what it is? And for the audience to be deceived into believing that this might be a performance worth attending?
Q. So, why spend so much time & effort by so many people to get together in this particular place on this particular evening?
Possible Answer No.1: No fucking point whatsoever.
Possible Answer No.2: Because it's on the way to Russia.
The show would have been functionally impossible for me to play without one headphone, to anchor me in real time to the other Crims. This left one ear to register the cacophony of sonic mess that insulted the listening of the audience and suggested to the players that, well, there really was no fucking point in bothering to bring all the equipment & the team members here in the hope that we might present the band & its music in this acoustic shithole.
Realising that nothing was possible for the players to do other than to continue playing, I let go of all hope of satisfaction in my work & continued to play. There is something very clean about this: just play, without demand, without expectation, without requirement - just play. But, where good people have handed over their money; where I/we have given up time, energy, a personal life & happiness in exchange for the chance to present music; this clean feeling of simply-doing-it is tainted with a dispiriting, numbing sense that, yes, once again, this is another despondent shitty day in the life of the professional touring player where everyone involved in playing & listening is shafted. I no longer have time left in my dwindling span on this earth to give up even a day to be fucked over in this way.
The effort, time & expense of touring Europe are so high that there is no great professional payback for it: this is work worth doing for its own sake, or not. And when that chance of working-for-its-own-sake is killed, the question arises: why? The answer flies back, without a moment's hesitation: no fucking reason at all.
A younger man might see the world, shrug off a day lost in acquiring a new page in their book of liberal education - the halls you play are mostly so sonically appalling that you have no hope of presenting who & what you are to a willing & supportive audience - and get back on the bus. But I am no longer that younger man. My liberal education is not yet complete, rather it is continuing, yet there are some lessons that do not bear repeating for another decade. Better lessons are waiting to be learnt, a higher quality of problems to solve, greater necessities to be met elsewhere, than dying yet another death through yet another successful exercise in professional witlessness.
00.04 Greg FOH has popped onto the Crimbus for my view of the tour, one week in. I have great confidence in the level of the working team - crew FOH, onstage, tour management. And a great concern with the level above the on-the-road team & the overall planning of the tour, where the sensibilities involved are not mine, nor Crimson's.
Thank you!, Fri., Jun 8, 2012
Written by TonyKoera
Thank you so much! I’ve been waiting years for this!
I would exchange all these songs to hear Red from this gig though :) Very unfortunate that it is not available.
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