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Review of The King Crimson "Epitaph" Listening Party, NY

Date Submitted: 23-May-97
Submitted By: Karen E. Stober (kstober at skyweb dot net)

The King Crimson "Epitaph" Listening Party, New York City, April 26, 1997

"Does anybody have a question? A really burning, burning question they must ask?"

Greg, Ian, Michael, and Robert Gently asked Bob Fripp of the audience at the King Crimson Epitaph Listening Party, April 26, at HMV in New York City. In reply, Bob got "What is life?" "Why don't you guys get together and tour?" "Because", answered Bob quietly, "We have a band already around called King Crimson. Each iteration of the band is unto itself, unique. Can you imagine the confusion of having five King Crimsons? I would be in all five at once." With each answer, Bob smiled and gently looked each questioner in the eye. Bob is a very eloquent, quiet and gentle man, warmly received by the audience.

Met with thunderous applause by the hundreds of fans packed into HMV, Bob led the band, followed by Michael Giles, Ian McDonald and Greg Lake. The cd was playing loudly. It was for sale and many had it later autographed.

Where was the missing member? Bob replied, "Pete Sinfield has been laid very low by illness recently or he would have attended this event."

Greg, Ian, and Michael All four remembered their time with King Crimson fondly. Of the meteoric rise of King Crimson, it was Ian or Mike who said "It just boggled my mind, how one week we were in a club playing to only fifty people, and the next week there were over a thousand to see us."

"Why did it take nearly thirty years to put this cd out?" asked a fan in the audience. Bob explained about the legalities and technical issues about putting this cd together. "...The technology to do it has only existed for fourteen to sixteen months." He went on to explain how some of the original tapes were stolen from the studio and have never been found. Bootlegs have helped restore the audience applause between songs. To conserve tape, much of the audience was not recorded. Even if you have the bootlegs, by all means buy this cd. They've done a wonderful job at restoration, especially on the clarity of Greg's vocals.

Epitaph, DGM 9607, is a two volume, two cd box set. Included is a sixty page full color booklet and an order form for volumes three and four.

The track list is:

Volume 1

BBC Radio Sessions
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
2. In The Court Of The Crimson King
3. Get Thy Bearings
4. Epitaph

Fillmore East, New York, 21 November 1969
5. A Man, A City
6. Epitaph
7. 21st Century Schizoid Man
8. Mantra
9. Travel Weary Capricorn
10.Improv - Travel Bleary Capricorn

Volume 2

Fillmore West, San Francisco, 15 December 1969
1. In The Court Of The Crimson King
2. Drop In
3. A Man, A City
4. Epitaph
5. 21st Century Schizoid Man
6. Mars

Michael and Robert A lengthy autograph session followed . Many had "In The Court Of The Crimson King" signed. For each fan, Bob would draw a comic-strip balloon from the mouth and write a little something in it, then autograph it. I had my 7.5" reel-to-reel of the album signed. Both Bob and Ian were amazed and unaware that a reel-to-reel version had ever existed. I said they were very, very rare. So, in my little balloon, Bob wrote "I'm Rare!", and signed it.

Many wonderful words were exchanged. We greatly thank the staff of HMV for not enforcing the "No unauthorized photography" rule.

An Epitaph is for an ending of a sort, but as one fan put it, "You'll soon be at thirty years, what's next for King Crimson?" The audience replied, "Another thirty!!!" with a deafening cheer.

Karen Elizabeth Stober, April 27, 1997
All Photographs courtesy of Karen Elizabeth Stober

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