Date Submitted: 18-Jan-98
Submitted By: Karen E. Stober (kstober at skyweb dot net)
The King Crimson "Nightwatch" Playback January 17, 1998
Snow or no snow, a thousand King Crimson fans packed the overheated basement of HMV Records, 86th and Lexington, in New York City, for the "Nightwatch" Playback, on January 17, 1998.
John Wetton came early and received a tremendous cheer before disappearing into a back room. At 3PM, he returned, leading the way for Robert Fripp, David Cross and Bill Bruford.
Robert led the question and answer session. "It is my 40th anniversary as a guitar player", another anniversary which I didn't catch, and to tremendous cheers, "last Tuesday was the 29th Anniversary of King Crimson!"
Yeah!!! A thousand roaring, stomping, cheering fans. Of "Nightwatch", Bob described the 1973 King Crimson as "privileged, earnest young men with facial hair". Correct me if I didn't hear this correctly, but he said something about men "listening in the privacy of their own bedrooms".
Directed at the four men on stage, "When will you guys be playing again?" "Yes, King Crimson does plan on playing again.", answers Bob. "When?" "Who knows? The current band will fractalise into two projects. We have Research and Development Departments, you could call us the Grateful Crim. Project Two will release a double album at the end of March. Project One will be playing The Jazz Cafe in London in March (I think - KES). King Crimson will debark on a one week tour of Nashville. I am playing at the Iron Horse in NorthHampton tomorrow (January 18 - KES)."
Bill Bruford said he has no immediate plans. "Eddie Gomez is continually busy and they don't need a drummer. I'll be in Manhattan in late April." He listed the members of his band. All I caught was that Chris Bosey will be his trumpet player. David Cross has a new album out. John Wetton added "UK is still underway. It the longest album in history. Three years and two songs."
Bob Fripp said something about "The Gates Of Paradise" that I didn't quite catch. And from the audience, directed to Bob, "Who'se your favorite Spice Girl?" Bob replied, in his eloquent speaking voice, "Scary Spice is my favorite Spice Girl. I think Melody has the best singing voice."
Bob ended the very brief question and answer period with "We ask that for the first pass, only copies of "Nightwatch" purchased today will be signed. All of you with your vinyl and other items please wait until the second pass. Go for it!!!!"
At one point, Bill Bruford noticed us taking his photograph. So he stands up, smiles, waves, "Hi! Hi! Hi!" while we snap away then wave back, "Thank you Bill". It was difficult to get any photos of the band that were not partially blocked by fans waiting for autographs. The signing was only two, not the three hours of the "Epitaph" signing.
Only a few of us made it to the second pass, where we were limited to two items. While waiting in line...."It's Tony Levin! It's Tony Levin!!!!" Tony Levin, of the current King Crimson, strolls in. He tapes some of the crowd and the 1973 band on stage signing Nightwatch covers with his video camera. He chats a while with fans and leaves. Wow, were Crimson fan emotions on high.
On the second pass, I had my UK banner signed by John and Bill. I was surprised to find that John had such a heavy British accent. John now sports a few "battlelines" on his face but looks well. Bob just smiled at my UK banner and Yes songbook. While waiting for Bill, I started chatting with David Cross. David has aged well, kind of, ah, roly-poly with rosy cheeks. I overheard him say he had come a long way for this. I asked, "How far and long did you come?" "From England", he answered "I've never been there yet." "Oh, it is a very nice country". I then add, "I've an email friend in England who says that the country is very nice, too." "It is very nice, a wonderful country." I was going to ask him what he thought of the States, and where can you recommend to visit when I do get to England, when Bill Bruford turned his eyes on me.
"Ooohhhh", glancing at my black silk with shiny silver design UK banner, he personally autographs it in shiny gold ink. He sees my Yes songbook. "Please sign inside, not the cover." as I usually wind up rubbing or wearing off any thing written on covers. The first couple of pages are already taken up by Patrick Moraz, Pete Banks and Alan White's personalized autographs. He opens to the music, and, in gold ink, personally autographs the music to "Looking Around".
The opening lyrics of "Looking Around" read "Looking around me, there's not so much in life I would miss". Certainly, we all would miss King Crimson.
I would like to thank Lori Hehr for all she did, HMV Records for staging the event, and most important of all, King Crimson. In ending, I'll finish this with what Bill wrote on my Yes Songbook.
"Karen, Best Wishes, Bill Bruford".
And, Best Wishes to King Crimson, and all of you, too.
Karen Elizabeth Stober
All Photographs courtesy of Karen Elizabeth Stober