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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome Back My Friends....Part 1

I don't know how he does it. I'm exhausted. Strider's on her way back to ME, I've made a pot of coffee so I could post at least some of what happened, and the Beest is back on the desk leaf, purring. It's over. I'm sad it's over, but can't quite wipe the smile off my face.

From the hotel, where the desk clerk warned about the crime scene on our floor and we found a bullet mark in the window glass, we set out via the GPS directions and got a bit lost. But we made the show in time, just as Dennis the Dude was going to call me to see what was up. He really was kinda like The Dude, too, just missing the sweater. We collected our passes and found our seats, which couldn't have been much better, and I perused the audience. Yep, same crowd, just older. Lots of guys, but with the wives this time. A few old groupies. I think there were 3 people under 50- Strider, a guy with an older guy, and somebody brought a granddaughter. A lot of the old hootin and hollering was gone, but enough good will filled the place. I'm sure there will be Youtubians posting, as I counted 8 cameras up and down, snatching bits of performances. Blessedly there was nobody singing along until Greg asked us to sing "Hey! You've got to hide your love away!" with him. But I'm ahead of myself.

The house darkened and stage lights went up, somewhat a mini-version of the old ELP shows with smoke machines and synchronized spotlights. And King Crimson followed- the original "Moonchild" was played, which went into the Kanye West song that samples "21st Century Schizoid Man", where Greg appeared and sang the whole song as the opening number. And from "Works Vol 1", "Lend Your Love to Me Tonight". Then he began talking. About how he was drawn into rock'n'roll, about learning to play guitar and how he and Robert Fripp grew up in Dorset learning the same things from the same teacher (Don Striker) and practising together. He sang "From the Beginning" to big applause. Then he told a story about seeing Elvis in Tahoe, with women fainting and the place looking like a bomb had gone off at the end, with the band "falling apart" after Elvis left the stage, and the lights coming up with the announcement, "Elvis has left the building." He was awed by Elvis' presence and effect. And then he launched into "Heartbreak Hotel".

He spoke a bit about King Crimson and the original line-up. He said the band was unusual or odd (I'm fogging there), which brought laughs from the audience, and he ripped into "Epitaph" followed by "In the Court of the Crimson King" and " Talk to the Wind." I was crying. Not sobby-sob, but overwhelmed, where tears just kept running from nowhere. Gone was the eye makeup and any pretense of coolness. He then talked about The Beatles phenomena and touring with Ringo's All-Stars. About asking Ringo, "I've had a few hits, but you had 200. How did that happen?" and Ringo telling him that Paul and John would walk in with 2 songs in a morning, and they'd both be hits, and that was just how it was. That's when he got us all yelling/singing, "HEY! You've got to hide your love A-way!" And it was suddenly Intermission time.

Strider went out to the car and I stayed in my seat, chatting with the nearby folks for the next 20 minutes. Where these intermissions used to find us smoking, toking and critiquing what we'd just heard, we now sat discussing whether he'd ever tour again, the traffic getting there, and our various health issues. What a difference 35 years makes!

I'll let Strider tell about her intermission, if she wants to. ;)

The lightshow came up again, reminiscent of the "Romeo and Juliet" lights of yore, and Greg did "Touch and Go". This is when fistpumping started and I noticed that the drummers down the other side of the aisle were stomping their invisible bass drums and hi-hats.

Then Greg did a simple, shortened version of "Trilogy" with a wistful "Goodbye." at the end. Blew me away. Again he got another guitar (he played a different one for each song) supplied by Andre the Roadie, and sang, "Still... You Turn Me On." The women got up. Much whooping and yells from the balcony.

And there, for today, is where I have to leave it. There is much more to tell, but tomorrow. Yes, Greg signed me. That'll all be in Part 2. I'm so tired and still sorting it out. It all went by so fast. Much too fast.


CarrieBoo said...

Oh, Laura. Thanks for painting such a vivid and precise reconstruction, even though you're totally shattered. I had to laugh at the differing intermission from 35 years ago. Enjoy soaking this all up... keep the magic going this day/night, luvvie. Absolutely astounding! (And you got his signature! Yay!!!) Wahoo! Stoked for ya, I really am.

sdt said...

Well, I can't wait for part 2, but I guess I'll have to. Glad you had a great time. And tell us more about that crime scene....

Anonymous said...

I feel like I was right there with glad it was good.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Well, I am glad the crime, complete with bullet holes, happened BEFORE you got to the hotel.

I can't wait to hear about the autograph.

The Elephant's Child said...

I have sooky tears in my eyes. Wonderful descriptions and I am so glad he managed to match your expectations - and that the crowd behaved.
I am really looking forward to Part 2.

Austan said...

Hi Everyone, I'm just so happy and thankful you got thru this with me. And you hung in there with all my craziness! Lawless cheering me on when the diet breakdown happening, all the support and advice from Arleen, all the love and excitement from Carrie, you all played parts in getting me there. I hope I conveyed even a little of what it was like to be there. EC, you're a sweetheart. and Stevil, well, you know... :)
Thank you all.

The Writer said...