King Crimson 2021 US Tour

Saratoga, Springfield Shows

Crimson took a two week break from our tour. Lots went on in that time - for Pat Mastelotto and me it was the chance to join up again with Adrian Belew for the Three of a Perfect Pair Camp in the Catskill mtns of New York State.

We all had a great time there, as we do each year.

And, right after the camp, a quick show in Woodstock, with Adrian, Pat, Trey Gunn, Julie Slick, Johnny Luca, and me.

It seems a good time to ponder a few things about the tour so far. Musically it’s been great, even better than expected, at least for me. The sets are 2 hours long, not the 3 hours we were doing on the last tour, in 2019. Audiences seem to agree, as far as I can tell, that sound and playing are very special.

Touring by bus is a very different experience than the recent tours we’ve done. (Well, it’s been many years since I did one, and likewise for the others in the band.) As usual with Crimson, management has arranged it very well, and these aren’t the all black dingy rock band busses I used to find myself in. So, even though there have been some long trips, it’s been a positive experience for all.

The Covid news, of course, has affected this tour as it’s affected everything else in our lives. I could especially feel the difference in early July, as I’d toured in June, with Levin Brothers, and the unanimous feeling of audiences and band was joy at being able to see live music again, and relief that it seemed to be the opening season of return to what had been normal. Turned out not to be that way. So, starting with our July dates in Florida, one couldn’t help but see the difference in peoples varying attitude about masks and distancing (more in hotels than at concerts) and indeed some anxiety about going to a public event. We were successful in isolating ourselves, band and crew, which is why we tour by bus. Also have had no friends or even family backstage - that’s taken some of the fun away from touring, but seemed to be the smartest way to succesfully do a tour, at least this Summer. Lots of moving parts, and the rules seem to be changing as we go.

After our break, the band re-assembled in Albany, NY for a day of rehearsing, followed by a warmup show for just friends and family.

Pretty great that many people made it to the show, driving through the heavy rain the hurricane had brought to the area.

Next came the full show, with The Zappa Band opening for us, at the Saratoga Performance Art Center.

As we approached the outdoor venue, things very wet from the recent storm, I was reminded of another time I played here, long ago.

It was for a show with Mary Travers (of Peter Paul & Mary) whom I was touring with in the mid 70’s. There were tornados threatening and we spent the afternoon at the venue wondering if the show would go on. But the memorable part was that the opening act that night was to be a young guy who’d written songs for Mary, but hadn’t gone out with a band yet. His name was John Denver, and he was soon to become very famous indeed.

And that day I met John’s bass player, Dick Kniss, who amazingly had only ever had two gigs, playing with Peter Paul & Mary for 30 or 40 years, and now that they’d stopped touring, he was heading out with a new act, his second gig… which was to become as succesful as the first.

That concert was called off due to the weather. But our Crimson show tonight is full go.

This being the Summer home of the New York City Ballet, there are pianos around the backstage area.

While Jeremy’s warming up, Pat looks like he’s about to belt out an operatic aria!

A visit from my wife Andi, and our three Westies.

And, Dave, our tour manager, was needing some doggie love.

Super sound system here, so we felt it was a really good show.

Tomorrow’s show was scheduled for Northampton, Mass. but due to the weather they couldn’t get the outdoor area in shape for the show, so we’ve moved the event to Springfield, Mass. where we’ll play at the Symphony Hall.

After the show, usually a few sandwiches for those who want them. But tonight, a slightly insane amount of pizza.

Plenty of time to digest it on the bus. We’ll drive 7 or 8 hours to Rochester for a day off before our concert at nearby Canandaigua Lake.

More soon.