Europe '96: In the Court of the Crimson King

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Finished out Budapest on a fine note: King Crimson did a great outdoor show that could make you believe in the potential of progressive rock all over again! Other than a deliberate carbon copy cover of their own 1969 version of "Twenty First Century Schizoid Man", nothing in the set sounded a bit dated, nor was there any of the wallowing in tired pseudo-classicism which tends to plague the genre. Fripp certainly has the strength as a composer to work in the modern classical mode if he wanted to, but obviously he prefers mostly to compose for a rock band, and what a damn fine rock band it is. But who would have ever thought in 1969 that they'd be performing "Twenty First Century Schizoid Man" in Budapest in 1996?

The unplanned opening act was a thunderstorm, but mercifully there was just enough shelter for everyone to huddle and stay more or less dry. Great double rainbow.

The almost entirely Hungarian audience was very enthusiastic. I noticed that American-style clothes are so popular here (especially on the men) that a quick glance at the crowd wouldn't have told you it wasn't the States. OK, the crowd was even whiter than a Crimson crowd would be in the States, but that's about it. There were more groups of women together without men than I think Crimson would draw in the US. Sadly, there were also the usual number of rock concert turkeys, some of them probably left over from Bon Jovi the night before, half a dozen people who couldn't let a quiet passage go by without catcalls or calling out requests for their favorite song, inevitably something from one of the early early albums. One guy who must have relatives in Jersey.

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Originally written: 1996

Last modified: 26 February 2021

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