Thursday's Crimson show started off with a recorded message from Robert Fripp asking the audience not to record or video; simply to experience. I loved his words "Record with your ears and video with your eyes". Once the show started, I saw a perfect symphony of some of the richest and most brilliant music ever created. However, I left feeling rather joyless - ironic as the tour is subtitled "Venturing Unto Joy".
King Crimson is all about technical prowess, discipline and breaking boundaries. My challenge is that the boundary breaking happens during rehearsal. My feeling - and I felt the same when seeing them back in 2008 - is that those who attended the next night and the next etc. will hear the exact same performance as I did, note for note. Further, there is no connection with the audience.
Asia was the opposite. Three of Asia's four members are well into their 60's (Fripp is 68 by the way), two of which have had corrective heart surgery in the past six years - Wetton was nearly left for dead in 2008 and drummer Carl Palmer had a stent put in several years back.
Not only do they sound stronger than at any time I've seen them - including back in 82 and when they reunited in 2006 - but they play with a joy and appreciation for being able to do what they love. Most important, there was a real connection with the audience; a clear exchange of energy that invigorated both those watching and those playing - that to me is why we go to hear live music. And as I tapped along, sang the lyrics I knew so well, I couldn't help but smile and feel awful for all the people that watched the entire concert through an iPhone!
So besides a music review for old progressive rock fans, a couple takeaways for work and life....
1. Skill is valuable, Engagement/Connection is vital: When you're going for a goal - whether its creating brilliant music or building an organization - technical skills will help you move along the curve of progress. It's engagement - the ability for partners to connect at multiple levels - which will mean the success or failure of a goal.
2. Experimentation or Boundary Breaking is great in the lab but has to be taken on the Road: When KC was around in '74, they were known to test out new songs at every gig and that's where many of their shining moments came from. If you're trying new approaches to a problem, learning a skill or introducing a product or service it's the same thing. Attempting things in a workshop, lab or facilitated group gives you an indication of how something "works" but the true test is when it touches real end users. You need to do both.
3. Personnel and Collaborators can be right for some projects and not for others. Collaborations have finite lives. A collaborative partner may be the perfect ingredient for one project but wrong for another so continually assess. John Wetton could play anything the new King Crimson plays but it would be asolute disaster for both sides as they look at music in diametrically opposed ways.
4. Love and value your opportunity to do what you do. If you find yourself happy and smiling - sometimes to the point where you have to stop yourself, your probably in the right zone. That's how Carl Palmer looked when he was doing his drum solo.
5. Record with Ears and Video with your Eyes. I can find a recording of what I saw on Thursday and Saturday but it will never replace the immediacy of experiencing the music and being in the moment. That won't work for an ice bucket challenge but it will for everything else you're about to post.
See my linkedin profile https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6384627&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile for a more complete version of this article and others.