Each year I read John Scalzi’s Holiday Shopping List with glee; I’ve purchased half a dozen books, discovered new charities and new artists through his crowd-sourced ideas for giving. This year’s wonderful finds: Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Bay, FL, where I will most definitely take the private, photography oriented tour, and some funky sci-fi themed crochet work on Etsy. There is nothing that says “nerd” more than wrapping your iWhatever in yarn, all the while thinking “I hope I don’t generate static electricity from this combination.”
By Hal Stern on December 5, 2014
George Parros has been something of an on-going meme here in Snowman land: Princeton, NJ high school and Devils youth player, stache, good works, answer to a trivia question, and a talent deserving wider recognition. Today, he announced his retirement, nine seasons, five NHL teams and one Stanley Cup after leaving Tiger Town. He holds the distinction of being the first Princetonian with his name on the Stanley Cup (trivia question) and is solid proof that sometimes you adapt your skills to the situation. He did more for local charities and the literal face of hockey than many, and whatever scoring touch he lacked on the ice he more than compensated for with his active and thoughtful representation on the NHL player’s association, including a critical role in resolving the last labor mess.
Locomotives all around for Parros.
By Hal Stern on December 4, 2014
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jean Beliveau, just once, a bit over ten years ago. At the time, my employer (Sun Microsystems) was a partner of the NHL’s, and I was presenting at the NHL league meeting outside of Montreal that late winter. Earlier in the day, we had a game of shinny, self-dividing into Leafs and Canadiens and skating on the Mont Tremblant pond until we could no longer feel our fingers or find the pucks we had shot into the snowbanks that served as boards. It was a Canadian moment, something outside the realm of possibility for a New Jersey kid, and despite the fact that I feel on my tail bone on my first shift and was sore for days afterward, I remember the rough feel of the ice on my skates, the need for careful passes to keep pucks in the cleared area, and the gentle attrition of our team as the cold, phone calls, or gentle conversations at the bar shortened the bench.
Two hours later, I was at a cocktail reception face to face with Jean Beliveau, who held conversation, not court, with each and every person with whom he spoke. We shared a gentle laugh about my first — and only — experience with shinny, and out of respect I elided the fact that I had skated with a Leafs sweater. I don’t think Beliveau would have minded, though, as he was the ultimate champion of the game, in all forms and all sweaters. The late Jack Falla, one of my favorite hockey authors, wrote about his extreme admiration for Jean Beliveau, and how he was mildly star struck upon meeting him in person, but there was nothing in Beliveau’s persona to engender that feeling. He seemed, always, like the kid who played shinny in the sweater of Les Habitants, who just grew into the 10-time Stanley Cup champion (in 20 seasons) because it was the most natural thing in the world.
Professional sports needs more men like Jean Beliveau, who put the game, their conduct, and their roles as ambassadors and tenders of the public trust we build around sports, above everything except having fun playing the game. Safely packed in the swag bag from that NHL meeting was a Jean Beliveau bobblehead, and I believe he would have been slightly embarrassed to see himself cast in resin. But it’s one of a few pieces of sports memorabilia that’s been on my desk for the last decade. He will be missed.
By Hal Stern on November 29, 2014
Tony Levin is the first bass player I discovered through connection rather than listening. He’s most definitely in the quintet of my favorite bassists (along with Jon Camp, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, and recent addition Mike Gordon) and quite honestly, while I was a nerdy teen in high school, anything that seemed outside the bounds of 4/4 rock, whether it was strange-looking Chapman Sticks, stranger sounding instrumentation or Yes’ 7/4 time signatures took a bit of acclimation. My first Tony Levin impression was in a glossy picture in a music magazine, looking extraordinarily fierce with his bald head, mustache, and seemingly attacking his bass in a lunging position. I realized, quickly, that while I might not have heard of him, I had most decidedly heard him on various recordings.
Fast forward to my WPRB years, with Peter Gabriel’s solo work, the re-formed King Crimson with Levin on bass, and access to thousands of LPs with liner notes, and I discovered there’s a lot more to Tony Levin than his proficiency on the stick, electric and upright bass. His website is a fun read, as is his (now out of print) book “Beyond The Bass Clef”. With King Crimson, Levin made a brief stop on the Princeton campus in 1982, and then touring with Peter Gabriel, I saw Levin at Great Woods in Mansfield, MA in 1989 or 1990 (Levin provides a lot of the punch on “So,” and “Red Rain” remains one of my favorite Gabriel songs). And finally this year, in the span of a month, I got to see Tony Levin centering the backline of the new King Crimson and then fronting Stickmen in Asbury Park. Seeing him up close and personal brought back waves of memories of my first impressions, and strengthened my appreciation of his musicianship.
Plus, he’s a funny guy. More on that below.
One of the biggest “ah ha” moments for me with live rock shows was realizing how much movement there is on stage; it’s not just guys standing in front of microphones as they do on TV appearances. As my cousin phrased it after seeing KISS at Madison Square Garden in the 70s, “They jump around a lot.” I sometimes joke that Tony Levin appears on stage in one of five basic positions, the ballet of the bass starting with his footing foundation: feet at shoulder width, feet spread a bit more and facing the audience, in a semi-lunge position and looking over the neck of his stick/bass, lunge toward the audience and hunched over usually in intense concentration, or relaxed and smiling at his band mates. I have modeled my air bass guitar playing on his style; if you want to see as well as feel the bass driving the bottom of the band, listen to (and watch) Tony Levin. The intensity he brings to a stage performance is something to be seen, and seeing Levin with Stickmen is a treat.
Up close and personal, you notice that his hands are huge. Jaco Pastorious had similarly large hands and laid claim to double jointed thumbs; Levin handles a variety of instruments delicately and at times visually at odds with his otherwise lanky frame. Conversely, at speaking distance, he doesn’t look or sound nearly 70 years old – the rock and roll lifestyle has been gentle on him, and he has remained well grounded for decades. Perhaps my favorite fan-boy observation is that Levin is as comfortable playing to 25,000 fans in support of Peter Gabriel, or 80 people packed into a dingy club in Asbury Park. It’s about his music, and he genuinely appreciates audiences for all of his expressive outlets, to the point where he still drives the van and his own merchandise to Stickmen shows (check out the Stickmen tour photo diary). Online, Levin capture the life of a professional musician well – his long-running (possibly first music oriented) blog is fun, and his book rides shot gun with Rick Wakeman’s musings on studio life as a diary of someone known as much for his own music as for making others sound great.
He’s also funny, and not in a “Hello, Cleveland” vein but in his observations and commentary. A few songs into the Stickmen set, he took the mic to say “That was in 4/4, which is an unusal time signature having just come off of tour with King Crimson. Not a lot of 4/4 there.”
Finally, Stickmen are a lot of fun to listen to; they bring the rhythmic complexity and mild dissonance of King Crimson with the technical and polyphonic complexity of Animals as Leaders, Chon or even Ministry and the visual impact of a well-played tennis volley – you have to watch to see which musician is carrying the lead or the bass as they pass parts back and forth. Icing on the cake – after the show Levin and band came out to sign autographs and chat, knowing they had to load out and drive three hours to their next show. Rock and roll has long needed Tony Levin, on the bottom of the band and at the front of the industry.
By Hal Stern on November 26, 2014
Based on the rousing success (about seven people read it and based on amazon.com click-through rates, at least ten products were viewed) of last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, I humbly present the emergent, annual (almost), carefully researched and field tested Snowman Guide to Getting Gifts For Geeks Who Seem To Have Everything, But Need Something To Ooooh About.
Jewelry For A Cause. It’s jewelry with a purpose, for a social movement, and it’s beautifully crafted. My favorite is the Caliber Collection, cuff links and bracelets made from bullet casings and destroyed guns taken off the streets, leaving the serial numbers intact. Take the admonition to “beat swords into plowshares” and spur interesting conversation at work or a party. The Talisman collection is much more accessible price-wise, and could be a fun gift for that poker player in your life; the “In Gratitude” collection supports women in Uganda. Be good and look good. (About $250).
Schneider iPro Lens Kit. This is now my “go to” for concerts and just walking around new cities. Wide-angle, telephoto and macro lenses in a single carrying “tube” that slips into your pocket easily. (Yes, someone at a Phish show asked me what kind of pipe that was, and when I said it was for my iPhone, he said “Cool, a pipe for your phone”). Even if you eschew the phone-wielding crowd at shows (a camp to which I’m gravitating), it’s nice to be able to capture some landscape shots outdoors with a simple snap-on to the phone. There’s an iPhone 5S version and an iPhone 5 version and it appears you can get the lenses individually with just the snap-on case as well. For $200 it fits the intermediate point between a vanilla iPhone and a full-size DSLR body (Between $180 and $200).
Next year the Turn-I-Kit will be added, once it’s available through some retail/online channels. I got mine through the Kickstarter campaign, and while it’s still a bit rough to use, it is quite cool dangling your iPhone off the back of a 200mm f/2.8 lens.
Borrowlenses gift card. Let’s say the photo-nerd in your life won’t spring for that $5,000 piece of glass, but really wants to be able to get some high-quality shots on your next trip. Enter BorrowLenses, where you can rent a wide variety of photo gear for 3 days to a month. I’ve used this to get super telephoto lenses, or to audition gear before deciding what to buy (better to spend $180 on a weekend rental than be to annoyed with an $800 lens that isn’t quite as fast as you had hoped). Their gift certificates encourage experimentation, which is part of the fun of photography. ($100 for something reasonable, but gift cards in any amount).
Kiva gift card. Kiva is a microlending site – you make interest-free loans, $25 (or more) at a time, to the unbanked populations around the world. Whether it’s buying supplies for a bodega in Tanzania, or funding engine repair for a driver in South America, the aggregation of those $25 credits into $800-$5,000 short-term loans makes a difference. It’s not charity; it’s a continuous (over the course of tens of months) cycle of re-investment in people. I’ve given Kiva gift cards to people who seem to “have everything” and the reaction is usually quite positive. If the recipient wants to cash out after making one loan, at least you’ve made an epsilon economic improvement wrapped around a gift card. ($25 minimum, and a nice gift).
Patreon. It’s easy to be a patron of the arts when you have millions laying around. If you have single dollars lounging electronically, direct them to people who are creating art and get a “behind the scenes” view of the process. For $5/month (on average), you get previews, interesting Q&A, and in some cases not-quite-public art. Create a PayPal account, fill it up with gift money, then direct your giftee to use it to support the arts. I’m a huge fan of Jeph Jacques and while I’ve purchased a variety of books and t-shirts from him, I’m kind of full up in those patterns. Supporting his Patreon gives me a bit more of my daily-Jeph-dosing including forays into music and other things that make his slightly left of center mind tick. ($60 is $5 a month for a year)
53 tablet pencil. How quaint – a pencil. Yet if you express yourself in the Stern 14.6 point font on whiteboards enough, you know sometimes it’s just easier to draw. Now draw on your iPad, and share the images, and you have a whiteboard to go where you do your best thinking (yes, even in that room). I’m loving my Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus since it “feels” like a pencil and has a variety of brushes (pencil, marker, paint) that’s somewhere in between drawing with a mouse and using a Wacom tablet. (About $50-70 depending upon finish)
Sonos Play:1. I outfitted the house with all Sonos gear this summer, and removed about 80 pounds (seriously!) of speakers, amplifiers, cables and mess. We have a SONOS PLAY:1 in the kitchen, and it makes breaking down cauliflower fun (recommended: Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge of Town”, it’s perfect for anything in the cabbage family). Most important, it’s changed the way I listen to and discover music. I’m hearing subtle details I’ve missed before (that high-end percussive theme on “Promised Land:” glockenspiel!) and I’m able to create loudness from just about any source on the ‘net – radio, streaming services, or the whole family music library I’ve loaded onto a NAS drive in the basement. (About $200 for a single Play:1)
John Scalzi autographed books. I have waxed, fawned, and exhibited the full spectrum of fanboy behaviors when it comes to John Scalzi. In addition to being a superb science fiction writer, he captures the zeitgeist of life in this decade with aplomb and poise. Each year, Scalzi offers personalized books for the holidays. Support a great writer, and a local bookstore. ($20 and up)
Live Music, Now. Give someone a StubHub gift certificate, so they can see the live music (or sporting event) of their choice. I’m noticing that the premium over face on most tickets on StubHub is retreating back to something resembling a fair spread, and in some cases no worse than the collection of insane fees you’d pay to Ticketmaster or Telecharge. (Any amount supports your favorite artists)
Live Musc, Then. Gift a year-long membership to Concert Vault and the recipient can stream access to the entire Bill Graham Presents catalog of classic shows, along with $5 pricing on downloads of those shows. Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, and a seasons’ worth of Yes shows — all in one place. Personally, for the prog rocker on your “nice” list (as opposed to “The Nice” on your rock list, or the nice on your Unix process, but I digress), the 12-10-74 Yes show is worth the entire subscription price. It’s one of the few recordings of the “Relayer” tour (now 40 — yes FORTY — years old) with Patrick Moraz on keyboards, and the “Sound Chaser” opening freaked out a lot of long time Yes fans. Now, of course, it’s classic, and for $40 you can relive the moment (stream it to your Sonos Play:1!)
By Hal Stern on November 13, 2014
I have been to Seattle exactly twice before: once in 1986 for a meeting of everyone involved in UCSD’s MOSIS project (small-scale VLSI fabrication for students) and once in 2001 with the Bubba for the MLB All-Star Game. Finally got to spend more than 2 nights in the Emerald City, and I have to say that it’s a place I’d revisit — Seattle gets many things “right.” Here are just seven of them:
1. On game day, everyone is a fan. Perhaps this was a function of bisecting the main walking paths to the stadium, but everyone was in their Seahawks gear – attending the game or not. Businesses have their 12th man signs up, and restaurant and store staff were dressed to cheer on Sunday.
2. Cleanliness counts. It’s the cleanest downtown area I’ve seen, probably due to the street sweepers out at 7:00am every day.
3. Starbucks is the mass market, coffee is the main market. I studiously avoided Starbucks in the city of its founding and instead had cold brew coffee in four different boutique shops, including a store front on Pike called “Monorail Espresso” that was so smooth that I ventured out without a jacket — twice — to grab a large one during conference coffee breaks.
4. Nature is literally in the backyard. The majesty of Mount Ranier is hard to escape, and only 60 miles south of Seattle proper it brings hardcore outdoors right to your doorstep. While people in the Northeast buy “outdoor gear” that might suffice for a blustery November day, Seattle outdoors folks are sealing out the elements in $500 Arc’teryx jackets that are meant for, you know, mountains. Big ones.
5. Public conversation works. The Pike Place Market is thriving, and not just from the “guys throwing fish” — it’s full of artisan shops, local green grocers, and buskers. Goes to show that you can combine maker culture and historical significance and produce a result that has legs and appeals to a wide range of interests beyond tourists.
6. It’s a foodie city. Start with a core of dedicated seafood places and a unique supply (Alaskan king crab, dungeness crab, coho salmon), whisk gently with the emergent restaurants in the Ballard district, season with some serious
7. Comics FTW. Three different people commented on my “Coffee of Doom” t-shirt from Jeph Jacques’ Questionable Content – not only that they liked it, but knew the strip, knew the reference, and had met Jeph during one con or another. I got better sight reading from strangers on Pike Place than I did from carefully curated comic placements in my LISA talk, but that’s on me.
All in all, a fun week in a fun city. Can’t wait to come back. And I’ll be hungry (again).
By Hal Stern on November 6, 2014
It’s time that of year again — November, the month of elections, veterans, turkeys, Black Friday, and more recently, Movember, the moustache-ruled, hirsuite adventure to raise awareness and funds for men’s cancers and health issues.
As favorite sci-fi writer John Scalzi says, being young, white and male is the lowest difficult setting in the game of life — it’s also the ideal set of ingredients for testicular cancer. Awareness,testing, treatment — that’s why I’ll be hairing it up for 30 days in November, much to the chagrin of my family, co-workers, and LISA 2014 attendees.
If you ever saw my dad with his 1970s moustache, you know the fear, loathing and sometimes abject hysteria stimulated by a Stern family facial hair outbreak. You really don’t want to miss this – follicular updates and outbreaks will be posted regularly at mobro.co/halstern
Here’s the ask. You can do one, none, or all of these things (your mileage will vary if you have XX chromosomes):
- Join me as a Mo Bro.
- Join my Merck moustache bros, the Merckstaches (clearly none of us work in marketing):
- Donate to me, our team, or anyone else you know who braves the wrath of non-Vikings or Game of Thrones fans:
My goal is to raise $2,190 this year, in my 2nd year – that’s $6 a day over a 365 day year, which is about what I spend on coffee (seriously). Read my updates, and share with your family, co-workers, Twitter readers, Facebook friends, Instagram followers, your fantasy league, and anyone else who reads your email or texts. See if I end up looking like Tony Levin, Dr. Fluff, or Ryan Carter after Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. And if none of that makes sense, go read my updates and all will be, well, less fuzzy.
By Hal Stern on October 26, 2014
This one is a bit late but still seems timely. My wife and I decided to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Curacao, at the Mikve Israel synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the Western hemisphere. Now a Reconstructionist congregation, Mikve Israel is a “famous” building (if synagogues can have fame) for its sand floor, meant to remind visitors of the steps taken to protect the identity and assembly times of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in the post-Inquisition Iberian. After taking a ferry across the narrow channel between the Otro and Punda sections of Willamsted (the floating Princess Emma pontoon bridge was opened for boat traffic), we found ourselves mildly lost in the tourist section of Punda.
Sporting northern-climate synagogue clothes, carrying a
I don’t know what prompted the woman to call to us using the named voice we would hear repeatedly through the morning service – the shofar, the call to action, the shrill, undulating insistence on waking up and taking action. Easier and less embarrassing than shouting “Hey Jewish tourists!” and “Rosh Hashanah this way!” but in the back of my mind I wonder how much this was modulated by the visible and abhorrent rise of anti-Semitism in Europe over the summer months. “Shofar” was simply an encoding that only the desired recipient would understand without drawing undue attention.
In four centuries, so much has changed, and yet so much has not.
By Hal Stern on October 26, 2014
My father and I made a short pilgrimage to Cooperstown this weekend; short in distance, relatively speaking but not in time. We attended a VIP Weekend at the Baseball Hall of Fame, including an after-hours access window to the main museum exhibits, and then two private sessions with an artifacts expert and one of the Hall librarians, who shared a variety of paper ephemeral that have been made permanent. It was a true pilgrimage for me, in many ways, as this may be the first year I did not watch a single baseball game in its entirety, the first summer I didn’t wait to hear John Sterling’s “The Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankeeeees win!” on the radio, and the first post season that felt like a necessary conclusion only to get to the next season of sport.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by some of the Hall staff who reminded us that “Baseball is generational” – they told stories of three generations of single-family fans of single-sport fandom visiting, the innings of their stories and heroes spread over thirty or forty years. This trip, however, was generational in my enthusiasm for the sport. We don’t have the same-team affiliations across the generations in my family – I grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan (hence the Willie Stargell obsession) and have veered toward the local favorite Yankees, my son is a Nationals and Red Sox fan (by-products and time and geography) and the first of many discoveries this weekend is that my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, until another change in geography and time (my father’s college years and the Dodgers move west). On the topic of Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round The World”, the home run that sent the New York Giants to the 1951 playoffs (while my dad was a high school student, in prime sports rooting years) – and something that repeatedly came up in our behind the scenes tour of the artifacts – my dad’s comment was that “my team lost.” The stories aren’t always happy ones.
Honus Wager’s T206 card, on prominent display, is a neat intersection of time and space. It was donated by the collection of the late Barry Halper (a fellow Livingston resident for a while); is the subject of one of my favorite baseball card books; conflates hockey and baseball (Wayne Gretzky owns the other pristine example of the card); and to quote Cory Doctorow from “Craphound,” there’s a poem and a story there. Wagner went on to coach with the Pirates nearly two decades after his playing career ended, and one of his minor league prospects was a future dentist who later became my father’s best friend.
I’ve always loved LeRoy Neiman’s bold, brushstroke heavy work, especially depicting baseball, because it captures the way we see those events – through summer haze, through flying dirt, through a light shower, never quite fixing the image perfectly in all places at once. A new exhibit at the Hall is about the art of baseball, including one large-scale Nieman work (which I believe is Willie Mays). You see art differently when you visit with an artist (like my dad).
We cannot tell our baseball stories without names, and I became acutely aware of the power of choosing names during our library artifact tour. One of the items on display was a nearly 70 year old player statistics register, a green lined ledger book better suited for the accountants of the game. Before computers and spreadsheets, it was the system of record for all statistics, and once a player had a page in it for a single at-bat or chance in the field, it was a matter of record. Neatly printed in block letters across the top of one page in the 1947 register is the name “ROBINSON, JACK R”. Not “Jackie” as has been retired in our memories and ballparks, but “Jack Roosevelt,” his given and preferred name. “Jackie” was a concoction of the media to make him “less threatening;” the librarian also spoke of Roberto Clemente, whose baseball cards read “Bob Clemente” so that he might be somehow less Latino. We are given names, but choose what we wish to be called, and when another party — media, public, fans — makes that choice for us it robs a bit of our self-determinism. Nowhere was the power of names to control more evident than on the reverse of one of the four $25,000 bonds posted to finance the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees; it is one of two remaining and is been endorsed by the Boston American League Baseball Club. Over the years that transition had names swirling around it: “Curse,” “Bambino”, “Babe” but the formalities simply involve a man named George and a club named Boston. The librarian also pointed out to us that they prefer items that are not autographed, because they collect artifacts, not memorabilia. We ascribe time, place and context to memorabilia, as it tells a story of who, why and where we acquired the item, but artifacts tell the large story of the game, left for us to interpret later in different contexts, when the names perhaps mean more.
The Hall continuously rotates artifacts in and out of display, and while I was disappointed not to see Ron Blomberg’s first designated hitter bat, we did discover Rennie Stennett’s bat used in his 7-for-7 game (the only player in the modern era to do so). Stennett was an integral part of the Pirates in the 1970s – the team that was the object of my affections and box score scrutiny. Only a few weeks after that batting feat, Stennett and company lost the National League playoffs to the Reds on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth – a defeat that for me was on the order of Mookie Wilson’s hit through Buckner’s legs, the ignominy of the Bartman incident, or Bobby Thompson’s home run as experienced by my dad.
Sometimes the stories just need a generation, and a road trip, to become happy ones.
By Hal Stern on October 1, 2014
King Crimson weren’t the only ones experiencing a reunion at the Best Buy Theater on September 18: more than 30 years since seeing the Levin + Fripp led combo just a few blocks away in New York, the four of us who “discovered” the Crim during their more Discipline(d) days saw them again. It was a tour de force of early and late stage King Crimson; in stellar terms the show traced the main sequence of “standards” without venturing into the Adrian Belew-voiced 1980s material. Like all good reunions, this one fired any number of unused neurons and lit up some nice memories and thoughts.
My favorite middle school music teacher played “21st Century Schizoid Man” for us in 1975, and I think that was the moment I became a progressive rock fan, although I didn’t realize it until much later.
“Larks Tongues In Aspic” could be the musical grandfather of Animals as Leaders’ entire catalog. The venerable if not slightly clapping-on-the-wrong beats New York Times described Fripp’s guitar playing as “mathematical”, and while “algorithmic” may be a better definition of his use of arpeggios, dissonance and rhythm, it’s the same very heavy elements at the stellar center of “norm core” or “math core”.
I like the ferocity of King Crimson with saxophone rather than violin; much of the 1974 era tours have strings riding alongside the Fripp guitar work; Mel Collins brings a raspy, nasty, intense tone that rounds out the “backline” of this Crimson collection wonderfully.
Tony Levin is fascinating. In my “I wish I were a bass player” high school days, I’d seen pictures of him attacking a Chapman stick and remember being weirded out by the stick (12 string bass played tapping style? Of course, two years later I met Stanley Jordan and what was once weird was normal), his posture (Viscerally, visually and vibrantly leaning into that one), and, well, his physical appearance. He puts on a good show, and the stage set with the drum line in the front and Levin in the center of the back line produced a nice effect – I felt like I was in an orchestra under his baton, while he orchestrated the trio of batteries directly at his feet. His show blogs are a great read, and yes, if you look at the audience shots from the 9/18 show, I’m on the left side.
There’s nothing like seeing a live show with friends. Support musicians by seeing them work their craft. There’s a depth and emotion to it that you don’t get from a recording, even if it’s dampened slightly by Fripp emoting nothing more than facing his effects rack.
Requisite Phish reference: “Dave’s Energy Guide” was written as an homage after King Crimson played Princeton’s Alexander Hall in 1982 (during the Discipline tour, and it was likely the interlocking but not locked in time signatures of “Frame by Frame” that drove the math on that one).
Post-show activity: acquiring some 1970s King Crimson live shows and trying to reverse rhythm engineer “Larks’ Tongues Part II”.