Published on July 2nd, 2021

King Crimson by Dean Stockings


by Joe Capozzi

After being silenced for the past year along with the rest of the music world, influential prog-rock band King Crimson can’t wait to launch its first post-pandemic tour. The second stop will be July 23 at Old School Square in Delray Beach, and bass player Tony Levin said the combined energy from top musicians eager to perform live again and an audience hungry for live music will be special.

“A lot of people are itching for this and it’s going to be great. We’re itching for it, too,’’ he tells PureHoney.

Robert Fripp by Claudia Hahn

While the music of King Crimson might not be for everyone, the band has developed a cult following since its founding in 1968 and is widely regarded as one of the most influential progressive rock bands of the 1970s. Guitarist Robert Fripp, the only founding member in the current lineup, is the undeniable creative force, steering a musical direction that draws elements of heavy metal, jazz, classical and electronic, to name a few, in order to maintain a fresh sound.

“King Crimson is a unique band, and I use that word with thought because we are certainly unique. You won’t hear or see another band like King Crimson,’’ said Levin, who joined the band for the first time in 1981 and has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Carly Simon and Lou Reed

“There are seven of us. We have three drummers, who have devised intricate ways to divide up the drum part. We put them in the front of the stage with the other four of us behind them on risers,’’ said Levin. “We present it almost like a classical concert, pretty serious when we come on stage, sometimes in suits and ties. We try to give people the best sound and best musical experience we can and, if we’re allowed, we do quite a long concert.’’

But for the audience, there’s no guessing which songs will be performed on a given night. “The Court of the Crimson King”? 21st Century Schizoid Man”?  “We only decide the morning of the show which pieces we will do,’’ Levin said. “Robert Fripp, the founder of the band, is pretty adamant about that. And like everything else with King Crimson, this is not how most bands do it.’’

Levin, who was ranked 42 among the 50 greatest bass players of all-time by Rolling Stone in 2020, summarized how Fripp compiles the daily unique setlists.  “He wants us to have about 50 songs ready to play; that’s more than we’ll ever need in any two shows. Then that morning he spends the whole morning listening to things and reviewing our last performance and checking what we played, even if it’s been years since we played that venue, to make sure we present something different or even something different than the night before because some people will follow us from city to city. “Then around 11 a.m. or noon he will email us all the proposed set list for that night.’’ The setlist is finalized at the soundcheck.

King Crimson will be performing at Old School Square in Delray Beach on Friday, July 23, the second stop on their recently-announced “Music is our Friend” North American tour. GET TICKETS: