August 2008 Blog Posts
Chicago ALT.NET September 2008 Meeting

Register here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 from 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM (CT)

Inversion of Control for the masses

6:00 pm
Pizza and networking time

6:30 pm
John Nuechterlein (a.k.a. jdn) puts Inversion of Control (IoC) containers under the spotlight. If you have been noticing the increasing buzz around this technology but never had a chance to see what it is and how it can be used, this is your chance to see:

  • An overview of what IoC is, using StructureMap as the example
  • Why one might want to use IoC
  • How one can implement IoC
  • When one might not use IoC

7:45 pm
You may want to stick around after the presentation portion of the meeting and take part in our monthly open discussion. The topic is never arranged in advance but it's common that it reflects the content of the presentation.

posted @ Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Feedback (2)
Reasons to hate ESPN's SportsCenter #1 in a series

I should have started this one about 15 years ago.

So I'm having DSL problems (as in, Internet connection) which may very well be the subject of another post, and I figure, okay, I can watch the new morning edition of SportsCenter while the technician from the phone company pretends to do something.

And so, in the middle of highlights, they have a 5 minute interview with..... L.L Cool J.  New 'album' comes out in September (do they even make albums now?).  He's working out, eating healthy, and staying away from the drugs (though he will 'pop a bottle once in a while' don't get him wrong).

And I should give a f%^k because?

This reminds me of when I knew SportsCenter jumped the shark years ago, when they interrupted the sports highlights to go to a live musical performance by Alanis Morissette.


posted @ Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:37 AM | Feedback (2)
Randomly Overheard Conversations that I think are funny #1 in a series

So, I was sitting in the food court eating my gyros sandwich (as delicious as it was unhealthy) next to a group of four people who were discussing whatever they were discussing, loudly enough to be overheard.

They talked about T-SQL (or maybe just SQL, didn't pay much attention to that) when one or more of them started talking about movie reviews.  Again, didn't pay much attention to it.

Then I heard one person say something like the following (paraphrasing):

"You know one movie I really didn't like?  The 'Meet The Parents' movie.  The main guy just didn't admit to the father that he didn't like cats.  And so, everything that happened to him was something he deserved because he wasn't honest about not liking cats.  One thing I can't stand about people is when they aren't honest about what they believe.  It wasn't funny at all."

Um, there are these things called movies.  They, uh, I mean, if you are watching a movie, especially something that is supposed to be a comedy, then, uh, well, there's this suspension of belief thing and,'re kidding, right?

Disclaimer: I have never watched 'Meet the Parents' all the way through so have no opinion about the movie itself.

posted @ Monday, August 25, 2008 8:29 PM | Feedback (1)
Programming without Subject Matter Expertise

In a previous post, I tried to make a point.  I think I did make the point, but it was kind of hard to decipher.  So, here's a (please God I hope more succinct) stab at it.

Learning to be a good programmer takes skill and effort (the rest of us get by on looks and charm).  Learning patterns, OO principles, and the like are all ways that you can try to make yourself a better programmer.

Learning to program within a domain (whether you explicitly follow DDD and have a Ubiquitous Language or not) requires learning something about the domain.  Or at least whatever piece of it you are working on.

*But* in most/many/some situations, the true Subject Matter Expert (SME) isn't a programmer.  And so they have to 'dumb it down' for the development team, because the members of the development team can't be expected to know what the SME knows.

I think this has a lot to do with why software development fails often times.  The SME can tell you after the fact that the software didn't deliver what they wanted.  Things like DDD/TDD/BDD/<insert xDD here> are supposed to help in this area, and I suppose they do, but often times, the SME has implicit knowledge that they don't know they need to make it explicit, e.g., 'When I said I wanted X, of course I meant that Y and Z should also be true'.

At times, there seems to be this assumption that by having a back-and-forth conversation between the SME and the dev team, you can have user stories that just work.  But there is a reason why you have to go to school to get a degree in Finance (as an example).  You can't just have 'conversations' and expect a developer who doesn't have the educational background to understand what the SME is saying. 

In the best case scenario, the developer will be able to fake it enough and ask the right sort of questions along the lines of 'what do you want this screen to show', and that is actually a very good skill to have.  But it is a reactive skill, not a proactive one.

posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2008 7:29 PM | Feedback (4)
A Sign that a Company may have misunderstood SOX Compliance Requirements

The dictate comes down that no code developer of any sort will be allowed sa access to the SQL Server.

In the dev environment.

<cue stunned silence>

posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2008 6:15 PM | Feedback (3)
Agile Development Pair-Programming Team Building Quandary

Okay, another stupid title.  Example please.

At the most recent meeting of the Chicago Alt.NET group, the second-half 'free-for-all' discussion we talked a lot about actual experiences that people had with agile development.  The concept of pair-programming came up more than once, and amongst its benefits (Monty Python reference) was the idea that you can help spread knowledge throughout your team by continually allowing different developers to work on particular blocks of code (that's a poor description really, but hopefully you get the idea).

Now, this benefit isn't something that can only occur within agile development or only with pair-programming.  Even in a waterfall-ish type development environment, you can get this benefit (though perhaps not as easily) by assigning different developers to subsequent projects that extend a particular block of code.  I say "though perhaps not as easily" for the fact that, in time-tracking tool driven environments, the previous developers with the already acquired knowledge are often times not allowed to 'officially' work on the subsequent project.  As a consultant/contractor, I've faced this often enough.  There is someone in the company that worked on, or even built, the block of code that I'm assigned to, but I can't expect them to work in an engaged fashion with me on the subsequent project, because the time-tracking tool says they have to work on other things. 

To give a concrete, but vague enough, example, consider auditing.  Seemingly every company, at some point, seems to want to add auditing functionality to an area of code that wasn't initially built to handle it.  And, seemingly, every company decides to hand-roll its own custom solution.  So, Person A builds it for a sub-set of the application, and then after that is successfully completed, it is decided to expand it to another area of the application.  This gets assigned to Person B (in this case, me), who played no role in the initial construction.  In a pair-programming environment, I would at least be guaranteed a piece of Person A's time, whereas what typically happens, you have to figure out the custom solution as best you can, and then ask one-off questions when you get stuck.  Also, without pair-programming, you have a greater ramp up time where you are stuck by yourself trying to 'figure it out as best you can' with limited support.

Side-note:  everyone has worked with the stereotypical prima donna who insists on owning a particular code block, but more often than not, or at least sometimes, Person A is glad to have another person working on it, because it frees them from being the 'go-to-guy' every time a problem occurs down the road.

By spreading the knowledge around, you minimize the 'what happens if Person A gets hit by a bus' problem, and make it easier to assign future work down the road.

All this is well and good.

But what about true subject matter expertise?  The sort of thing that can't be spread around?

Again, I'll use a couple of examples.

In the last few years, I've worked for clients involved with (among other things) oil refineries, telecommunications, and finance.  Now, I may not be very good at certain things, but one thing I can do is, assuming nothing else than looking at the code, know that if Widget A comes into play in the code with certain properties, then given certain conditions, I can tell with some certainty what Widget A and its properties will look like after it goes through a code block.  I may not know exactly what Widget A is, but I can fake being knowledgeable by reading the code.

But, I can never replace a true subject matter expert who is also a coder in these cases.  Working in financial institutions, if someone says "we are thinking about extending this code to handle quants," my immediate reaction is "What the hell is a quant?  Isn't that the airline with the koala bear mascot?"  To be honest, I'm not sure I've even spelt 'quant' correctly.  I've been a member of teams with people who know what they are, and have sort of glanced at documentation that explains what they are, but it's way more complicated than anything I will ever really understand.  Because of this, I can never be able to know in that 'in a glance SME talent' way if the code I'm working on avoids the unspoken potential issues that someone with real SME knowledge could have.  Even with pair-programming, I can never rise above my 'Widget A' ability.

Since there a *lot* of talented developers with financial SME ability, let me use 'Telecommunications' as an example.

I worked for a company that had an application that verified the part list and installation order of a telecommunications network.  So, the company would be hired by others to build out and/or replace their existing telecommunications infrastructure with the company's equipment.  The application would take in as inputs what the field engineers had determined, validate that no errors existed, and place the order (roughly, it's been a while).

The 'Quandary' is this: arguably there was one developer on the application who was a true SME (personally, I'm not sure that he was, but let's go with it).  There is, was, and never shall be any possibility that I could ever have gained anything even close to SME talent here.  In a previous life, I helped manage the telecommunications network of a small company, so at least to a certain extent, I knew at a really high-level the types of parts involved (which is why I got the gig, since they couldn't find a lot of people with even high-level knowledge), which put me one step ahead of the game.  But even with pair-programming, there was a ceiling to what I could know.  So, in this case Person A would always be required on the application.  In which case, except in a supporting role, the whole notion of 'truly' spreading knowledge is a myth. 

And, it's also potentially harmful.  The 'team building' concept is usually couched in terms of 'junior' vs. 'senior'  (which to me is simply the difference between 'new guy who doesn't know the system yet' and 'guy who knows the system') but when it comes to true SME knowledge, it can't be shared.  Unless you get a junior developer who is also an SME.

In the financial industry, this is probably (I think) more likely to be possible, but when it comes to telecommunications, the SME is the field engineer, and he doesn't want to be a programmer.

This is also a quandary for DDD and the 'ubiquitous language.' 

None of this is to suggest that those who practice agile development get it wrong more than other types of development.  I think it is endemic to the field. 

posted @ Wednesday, August 20, 2008 7:17 PM | Feedback (5)
I think this means I won

At the most recent Chicago Alt.NET meeting (Sergio posted about it here), I was talking with various people when someone (I think it was Aaron) mentioned that Scott Bellware had issued a tweet/twit/whateveritscalled at some point that I be drummed out of Alt.NET and have all of my blog comments deleted.  And apparently I had a number or something attached to it.

Since I hate Twitter (to me, it is the 'web 2.0' version of IRC...when I first got online in the late 90s, I made the mistake of going to a philosophy IRC and tried to, you know, talk about philosophy...IIRC (not to be confused with IRC), the members knew nothing about philosophy, wanted nothing to do with discussing it, and wanted instead to talk about getting laid...sort of similarly, the first time I heard about Twitter, I logged on and found tweets/twats/whatever along the lines of 'I like cheese'...okay, that's nice, goodbye), I had not known this.

Using various search tools, though he had changed his twitter name, I was able to find the following:

" community craven behavior #26: unwillingness to kick jdn to the curb"


"when will the community just kick jdn off the lists and just delete his blog comments"

Scott has always been the most morally bankrupt members of the alt.NET community.  The great thing about this is that his lack of stature has caused him to do things that actually help the greater community at large.  Since his blog is offline, I can't link to it, but the most important thing to him has been to say things like "Hey, look at the the things I've done for the community, like my DevTeach sessions, and my work at organizing Alt.NET OpenSpaces conferences", etc.  All of which is true.  He does it (apparently) because he is an insecure gloryhound, but since the end result is a positive for the community, that's fine.

Anyway, besides all that, his twoots/twatters/whatever are not quite sources of pride, but pretty close.  He's always been incapable of debating serious points.

In a similar vein, people like Jeremy Miller and Chad Myers are always pretty quick to descend to insults when they aren't agreed with (Chad I understand, Jeremy I don' first encounter with him was when he responded to a question about how to sell Agile on a fixed bid project with a 4-5 paragraph response that was above and beyond what I expected, really very detailed).  They really seem to think that when I disagree with them that I'm just trolling. 

If I wanted to troll someone, I would login to a Washington Capitals website and ask about trading Ovechkin for Sundin or something (if you don't follow the NHL, just accept that this would be a stupid suggestion).

On a vaguely related note, the EF team asked for input on how to implement POCO in v2.  Not surprisingly, none of the 'thought leaders' of Alt.NET decided to contribute.  They were all hot and bothered about creating the 'No-Confidence' vote, but when given the opportunity to contribute by the EF team...loud silence.  Not surprising.

So, anyway, people can delete what they want to delete, if they want.  I extend an open invitation to anyone who wants to do a podcast or anything like that.  I won't hide in the weeds or call for things to be deleted. 

posted @ Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:19 PM | Feedback (17)
Anonymous Blog Comments

This is something that comes up quite a bit on certain blogs, especially with Alt.NET types (before he (un)fortunately (unfortunately because he was the source of a wealth of unintentional humor, fortunately because his blogs were usually stupid), Scott Bellware was a typical example, Chad Myers is a current example if only because he's open and honest about it, to his credit), but I finally remembered to make a public note about it.

Some people seem to think that the value of a comment on a blog posting is related to whether or not it is anonymous.  There is an obvious reason for this.

If, to use an example, Ayende makes a comment about some topic concerning programming, the natural tendency of anyone who knows him and follows what he blogs/comments about is to assume that he is right, or at least to give extra credence to what he says because it is said by Ayende.

If, to use an example, jdn makes a comment about some topic concerning programming, the natural tendency of anyone (or at least, anyone within Alt.NET) who knows him and follows what he blogs/comments about is to assume that he is wrong, or at least to give lesser credence to what he says because it is said by jdn.

This is a natural psychological fact.  It is also right up there on the list of Logic 101 Fallacies. 

The truth/validity/coherence (all different things) of a statement is, logically, completely disconnected from the person who makes the statement.  There is no debate about this, by the way.  It is very hard sometimes to reconcile the nature of human psychology and the facts of logic.  If I have a question about a topic concerning programming, I will, naturally, give more credence to something Ayende says than something some anonymous person says.  It is still a logical fallacy to do so.  Similarly, to take into account the anonymity of a blog comment (or lack thereof) is a logical fallacy.

posted @ Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:39 PM | Feedback (10)
Signs You Might Be Working For A Client That Isn't On The Cutting Edge #3 in a series

You are told "those unit tests are really good, but we don't have time to keep doing them, so just update the functionality, and if you have time later, write the unit tests."

Um, I don't quite think that's right.

posted @ Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:33 PM | Feedback (1)
King Crimson, 08/08/2008, Chicago, IL Show Recap

Heading off to the last show (for me).  5 in 7 days.  I think it was worth it.

Going to include all the random thoughts from the 5 shows.

Sat next to a guy who drove 3 hours to see all the Park West shows.  He talked about seeing them in the 80s and how he missed all but 20 minutes of the last time they were in town.  We compared notes of previous song lists.  Some debate over whether 'Sleepless' was played in the Wed. show. 

Watched a couple of people take pictures with their phones in the pre-show.  No one was tossed but got a good talking to.  Some guy a few seats down took a photo during the show, got a good talking to as well.

Funny was that Levin took pictures of the crowd, as he had in previous shows.

Side note:  I've always thought of Belew as 'the other guitarist' paling in comparison to Fripp.  Having seen all these shows, I have to admit that this is unfair.  He's a 'different' guitarist from Fripp, but excellent in his own way.

On stage, there is a red/orange/pink (hard to tell with the lighting) tackle box.  Been there each show.  One of the roadies tonight reached into it and looks like he pulled out something to adjust the orange Belew guitar, the whammy bar in particular.  Which is interesting (if at all) because Belew only played his silver guitar.

Fripp played wearing headphones every night.  I don't remember him wearing them the last time they were in town.

Overall, I thought the sound was very good.  I guess there were moments where I didn't hear every note Levin played, but otherwise, I can't complain.

Belew came onstage again with a suit jacket that he eventually discarded.  It was warm, man.

Song list:

1) Drum duet

2) ConstrucKtion of Light, pt. 1

3) ConstrucKtion of Light, pt. 2

4) Neurotica (only time Belew used a slide)

5) Red

6) Three of a Perfect Pair

7) Dinosaur

8) Talking Drum

9) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, pt. 2

10) Walking on Air

11) B'boom

12) Frame by Frame

13) Level Five

14) Sleepless

15) Indiscipline

Encore #1

16) drum duet

17) Thela Hun Ginjeet (Belew gets on his knees and plays the pedals by hand)

Encore #2

18) Elephant Talk

19) Vroom

20) Coda: Marine 475


I can't say that I ever thought 'Indiscipline' or 'Sleepless' were the greatest of songs by them, but they played the hell out of them.  Tremendous.

At the end of Encore #2, they turned up the lights while the band was onstage and they gave a good 'shout-out' to us.  I still would have liked a slightly longer show, but it's a minor complaint. 

Who knows when they will be back again.  Very good to see them again.

posted @ Friday, August 08, 2008 11:09 PM | Feedback (3)
King Crimson, 08/07/2008, Chicago, IL Show Recap

My DSL line is dropping a *lot* recently so hopefully I'll be able to get this up there.

Two more shows to go.  I realize I'm spoiled in being able to afford the time and money to see all of these, and I'm very grateful for that.  Even if they don't play 'Starless' (that's a joke....I actually probably don't want to hear 'Starless' live since the recorded version is my favorite song of all time, I think I heard a concert version from the 70s and didn't like it).

I decided to sit up in the balcony on the right side.  This let me see Fripp and also the rest of the band.  Belew wore a black/grey suit but also the grey/white footwear he had his wife deliver previously.

One thing I noticed before is that Belew had a music stand for the ConstruKtion of Light, Pt. 2 song (which a roadie then moves out of the way afterwards), as if there was something special about that song.  Strange, since Belew sang much more complicated songs.  Weird.

Here's the song list:

1) Drum duet

2) ConstruKtion of Light, Pt1

3) ConstruKtion of Light, Pt2

4) Red

5) Frame by Frame

6) Neurotica

7) Three of a Perfect Pair

8) Talking Drum

9) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2

10) One Time

11) B'boom

12) Dinosaur

12) Level Five

13) Sleepless

14) Vroom

15) Coda: Marine


16) Drum duet

17) Thela Hun Ginjeet

18) Elephant Talk

19) Indiscipline


Another great show. 

posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2008 10:29 PM | Feedback (4)
King Crimson, 08/06/2008, Chicago, IL Show Recap

First of three shows at the Park West.  I've been to the Park West a number of times, for King Crimson, Porcupine Tree and Concrete Blonde, among others.  Not sure what the capacity is officially, it has a main floor and a balcony (not to mention they serve alcohol inside the club so that the alcoholics in the crowd can get liquored up without missing a song).  I assume the capacity is a little larger than the Belcourt, maybe 400-500.  They have a couple of screens for audio-visuals, but they didn't really get much use tonight.

I sat on the right side and so was able to see Fripp directly, and so was reminded of just how brilliant his playing was.  I long ago stopped playing guitar but can understand just how good he is.

The song list:

1) Drum duet

2) ConstruKtion of Light, Pt1

3) ConstruKtion of Light, Pt2

4) Frame by Frame

5) Red

6) Neurotica

7) Three of a Perfect Pair

8) Vroom/Coda:Marine 475

9) One Time

10) B'boom

11) Dinosaur

12) Level Five

13) Talking Drum

14) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2


15) Drum duet

16) Thela Hun Ginjeet

17) Indiscipline

18) Elephant Talk


The crowd was pretty hot, giving a standing ovation for almost every song.  They really wanted another encore, and they teased it for a minute or so before lifting the lights.

It'll be interesting to see if they move the set list around much for the next two nights.

posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2008 2:06 AM | Feedback (2)
King Crimson, 08/03/2008, Nashville, TN Show Recap

In preparation for the show, I re-listened to '"Larks' Tongues in Aspic," "Starless and Bible Black," "ConstruKtion of Light," and 'The Power to Believe."  Since there were up to 5 tracks from Thrak the previous night, that would have been a good choice, but I don't have it on my Creative Zen currently, and neither the Borders nor FYE in the neighborhood here had that selection (they had various compilations that had many of the tracks, but I wasn't paying that much for it, when I can listen to it back to Chicago).  Ridiculously, there was NO place to buy it for download as MP3 files online (at least legally).  Amazon just offered it as a CD, DGM had squat...this is just nuts.  Maybe there's a legal reason for it, that would be the only excusable reason.

Headed to the show with my misprinted ticket in hand (they printed out the tickets through the PDF download as it being the "Saturday August 3rd" show...I actually called the box office to make sure about this and they knew what I was talking about without having to explain it much...would it have hurt to send out an email if you knew there was a mistake?  Just saying).

I arrived at the line about the same time as the previous night, but was about 20 feet or so further back (so, not bad).  The previous night, they had ID'd people in line before they got to the door, but didn't this evening.  Subjectively, it seemed as if it took a *lot* longer, but by the clock once I got in the door, it was almost exactly the same amount of time.

I didn't speak to anyone in line this time, but listened in per usual.  Guys were talking about the first time they'd seen Crimson (earliest was 1974 in Germany).  I wondered who, God willing I lived that long, I would be talking about in 10-15 years in a similar fashion (Marillion in 1986?).  One funny completely non-related exchange had to do with how hard it was to quit smoking, with one guy remarking "if that wasn't bad enough, my job just switched insurance providers, so now we have random drug testing.  Guess that means after 30 years, I have to quit smoking pot.  Damn."  Funny (there's a few lessons in there for the kids).

One really funny Jeff Foxworthy 'Southern Accent' moment of humor: one guy was talking about the previous night's concert.  "Well, it was a good show but there were a couple of train wrecks."  What do you mean?  "Well, you know, just being off rhythm with each other.  Math is hard."  It was funny, trust me.

I sat on the right of the place this time, a bit further back than the previous concert.  As it turned out, I could see Fripp a little bit better (I could see his left hand playing, but not his right), but as it has been years since I was an active guitarist, I didn't pay a lot of attention to that.  Talked to a couple of guys near me, trying to confirm the exact song list from the first show (there was still some disagreement, which is funny if you think about it...we were all there but weren't sure exactly which song was which).

The show itself, at one hour 40 minutes, was 10 minutes shorter than the previous show, but I can't say I felt it was subjectively (was a little surprised leaving the place to be honest).  Yet they managed two encores instead of one.

Here's my guess at the song list (Updated, thanks Vargan).  They dropped 3 songs for sure while adding another, and mixed up the order quite a bit, but otherwise, it was mostly the same:

1) Drummer duet

2) ConstruKtion of Light, Part 1

3) ConstruKtion of Light, Part 2

4) Frame by Frame

5) Neurotica

6) Three of a Perfect Pair

7) Vroom/Coda: Marine 475

8) Walking on Air

9) B'boom

10) Dinosaur

11) Level Five

12) The Talking Drum

13) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2

Encore 1:

14) Long drum duet

15) Thela Hun Ginjeet

Encore 2:

16) Indiscipline

17) Elephant Talk

During the first encore, (what I assume to be) Belew's wife and kids came down the aisle and sat at the front of the stage.  His wife and one kid seemed really into it, the other not so much.  Belew and Levin both waved to them at various points.

At the end of the first encore, Levin took off his bass and put on the stick, not noticing the rest of the band coming to the front for a bow.  Really funny.  At the end of the second encore, he didn't take the stick off, but they brought up the lights.

I don't know if Fripp did this in the first show (really couldn't see him from the left side of the place), but when the rest of the band took their bows, he stood and applauded them from behind his stack enthusiastically.

Again, overall, it was a solid show.  Maybe because I was paying more attention, I noticed one or two places where the drummers seemed off beat with each other.  Then again, I also noticed randomly that both of them seemed to be really enjoying the hell out of the night.

Not sure how I'll take song lists for the three Park West events next week.  Figure I'll wing it same as these.

Good stuff.  Peace.

posted @ Sunday, August 03, 2008 11:26 PM | Feedback (2)
King Crimson, 08/02/2008, Nashville, TN Show Recap

Click here for a recap of the 08/03/2008 show.

Per usual, I won't give anything like a formal concert review.  I think I can name about 70% of the songs they played off the top of my head, I'll have to listen again to some of their releases to get the rest (anything in the Thrak/Vroom, ConstruKtion of Light period is pretty vague to me).

The Belcourt holds something like 300 people (actual seats, no standing area, one level).  I got there an hour before the show and there were probably already 100 people there.  Talked with a few of the people in line, couple of guys from Nashville, another guy with his son from Birmingham, AL, not sure about some of the others.  Usual talk about 'where have you seen them before' and so forth, some discussion about the...something that is Robert Fripp (part of the issue was trying to describe the something...'nutty', 'compulsive', 'eccentric'...though most all would add 'brilliant' to it).  When the doors opened a few minutes late, one guy noted "they better hurry up, once showtime hits, Fripp will have them start even if it's half empty."

No reason to worry.  They didn't actually prevent people from having cell phones, they just announced they'd remove anyone using them or any other A/V equipment (I wasn't paying attention, but only noticed one person being asked about something).  The crowd had more women than I expected, so it was 'only' 75-80% male.  As always, I found it somewhat humorous to watch 60+ people rock out, then again, I only hope to get to that point sometime myself.  And the band did start in 1968.  I felt a little sorry for an 8-ish year old girl there with her parents.  Towards the end, when her parents were rotating for either bathroom or drink refill, she would go with whichever one was leaving.

Anyway, the show itself.  They played just short of two hours, one encore.  Fripp sat in front to the left, as usual pretty much hidden behind his equipment stack.  Not sure if he does that because he doesn't like the crowd looking at him, or doesn't like looking at the crowd.  Belew was in the middle.  I'm long past being able to identify equipment anymore, but one odd thing I noticed was that he had another guitar behind him that he never used.  Maybe a backup, since it is a bit surprising he doesn't break any strings when he plays.  Levin was to the right, playing the stick for about 70% of the show.  Behind the three were Pat to the left and Gavin to the right.

One funny moment occurred after the first 15 minutes.  Belew was motioning to someone in the crowd to come forward, and some women did and threw a pair of gym shoes at him, then ran out, with what looked like to be two kids with her.  Apparently, he forgot his favorite guitar-playing shoes and so came onto the stage barefoot until (what I assume was) his wife delivered them.  Nice.

The following is basically the list of songs as I remember them, not exactly in the exact order, but roughly.  And I wouldn't be surprised if I got one wrong (40 years worth of material is hard to keep memorized).  To the extent I remember more, and/or they play the same playlist, I will update:


1) Drummers duet, un-named

2) ConstruKtion of Light, parts 1 and 2

3) Level Five

4) Neurotica

5) Three of a Perfect Pair

6) Indiscipline

7) Frame By Frame

8) Dinosaur

9) One Time

10) Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream

11) B'boom

12) Elephant Talk

13) Red

14) Drum duet

15) Thela Hun Ginjeet

16) The Talking Drum

17) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2


18) Sleepless

19) Vroom

 20) Coda: Marine 475

Although, there is one vote for Lark's Part 4 and Coda: I have a dream for the encore. Since I can't go back and hear it again, I'll leave that open.

I listened to both Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2 and Fracture and thought I recognized parts of both, which is why I was so unsure about 17).  I'll try me-memorizing them and see what they do tonight.  I'll relisten to 14) as well.  Thanks for the feedback and I'll try to keep it updated for the next few shows as well.

It's hard for me to remember all of the instrumentals, especially of the later period (if any are from any of the ProjeKts, I won't know them, and anything from Thrak I'd have to hear again) and it's hard to know if anything was new.  It was very loud, very precise, and overall a very good show.  The last song before the encore confuses me the most since I think parts of it sounded just like Fracture (but not sure, since anything from Starless or Aspic they'd have to change since they don't have a violinist, obviously), but I'd forgotten how good some of the other pieces were.  I'm also reminded how much when listening to a band that covers so many different releases how much easier it is to remember which song is which when there are friggin' lyrics.  Sheesh.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if they varied the set list much at all, but given how strong they played, I think I can make it through another 4 shows, even in 6 days.  I'll try to firm up the set list if I can.

After the encore, they all got up to the front of the stage and did the 'rock band final bow.'  Except for Fripp, who stayed seated behind his equipment stack and watched, and then exited the other side of the stage.  Strange man.

posted @ Sunday, August 03, 2008 12:36 AM | Feedback (28)
In Nashville

I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff done, so I'm actually not going to visit around town.  Did a walk from the hotel to the theater to see how long it would take and just look around the area.  The Belcourt is where they are playing.  An email was sent out explaining that they are banning all cell phones, cameras, and other audio-visual equipment.  Fripp has always been a bit weird, and he has his reasons (he won't sign autographs, he thinks the cameras get in the way of the music, doesn't like touring....interesting cat).  It will be interesting to see if they try to do this in Chicago at the Park West (they didn't have that policy last time they were here).  Should be an interesting show.

posted @ Friday, August 01, 2008 10:53 PM | Feedback (0)