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
5) Three of a Perfect Pair
7) Frame By Frame
9) One Time
10) Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
12) Elephant Talk
14) Drum duet
15) Thela Hun Ginjeet
16) The Talking Drum
17) Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2
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.