The gig I’ve most wanted to attend in the last five years – Robert Fripp opening for the Porcupine Tree – was last night. I set off with Lynsey in plenty of time, got to Glasgow in good time looking for junction 20 which, according to the Carling Academy website, was just beside the venue. Panic! The junction is closed! From that point we had a horrendous hour getting an exit, getting back into Glasgow going eastbound, finding it’s closed eastbound too, then trying to find a place to park in the Charing X area and getting a taxi to the Carling Academy, all this in torrential rain. Made it drenched and dishevelled and furious, and Fripp had already begun his Soundscape. I don’t know how long he’d been playing, but we managed to get right to the front quite easily and I thoroughly enjoyed the fifteen minutes or so that we saw. In that time he went through all the Fripp sounds I love – the orchestral layers, the ‘Heroes’ singing tone, the quiet, haunting tones of ‘The Equatorial Stars’. I think his equipment was playing up and several bursts of seemingly unexpected noise seemed to drive him back to exploring other avenues. The last few minutes involved some dial-twiddling, thoughtful looks, hands placed on strings but no movement, then he slipped his plectrum into the strings, took off his guitar and bowed graciously to warm applause. For me it was worth all the stress for that fifteen minutes of seeing this man on the edge of his improvisation, making decisions in the moment. It turned out later Lyns thought it would be King Crimson!
Porcupine Tree were good, I enjoyed it much more than I expected although I tired toward the end. They had an excellent drummer and bass player (when describing him on the way home Lyns and I simultaneously came out with ‘enigmatic smile’) and seemed to have real respect and gratitude for their fans, who have got them to this stage with no interest or help from the media. And I liked the venue, the Carling Academy, which had excellent sound, plenty of space and was clean and efficient.