Sunday, September 29, 2019

In The Court Of The Crimson King

This past Friday I went to Nashville, Tennessee to see the band King Crimson perform at the famous Ryman Auditorium.  The band is currently on a world tour for the 50th anniversary of their first album which was released in 1969 and they are one of my all-time favorite bands.  I was accompanied on the trip by my long time friend and rock and roll partner in crime, Tom Conley.  We first met when fooling around in 6th period study hall in 1967.  We have been in and out of trouble ever since.

We had a leisurely drive to Nashville which is approximately a three hour drive from where I live.  It was great to have time for some conversation and rock and roll as we drove through the countryside.  I use the term "countryside" because some sort of road issue caused my GPS to route us off the main interstate highway and down country roads where I have no memory of ever being before.

After checking into our hotel we eventually found our way to downtown Nashville.  Let me tell you this.  Downtown Nashville on a Friday night is a wild place.  There are honkytonk bars everywhere, a professional league football stadium, and a large arena.  The Ryman Auditorium is in the heart of it all.  It was originally built as a church and for many years was the home of the Grand Old Opry.  In terms of geographic location and musical history, it may be the last place I ever expected to see a Prog Rock band like King Crimson.   

King Crimson are no ordinary rock and roll band.  Their music is complex and the members of the band are all virtuosos on their instruments.  They have three drummers who are much more than simple keepers of the beat.  They have a bass player who has toured extensively with Peter Gabriel, another one of my favorite musicians.  In addition they have two guitar players including the phenomenal Robert Fripp, and finally a woodwind and flute player.  The level of musicianship was mind blowing.  I never thought I would hear and see most of these songs performed live and with such precision and clarity.  Seeing this manifestation of King Crimson was #1 on my musical bucket list.  I was not disappointed.  It was the best concert I have seen by anyone in quite a while.  I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven.

My long hair is long gone but I still have the tee shirt!  

Here is the set list for those that might like to know what I heard.

Set One 
  1. The Hell Hounds Of Krim
  2. Pictures Of A City
  3. Suitable Grounds For The Blues
  4. Cirkus
  5. Red
  6. Epitaph
  7. Electrik
  8. Moonchild
  9. Radical Action II
  10. Level Five   

Set Two 
  1. Cat Food
  2. Frame By Frame
  3. Lark's Tongue's In Aspic Part IV
  4. Islands
  5. Easy Money
  6. Indiscipline
  7. In The Court Of The Crimson King
  8. Starless
  9. 21st Century Schizoid Man

Monday, September 23, 2019

Walking In The Park

I must admit that I haven't been to the park much lately.  Although today is the official beginning of Fall, it still feels like summer in my part of the world.  Today is overcast with a forecast of rain this afternoon.  It hasn't rained in weeks and this summer we've had a record number of days when the temperature exceeded 90 degrees.  Although it is in the 70's today, it will be back in the 90's by the end of the week.

Back to walking in the park...…

I haven't walked for exercise for a few weeks.  I blame the heat, a sense that every day has some task that needs to be accomplished, and, to be completely honest, some summer time laziness on my part.  As the weather cools, and winter looms on the horizon, I will become more energetic and I expect to make it to the park on a more regular basis.

Today, in a burst of spontaneous energy, I decided to take advantage of the relatively cool morning and walk in the park before the rains came.

While walking in the park I came upon a monolith that presumably was placed in the park thousands of years ago by space traveling aliens.

There is an obscure scripture passage that goes "God made man and rested.  God made woman and no one has rested since".  When I got home from my walk my wife immediately asked me to get some holiday decorations out of our storage shed.  This shed is a Pandora's Box of every Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter decoration that my wife has ever bought.  I hate the shed because it is stuffed to the rafters and you can't get anything out without taking everything out or so it seems.  Today, however, I decided to breathe and practice my Zen.  I groused a little but for the most part I did whatever my wife asked without a meltdown on my part.  When I completed the task, she made me lunch.  Bless her.....

The first week I was retired a stranger told me to "not fill up my time because it will fill up for me".  Truer words were never spoken.  I am 100% retired and I have no official employment but many days I feel busy and occasionally overwhelmed.

I am declaring the rest of the day as a holiday.  So let it be written, so let it be done!    

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Where Did The Time Go?

This past weekend I attended my 50th high school reunion.  50 years!  Where did the time go?  It was great to see so many old friends, to renew some friendships, and to remember friends no longer on the journey of life.  The actual experience of high school is a mixed bag for many people.  Some hated it and never want to think about it again.  They graduated and became dust in the wind.  Overall I had a wonderful high school experience.  The only negative was not excelling on an academic level.  I found myself and discovered my gifts much later in life.  Some of my English teachers may be surprised to realize I actually learned to write and that I am pretty good at it. I enjoyed my friendships, including the girls I loved, and all the adventures I had with my particular gang of people.  My "gang" was primarily the kids trying to be hippies.  Of course, I also had many friends who were not hippies.  Some people from high school have never stopped being my friends.  Other people were long distance friends thanks to technology.  There are even some people I know better now than I did while we were actually in high school.

Over the years I have attended my 20th, 40th, and 50th reunions.  Recently a friend remarked to me that she went to her 10th reunion for an all girl school and she hated it.  Her impression was that the old clicks from high school were still the old clicks and that people were generally as awful as she remembered them.  My experience has been quite different.  I have found that almost everyone has mellowed over the years and no one was trying to impress anyone else.  I say this as a member of a class where many people became very successful in life by worldly standards.  This past weekend I found everyone to be genuinely personable, affectionate, and happy to see one another.  My class was very large and it was impossible to know everyone well.  Obviously I know some better than others.  I was feeling a lot of love this weekend, nor only from others, but for others.

As I looked around the informal gathering on Friday night, and the more formal dinner on Saturday night, I thought about all the journeys each of the people had traveled throughout life.  My classmates and I have walked many miles and in the words of Forest Gump "we've owned lots of shoes".  We have scattered all over the country and even the world.  Whatever level of success was achieved it was not without struggle.  Life is also not fair so some have experienced more struggle than others.  A significant number of classmates have passed away.  Some of them were quite young.  Others left us more recently.  Those of us who are left are survivors of life.  None of us are without scars.  We have all experienced loss, pain, and heartache.  Hopefully, we have also experienced joy, happiness, some level of success, love, and contentment.

Life is not about success or destination.  Life is about the journey.  We have made it this far and we can laugh and smile and enjoy our memories.  The journey is not over for us yet.  As the poet Robert Frost once wrote, "There are miles to go before we sleep".  Let us go forward in love and peace and joy.  My friends, "it ain't over until it's over".  Live long and prosper!