Friday nights's sonic extravaganza at the started out with the aptly named Stickmen. Featuring Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) on the Chapman stick, Marcus Reuter on touch guitar (which he had made) and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) on drums and percussive effects, this was the perfect opening for a night of incredible, complex and eruptive musical styles.
Stickmen performed their original material with the song "Soup" as a highlight. In addition, they covered a Robert Fripp song from the solo album Exposure titled "Breathless," and ended their set with four movements from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. And this was just the appetizer.
The Adrian Belew Trio followed with Belew (Zappa, Bowie, Talking Heads) taking center stage, flanked by Julie Slick (an incredible bassist) and Tobias Ralph on drums. Belew has a signature guitar sound that crosses many borders beyond that of just prog rock. This was evident by way of a high energy set of superb musicianship from his band-mates.
After a short break, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto joined Adrian Belew on stage for a mini King Crimson reunion. Starting off with "3 of a perfect Pair," the trio gradually grew to include the other members of both groups hammering a plethora of King Crimson classics, including "Red," "Indiscipline," "Frame by Frame" and others.
Tony Levin commented that the stage at the Canyon Club was the best sounding one they have had on the entire tour. From the audience, it was one of the loudest shows I have ever heard at the Canyon Club. Three days later, my ears are still ringing...with delight.