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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Travis & Fripp: Wimborne

There’s the beginnings of a beautiful morning in Whitley Bay as the taxi arrives to take me to the airport at around 5.45 a.m.

Because of our screwed up transport system, getting down to Bristol via the train would cost me a small fortune. It might be more environmentally friendly to let the train take the strain but when the price of a ticket would set me nearly two hundred notes (whilst taking about six hours to get from A to B), it seems flying for about £30 for a flight lasting no more than 45 minutes, is really rather a no-brainer.

In Bristol I am met by Trevor Lever. Trevor’s history with Crimso goes all the way back to the start of the story when he turned up to see the Stones play in Hyde Park in 1969 but had his head turned by one of the support groups on the day.

Once Trevor has finished his work, we pick up Kathryn (Trevor's pal and excellent garden designer to boot), then hit the road for Wimborne.

The mirth muscles are tickled en route by the sat nav, voiced on this occasion by a crusty sounding John Cleese. "Bear right, beever left" becomes something of a soundtrack for the day.

Wimborne Minster is rather more imposing than I imagined.

Inside there are another couple of faces adorning the stone work (though you need to look carefully)...
It's Mister Stormy and sound man (in all senses of the word), Trev...

Robert and Theo are just packing up and heading out for refreshments. As I'm wandering around the vacinity of the King's Head, Robert walks up and for a few minutes he points out various shops, offices and watering holes of his youth.

Joining Theo and the boys inside the King's Head, I play catch up with Trev (recently back from Estonia with The Humans) and hear from Theo that yesterday's rehearsals with Robert went well.

Inside, the Minster was almost full. The occasion was a memorial concert of sorts to Tony Jones, a supporter of Wimborne Minster Preservation Trust and someone who used to work with Robert's father. Beginning with low, slow-moving loops from the flute the music tentatively evolved, taking several moments to gradually unfurl and fill the building.

I was expecting fairly long, exploratory numbers but in fact the duo played a series of short pieces. Third number in (or what I counted as third number) Fripp played a solo of haunting high notes that swayed and bent as though moved by the gentlest of winds. It was incredibly moving.

In an interval, Robert, looking and sounding like a member of the clergy, talked about his memories of Tony Jones. "There is no loss in a life well lived" he said, his own voice seemingly choked with emotion, "But there is loss."

The second half of the music maintained the somewhat solemn atmosphere. Travis' soprano sax and alto flute weaving between the rich layers emanating from Fripp's guitar. It's hard to know what the audience would've made of this. Whilst one or two clearly knew what to expect, the vast majority didn't. Trevor told me afterwards that one disgruntled retired Major type harrumphed sotto voce "These chaps only seem to know one number!"

After the concert I was able to chat with Ian who I'd last seen in New York. Talking to others, I wasn't alone in being close to tears as a result of Travis and Fripp's music. Their album, Thread though very good, barely touches upon what these two musicians are capable of producing.


Gregory Spawton said...

Bugger it, just up the road from me and I missed it. Beautiful building, the Minster, I imagine it sounded amazing in there.

Johnny said...

Beautiful, Sid!


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