not only has it been a long time since i have contributed to my blog, it has been even longer since seeing my friend, adrian belew, in concert.
not any more!
but, it almost didn’t come to this point.
i awoke saturday morning with one of my head- aches knowing i would not only have to drive all the way to san francisco, and try to keep a positive attitude for my friend mee sook, i was also going to have to sit-out a lecture with sosso (ron. someday, i’ll tell the story of nicknames. . . maybe) at california state university of monterey bay for their entertainment business (or, something-or-an-other) class.
i met misook not-so-bright-and-early at 0900-hours at the safeway in pacific grove, as it is so difficult to find the castle out here in pebble beach. after mee sook (pron: mee-sook) arrived in the parking lot, we headed out to pebble to park her car and then drove up to marina and the former site of fort ord for ron’s lecture.
as per usual: ron talked forever!
we scheduled him to talk for ½-hour. that turned into 1-hour-and-45-minutes.
well, it looks like we might have scored an intern or two to help on our projects and the instructor, when ron pointed-out my personally-stitched patchwork levis was because i was attending the abpt concert, announced that she was aware of adrian, robert fripp, king crimson, the bears and even the league of gentlemen i knew it was a good sign and the day would, eventually, improve.
when sosso finally wrapped up the lecture, mee sook and i hit the road for san francisco and our room at the hotel whitcomb.
all the way there mee sook, a licensed personal-care nurse and masseuse, massaged my head and shoulders while we listened to adrian’s 4 most recent releases: “side 1”, “side 2”, “side 3” and "side 4 (live)”.
when we arrived at the whitcomb, we were surrounded by rastafarian-types (dressed in the, apparently, obligatory black, red, yellow and green) also having their cars parked and checking into their rooms; it seems that, there was a reggae concert nearby, perhaps at the warwick, where i, along with my brother mark/ivan, last saw adrian when he was playing with king crimson (more on the krim later). all the time we were in the whitcomb the entire building carried the aroma of very-high-quality marijuana. not that i know that from experience.
no sooner had we entered our room than mee sook chased me into the bathroom to take an extra hot shower. upon my return she had stripped my bed and had me lay upon the top as she began the best and longest massage (almost 2-hours) i have ever experienced. by the time she was done, i was so relaxed it didn’t matter if i had a headache or not; i was more relaxed than i imagined possible.
and the headache was (mostly) gone.
we went downstairs for a wonderful dinner; i had seafood alfredo and mee sook had some-kind of grilled salmon: the other pink meat.
while we were eating i got a call from my tribal-friend rena (tickledrop) saying she was also eating dinner and would arrive at slim’s at about the same time i anticipated mee sook and i would.
after dinner we went upstairs to grab our umbrellas (did i forget to say a major storm was marching its way across the california coast?) and back down to the concierge to have him call for a cab.
eric, the hotel’s concierge, however, was unable to get the cab company to answer their phone. so, we decided to walk the 8-blocks, instead of waiting. fortunately, the rain had let-up to a fine mist, albeit quite windy.
as we wove our way in-and-out of buildings and streets we bucked the wind as we got closer and closer to slim’s. at one point the umbrella mee sook was holding (not sure why as it was not raining at this point) began to collapse against itself until she retracted it.
no sooner had we arrived at slim’s, to stand in line with about 30 other fans, than rena and her friend laurie/lori walked up to joins us. moments later, jen, my singing friend, and her boyfriend rené called saying they were just around the corner and would be joining us soon.
when the doors finally opened and we all began to enter, i was stopped by security and told i could not enter with my camera. apparently, only small pocket cams were allowed; the slr didn’t fit that description. so, they confiscated it and held onto it until the concert was over-and-done-with. not that i could have shot anything with it from either of the seats we occupied.
the pictures of the trio on this blog-post are courtesy of mark coleman from the planet crimson website.
when we assumed our new positions up in the balcony, i received a tap on my shoulder and turned to find andrea standing there with geoff sitting just a few tables away; it’s always great to meet up with old and new friends at adrian belew/king crimson concerts!
and what a concert it was!
they played all of the songs you can hear on “side 4 (live)” and even more, including the first live version i have heard in person of the krim song “neurotica”. they must have played at least half-a-dozen king crimson songs and, despite just being a trio with one lead-instrument, never lacked energy, execution, excitement, exuberance (these are words with an “e” this time), extrusiveness, effusiveness, effervescence, enthusiasm, or entertainment!
what surprised me the most was how much mee sook enjoyed the concert; she was dancing in her seat all night and never stopped telling me how much she liked the music. even the atonal pieces/sections put broad smiles on her face. “it’s so beautiful!” she kept saying. on our walk back to the hotel, she told me that she had seen kenny rogers, dolly parton (i’m sorry to hear that, mee sook), eric clapton (getting better) and (uncle) ray charles (right on!) and none of them were anywhere near as good as adrian! “i never dreamed anyone could make music like that or make the guitar sound the way he made it!”
i dream of it all the time!
before adrian came out to say hi to those of us still in the building, young eric was out on the stage breaking down his trap set. mee sook said she wanted to meet him. during the show she kept saying how impressed she was with the “the boy playing drums.” so, i introduced myself and told him that mee sook wanted to shake his hand. she said she was never going to wash her hand!
before too long, adrian came out to greet us.
as mee sook, jen, rené and i approached him, adrian looked at me from about 20 feet out, smiled and said, “gregory (he knows me by my real name)! where the hell have you been?” it will be 5-years next month since adrian and i have spoken, so it was a treat to not have to remind him who i am. mark/ivan and i tried to talk with adrian after the kc warwick show back in november of 2003 but he snuKc out between rain showers. and willy and i tried to meet with adrian at slim’s in october 2005 when he was playing with the adrian belew power trio mki with no avail.
we talked for a few minutes and ade asked me where i’m living now.
“you mean the home of concours?”
nodding with a smile i said “yap!”
“i’ve wanted to go to concours all of my life! what time of year is it?
“it’s the third week in august! i’ll get you passes and you’ll be my guest!
“ooh. . . i can’t promise anything yet. king crimson has a 10-day tour in august and i can’t remember the dates.”
half jokingly i said, “well, play one of those dates at concours!”
“oh, they’re already booked so i can’t change them.”
“but, if the dates don’t conflict i promise i will take you up on your offer!”
so, i may have the opportunity to be adrian’s tour guide around pebble beach and see the cars at concours d’elegance.
longer than most of our post-concert conversations, but still all to quickly we said our goodbyes and we left slim’s.
before leaving, i finally had a chance to meet adrians wife, martha; lovely woman!
we walked with jen and rené to their car, said goodbye, and walked back to the hotel as the rain had subsided and it was not too cold and actually felt good to be in the air.
the next morning, after having breakfast and packing up the bags to leave, we waited for an empty elevator to reach our floor. eventually, we decided to take the stairs (we were only on the 3rd floor). i grabbed all of the bags so mee sook could take the doors.
she opened the door walked into the hall, turned to hold the door open for me and tumbled ass-over-teakettle halfway down the staircase. i was certain we’d be calling the ambulance to take her out of there!
she was only banged-up a bit and took a little skin off of one of her fingers from the strap of her purse, i assume.
we stepped out onto the 2nd floor and i put her in the next elevator while i walked down the rest of the way with all of the bags.
her right ankle was pretty swollen and she had a small bump on her head but was, all things considered, in pretty good shape. she was pretty sore yesterday but says she's much better today.
on the way out of town we stopped by a buddhist temple, but it was packed with people there for some special lunch, so we decided to split. but, not before heading over to the marina and up to fort point, where the waves were so fierce, even here in the bay, they were coming up over the road.
the waves were amazingly high at ocean beach, so high that the pier was closed.
we continued south, taking the long way all the way back to the monterey peninsula via route 1, enjoying the views all the way.
on our way we stopped at moss landing for lunch and watched two mother otters and their babies as they floated on their backs in the still water of the marina and continued our southerly drive into carmel valley and over to the korean buddhist temple.
we lit candles and incense and shared tea with one of the monks.
this was my first visit to a buddhist temple, something i have been interested in for the past few years, but the monk spoke very little english, so mee sook had to translate everything from korean.
he did, however, make me feel very comfortable and gave me a copy of the prajnaparamita sutra printed, in english on a very large sheet of rice paper (suitable for framing) as we shared several cups of green tea.
it was a great way to bring our san francisco/adrian belew weekend to a close!