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King Crimson: Radical Action (To Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind)

Album Notes

When it comes to quality live material, there's never been a better time to be a King Crimson fan than the 2010s. In addition to the exhaustive 40th anniversary boxes, there have been multiple releases from the 2014-2015 seven-piece band culminating with Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind, a set that features every song performed on the tour in excellent audio and video quality.

The vast majority of the set was recorded in Japan, with other shows filling in on the songs that weren't performed there. Every show was recorded in high-quality audio and video with a multi-camera shoot, so there's no difference in quality. While the band doesn't improvise as extensively as they have in the past, a comparison of the solos shows that they aren't phoning in their performances, either. The Blu-Ray presents the show (mostly) as it happened from beginning to end. The cameras were in fixed positions (for minimal distraction) but they effectively capture all the action. Sometimes the superimposed shots get a bit dense as they try to show as much musical action as possible, but on the whole, the footage and direction are excellent. You even see Robert Fripp smiling at times! If you just want to experience the show without the visuals, there's an option for that on the Blu-Ray version.

The CDs dispense with the running order of the show (and the audience!) in favor of slightly arbitrary thematic groupings: "Mostly Metal," "Easy Money Shots," and "Crimson Classics." These are different mixes than those on the Blu-Ray set, specifically for audio-only. The different mixes and running order provide a different feeling to the sets, but both are equally powerful. This band is a juggernaut and hearing them tackle not just the '70s repertoire they hadn't performed in decades, but some '90s tracks as well, is something fans could not have dreamed of at the turn of the century. Rarely has a band that's been around for 45-plus years sounded so vital. This is essential for fans. ~Sean Westergaard


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