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Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind (Live)

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Customer Reviews

A great document of the current lineup and retrospective on the band's '70s and '00s catalog

I've been a King Crimson fan for over 25 years, and despite observing the band's many incarnations, I probably never would've believed a lineup like the current one could exist until it came into being.

You have Fripp, the eternal ringleader. Mel Collins on saxes/flute, back for the first time since 1974. Tony Levin of the '80s-'90s lineups. Jakko Jakszyk (who has worked previously with Fripp and Collins, as well as the 21st Century Schizoid Band and in Level 42 with Gavin Harrison) on guitar and vocals. And a front line of 3 (3!) drummers: Pat Mastelotto from the '90s-'00s lineup, Bill Rieflin (who has also worked with Fripp previously, as well as Nine Inch Nails and many others), and Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree and Level 42, with Jakko). Gone are some longtime favorites like Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Trey Gunn, but all things must pass.

This lineup has made some remarkable music here. They've breathed new life into some of the most beloved and complex songs from the band's '70s catalog, especially In the Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of Poseidon, Islands, Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Red. (Not sure why Lizard and Starless and Bible Black aren't getting any love, but there's a lot of classic material here as it is.)

Not a single '80s track appears in the setlist, which seems related to Fripp's decision not to invite Belew to be a part of the proceedings. Not so much that he dislikes Belew (though the snub hurt him, I know), but that this band really seems to be rekindling a spirit that was not present in that era. There are a smattering of '90s and '00s tracks though, along with a handful of new songs.

I think the band's treatments of the '70s material get the most attention and love, and really shine. These are some of the best versions of these songs you'll find anywhere. The more recent material doesn't hold up quite as well, and the new songs are still growing on me, but overall, the selection here is great.

They made an unusual choice with this album (I bought the 3 CD + 1 BluRay set), in that the CDs represent the full set of songs played on the tour, grouped not in performance order but into three thematic sets: CD1 is "Mainly Metal", CD2 is "Easy Money Shots" and CD3 is "Crimson Classics". This seems better on paper than it does in practice, as I find some of the transitions a bit abrupt and overall the sets don't necessarily carry a lot of thematic continuity, but this is such a treasure trove of music that I can't complain too much.

Also, there's no crowd noise in the mix... but it doesn't quite sound like a studio album, even though I find myself wanting it to. It's more like a soundcheck recording. That said, the sound quality is absolutely perfect, with the presence and stereo separation needed to really pick out the individual sounds being created by SEVEN people on stage "Crim"-ing out.

If half star ratings were allowed, I would give this 4 1/2 stars. It's not perfect, but it's pretty incredible nonetheless.

[Review based on the CD version which was released before the album appeared on iTunes.]

Incomplete collection

Why did iTunes omit 'Radical Action II' and 'Meltdown' from the first disc? I'll buy this in a heartbeat if they get these two tracks back where they belong.

If you're a Crim-head, get it

This band is smokin' hot. The seven-piece configuration is faithful but also playful in their approach to these tunes. Covering almost every period of Crimsoning, plus a few NEW tunes, it's a no-brianer. The three-drummer line up is fantastic.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in England

Genre: Prog-Rock/Art Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

If there is one group that embodies progressive rock, it is King Crimson. Led by guitar/Mellotron virtuoso Robert Fripp, during its first five years of existence the band stretched both the language and structure of rock into realms of jazz and classical music, all the while avoiding pop and psychedelic sensibilities. The absence of mainstream compromises and the lack of an overt sense of humor ultimately doomed the group to nothing more than a large cult following, but made their albums among the...
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