CD/Blu-Ray Review: King Crimson's "Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind"

King Crimson’s new live release, Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind, is more than a concert, it’s an up-close and personal experience. For the first time since King Crimson's early 70's "Mark III" line up, (Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross) Sir Robert can finally be seen in full lighting and it’s truly a sight to behold.

Unlike past tours and connected live releases on DVD, where Fripp was only seen in silhouette, we can now finally watch the master's hands as he delivers a powerhouse performance. Along with of course, the newest incarnation of King Crimson featuring Jakko Jakksyk, Tony Levin, Mel Collins and the three-drum attack of Pat Mastellotto, Bill Rieflin (who also plays keyboards) and Gavin Harrison.


Review by Christopher Bergmann

They are a truly impressive orchestra - as Fripp himself said in a recent video from his website - don’t compare this band to other Crimson line ups but instead, focus on the reference it creates within the entire King Crimson live history. This is not the "flying by the seat of your pants" King Crimson of old, but there are also some "golden moments" where you’re just not sure if they’ll come back together after veering off into a classic, free-form jam... but of course, they do!

Plus, this line up delivers an amazing set list of material from just about every period of the band, which is a new phenomenon for Fripp. Jakko’s vocals are out of this world, as he does Wetton, Lake and Belew’s singing more than justice. The rest of the band is in top form as well, as they perform classics like “Pictures of a City”, “Epitaph”, “Easy Money” and “20th Century Schizoid Man”, as well as later material like “The ConstruKtion Of Light”, “Level 5”,“VROOM”, plus a few “ProjeKt” songs.

The Blu-ray is astonishing and incorporates a totally new method of filming in which the cameras are hidden throughout the stage, which allows for a more natural performance, as opposed to having the added pressure of a camera crew running around and causing discomfort.

The sound is perfect as you would expect, and the accompanying three CDs are comprised of the same songs featured on the live Blu-ray, but have been re-ordered by Fripp to allow for groupings of like-period songs. However, the Blu-ray is really what it’s all about! If you’re like me, after experiencing this show you will then go back and re-explore live material and find things you never heard before, even if you’ve listened to them 100 times! Yes, I highly recommend Radical Action for both old and new King Crimson fans.

Also of note: this review reflects the standard four-disc set, as there is also a limited edition, six-disc box set with additional material and a hardback book. Additionally, if you’re interested in further King Crimson material to explore, I highly recommend Live in Kassel, featuring the "Mark III" version of the band in 1973. It contains in my opinion, the best version of “Starless” I’ve ever heard. This title, along with Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind is available on the DGM Live website for download at www.dgmlive.com.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhKJgqxNDD8