Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind is a box set by King Crimson, released on 2 September 2016. The box set contains recordings from the group's 2015 tours of Japan, Canada and France. Some of the material has not been performed live since the 1970s, although the songs were rearranged to suit the current line-up…
If there were any lingering doubts that King Crimson was back in fine form after the 2014 Live at the Orpheum teaser, they can all be dispelled with the release of the entire show from November 20, 2015 in Toronto. The set list is a fan's dream and includes songs that haven't been played live in decades…
Whichever way you look at this is a significant show: the last time King Crimson played anywhere in mainland Europe. As such there’s a certain end-of-term aspect here - a rushing Dinosaur, a final flush in the cheeks of Red as it hits the finishing line. Humour plays its part as well when Belew quips to quell the photographers before a dazzling ConstruKction of Light.
So here we are at the final date of Crimson’s 2000’s long, hard Euro-slog. Filmed by the Bootleg TV crew and included on the Eyes Wide Open dvd, the band work hard at a show that doesn’t always catch alight. Struggling with sound problems on the night, it takes a little while for the team to warm up. The first improvisation of the evening has a tentative feel where the band individually dip their toes in the water from time to time but don’t quite push the boat out.
From cautious beginnings Improv II quickly expands into lolloping beast of a track providing what is arguably the best set-up to Exiles to date. As Cross and Wetton hurl fuzzed lines across the stage over one of Bruford’s slow-burning jazz vamps, Fripp introduces one sustained note that lasts somewhere in the region of 37 seconds. An object lesson in making a little go a long way.
Though this particular line-up were edging closer to oblivion, listening to this full show 30 years after the event, the energy levels are astounding. In his journal from the time RF described the show as "Tired. Lifeless. Lacklustre” Maybe Fripp’s estimation of the gig was informed by his recovering from mild food poisoning, the cumulative effect of prunes and a boil in his ear! It seems nobody was happy this particular night. Sound engineer George Chkaintz had trouble with the sound in the recording truck, roadie Tex is frightened to turn down Wetton’s amp despite the discreet urgings of other members of the band and crew, Fripp is giving tour manager Dik Frasier grie, and the promoter isn’t best pleased because the band haven’t done an encore!
This is King Crimson’s first performance in front of a crowd since they had wowed the punters at Le Spectrum (documented on Absent Lovers) back in 1984. Essentially a dress rehearsal in front of invited guests and the South American press, the tickets that had been made available sold out in two hours flat.
Ever wanted to know what happens after the edit on the storming Asbury Park or the fade out on that contemplative solo on Easy Money? Well now you can find out! Presented uncut for the very first time using unreleased mixes from the multitracks without Eddie Jobson overdubs (as on USA), the power of this gig is tangible. Despite the internal politics and tensions of the period, the band taps into a ferocious energy that never stops burning.