The key to this live artefact from their critically lauded career-spanning tour that started in 2014 and is still running lies in Robert Fripp’s simple description: “King Crimson… re-imagined”. The seven-piece line-up, featuring three drummers plus Mel Collins (sax, flute) Tony Levin (bass) and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), who all have doctorates in Crimsonology, bring the band’s catalogue back to life, producing fresh twists while remaining loyal to the original.
It’s vividly apparent on Red, featuring some inventive bass playing; a Starless that twinkles with uncovered possibilities; and The Letters, where the song’s original elements re-emerge with bristling clarity. There’s also nearly half an hour’s worth of new material, not to mention mellotron samples unheard since the mid-70s.
Fripp presides over it all, seated in front of banks of gadgetry, locked away in headphones, showing his pleasure with a raised eyebrow or the hint of a smile.
Radical Action comes in various permutations, all of which include a three-CD set that has been specially re-sequenced and had the audience noise removed. The Blu-ray disc also has a sound-only option if the somewhat static visuals prove too distracting.