I have to admit I've never been a huge fan of Islands and, for a long time, didn't understand the relevance of this incarnation of KC. But once I heard Summit Studios, it all clicked into place. As others have said, the sonic fidelity helps - this is a professionally recorded radio show with a small audience, almost a new studio album in itself. Much more rough and ready than anything King Crimson had done in the studio up to this point, but you can hear every nuance. This is the sound of a well-honed band, brainy and brawny all at once, as tight and as powerful as they need to be, while still willing to fly off into spontaneously new territory - and not necessarily as an artistic statement, more out of sheer enjoyment of playing. The fact that the gig carries on for twice its scheduled running time - all commented on by the strangely out-of-place presenter - is a testament to the unique nature of this set. That's not even covering the fact that every single member of the group is at the absolute top of their game throughout. It's fascinating to realise that this tour was basically a contractual obligation - if I understand it correctly, three quarters of the band had already decided they weren't on the same wavelength as the other quarter before this tour even started, so the whole enterprise was an undertaking of impressive professional sacrifice and could have been a stultifying compromise. But it's clear here that all four aren't just working separately, they're working together - having fun! All of which is a fantastic demonstration of this line-up reaching its full potential. But this isn't just about the 71-72 line-up. This is about the whole of King Crimson up to this point. This is about the King Crimson band/brand - or, if you like, the diabolical supreme being whose name is sometimes King Crimson, whenever he has certain music to play - finally repaying his debt to the audience he inspired in those early days. The frustration of the original line-up's break-up must have weighed heavily on B'il Sabab when the Good Fairy departed and the man's aim was thrown way off course. But through perseverance and sheer bloody-mindedness, the Crimson King finally found a way to make his voice heard. This gig isn't just a pay-off for the Boz line-up, no matter how great they suddenly are. This is something like a final statement of the entire King Crimson project up to this point. A performance that says, "See - we weren't just a briefly interesting pop group that imploded badly on our first American tour. This music is incredible, groundbreaking, beautiful, terrifying, theatrical, stupidly entertaining and the band that created it - whoever the individual members have been from day to day - deserves a sparkling statuette on the highest shelf of the grandest music library in the world." Being on the top shelf means most people probably won't notice it and they might even feel a bit silly if they ever asked to listen, but the rewards of taking that leap of faith are enormous and they never stop coming. And this particular recording - bringing together arguably the best versions of five tracks from the first four albums with two lengthy improvs and a comedy sketch - brings a total, satisfying sense of closure to the first phase of Crimson, enabling the slate to be wiped completely clean for its second (OK, officially third, but what do I know?). One of the best live performances not just by this version of King Crimson, and not just by King Crimson at all. This is one of the best live recordings I've ever heard by anyone. It never fails to stagger me.