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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 532 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Boy do I remember this tour in '74! ELP equipped with a Quadrophonic sound system blasting the roof off the arenas. Keith's Moog would just whizz around the bleachers while Carl's synthesized drums on Toccata would come from all directions! And not to mention the amazing light show with Keith shooting flames out of his Moog strip during Tarkus (no Cal Jam flying piano here though. I think that was a one-shot deal) and Carl spinning around on his percussion platform during his solo on Karn Evil 9! What more could an ELP fanatic ask for?

Unfortunately this album doesn't quite do justice for this monumental tour. In fact, it was the use of their Quad sound system that actually became the adversary to make this a stellar live album. As compared to other landmark live albums like Allman Bros. At the Fillmore East, The Who's Live at Leeds or Yes's Yessongs, this album suffers from poor and uneven recording quality. One gets the feeling that the engineers had no idea as to where to position the mikes because of the speakers being spread-out over the arenas. Keith's Moog will jump out in your face while his Hammond and Carl's drums sound like you're a mile away.

Still, this album does have some great moments. And to me, the best is Keith's extended Aquatarkus Moog segment. I'll never forget seeing them do this and just melting in my seat and grooving to this spaced-out rumba jam. All three perform tighter than ever during this! To this day I still play this part at least once a month.

All in all it's still a good document of ELP at the peak of their powers. They were pretty much considered one of the best live acts at this time. But the year long touring during this just exhausted them to point of no return. It was no wonder that they took a 3 year hiatus along with their prog comrades Genesis, Yes and KC. And later with prog fizzling out and idiotic trends like disco, punk and new wave their subsequent comeback with Works ended up as a lackluster attempt to capture the previous glory days.

Just a current update not seen in any of the previous reviews, most (if not all) of these recordings on this album were done in Oklahoma and were used for the famous King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show but were doctored with artificial echo and whatever for this album. King Biscuit re-released some of these recordings on a CD of their own in a more pure form since they held the rights to these master tapes. Believe me, I can tell a difference in sound quality between the 2 releases. The King Biscuit versions of Hoedown and Karn Evil 9 are far more up-front and more pure and no-nonsense with more nuance. Now if they would just release the whole album like that!

As a prog live album: 4 stars. As a live album in general: 2 1/2 stars. 'Nuff said!

marktheshark | 3/5 |


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