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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD) CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL (DVD)

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 37 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Welcome back!

1992's Black Moon was a great comeback album for ELP and a triumphant return to form after some weaker albums in the late 70's followed by a long period of silence during the 80's (though there was Emerson, Lake & Powell and 3 during that time). Here the band returns to the stage performing a strong set of songs in the famous Royal Albert Hall in London in the wake of Black Moon.

After a brief spoken introduction, the show begins with a snippet of Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression Part 2 (listed on the DVD box simply as Welcome Back in virtue of the classic opening phrase "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends..."). This is really just a snippet and they plunge straight into a rendition of Tarkus which also is much shorter than its studio counterpart. Keith runs around the stage and even into the audience with one of his gadgets creating a noise that was lost on me on the CD version of this concert, but which makes a bit more sense in visual format. There is an energy that can be felt much better on this video than on the CD album of the same concert.

The show then continues with a rocking version of Knife Edge and then Paper Blood from the Black Moon album on which Greg plays the harmonica. The only other number from that album is Romeo And Juliet (based on original music by Prokiev). The latter is especially excellent and I wouldn't have minded hearing further songs from that album live. The CD version of Live At The Royal Albert Hall has a live version of the title track from Black Moon that is absent from this video. There are also some other differences between the two versions. For example, here we get From The Beginning instead of Still... You Turn Me On, and we get Pictures At An Exhibition and Honky Tonk Train Blues which are not present on the CD. Pictures At An Exhibition is excellent here and in my view an improvement over the original live album from the early 70's (though my favourite version of it is the studio recording that was included in the box set Return Of The Manticore and also as a bonus track on In The Hot Seat). Carl plays a drum solo in this one demonstrating his incredible abilities, thankfully not making it too long. Creole Dance is a rapid piano number showcasing Keith's incredible skills on that instrument, while Greg gets to shine on his trademark Lucky Man.

The absolute highlight for me is Pirates which I think sounds better here than it did on Works Vol. 2. This epic composition works much better without the orchestra in my opinion. It has been given a much needed edge here and it is less bombastic. The show closes with a medley taking in Fanfare For The Common Man and some adaptations of Classical works that Keith originally performed with The Nice. Here Keith gets his chance to "murder" his organ with knifes and perform other theatrical "tricks". I've seen it before and frankly find it all a bit silly and unnecessary.

Overall an excellent concert film. Come and see the show!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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