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

WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.19 | 384 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The cherry atop ELP's self-indulgent sundae, this three-record set might be the quintessential prog rock release: ambitious, overblown, and full of wonder. Yes, you could make a case that YESsongs is the best of the behemoths, but "Welcome.." is closer to the heart of prog, an Icarus of an album package that seeks to soar by reproducing the band's longest, most difficult works. And for the most part, ELP succeeds at replicating these gargantuan structures on stage, Keith Emerson's keyboards dazzling like a diamond in the sun, Carl Palmer's drums up for any challenge (the solo on "Karn Evil 9" is a feast for his fans), and Greg Lake's voice in top form (though his bass is woefully undermiked most of the time). Because ELP's music is superlative by design, the studio recordings are the best way to hear this music the first time; that said, the trio does an amazing job of resurrecting the magic in a live setting.

At some point midway through, Emerson's fingers should have fallen off; instead, he captivates from beginning to end, and neither Palmer nor Lake lag far behind. Concert highlights include "Karn Evil 9" and "Tarkus", plus new "Piano Improvisations" from Emerson. The combination of "Jeremy Bender" and "The Sheriff" is a cute idea, but they both get the bum's rush here (better to stick with the originals). I may not listen to "Welcome..." as much as "Tarkus" or "Trilogy", but only because of the substantial investment in time it requires. When I do make the effort, I'm always rewarded for my troubles (which for elpee owners will include frequent trips to the turntable). Pound for pound their studio albums contained more magic, but no ELP release has left a deeper impression than this.

daveconn | 4/5 |

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