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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

4.24 | 523 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 7

This is my first review of a live album on this site and it's also my first review of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. I'm sincerely a great fan of "Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends". In the 70's, progressive rock music has produced excellent live albums. However, in my humble opinion, there are probably four live albums that deserve a special mention. Particularly, I'm talking about this album, and also about other three, "Playing The Fool" of Gentle Giant, "Yessongs" of Yes and "Seconds Out" of Genesis.

Usually I prefer studio albums instead live albums. Studio albums are better recorded and produced then the live albums. This is even truer when we are talking about the live albums from the 70's. In those days, recording live concerts with the technical means of the 70's were particularly a very difficult task and the final result wasn't always positive. However, there are some good exceptions and this is certainly one of those cases.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends, Ladies And Gentlemen: Emerson, Lake & Palmer" is, for sure, one of the most extensive names that any album ever had. It was released in 1974, as a three vinyl disk album in a gatefold cover, and the inside of which used the letters E, L and P, as retainers for the individual disks. It reached fourth on the Billboard album chart, making of it, the Emerson, Lake & Palmer's highest charting album in U.S.A.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends" was their last release during almost three years. Before that, they had recorded four more studio albums and another live album. After those releases, the group took an extended break to recover and pursue solo projects until their next common band's project "Works" (Vol. 1 & 2), released in 1977. That break, and the advent of the punk rock movement eventually began with the decline of the group. Unfortunately, it was confirmed with their seventh studio album "Love Beach", released in 1978.

My first contact with this album was in the 70's. In those times, I had a group of friends which occasionally met at the home of one of us. Usually we were playing cards and talking about music. One of my friends, the owner of the house, had bought a new tape recorder, a Dual, and he asked me if I didn't care if he records a copy of my original vinyl discs. I said there was no problem, and after he recorded it, every day that we met at his home, he always put his recorded cassette version. He was a fanatic of the band, especially by this live album. As we frequently gathered in his house, we always listened to the album and talking about the band. The guy was so persistent, that he managed to convince me, to sell him my original vinyl copy. Obviously, now I'm regretful by my act. However, I've already got a new version of the album, but this time on a CD version.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends" has nine tracks. "Hoedown" is from "Trilogy". "Jerusalem" and "Toccata" are from "Brain Salad Surgery". "Tarkus" is from "Tarkus" and includes "Epitaph" from "In The Court Of The Crimson King" of King Crimson. "Take A Pebble" is from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" and includes "Still?You Turn Me On" from "Brain Salad Surgery" and "Lucky Man" from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer". "Piano Improvisations" is an original track by Emerson with arrangements of different classical pieces of music, which includes Friedrich Gulda's "Fugue" and Joe Sullivan's "Little Rock Getaway". "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" is a medley from "Tarkus" and "Trilogy", respectively. "Karn Evil 9" is from "Brain Salad Surgery".

As I wrote above, with this triple live album Emerson, Lake & Palmer finished their best and most creative years. I honestly think that many views about this album changed all over the years. It became an album loved by some and hated by others. Personally, I'm still thinking the live versions are better than the studio. The musical quality of the album is superb, giving us 2 hours of some of the best moments over the progressive rock ever recorded.

Conclusion: This is a fantastic live album with a great sound. The songs on this live album are almost all from the two best studio albums of the band, "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" and "Brain Salad Surgery". The exception is the music suite "Tarkus", which is simply, in my humble opinion, their best piece of music. However, I sincerely regret that "Trilogy" be an album very few represented on this live work. I wanted the three band members had chosen their trilogy piece "The Endless Enigma (Part One)", "Fugue" and "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" or the title track "Trilogy" instead of "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff", which I never was a big fan. This is clearly and in my humble opinion their best musical work. Surely isn't very common the best album from a band be a live album. Sincerely, I really think that we are in presence of one of the greatest albums ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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