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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 995 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A legendary live release

It's quite hard to believe how ELP played this among 600 thousand people on their second gig. I mean prog rock barely existed in 1970 and this kind of stuff must have been really difficult to get into back then. It still is.

Pictures at an exhibition is my favourite live release by ELP over Welcome Back simply because it features all the aspects of ELP music and is much shorter and varied than their 1974 album. Moreover , this tracks were never released on a studio recording at the time so it's all full with original music. Pictures is ELP's reinterpretation of Mussorgsky's work adding vocals and some inprovisations in the middle with the ELP trademark so proceed at your own risk.

The opeining promenade theme will be repeated several times along the record. The gnome features some of Keith's most exprimental and wildest moments with the band.The promenade theme is repeated again but this time Lake put some lyrics which really fit with the mood of the piece. After this short interlude he has the main spotlight with the ballad The Sage , that in my opinion is the best one he did with the band.

In the old castle Keith reminds us that ELP is all about bombast doing use of his famous ribbon controller.In this piece we can also appreciate some jazzy druming by Carl.This piece turns into a very energetic rock n roll jam (aka Blues Variations) which athough it may sound obvious I will say it: It was not in the original Pictures by Mussorgsky. The second side opens with a reprise of Promenade to fade into the Baba Yaga section. This is the most bombastic part of the record: E L and P playing at incredible speed , how could a classical piece have been turned into this? It takes guts and genius to do it.

The grandiose Great gates of Kiev closes the Pictures section. Lake adds lyrics once again and delivers one of his finest vocal performances.There is still time for one tune after pictures , a cover of Kim Fowley's Nutrocker ( which is an addaptation of Tchacovsky's piece Nutckacker) to leave the audience in shock.

You may consider getting the 2004 Sanctuary release since it features a shorter version of Pictures made in the 90's. Personally I like it even more than the original but others may find it too over the top.

Intense , grandiose and innovative. Pictures sumarizes all that ELP were about.

crimson87 | 5/5 |


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