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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

4.27 | 606 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars ELP was a band that came across better live than in the studio. The first four studio albums are very good but they are marred by unnecessary filler. This live document, as Emerson had stated at the time of its release, was a resume of everything the band had done up to this point . And an excellent one it is. The boys are out of the gate with 'Hoedown', whose tempo is much more rapid than the studio version. After whipping through this number, Emerson makes some introductions and the band launches into the stately 'Jerusalem.' Then it's onto 'Toccata.' The studio version( which to these ears, resembles computer game music) pales in comparison to this live rendition . Palmer is to the fore here with his synthesized percussion . 'Tarkus' is next and this is my favorite track off this live set. It's played faster and there is more intensity than what the studio version emitted. 'Aquatarkus' is simply amazing with Emerson improvising while Lake and Palmer keep up a steady groove and beat. With 'Aquatarkus' Emerson was reaching into Tangerine Dream territory. After all of this intensity, the band simmer down with 'Take a Pebble.' Lake's acoustic ballads; ' Lucky Man' and Still.. you turn me on' are incorporated within this track .They are preformed solo by Lake, armed with acoustic guitar and that amazing voice he possessed( it was one of the finest in not just Prog rock at the time, but Pop and rock n roll.) After Lake's acoustic balladry comes in Emerson with his piano improvisations. Now, this is where the term self -indulgent comes into play because it tends to meander. When Lake and Palmer join in with Emerson for the jazz improv, things become more lively and quite fun. It goes to show that ELP could do jazz if need be and perhaps they should have considered doing a jazz album in the later 70's. After the jazz improv, the band slides into the final conclusion of 'Pebble.' Emerson gets off some fine piano chops and he really was at his his best during this period; fast, nimble , but yet accurate. I have talked to some people who were fortunate to attend the shows of this tour and they never saw a band play such intricate music without a note out of place. Jeremy Bender/ The Sheriff is some of the filler I refer to on the studio albums, but yet, as a live medley, it works rather well. It's light fun after the piano jazz improv and a nice breather before the band launches into the Karn Evil 9 epic which is simply epic. IMO, unless you miss the disposable 'Benny the Bouncer' track , there isn't really a need to have the 'Brian Salad Surgery' album. All the other tracks off that album are much more superior live. Listening to most drum solos can be rather dull but Carl Palmer's during the midst of 'Karn Evil 9 Part 2 'is simply breathtaking. And it doesn't even go on a minute too long. 'Pictures at an Exhibition' was usually performed abridged as an encore on this tour but since the album was already a triple live set without its inclusion , it wasn't feasible to extend the album to eight sides. That this live set charted in the top 5 of the U.S. and in the top ten of the U.K. was simply astounding , given that both nations were possibly in recessions at that time. The sound may not be perfect but the high level of playing and the intensity of the performances shine through. The boys were at their peak at the time of this album's release and I believe they were on the final leg of this tour. A break for a few years ensued but when the band regrouped, they were never the same. It would only go downhill from that point onward.
Roddyboy4270 | 5/5 |


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