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

LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog


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richardh
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This live album is taken from ELP's Black Moon tour in 1992 and NOT from their heyday (1970-1974).For that reason this has to be approached with some caution.In truth much of the energy and dynamism of this famous trio had long gone by this time.Carl Palmer sounds a bit sluggish on the kit,Greg Lake's voice is as deep as any blues singer (not good for prog IMO) while Keith Emerson struggles to remind us that he was once the best keyboard player in the world.It's not a bad album though.The sound is 'clean' and the band are tight.But these are the bare minimium you would expect to find.The only reason I can give for buying this is the extended version of 'Fanfare For The Common Man' which beats the original studio version but otherwise you have inferior versions of classic ELP tracks like 'Tarkus' which can only really be of interest to collectors/fans.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#14606)
Posted Thursday, August 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I bought this album more by curiosity, to hear how the band sounded live after their "Black Moon" reunion album of 1992. There are several changes in the band.Keith Emerson still is a very good keyboard player, in this album using the "new" keyboards of the early 90s. Greg Lake`s voice shows the passing of time, but he still sings well. Carl Palmer shows "new sounds" using electronic drums apart from his usual acoustic drum kit. The album starts with a medley of fragments from "Karn Evil 9" and "Tarkus". I prefer the live versions of their 1974 live album "Welcome back...". "Knife Edge" is a good version, this time without orchestra as in the "In concert " album, with a good instrumental organ section."Paper Blood" has some female vocals which seem played in a pre-recorded tape. A good song from the "Black Moon" album. "Romeo & Juliet" is a very good arrangement of a classical piece also included in their 1992 album. "Creole Dance" is a high speed piano solo by Emerson. Lake`s songs, "Still...you turn me on" and "Lucky Man" are good too, but I prefer the arrangement done to "Lucky Man". "Black Moon" is another good song from their 1992 album. "Pirates" is a "complicated" song, but it`s good. The "Finale " medley starts with a good version of the "Fanfare for the Common Man", followed by the synthesizer noisy "America" and "Rondo" (I think that Emerson also played these last songs with The Nice). The recording and the mixing of this album are good.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#14607)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this 1992 concert recording (on loan from a friend), after having long ago dismissed ELP as a trio of has-been Prog Rock trailblazers who didn't really progress much after 1971. But I always had a soft spot for the band, dating back to High School when they served as the springboard for my first tentative plunge into the deeper waters of Progressive Rock music. I remember spending a happy afternoon in Mr. Haines' art class, proudly silk-screening the ELP logo onto the back of my underwear: now is that dedication, or what?

Everyone knows the band fell on harder times than most Prog acts during the lean, mean 1980s, so this tour in support of their then-current "Black Moon" reunion album was as much an attempt to rehabilitate their tarnished legacy as it was a move to re- establish themselves among their still rabid fan base (which, in 1992, no longer included yours truly). There isn't anything new or innovative here, but the performances show more enthusiasm and commitment than you might expect from a group that had lingered so long past their expiration date.

At least the equipment is up-to-the-minute, circa 1992. Keith's cool new digital keyboards and Carl's midi-drum kit can take some adjustment for anyone with ears stuck in an analog time warp (funny how they already sound so dated). And Greg's cigarette habit seems to have finally caught up with his once-crystal voice box, although there's an appealing vulnerability to his now husky baritone. He can still hit those high notes when he has to, but clearly needs to ration the attempts.

Together they mesh like a well-oiled machine after an overdue tune-up, with a set list showing more than a little consideration for pace and tempo, unlike their rambling 3-LP live set from the 1970s (the aptly titled "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends..."). It begins with a medley of certified classics, opening (of course) with the First Impression, Part Two of "Karn Evil 9", clocking in at a brisk 75 seconds (!) before making a dramatic transition to a likewise abbreviated "Tarkus" (about half the title suite), and from there to a full-blooded version of "Knife Edge".

Next is a brace of selections off the "Black Moon" album, as new to me now as they were to the crowds at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. And it's good stuff too, in a blunt and blustery early '90s AOR sort of way. There's no comparison to the group's groundbreaking Golden Age material, of course, but the songs are miles ahead of the witless would-be hits of "Works Volume II" and "Love Beach", and thus were at least a half step in the right direction.

Included is the usual purloined classic, in this case from Prokofiev's ballet of "Romeo and Juliet", updated with a monster beat that sticks in the mind like musical oobleck (I'm tapping my toes to it even now). It's fun, but by 1992 the novelty of classical rock had long since disappeared. Let's face it: a decade earlier even the nutty boys of Madness were performing ska covers of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake".

Then there's the obligatory solo piano spot from Emerson, as usual played too fast, followed by the expected Greg Lake ballads "Still...You Turn Me On" and "Lucky Man". Both sound richer played live in a large arena, even if some of the lyrics ("...every day a little sadder, a little madder...someone get me a ladder...") still make me cringe.

"Pirates" is the closer, and doesn't miss the cheesy orchestral padding one bit, but hold your breath for the encore: a 15-minute instrumental medley combining "Fanfare For the Common Man" with Emerson's pre-ELP workouts "America" and "Rondo", the latter spotlighting the keyboard wizard's trademark, show-stopping Hammond B3 demolition derby.

That grungy organ sound is like a breath of fresh air after all the pitch-perfect string and horn samples. I might have suspected it was just another digital facsimile, if I hadn't seen it for myself a few years later, when the band was touring with Jethro Tull. But I'll be damned if Keith didn't wheel out the old Hammond warhorse for a bit of rough trade at the climax of their set, throwing it around the stage like a sack of raw potatoes. The visual element is of course missing here, but it's a thrilling finale nonetheless.

ELP had always been a little too conceited in their success, and in the 1990s still presented themselves as rock 'n' roll aristocracy: note the coat-of-arms CD cover art, and the majestic brass fanfare that accompanies their walk off. But in retrospect this was their final burst of true musical energy before advancing age and creative fatigue finally rendered them terminally obsolete (the upcoming "In the Hot Seat" LP was a sad epilogue to a once fruitful career).

Too bad the band didn't quit while they were at least marginally ahead again. I'd bet my underwear that this CD would have made a respectable swan song.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#14611)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
thang@hotmail
2 stars I bougth this album after the Black moon tour. In case you have been at any of those concert it is a good reminder. In case not, well...avoid to spend your money into this CD. Songs are played decently,but: Carl Palmer playes very mechanical, no more those sinchopathed moviments he was famous to. Greg Lake voice often reaches his limitations, and is a pity because I loved his beautiful way to sing in the early 70's. Keith Emerson is in a good shape, nevertheless a lot of MIDI tracking of his synths makes the sound more messy than straightforward, I suspect that the technological aspect as relevance in the performance more than the player itself. Listen for example the beautiful Creole dance. It is played in the usual Emerson style, fast and obliques scales, taken to the edge. To have sampled sounds of synth together with the piano doesn't add nothing to the song, rather it diminish the effect of the grand piano. This is a example of what I mean unnecessary technology. He has skills, he has a great piano sound, why need something else? This game goes around also in other songs, like Knife edge (where Palmer act as a cold programmed drum machine) and the classical interludes. Better works in the new Romeo and Juliet, really remarkable contemporary revision, and Black Moon. Paper blood adds very little to their musical experience. The closing is a good version of Fanfare for the common man. Perhaps the organ sound is a bit too distorted in some passage of the improvisations. It is good in live performance, while the shows which goes on capture your attention, less evocative in a CD record. Last but not the least the recording itself. The mixing to my point of seeing is not as great as it could be in 92. All in all I give a very small rating, honest performance, good rememberance of the past but... nothing to add to their remarkable career.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#45994)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I don't like the mixing of this live recording and the choice regarding a few light songs by Lake as well, but as usual the best keyboard and drumming solos are performed here. you can listen to the resumed suite from "Tarkus" and the remarkable Carl Palmer solo too (even though after a so long career it's becoming just a little bit tiring as for its reproduction repetitively in the course of 20 years.); while Emerson is involved with the transposition from a famous jazz composition by an Argentinean Pianist, which is delightful and so much rhythmical as well, considering also the complex harmony of such track!! The "Karn Evil 9" suite is too short in the present version, as it has been reduced to its intro only!! But apart from this consideration, I like their final jam sessions within "Fanfare for the common man" . after all it's one of the last live performances by ELP before breaking their project definitively, and in spite of a few defects, it witnesses the end of an historical period.worth checking out, but it's not so exciting!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#46412)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I bought this CD from a discount sales after it was released, and I was hugely disappointed of it. The new versions of the old classics didn't sound very pleasing, as they were played with modern, plastic sounding synthesizers. For me the song title "Iconoclast" in "Tarkus" medley got a much deeper meaning: ELP destroyed the piece of art they self created in their youth! The few newer songs from "Black Moon" worked better, but I don't like the style of their newer compositions, so this album wasn't clearly made for me.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#52734)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Elegance Lost in the Past

This is from ELP's 1992 'Black Moon' tour and contains a mix of classic songs from the 70's and from the last studio output 'Black Moon'. 'Karn Evil 9' and 'Tarkus' in a shortened version? Not a good idea! Nobody can understand why the concert is compressed to a single CD - a big minus!

The sound quality is good but the performance is not so dynamic as in the 70's. The mystic ELP moments from the 70's are not coming back. 'Knife edge' lacks of inspiration. The piano solo 'Creole Dance' shows Emerson at his height. The new songs 'Paper blood' and 'Black moon' are working good. I consider also 'Pirates' and 'Finale' as some of the better tracks.

So my summary is: unfortunately not enough to be essential.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#94630)
Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ELP are back with the curse on their backs. The curse so typical for all reunions: if you change the sound, everybody will say that it isn't good, and if you keep the old sound people will say that you're stuck in the past. Well, they've changed the sound and it sounds crap. Instead of Hammond tapestries we have brass ensembles and string pads, instead of Moog solos we have digital buzzing hollow sounds.

Concert opens with "Karn Evil 9", where I faced two disappointments: years of smoking took their toll on Greg's voice, and whole "Karn Evil 9" is less than two minutes long. Opening trick, really, nothing else. "Tarkus" is somewhat better (Keith utilises old Hammond in it's full glorious raw sound) but the problem is that this is just an nine-minute excerpt, neither here nor there. The following track, "Knife Edge" is got a nice atmosphere, darkish, as it should be, although wrapped in that digital-sounding package. Actually, this is almost the only old song that sounds decent played on digital equipment. Paper Blood was the new song, surprisingly, played mostly on overdriven organ. Nice mainstream rock tune, but nothing to die for. ELP couldn't resist to adopt some classical piece in their catalogue every here and there, and this concert is no exception: Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" is included, originally from their "Black Moon" album. Nice performance, in fact the first song that showed some passion. Keith's piano solo improvisation is a logical follower, and "Creole Dance" is cute, dynamic and complex. But again, the sound is awful. Too clear, clean, crystal with some unnecessary string pads here and there. Two most known Greg's acoustic ballads also faced dramatic changes in sound. "Lucky Man" is just awful beyond description, but "Still...You Turn Me on" is nice, Greg's voice is accompanied only with acoustic guitar which sounds lovely (almost like a harpsichord). For the first time in history, guys decided to keep it simple.

After the acoustic intermezzo, the band is back with the "Black Moon", and it sounds good. Probably because it's fresh and it was recorded with digital equipment similar to their stage setup. On the other hands "Pirates" are just boring and uninspiring. The "Finale" is worth mentioning because medley contains extended version of "Fanfare For The Common Man" (I was always wondering what it would be like after the fade-out of the studio version), a brief but nice piece of THE NICE's "America", and the "Rondo" with Hammond organ being raped...

At the end of the day, this is a nice try but overall rating is not so high. My biggest complaint is about the sound in general. I am not fan of digital, but with the digital equipment nice work could be done. This is not the case. Songs sound artificial and hollow. Drums are annoying all the time (their sound and Palmer's performance too). Please note that this is only the case of the old songs in their modern incarnation, new songs sounds quite well. However, this concert contains few highlights, but overall sound, choice of the songs and their length prevent me for rating this CD with more than 3 stars. There are better ELP concerts around, both old and new.

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#95972)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A band presentation which reminds us the good days of "Welcome Back My Friends..." to start and make some illusion...The whole lasts for less than two minutes which is totally insane. To reduce the great "Karn Evil" to a mere ninety seconds is the type of crime I cannot forgive. The great "Tarkus" is also limited to less than ten minutes, which is more acceptable but still.... Another step in time with an excellent version of "Knife Edge" (available on their debut album).

It twas the supporting tour for "Black Moon" (rather poor to say the least) so three songs from this album are included. Still, they could have chosen to play the best one of it ("Changing States"). Instead, we have to bear songs like "Paper Blood", and "Black Moon". The only one to be bearable during this live album is Keith's interpretation of a Prokofiev work : "Romeo & Juliet". It is played a little harder than on the studio album, but I prefer this version.

To highlight Keith's ability (which can't be ignored anyway), we'll get a crazy and wild piano solo. Not better nor worse than on other live albums. To avoid jealousy, the next two songs will please Gregg's fans except that his voice is extremely weak (especially during "Still..."). Both studio versions for "Still..." and "Lucky Man" are WAY better than here. But apparently, the crowd is less critical than I am and are more cheerful. Things get better though during "Lucky Man".

"Pirates" was probably one of the most interesting pieces of music of the whole "Works" albums. One of the best three moments on this live album. I also prefer this version of "Fanfare" (forteen long minutes) even if it is included in a medley including a funny moment during which ELP get into "America". But I am not really sure that the fans were expecting this even if it will only be for a few seconds. The finale of this medley is an explosion of keys and drumming. A bit irritating maybe...But that's how we like with ELP, so...

As far as I am concerned, the only live reference for ELP so far is their remarkable "Welcome Back My Friends". Do not bother with this one. You will only be disappointed. Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#130711)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars To start, this is a live album from ELP's comeback tour in the early 90's. It was recorded at Royal Albert Hall, and had some changes to the ELP structure. I'll state the obvious.

1. Greg Lake's voice HAS changed. Its lower now than in the 70's. Some people dont like it, but I really think it ads to certain songs like Lucky Man.

2. Keith Emerson has added a ton of new keyboards to his collection. He still has the moog and hammond, but he doesnt use them often, and usually uses his new Korg piano/synth, which starts to sound the same after awhile.

3. For some reaon, Carl Palmer uses electronic drums on this album, and only this album, and I have no idea why, as they dont exactly do him justice.

Ok, now to review the album.

It starts out with a VERY short version of Karn Evil 9, just the welcome back my friends etc....which is nothing special here. But the guys then launch directly into Tarkus, which sounds great. It sounds new and fresh with Keith's new synths, and sounds really good here. After Tarkus, comes Knife Edge. While a good track, Keith swaps out his hammond for his synths, which doesnt exactly do anything for the song. I miss the powerful hammond on Knife Edge. Following Knife Edge is Paper Blood. The first track of their new album Black Moon. Its a solid rocker and features a harmonica solo by Greg and several blistering solos from Keith. Then comes Romeo and Juliet, again off of Black Moon. Its an instrumental peice based on Prokofiev's ballet of the same name. It tends to get tedious, but Carl's drum work is pretty cool, and Keith does spout off a solo at the end thats also very cool. Next comes the 'solo' section of the album. Keith and Greg each take a solo peice. Keith does Creole Dance, a so so piano solo. Greg follows up with Still...You Turn Me On, which in my opinion, really benefits from his deeper voice. The band comes back together for a really good rendition of Lucky Man featuring the famous moog solo at the end. To follow this up, the band plays Black Moon, the title track from their new album. It's definatly a return to form for the guys as its a classic ELP track with some great keyboard sections by Keith, and features some pretty good lyrics from Greg. Now they step it up a notch with Pirates. This song greatly bennefits from Keith's new array of synths. Now is where things are weird. On the dvd, Pirates was followed by a stunning version of Pictures at an Exhibition, but its absent on the cd. This is a shame really, as the updated version of Pictures is just awe inspiring, showing the true talent of ELP, and it featured Carl's drum solo, which is not on the cd, aslo a pity. To close the disk out is the epic track Fanfare For The Common Man/America/Rondo. This is the shining star of the entire cd. Fanfare is amazing, better than the original, America is fun and Rondo just blows away anyone who listens to it. It's just emiting raw energy that makes it alot of fun to listen to.

Ok, final verdict. I have to give it four stars. The cd is really good, features some amazing musicianship, but there are several things that harm the final product. 1. Keith's synths. While he updated most of his rig, I really miss the hard, edgy sound of the hammond organ. 2. Lack of Pictures/CP's drum solo. Both are amazing, and should have been included. My only guess as why they werent, as it would have gone over the time limit for one disc, pushing it onto 2, when it really doesnt need to be.

So, 4 stars for Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Send comments to Tarkus31 (BETA) | Report this review (#139055)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars With now many years of progressive rock experience, and classic albums behind them, Emerson, Lake and Palmer began to deviate from the traditional epic and grandiose style of progressive compositions. Instead, they exercise a simpler, often blander, type of "pop prog", and were, agreeably, one of the earliest prog rock giants to sell out. With Works, Love Beach, Palmer's decision to depart, whose actions' consequences were a string of ELPowell releases, Palmer's inevitable return, and the disappointing come-back effort Black Moon: ELP have officially, unofficially, personally, universally, and with every other adverb thinkable, have become one of the most hated names in progressive music. Will this live album mark their return to a former glory?

No.

However, it is a half decent effort, which is worth much more attention than some of their other recent live efforts. The concert's setlist, to begin, is missing much material from these commercial or later, if you will, albums. It is full of the epics and the classics that made them famous and important: an hefty excerpt from Tarkus, being the most prominent. However, even during these older, more musical songs, the sound quality is questionable, and the sound of the instruments and quality of the concert itself is dreadful. Carl's electronic drums are atrocious, Keith's washed-out keyboards do not make up for it, and Greg has hit us with a double kill: his voice has left him, and his bass is synthetic and unwholesome.

It is probably a safe bet to say that this release may not even please most ELP die hards, and is very unsatisfactory as both a live album and a symphonic album. If you were to heed me, you would steer clear of this release until you've run out of things to buy and have money to burn.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#140388)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Live at the Royal Albert Hall, as the title suggests, was recorded at that venue in October 1992 during ELP's Black Moon reunion tour. Clearly because this wasn't recorded during the group's peak period, but rather during their ill-fated 1990s reunion which showed us such enjoyable doorstops like Black Moon and In the Hot Seat, one should be a bit cautious about buying this. But really, it's not all that bad. So if you can get it for a bargain, go for it. Otherwise, never pay full price for this baby.

The main reason I say that is because ELP sounds much like the other prog greats from the 1970s as they dragged their way through the 1980s and 1990s as distant shadows of their former selves. First you have Emerson chiming in with the newest synths of the day (of which 1992 wasn't a banner year), Palmer incorporating the mind-numbing electronic drums of the period, and Lake with an ever-aging but competent voice. Another major reason for not scrambling for this album is the selection of modern Black Moon tracks interspersed with selections of former great epics. Tarkus is only three of its original sections, scaled back to 9:26, Karn Evil 9 only makes a 1:50 introductory appearance, and a Finale which is an enjoyable, but shortened medley.

All the songs on this are performed admirably, but it seems like listening to a band that has lost its edge, a band that is just going through the motions. Eventually the egos and different opinions of the band members would tear ELP apart in a few years. At least they left something worth buying, even if only for the fans.

This is definitely not the first album to get from ELP, studio or live. Please start with anything from their pre-Works era. If you like that enough, this one should at least be on your list of possible future purchases, but only if it's a bargain. Three stars. Good, but hardly essential.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#185248)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Welcome back my friends...but don´t expect it to be quite the same Documenting the early 90´s ELP reunion, that live CD left me thinking that it could have been better. Or maybe not. The song selection will always be questionable, since they have enough good stuf to fill various CDs (In fact, they have four very good studio albums and then some decent material here and there). So we have here gems like the Tarkus shortened medley, Creole Dance, Still...you turn me on, mixed with the controversial Pirates (Maybe a proof that long songs are not necesarily that good?), an interesting version of Romeo and Juliet, the hit Lucky man (Hardly one of their best), a couple of songs from their (then) new album, which are OK but far from matching the old stuff, as well as the dispensable Medley at the end. But the songs are not the main problem. The low aspects of the album for me are sound and performance. Let´s see: Emerson. Suddenly, he´s not half the keyboard player he used to be. His playing is uninspired and dirty, and he uses many (then) new tones that don´t really work. Just compare the version of Creole dance to the original. Lake. His voice was clearly eroded by time´s rivers to the shape it then possessed. But then, he remains a good singer, even if his voice is not the same. His bass tone lacks some of the edge and power of the good old days, and the performance is correct, no more than that. Palmer. He keeps on using those awful electronic drums that really bother me most of the time. His playing is surely below his own standards and tempo problems show up in some parts (well, keeping the tempo was never Palmer´s specialty, anyway). Not really a bad one, but shows that they couldn´t do it on stage anymore (As they used to, at least) Somewhere between two and three stars.

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Send comments to ignatiusrielly (BETA) | Report this review (#189132)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I saw ELP in the tour that was registered in the "Now" pat of the "Then & Now" album. It was one of the great emotional moments of my life. And even that the RAH live album was recorded pror to this tour it sounds to my ears less vibrant and musically good than the later live record.

I agree about Palmer's drumming in this album, it's very mechanical and unimpressive. And we all know that Palmer is the only flash of light that burned in this group's late years, so this commentary it's a pretty bad advertisement ro RAH live.

Emerson is a shadow of his glory days. Lake's voice was gone (although in a better way than Steve Walsh's). Palmer is uninspired. So this is a bad live album if you want to know what ELP are capable live. Ah, I can't forget to mention that AWFUL synth sound from Keith's keys, it's so annoying.

The only thing that gave this album two stars is the final couple of tracks. A rare "Pirates" (but ith a less than fantastic drum work) and the usual "Fanfare" mixed with Nice's instrumentals.

BTW if you listen to Carl Palmer's "Live in Europe" you'll notice that he's truly the last of the great prog musicians. In a defying enviroment and as a leader he really resembles that young boy behind the drum kit in the PaaE video.

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Send comments to moodyxadi (BETA) | Report this review (#240039)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This recording is better than I would have expected, considering the lack of quality on the album this tour was supporting (Black Moon). Lakes voice sounds much less adenoidal than on the studio album. And luckily, they stick mostly to playing old material. In fact, the band only plays two songs from the new album (Black Moon and Paper Blood), both of which come off better here than on the studio versions, but neither are memorable.

The shortened version of Tarkus is okay,, but not great. Romeo & Juliet and Creole Dance are both pretty good. And Emerson's simulation of a full orchestra on this version of Pirates is just astounding. I believe this is the best recording of that song I've heard.

And the Finale medley is worth having just to hear the results of a very long Hammond torture session (anyone who has seen an ELP concert knows of what I speak).

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#242295)
Posted Thursday, October 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Short changed.

That's my two words about this live album. Released after one of their worst albums ever, their visit to Royal Albert Hall did not live up to the ELP name. The material is also way short of the standard set by Welcome Back My Friends and Live at Isle of Wight. This is just a shadow of a band who once was.

The criminal short Karn 9 and Tarkus makes me run over to my copy of Welcome Back My Friends where the real value versions can be found. People paid money to hear this in Royal Albert Hall ? Gosh ! Knife Edge is OK. The sound is typical 1990s and sterile. Not good. Paper Blood is not good and showcases Greg Lake's bluesy voice. A voice not suitable for ELP. I can understand why we are now short changed with some light weight material like Still....., Lucky Man and the utterly horrible Black Moon. Inbetween, we get to hear the new toys (modern keyboards) from Keith Emerson on Creole Dance and Romeo & Juliet. The rather good Pirates and the not so impressive Fanfare For The Common Man ends the ELP set before we get two songs from The Nice in the form of America and Rondo.

Short changed ? Very much so ! Two very short tasters from their first four albums (Pictures.... Exhibition included) and the rest is at best fillers. Just occasionaly, we see the real ELP. This is probably as bad as it can get from ELP. Oh, I better give Love Beach a spin then.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#258262)
Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
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Symphonic Team
3 stars Live ELP at the Royal Albert Hall show the band still had something special to offer to the fans.

As an ELP addict who has everything they committed to studio, I found this irresistible as its been quite some time since I have heard anything new from the band, even live material. So it was with great eagerness and a real sense of adventure that I placed this CD on my player to be blown away by the kings of pompous prog. I had been suffering from withdrawal symptoms from a total abstinence of new ELP so I was delighted to hear this great live album rereleased in 1996.

It begins with the incredible 'Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2)' which only runs for a pitiful 1:45 duration sadly. Oh well onto the epic. Oh thankyou ELP for listening to your fans! Yes we all love to take the Tarkus test and so to hear a new live version is a mindblowing experience. It only runs for 9:33 but any Tarkus is good Tarkus. The band sound awesome and clearly the crowd are going nuts during this. Emerson is a genius as usual and I love Lake's vocal treatment here with Palmer's killer drum metrical patterns. I felt better after my Tarkus fix.

Onto 'Knife Edge', a bonafide classic in any century. Those massive staccato stabs on the organ are pure bliss. The new 'Paper Blood' is pleasant and this is followed by 'Romeo & Juliet {Prokofiev, arranged by Emerson}' not a track I am overly familiar with, but the newer stuff is still great to listen to. 'Creole Dance {Emerson, based on Alberto Ginastera's Suite de Danzes Cirallas}' follows which is a showcase for Emerson's keyboard prowess. This is followed by the customary Lake Ballads 'Still... You Turn Me On' and the quintessential 'Lucky Man' that I have heard too may times for my health. I loved the 'Black Moon' live treatment and this was followed by a surprise rendition of 'Pirates'; a 13:23 epic that is perhaps better than the 'Works' Version; at least it is heavier and more passionate.

Having ignored as a strategic move the albums "Love Beach" and "In The Hot Seat", that both stunk like yesterday's diapers, the band prepare to embark on the finale.

The 'Finale (Medley)' clocking in at 14:41 ends the concert beautifully with a medley of 'Fanfare For The Common Man', the Aaron Copland classic that introduced me to ELP, and 'America', the Leonard Berstein treasure that was covered brilliantly by The Nice. Finally The Nice's 'Rondo' written by Brubeck is blasted out. Overall I finished this album knowing I had once again encountered the untouchable masters of Symphonic pomp prog, and that can never be a bad thing. Grab this simply to relive the greatness of the super trio that transformed music.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#291963)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
4 stars "You've got to see this show, it's Rock 'n' Roll!"

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 in the interim). 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.

The show begins with an unusually brief snippet of Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part 2) that clocks in at under two minutes (which is quite a reduction having in mind that the original version is around 30 minutes long). Tarkus too is reduced to less than half its original running time and there is some noisy parts towards the end of it that I learned from the video version of this concert recording is caused by Keith running around the stage and even into the audience with one of his electronic gadgets. This was somehow lost on me on this CD version. This then leads straight into a rocking version of Knife Edge with which the show really takes off.

The show then continues with Paper Blood on which Greg plays the harmonica. Apart from Paper Blood, two further selections from the Black Moon album are present here in Romeo And Juliet (based on original music by Prokiev) and the title track (the latter is only included on this CD and not on the video version of Live At The Royal Albert Hall). Both of these are very good and I wouldn't have minded hearing further songs from the underrated Black Moon album live.

Creole Dance is a rapid piano number showcasing Keith's incredible skills on that instrument. Greg gets to shine on his trademark Lucky Man and Still... You Turn Me On. (The latter is another song that is only included here and not on the video version. Songs that were on the video but that are absent from the CD include From The Beginning, Pictures At An Exhibition, and Honky Tonk Train Blues.)

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.

Overall a very good live record, though the video version is even better in my view.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1151353)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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