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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Here we got a powerful album. It has ups and downs, but when you listen it all together you find that special thing that had the band in live concerts: hard and soft prog rock...all that you need in one album. "The barbarian": awesome!
Report this review (#18906)
Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The cameras only started rolling when Murray heard the crowd getting into it, was too late. There is no footage of the complete ELP Live At Isle Of Wight unfortunately.

The CD is good, getting to hear their second performance as a band (and it shows with a few slip ups, but hey..).

If you like ELP, this is a must! The Barbarian is nice and raw.

Report this review (#40007)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have this CD only for a while and has different cover, but doesn't matter. This is ELP at the beginnig and in the BEST condition.

Great The barbarian, nice Take a peblle, strong Rondo and Nutrocker... this album is unique with their first version of Pictures at an exhibition. This version is slightly different from album of the same name, but it is really an overhelming performance.

Strong, raw, rare. What more can I say? For every prog fans and for ELP fans - a must have. And it is a piece of musical history!

Report this review (#99022)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars As Keith will confirm in the interview available at the end of these Wight tracks, it was their SECOND show. Actually, six days earlier, ELP appeared in Plymouth (Guildhall). Lake even recalls that they were paid 500 !

Lake tells us that the band did not had a long time to rehearse. Four to six weeks in total and there you go for the Isle Of Wight music festival ! They were not particularly stressed since they were already experienced musicians.

Palmer recalls that they played around 3:30 PM (they were far from the top of the bill). Actually, they were the third band to go on stage. After "Spirit" : you know the ones who were at the origin of "Stairway To Heaven" and ... Mungo Jerry ! The rest of the day will look rather appealing : John Sebastian, Free, Sly & The Family Stones, The Who, Joni Mitchell and Ther Doors. Rather impressive, I must say.

They were already in the recording sessions from their album and several tracks were already under construction. "Barbarian" and "Take A Pebble" are two of them. Although "Barbarian" still need to be polished, this version of "Take A Pebble" is pretty well acomplished.

According to Plamer, they decided to play the suite "Pictures At An Exhibition" because Emerson already was interested in this work during "The Nice" period. They had already rehearsed it quite extensively but did not consider to play it live because of its complexity. I guess that since they did not have a lot of numbers to chose from, this very long number (over thirty-five minutes) was the central part of this live set.

Emerson had the idea of bying two antique canons and to use them to punctuate PAAE at the Isle Of Whight. He still needed to test them out. He did pick-up London Heathrow to do so ! Just before showtime, he asked one roddie to double the charge. So the explosion WAS huge.

"Rondo" is a bit noisy, with no real structure. It sounds a bit as a jam. It was the last number of this short set. As an encore, they will play "Nutrocker" which will be later on be included as the finale of "PAAE". I have always loved this song. Great track.

From this show, John Peel, a popular BBC music journalist called ELP's performance at the Isle of Wight, "a tragic waste of time, talent and electricity."

I do not agree with him. I strongly believe that this live performance is precursory of their legendary live sets. To have reached such a complicity in a so short period of time is quite remarkable. This is a piece of prog music history. Therefore, I add one star to the deserved three stars rating.

Report this review (#120040)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I watched the DVD of Pain of Salvation BE live where I knew that the performance was made a year before the concept album BE was released, my memory reminded to ELP's "Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 1970". The two are not similar in style but the two have made similar thing: doing a concert without yet releasing the songs being played during the show. In this concert ELP performed what (in the next months) would be coming out in the next studio album of ELP. So, the crowd who attended the festival was not aware about ELP's music by the time they saw the show. The show itself was a quite theatrical in nature with the dynamic stage acts of Keith Emerson. The festival was held for icons of 70s music like Jim Morison and The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Who.

Knowing such background one should not expect good recording quality of this CD. But for me, that's okay. The recording technology at the time was quite primitive in a sense of providing the best for prog music like ELP.

As far as live concert concern, I would say that songs which were performed by the band during the show were really good especially with improvisations on Keith Emerson Hammond as well as Carl Palmer's dynamic drumming that really colored the show. At the end of the CD there is a discussion about the festival.

As this is a very important stepping stone for one of prog rock legendary bands on planet earth, I would suggest you to own the CD even though the CD sonic quality is not quite good. Well, you might consider it as a documentary album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#121054)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars ELP from the beginning

It is of course now a matter of prog history that ELP played their first gig together at the Isle of Wight festival. OK, so the pedants among us may point out that they actually played a warm up gig prior to that, but in the true spirit of overblown pomposity which goes with the band, let's allow history on this occasion to be bent slightly in favour of folklore.

At the time, the band did not have their extensive catalogue to select from, so there's no "Karn evil 9" here for example. Indeed the focal point of this album is a full rendition of "Pictures at an exhibition", a piece which would later be released in live format as an official album. The recording used for that album came from a gig in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK; this version thus predating it.

The relative shortage of rehearsed material is evidenced by the inclusion of a piece by The Nice and a cover of the 1960's single "Nutrocker" which is itself a classical interpretation. There are a couple of early versions of tracks which would appear on the first album, but clearly that album was still in development at the time.

All that said, the quality of both the sound and the performance here are remarkably good. There is a raw energy to pieces such as the opening "Barbarian" which would stay with the band for a few years at least. "Take a pebble" is the only other song which would appear on an ELP studio album. As with "The Barbarian", this version is pretty much the finished article, the smoother tones of the song offering the audience the chance to chill.

The rendition of "Pictures.." is also pretty much as it appeared on the live album of that name, and thus represents an astonishingly ambitious work for such an early point in the band's career. The early synth sounds may now come across as dated, but at the time they would have been highly original and somewhat exciting. The track concludes with the now legendary cannon fire, which (allegedly) destroyed half of the Isle of Wight.

The version of "Rondo" is heavily abbreviated, while "Nutrocker" is allowed to run on a bit longer. In order to pad out the CD, a six minute interview is included, with the band looking back from more recent times.

Quite what the audience would have made of ELP is a matter for speculation. Bear in mind that this recording is taken from a music festival which featured a diverse range of artists. ELP's blend of the classics, improvisations and progressive rock may have gone down well with those who were familiar with combos such as The Nice, but others must have been mystified by what they witnessed.

The main attraction with this album is that it serves as a historical document. The music is contains has been performed many times since and better live recordings of everything here are available. This is though where it all began for ELP, it is akin to witnessing the birth of a new planet.

Report this review (#176334)
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A storm is brewing............

In only their second live performance overall and with some rough versions of future classics, this live album is very refreshing and honest. It is also an impressive album, taking into account what happened next. The Barbarian is very rough and not the finished article. Take A Pebble is very good (this being one of my favorite ELP tracks), Picture Of An Exhibition is played in an unfinished state, Rondo is good and the same goes for Nutrocker. The bonus is the six minutes long retrospective interview with the band.

ELP does a very impressive live performance, this being only their second gig. The sound is good and gives a good live vibe. Thankfully; the remastering has not killed this feeling of being there during the concert. A band, in their only second live performance and with only six weeks of rehearsal is not meant to be this good ! That speaks volumes about Emerson, Lake and Palmer as musicians. This album is not as good as their masterpiece live album Welcome Back....., but it is still very good. Unless you are an ELP fan, it is not an essential live album. Check it out.

3 stars from me to this mainstay in my CD player.

Report this review (#186701)
Posted Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a very good live album in the early phase of ELP's career. It is better seen than heard but overall the raw quality is captured well featuring some of the most amazing performances of the group. The Barbarian is certainly a wonderful rendition from the debut, Take A Pebble is one of my favourites from the group and this version is stuning running for about 12 minutes. Of course the main event is the multi movement suite of Pictures At An Exhibition clocking about 35 minutes. This is followed after the cannons boom almost blowing up the stage, with encore pieces Rondo and Nutrocker, crowd pleasers these days but it was all new to the crowd back in the 70s.

Once again I recommend the DVD over the CD but it is still a wonderful concert that has since become infamous and created a hyped interest in this new insanely brilliant super group.

Report this review (#399507)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars I guess you had to be there: I am sad that this didn't remain a bootleg, as it kind of tarnishes my image of what this show actually sounded like. In the myth, they "went down a storm", and supposedly invented themselves as a supergroup at this concert. But the myth is just that: myth. I realize it has a historic component for the fans, but the sound is terrible, the moog is (mostly) out of tune, cues are missed, "Pictures" is atrocious, and the over-all feel is unimpressive. I give them credit for soldiering on in a professional fashion, but sadly, that is the best I can do.
Report this review (#786228)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Bit of a problem this DVD as it only features about 10 minutes of live footage (the BEEB turned off the camera's after that) so what should have been an interesting document of an historic event (the birth of the greatest prog rock supergroup) is somewhat tarnished. If you can pick this up for a fiver and you are a completionist (and massive ELP fan) then its worth having but otherwise best avoided. Instead you should get the deluxe edition of Pictures At An Exhibition which has a cleaned up version of the Isle Of Wight performance and other goodies. About 1.5 stars rounded up as I'm a fan.
Report this review (#786354)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review N 200

'Live At The lsle Of Wight Festival 1970' is the seventh live album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and was released in 1998. The line up on the album is Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Karl Palmer, as usual.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer was the first super group in the prog rock history. Few groups can look back to a single point in time where they leapt from relative obscurity to fame, announcing the arrival of a new and utterly distinctive sound. Keyboardist Emerson had attracted attention for his staggering technique and theatrical pyrotechnics in the group The Nice. Bassist and vocalist Lake found himself the centre of acclaim with King Crimson's 'In The Court Of the Crimson King'. Palmer had brushed success as drummer with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and with Atomic Rooster.

It was in the beginning of their career they were invited to participate in the Isle Of Wight Festival that would become known as the English Woodstock. It lasted five days. Beyond Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also took part on it, names such as Chicago, Procol Harum, The Doors, The Who, Ten Years After, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Moody Blues, and Jethro Tull. Despite it has been recorded in 1970 it was only released twenty eight years later, in 1998. Their debut studio album was also released in the same year but only few months later.

The Festival was almost the beginning of their life because it was only their second live show. They appeared six days earlier in Plymouth. The band hadn't yet released any studio album and they didn't have an extensive catalogue to select for the show. So, nothing could have prepared them for the response for their first live performances. With this release of 1998, fans of the band can finally listening and see, if you bought the DVD, the short sets significance.That festival also marked the last UK appearance of Jimi Hendrix. It seemed that he was tired of his band and wanting to try different ideas and have expressed interest in playing with them. For conflicts in schedules of the musicians that wasn't possible, but the plan was to unite Hendrix with the group, later. Unfortunately, three weeks later he was dead. That fact put a definitive end to the hypothesis of Jimi joined the group and become Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (HELP).

Emerson, Lake & Palmer played on Saturday night, between Ten Years After and The Doors. The band opened the show with 'The Barbarian' without wasting a second and rolling through the notes like a steamroller over the audience in an onslaught of distorted bass notes, furious keyboards and scattered drums like roaches in the light, showing this new massive sound. 'Take A Pebble' with the ballad tone of Lake's voice captivates as the song gently walks through the first two and a half minutes before Emerson takes the reign and gives a solid piano solo to a shuffling Palmer drum chant and the bass adds the inflections of root notes. It includes a gorgeous jazz piano melody in the middle. 'Pictures At An Exhibition' is a half-hour long interpretation of Mussorgsky's masterpiece. All prog's recipe is superbly executed here without a fail. The Moog, which was relatively new and revolutionary at the time, several passages between synthesizer and acoustic guitar, making this the pleasure of a dreamy prog of a piece to listen to. The piece is broken in several sections but I prefer to look at it as a single composition. There are no blister solos here but rather a display of masterful flair and precision with a few flubs in a couple of songs but this live version is actually close to the Newcastle performance and just how amazing is it. 'Rondo', an original piece of The Nice, rises from the ashes of what's left from the last presentation, is another onslaught of Moog freak out sounds and a drum solo in spots from Palmer which wasn't his best. It's rather sloppy and shoddy when compared with others on, in their career. 'Nutrocker' completes their set and which was often a encore during their earlier shows to somewhat calm the audience down and relax them from the massive wall of sound they had just tumbled over on to the ears of the people who was watching and listening.

Conclusion: John Peel, a popular BBC music journalist called ELP's performance at the Isle of Wight, 'a tragic waste of time, talent and electricity'. I disagree. I believe this live performance is precursory of their legendary live sets. It's clear when we are listening to the show that the band played with blunt force and deafening volume. The band's Isle of Wight performance displayed the trio in full flight, defined by Palmer's intricate drum work, Lake's sturdy bass and Emerson's wizardry on the Hammond organ, piano and Moog synthesizer. The show circulated for years as a bootleg form and was officially finally released in 1998 as 'Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival'. It's true that the music contained on it has been performed many other times, recorded and released much better on others live sets and the sound isn't as good as it should be, we can here constantly on the recording a persistent and annoying electric noise. However, this is a very important historical document that represents the birth of a great historical group. It's also an important historical live document of that era and particularly it represents an important part of that mythic musical festival too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2021995)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2018 | Review Permalink

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