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Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson

Crossover Prog

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Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Ooooh, what a lucky man he was...

I tell of your humble servant and I guess everyone who came that rainy August evening to Dom Kino Theatre in Moscow can tell this of himself too. Ladies were lucky as well. Even the look at the stage before the show promised a lot of pleasures: numerous guitars, grand piano (not adjusted for spinning though), impressive set of keyboards, Theremin and the monster - famous Modular Moog! With the first sounds of ''Karn Evil 9'' and familiar words ''Welcome back, my friends...'' it became clear - this is THAT band! I had no chance to attend ELP concert, but what I saw and heard from KEITH EMERSON BAND was far better than I could imagine. Small venue (about 1 000 seats), perfect sound, Mr. Emerson himself and the band, playing with power and passion.

Marc Bonilla, being before this gig a ''dark horse'' for me, appeared to be a fine guitarist and singer. His solos, always tasteful, but never 'overplaying' Maestro, added new colours to familiar tunes (the version of ''Lucky Man'' is a good example). Marc has higher voice than Greg Lake, but it suits well to ELP music. It seemed Marc and Keith understand each other without words and listening to the interplay between their instruments is a real enjoyment.

Songs from new (then, in August 2008, unreleased) album ''Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla'' left a good impression even in comparison with ELP classics, and made me wish to listen to the whole work as soon as it will be possible. But the biggest surprise was extended, 36-minute long, version of ''Tarkus''. With improvisations, keyboards-guitar duells, Theremin sounds and drum solo it is the culmination of the show that, unfortunately, sooner or later, ends.

It's a pity, pieces like ''Hoedown'', ''From the Beginning'' and ''Fanfare for the Common Man'', performed that night, were not included in this DVD. But even without them two hours of sparkling, enthusiastically played music, well filmed and recorded, make this release an excellent addition to any prog collection. Honestly, it's better than many ELP live records.

Report this review (#376119)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Who needs Greg Lake? Marc Bonilla's dead-ringer performance as singer is the first thing you notice on this great DVD. And then you see how he handles his guitar duties: effortless, smooth and sweet.

This is more than ELP - this is HELP: like the trio was supposed to work, if Hendrix had joined. I'm not saying that Bonilla is on the same league with the late Jimmy. But his guitar contributions here have improved ELP's music by miles.

Although Keith's hands are not as quick and acurrate as they used to be in the glory days, he's still a master. He's got more punch, power and edge than today's keyboad rivals. And although he's not young, he's totally not acting his true age.

You get ELP's greatest hits, including a drummer who has a P in his last name (Tony Pia). Did Emerson do this on purpose? I don't care. Main highlights are "Bitches Crystal", 3rd movement from the old Piano Concerto, super-smoking working of "The Barbarian" - and a huge, long version of "Tarkus".

I've seen ELP on many DVD's, most of them too old to be fun. Most of the ELP DVD's on the market today sound plain bad. Even the new & improved version of the legendary "Pictures in an Exhibition" DVD is not as good as this.

The only musician which doesn't really shine here is Travis Davis on bass. Maybe Keith hates Lake so much, he wants his parts out of the mix, I don't know. But Davis is the only one in the band without any meaningful solo during the gig.

One of the best parts on this DVD is the original MOOG snyth, with its full body on stage. Emerson uses it very nicely, and the sound production is better than ever (you can hear the Oomph and Bang all the day to your speakers). What a joy!

When comparing this DVD to the studio album by the Keith Emerson band (2008), I say ditch the studio album. It sounds too dry and boring.

In short - it was a great gig, there in Moscow. I don't miss Lake anymore, now that we have Bonilla. And the arrangements sound much more powerful, with the electric guitar in full swing. Get this before you die.

Report this review (#615534)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team
5 stars Give to the 60 years old Keith Emerson, some young arms, let him play his keyboards like he can and you will have a great evening of ELP music with new songs from his Kieth Emerson Band, which are quiet good and fits very well with the ELP's material. The role play by Marc Bonilla on guitar and vocals give a heavier sound to the usual ELP's sound. The songs of ELP have been re-arranged and that is quiet refreshing, the songs have more speed and more power with Bonilla's guitar work.

The set list doesn't have any dull moments, even "Lucky Man" is rocking!. And what a way to finish the concert with a 30 minutes of "Tarkus", that contains some improvisations. The sound is clear and powerful in 5.1 surround, a lot better than the ELP 40th anniversary DVD.

Report this review (#933289)
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | Review Permalink

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