Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson

Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars The Moscow album sounds much better than the studio album from the same year (2008). Both Emerson and Bonilla are both fantastic on stage. Bonilla replaces Greg Lake's absence with great ease. Tony Pia's drumming is more than adequate. The only victim of the live final mix is Travis Davis: his bass is not very audible, especially when compared to the studio album.

The show's highlights are: 1) Third movement from Emerson's piano concerto; 2) Bitches Crystal; 3) The Barbarian; 4) Tarkus. The other stuff is good enough, but not always exciting as those four big tracks.

Bonilla's guitar work is effortless - makes you wonder how did Emerson put up with Lake's miserable guitar abilites all these years. Also, Bonilla's voice is superior to Lake's current old voice. So the audience really benefits from his frontman qualities.

Emerson's fingers are a bit sloppy here and there, but overall he has almost returned to form (he had terrible problems with his hands all thorugh the 90's). His solos are cool enough to maintain interest, and Bonilla's help is priceless: his chordwork enables Emerson to focus on his right hand, while his solos and melodical lines are complementary to Emo's attack.

If you get the DVD, you'll see Emerson fiddling the giant moog behind him. In any other aspect, the CD version is better. I suspect a few studio edits in some places, but most of the time the sound is wild and authentic.

In short: The Keith Emerson Band sounds just a good, and sometimes better than the mighty ELP. This quartet is a prog dream come true.

Report this review (#434003)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a great live album. The performances are some of the best I've heard from Keith Emerson in years. But there are flaws. The first I presume is evident on all versions of this album. The recording, which sounds like it came from a mixing board, distorts at many times.

The other problem, which occurs on the Varese Sarabande release that I have, is that whoever mastered the CD is a moron. Anyone who has ever burned music to a CD with all but the cheapest software has seen the setting to either put a gap between each track, or have them run directly from one track to the next.

Well guys? This is a live album, having the crowd noise stop for two seconds between each track is annoying, and inexcusable. And on disk 1, tracks 7 through 12 are a suite, where each track is a piece of the one song. The gaps here are more than annoying, they ruin the flow of the song.

Luckily, I can rip the CD, and re-burn the tracks properly. But I shouldn't have to.

That out of the way, Emerson has come all the way back from his well known medical issues, and brings everything to this concert. Sure, some of the passages are a bit slower than we remember, but his solos are as fierce as ever. Marc Bonilla, with whom Emerson has been playing for years now, is a technically better guitarist than Greg Ocean (he's too big to be a Lake now), although not as subtle. But Bonilla has a talent of knowing just what to keep from Lake's versions of the songs. And the additional guitar in the songs adds some awesome heaviness while at the same time allowing Emerson to break loose on the keys.

The songs that benefit the most are the Piano Concerto (3rd Movement), that sounds less classical, and more metal here, and The Barbarian, which become much more barbaric. And Lucky Man has been rearranged without losing the soul of the song. I just which they would include their new version of Living Sin.

The Miles Away suite from the Emerson/Bonilla studio album, despite the gaps, is much more energized here, and the 35 minute Tarkus is luscious.

Report this review (#550427)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Finale

Here we have the great Keith Emerson performing live with "The Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla" in Moscow some years ago. Hearing it now it is incredible that Emerson has lost none of his energy over the years. Indeed, this live concert rocks more than Emerson Lake & Palmer ever did! As I noted in my review of Greg Lake's similarly excellent 2006 live concert DVD (simply called Greg Lake Live), the addition of electric guitar to classic ELP songs is a real winner. ELP was a great band in their own right, but I have always felt that the trio format was somewhat limiting. It is an interesting fact that both Emerson and Lake decided to add more guitar to the ELP songs in their respective solo bands' repertoires - in both cases to great effect, I would say! (And, of course, Palmer plays with Steve Howe in Asia.) Here it is Marc Bonilla who sings lead vocals and plays electric guitar while leaving bass guitar duties to Travis Davis. The drummer is Tony Pia. Together they make up a really tight unit and the performances are very good.

The set list consists mainly of material that Emerson performed previously with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer, including a piece of Karn Evil 9, Bitches Crystal, The Barbarian, and a 35 minute version of Tarkus. From the Emerson Lake & Powell album comes Touch And Go, (a song also performed by Lake's solo band). There are here also several tracks from the 2008 studio album credited to The Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla. That was a good album, and these new songs hold up rather well among the classics.

Bonilla's voice is very similar to that of Greg Lake and he sings the songs originally sung by Lake very well indeed. Lucky Man, though, is so much Greg's own personal song that I feel it was unwise to include it here. Still, they manage to pull off a strong rendition of that classic song. Overall, this is an excellent live record that I would warmly recommend. It is a very nice companion to the aforementioned Greg Lake Live DVD.

Any fan of ELP or of keyboard-driven Symphonic Prog in general is not going to be disappointed by Moscow!

Report this review (#1148866)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

KEITH EMERSON Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of KEITH EMERSON Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.