Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Live At Nassau Coliseum '78 CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
3 stars As a fan I was quite excited when it announced they were releasing this all singing dancing remastered 2 cd version of the last real classic ELP gig. By this time ELP were close to pipe and slippers mode with their best days behind them. Coming off the back of the very expensive orchestral tour they needed to recoup their financial losses and so toured late 77 and early 78 just as a 3 peice.

This is bags of fun with still pleny of the edge that made them such a great live band. Starts off with a blazing version of Hoedown and then quickly into Tarkus. This version cuts out some of the orginal sections but extends the Aquartarkus much like then Welcome Back My Friends. This is ELP at their very best. Emersons soloing still brings out goosebumps while Lake and Palmer are as tight as is possible to be. Sheer magic.

Then next four songs represent the acoustic section of the gig bookended by Take A Pebble and sandwiched in between we have Piano Concerto No 1 movement 1 featuring some nice xylophone work from Palmer.Very good.Disc One ends with the shorter version of Pictures At An Exhibition not too dissimilar to that on the Works Live album but no orchestra obviously. The synths owe much to Tomita and helps create a nice atmosphere. Lake's vocals are the feature point of this version. Hard to imagine it without him. The instrumental sections carry loads of energy with each and every one playing as if their life depends on it.

Disc Two concentrates more on the Works stuff opening with Tiger In Spotlight and continuing with Watching Over You. Not exactly classic stuff has to be said although there is nothing wrong with these particular versions. They then blow off the cobwebs for Tank although this is only a short version to lead into Palmers drum solo before going into The Enemy God.Palmer gets to flex his not inconsiderable muscles.Then its into an incredibly fast and energetic version of Nutrocker. I love this to bits. ELP rock!!

The set finishes with what is basically the group side of Works Volume One (but in reverse order). Pirates has long been one of my favourite ELP tracks. Its very hard to improve on the exquisite studio version and this doesn't. Thats not to say its a bad version. Played with plenty of energy and gusto.Enjoyable.

The concert finishes (as its done at any ELP gig for the last 30 odd years) with Fanfare For The Common Man.This version is just a mere 11 minutes compared to the 20 minute versions that appeared in later years and perhaps is better for it. Never reckoned this to be one of ELP best tracks but it does have that excellent hook.

Overall the sound quality is excellent and the packaging is very nice. I could rate this at anything between 2 and 4 stars quite easily.It is better than Works Live so if you want a decent live document of ELP during the Works era this is the one to get.

Report this review (#437350)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the Works tour with orchestra which left them in near bankruptcy, ELP toured again as a pure trio to recover some money. While their creativity was already going down as Works II had shown and Love Beach would continue showing later in the same year, their musicianship for playing their older material was still in top form, and this can be considered as the last of ELP's tours under the "prog masters status". I liked the orchestra backup but as a trio they are more raw and you get to appreciate their interpretational skills even more.

To those many who complain about all ELP studio albums having too much weak material, this is a good compilation of many of their best songs (ok we also miss many of them, KE9 to mention just one, but there is only limited space in a double CD). And while the sound quality of this live recording surely does not surpass the studio tracks, it is better than that in Welcome Back My Friends and it compensates by amazing us of how good these guys could play (and sing in Lake's case) and how dense they could sound being just a live trio.

The show starts with a row of classics, an energetic Hoedown, Tarkus and the 2 parts of Take A Pebble sandwitching the 1st movement of Piano Concerto and a short Mapple Leaf Rag. By now you have already a smile from ear to ear and it's just one 3rd the album. Next we have Lake's section with C'Est La Vie and Lucky Man, and then Pictures At An Exhibition in much the same format as in In Concert / Works Live but without the orchestra. Great stuff, they nail it.

Disc 2 starts with the weakest track Tiger In A Spotlight, never enjoyed this one but then it's just 4 min in a double CD. Watching Over You is not one of their best songs either but a decent enough ballad.

Then it comes to Palmer's section with a short and fast introduction of Tank followed by the unavoidable drum solo and The Enemy God.

They then deliver a fast version of Nutrocker and the album ends with the full 4th side of Works I but in reverse order, first the great Pirates in full glory and finally Fanfare For The Common Man with quite a lot of Keith's synth improvisation (I would have prefered that they kept the opposite sequence, as I think Pirates fits more as an ending, but that's not serious).

I know that many will scream at me giving 5 stars to this album but I'm an ELP fan and I think that this one deserves them, for sure with this one you can not complain about having Jeremy Benders, Are You Ready Eddies or Benny The Bouncers.

Report this review (#522506)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The career-ending fiasco of "Love Beach" was yet to come, but in February of 1978 ELP was already a nostalgia act, trotting out the predictable classics in concert and content to rest on their (at the time) still considerable laurels.

This particular gig, recorded in upstate New York while the trio was recovering from the financial debacle of the "Works" orchestral tour, was once a much sought-after bootleg, and after only a minor digital facelift has become a certainly worthwhile official release. The quality improves if you boost the low end of your stereo system (assuming such a relic still exists); the Ripper bass guitar Greg Lake was using then had a trebly echo to begin with, and the sometimes cheesy synthesizer patches favored by Keith Emerson in the post-"Works" era hardly filled out the sound (and did no favors to the music of Sergei Prokofiev: lend an ear to "The Enemy God Dances With the Black Spirits" for proof).

There were some questionable performing decisions: omitting the "Battlefield" chapter from the "Tarkus" suite; eliminating the signature Moog solo from the climax of "Lucky Man"; and, in what might have been a lame attempt by Emerson to maintain his relevance at the end of the 1970s, incorporating more than one blockbuster movie theme into his solos...some Close Encounters here, a little Star Wars there, plus a brief quote from Also Sprach Zarathustra, famously used a decade earlier in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey".

But the good news is that this certainly doesn't sound like a band on the skids, despite their unfortunate practice of always playing much too fast (possibly fallout from Emerson's acknowledged cocaine habit at the time). The often frantic pace kills the natural tempo of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag", to cite just one example, but elsewhere these dinosaurs are a long way from extinction. The abbreviated "Tarkus" is impeccably tight, even with the rinky-dink John Williams soundtrack inserts, and the 11-plus minute encore of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" provides a rousing coda to the show (and, in retrospect, to ELP's golden age as well).

It's true the orchestra is missed, in the Prokofiev number and in particular during "Pirates", which here sounds thin and unconvincing. And let's face it: Greg Lake had a lovely voice but wasn't a great singer, as heard in the lightweight "Tiger in a Spotlight", or when crooning his way through Peter Sinfield's trite libretto for "Pirates", a song I'm always convinced was better suited to an off-Broadway musical or amateur high school pageant.

But, petty criticisms aside, the group performs with surprising confidence and unity, while obviously detached from what must have been an enormous stadium crowd. Note the relaxed banter in between songs, and note too the unabashed enthusiasm of their audience. ELP may have been horribly unfashionable in early 1978, but contrary to critical opinion were hardly unpopular.

And because the CD is more comprehensive (and certainly better sounding) than either the "In Concert" or "Works Live" recordings from the same era, it may well stand as arguably the best representation of the ELP live experience during what had to be a difficult time for prog rockers and their loyal fans. If so, feel free to add another star for historical significance, always necessary when revisiting the waning days of a once influential band.

Report this review (#585739)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars This live release by Emerson Lake & Palmer covers the band's late career output, with an emphasis on their Works releases. I consider this period to the band's lowest point, so had poor expectations for Live At Nassau. However, even if you disagree with me and love these albums, it's unlikely you'll find Live At Nassau to be a go-to live release from the band. The recording quality, set list, production, and even instrumental performances disappoint on most levels.

First off, let's look at the setlist: we get some classic ELP tracks, namely "Tarkus" and "Take a Pebble", and that's about it. The goofball opening track, "Hoedown" doesn't count for much. "Tarkus" is always great, but there isn't as much gusto in this rendition as we've heard in the past. "Take a Pebble" is interrupted by a lengthy and meandering piano concerto, and the silly "Maple Leaf Rag". Afterwards, its basically highlights from Pictures at an Exhibition and Works. To me, this is a problem, because these albums aren't nearly as interesting as the earlier records. The ELP magic sort of falls flat; maybe its the fault of the song itself or maybe the band's performance, but whatever it is, most of this album sounds muddled and bland.

The real foe may be the production. The mid-levels are mixed much too high, leaving Palmer's excellent drumming at the margin, and even keyboards and bass feel lifeless. Lake's guitar during the ballads and quite moments sound very empty. That's how bad this album is: it makes "Lucky Man" sound uninspired!

Live At Nassau ultimately comes across as a subdued and muffled performance by a band known for its raucous attitude and energy. Of course, throwing garbage like "Nutrocker" and "Fanfare" in there doesn't help. Disappointing.

Setlist: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Stage/Energy: 3 - Live Experience: 1

Report this review (#1487661)
Posted Monday, November 16, 2015 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars I like it, I really like it, I really really like it!

Judging from the group's releases during the latter half of the 1970's you might be forgiven for thinking that the band had run out of steam by 1978. But this live album recorded in that year proves beyond doubt that this perception is absolutely dead wrong! Emerson, Lake & Palmer was still a brilliant live act at this point.

The decision to tour and record with a full orchestra during the Works years marred the band both artistically and financially. Greg Lake has said as much in interviews that he wishes they had never done that and that they might have survived longer had they abstained for this. The In Concert album (later reissued as Works Live) was not bad but it paled in comparison with Welcome Back My Friends To the Show That Never Ends. After touring with the orchestra proved to be too expensive, the group reverted back to the trio format and the present release is a product of that tour. Comparing Live At Nassau Coliseum with Works Live it is very clear that Live At Nassau Coliseum is far superior. Indeed, this is the album that should have been released at the time.

The band is on fire here and show no signs at all of having declined since Welcome Back My Friends To the Show That Never Ends. The newer tracks at the time coming from the two Works albums sound much better here than in their original studio versions. This version of Pirates in particular is excellent and I would say the ultimate recording of that piece.

I was really very positively surprised with the quality of this performance and Live At Nassau Coliseum '78 is a terrific live album. It is hard to believe that this was recorded in the same year as Love Beach. Sadly, the band broke up shortly afterwards and did not reform until the 1990's (after projects with Cozy Powell and Robert Berry in the 80's).

Very highly recommended!

Report this review (#1642693)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2016 | Review Permalink

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Live At Nassau Coliseum '78 ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Live At Nassau Coliseum '78

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.