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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Masters From The Vaults CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
4 stars One of my 'prog rock frustrations' is that I've never visited an ELP gig, so I try to ease this pain with lots of video - and DVD live footage. This DVD has done a great job, what a thrilling experience: an inspired band, a warm interaction with the public and lots of great images from the band and the members (only a few non-live images in the beginning of "The Barbarian" spoils a bit pleasure). The footage is from the era just after their debut- album and contains strong and dynamic versions from "The Barbarian", "Rondo/Bach improvisations", "Drum Solo", "Nut Rocker", "Take a Pebble" and "Knife Edge". Of course the focus is on his splendid piano - and exciting Hammond organ play, what a wizard! More remarkable is the fact that Keith Emerson uses his Hohner clavinet a lot and his Moog synthesizer only during "Knife Edge". Greg Lake plays an intermezzo on his acoustic guitar (with some funny moments) and Carl Palmer has a virtuosic solo moment. The strong point from this DVD is that ELP plays very pure, later the extravagant shows and Emerson's spectacular stage antics distracted from their captivating music.

Report this review (#34229)
Posted Monday, February 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like some many other ELP "Die-Hards" (who've yet to see the trio live), the release of this DVD (in a format acceptable to a bog standard UK player!), came as a welcome addition to what is unashamedly a rather hefty collection - started in 1970 - of vinyl, tapes & CDs. For me, the chance to see the lads performing at a time when the band was relatively new, gives an insight into what appeared to be three exceptionally talented young men giving a performance dramatically superior (in terms of musical ability), to at lot of what/who else was around at the time (1970/1971?), with the notable excpetion of Yes.

I wonder what audiences seeing the guys for the 1st. time must have felt like? I know that I was truly impressed by the quality & presentation of (they looked as though they were really enjoying performing) the tracks in this DVD selection).

For me, seeing Mr. Emmerson seriously abusing the Hammond C3 was both entertaining & sobering (in Pounds Sterling, how much dammage has he caused in that way??).

I bet any self-respecting Organ manufacturer would cringe!

Also interesting (and I'm being a bit of an "Anorak" here), is that I'm sure one of the verses on Knife Edge was missed out & the 1st. verse repeated instead. I wonder why.

Also, the version of Tank pleasantly surprised me - much more jazzy & "lighter" than on the 1st. album. What made them change the format?

By the way, I also happen to like the album version very much as well.

Overall, money well spent as far as I'm concerned, just a shame the picture quality seems a bit faded (not surprising, considering the age of the original film, I suppose).

By the way, was there any truth in the rumour that this DVD wasn't officially sanctioned?


Steve P.

Report this review (#34230)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a huge ELP fan.This DVD captures the band early in their career from a Belgium concert in 1970.They still had a sense of fun with what they were doing and the performance seems to flow effortlessly.Take A Pebble is a particular highlight although the versions of Barbarian and Rondo are also impressive.The sound is strictly mono but is nice and clear.The photography is thankfully free of the intrusive animation that littered the Pictures DVD and you get some nice close in shots of Emerson playing the organ..magnificient! Overall can't give it a 5 star rating as the sound is mono but worth getting as its shows one of the most important progressive rock bands in the early days of the genre.(BTW it is an unofficial release not sanctioned by the band or its management.Also this concert will be released on a 2DVD set that is coming out later in the year)
Report this review (#34231)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The other reviewers of this DVD have really said all that can be said - I just want to agree that it deserves 4 stars, and but for the quality, would have got 5 from me. Its a fascinating archive piece, yes quality is scratchy in places, but shows them at their very best - before they got too OTT - what am I saying? Emerson grinds, tilts and smashes his organ, Palmer gives a lengthy solo complete with shirt removal - but there's real energy about the perfomance that somehow seems lacking in later shows. Like other reviewers, I too missed seeing ELP but if I'd had the choice this is when I would have liked to see them. The latest DVD "Beyond the Beginning" has a lot more footage of ELP in concert but as a single perfomance, this is the one to see. By the way, the new DVD release (Beyond the Beginning) only has a very limited amount of film from this concert, and nothing that isn't already on this DVD. The camerawork is good, although unfortunately the director decided to add a few exterior zoom shots and swirling effects to "spice things up a bit"; fortunately they're aren't too many of these. Watch out for the great early 70's styles as the lads prepare to leave their hotel room for the gig! A great buy.

Report this review (#41387)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars An early recording of ELP done for Belgian TV, the trio are captured working well together and enjoying themselves. It features material mainly from the first album with a couple of songs from The Nice days.

Emerson's playing is exemplary, here we see his over the top display of playing the Hammond upside down, riding it like a horse and sticking knives into it to hold down notes. These histrionics only really occur during the Rondo/Bach improvisations section, thankfully, as ultimately they do not sustain interest. A point to note, no one before or since has displayed this flamboyant approach to keyboard playing and one must look on Emerson as being pretty much unique. Carl Palmer's drum solo is also in this section, great drummer though he is he also overdoses and goes on too long.

The other tracks are a different story, here there is much less showmanship they are content to let their exceptional playing and energy shine through. For me the highlights are Take a Pebble with a section from Tank in the middle, Nutrocker and Knife Edge.

Considering the age of the recording, the stereo sound is excellent but don't turn the volume too high. There is a 5.1 surround sound option but I haven't tried it. Picture quality is only acceptable, the colours look a bit washed out but you get plenty of close ups of Emerson's & Palmer's technique. Lake is mainly in the background until we get to the acoustic section on Take a Pebble. His voice and guitar are clear as a bell.

Mixed in with shots of the musicians is material showing trees, bubbles and buildings, thankfully these are kept to a minimum or would have spoiled a great DVD. There are no extras which is a shame as the concert footage only lasts 60 minutes.

ELP fans shouldn't be disappointed. If like me you have never seen them live this particular DVD is an excellent alternative.

Report this review (#117108)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Now difficult to obtain and never as widely present in the shops as others chapters in the from The Vaults series, this DVD is yet another great footage from the same Belgian TV team that recorded Pentangle, Genesis, VdGG, Atomic Rooster and a few more. Probably the best footage of early ELP, it interestingly features most of their first album played live including Tank and Take A Pebble. Just the concert, no added superfluous comments, just the basics. I've always found that this was the best way to defend ELP from the ever-coming critics: live on stage with no other comments than what the band did best: play their guts out. And they certainly did in the early years. If you can still find it, jump for it right away, because from scarce, it has become rare.
Report this review (#156658)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This can be considered as a documentary for the band it is intended for those of you who really love ELP - a die hard fan. Most of the music is taken from the first album. Of course The Nice's version of "Rondo" in which there is an improvisation of Bach and "Nut Rocker", which was coming up later on Pictures at an Exhibition. The documentary does not run the concert as recorded on the same evening. I know that Keith is a virtuoso in keyboard but I always enjoy if he palys the piano because it's really dynamic and captivating. I am very sure if you were there in the seventies and saw the band in the period, this DVD will cheer you up because so many things that would associate you to the past. I especially love the opening "Barbarian" which indicates the virtuosities of all three members of the band. I can see clearly how great Carl Palmer is and how "cute" Greg Lake face and his bass playing. Combined with Emerson's acrobatic keyboard work this is a true excellent performance.

Oh yes, you will definitely enjoy how Carl Palmer manages his two sticks. And this might be a good trip by new your prog heads who only know Mike Portnoy as progressive rock drummer, might compare with Carl Palmer. Each has their own style. "Take A Pebble" has always been my favorite of all time especially with its catchy melody and great singing by Lake. The last track "Knife Edge" is also a wonderful thing to enjoy.

For those who love vintage bands, this DVD is a must - especially if you love ELP.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#159944)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This video obteined from an early Belgian TV presentation shows us the beggining of the band. The presentation is just 55 minutes long but the material included is exellent both in image and sound. Since this video is from 1970 , ELP just based their show on their only record at the time. The songs were a bit longer with loads of solo spots. Apart from the ones included in their debut we can also enjoy Rondo (knifes included!!) Nutrocker and a frenetic drum solo by Carl Palmer ( Which is different from Tank)

Apart from the drum solo , my favourite number is the extended version of Take a Pebble which includes a longer acoustic medley by Lake.

I can't consider this record a masterpiece because I think it should have some extra material. But we can't be hard on that aspect considering this is a non official release. I find this Masters from the Vauts DVD to be superior to Pictures of an Exhibition and really essential for any progressive rock fan who wants to see the band at their early days. These are going to be the biggest and brightest 4 stars I ll ever award a release with.

Report this review (#201782)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink

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