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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
5 stars The album has always been one of my favorite ELP records, it has so much power and excitement. As an 'vintage-keyboard-addict' this is cloud number nine, what a spectacular play on those knobs and wires of the Moog synthesizers and the impressive Hammond organs! Unfortunately some artists were allowed to spoil a part of the footage by integrating coloured images and cartoons. Eventually ELP was not very happy with the result but it didn't stop the record company to release it. Anno 2005 you would think that the DVD technology is able to restore it but men can go to the moon or hack the Pentagon but not bring back the original footage, what a pity! And I'm disappointed that this anniversary DVD release doesn't contain the entire 90 minute concert (including songs like "The barbarian", "Knife edge" and "Rondo" with the Keith Emerson stage antics) that is on the Japanese laser-disc. A special feature is a performance by the National Symphony Of Ukraine from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an exhibition" but that is not really a thing I'm waiting for. Nonetheless, enjoy the pivotal and breathtaking self-endulging progrock that ELP made in 1970 delivering magnificent images from Keith Emerson (the Jimi Hendrix on the keyboards) so this dvd deserves five stars, despite my critical remarks.
Report this review (#34713)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars WOW! What a great show man ...!!! I fully agree with what colleague collaborator, Erik, has just put it in this site. Yes, I also watched the laser disc version dated back years ago through my friend's collection. But, when I purchased this DVD in Singapore during YES second leg tour in September 25, 2003, I did feel the same way in terms of critics about this DVD. It's probably by the time I purchased from one of the stores around Peninsula Plaza, I was fully aware that I would not get the quality sound as good as, say DTS version or any later digital technology concert. I expected not a good quality one because it was recorded in the seventies. But, the picture quality is excellent.

I was so amazed with this live performance in many ways. The members were still really young and handsome. They played their respective instruments skillfully and attractively. I could see how Keith Emerson stage acts have colored the show in an energetic way. Carl Plamer demonstrated his powerful drumming. Greg Lake performance reminds me to those days when he was with King Crimson. I could bear my emotions anymore when the band performed "The Sage" with Keith at stage left (audience's view), Carl at back center and Greg Lake with his acoustic guitar at stage right. He palyed his acoustic guitar wonderfully while he was singing. The melody is so nice man ...!!! I have always loved this track - be it on CD or on this DVD set.

The reason of not giving this DVD a full five star is I think because of too long solo on organ / moog by Keith that when it reaches qute sometime it becomes so boring and even annying. Overall, it's an excellent live set. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,


Report this review (#34714)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Musicianship : 4/5

DVD : -543535345/5

Lenght : painfully short

I tell you, get the CD instead, this live DVD while it shows young ELP, and shows good musicianship and Lake's best vocals... it is ruined by visual effects that are so awful that I curse at whoever decided to put that in the DVD ... maybe for someone one LCD, but not for me ... the visual effects are terrible, can even hurt my eyes, blocks seeing the band in action, and are very out of place (comic book pictures??)

Oh, and where's Nutrocker?

My Grade : FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFreaking terrible!

Report this review (#41735)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent watching the guys again brings back memories of what my father told me about.

listening to the album and then watching it live shocks me to see how 3 people could do so much for music

with out a doubt a great live performace by the greatest band ever.

Report this review (#79369)
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Basically you get a great performance of ELP in their formative years.However the DVD is marred by some terrible visual affects that pop up whenever you least want them totally obscuring the band in the process.On top of that don't have the entire Lyceum concert which is extremely annoying.One for the bargain buckets and die hard fans only.
Report this review (#79373)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Okay, I can't honestly say that this is one of my favorite ELP releases, but it's not fully without appeal. I mean, a rock version of one of the greatest classical suites of all time done by three men who should understand how to approach such a project; how bad can it be? They did leave out some movements that would have sounded really good in a rock setting (The Ox Cart, The Roman Tomb), but they also wisely left out some movements that obviously wouldn't work (The Market, The Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks). In compensation, there are a few ELP originals here, namely Greg Lake's classical guitar tune "The Sage", an extension of "The Old Castle" called "Blues Variations", and a new middle section of "The Hut on Fowl's Legs" entitled "The Curse of Baba Yaga". It's done live, and the band sound good, but not as good as on "Welcome Back My Friends." The band frequently moves into periods of Emersonian noise which I found kind of hard to bear at first. This leads me to another point: IF YOU AREN'T ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH ELP, DON'T BUY THIS. I made the mistake of making the concert DVD version of this the first I heard from ELP. Big mistake. I couldn't take the constant noise and thus I dismissed ELP for about a year before picking up "Brain Salad Surgery" and changing my mind. But despite the album's shortcomings, it has some great moments, and it's grown on me considerably since I've bought it. So let's begin our overview, shall we?

Alright, the album begins with a stirring Hammond B-3 Organ rendition of the introductory "Promenade". Not the best version on the disc, but it gets the show off to a good start. It is, I believe, identical to the original piano version. Carl and Greg are first introduced at the beginning of "The Gnome", a favorite movement from the original, faithfully arranged by Mr. Palmer. This is one of the two movements that work best as rock music. The concert DVD shows Carl having a jolly old time here, making faces while he plays. He's a great drummer, but the only guy that looks more ridiculous on stage is John Weathers, drummer of Gentle Giant. Keith has a tendency to go a little over the top on stage too, as you'll see on this video. But it suits him somehow. Greg is the most refined and calm on stage. After "The Gnome" is another "Promenade", with lyrics this time, which leads into "The Sage", a beautiful classical guitar piece with some of Lake's best lyrics and vocals. "The Old Castle". How they can call it that is beyond me, because it bears no similarity to the original. It begins with a period of synth noise and Emerson stage nonsense which evaporates into a cool Moog solo. (Another highlight of the DVD is the sight of Keith's massive Moog Modular synthesizer. All of the boxes that he's plugging patch cords into are modules of the same gigantic instrument!!!) It's a great solo, really it is, but it's not "The Old Castle". It's an Emerson original. "Blues Variations" is a continuation of the last movement into the realms of the Hammond Organ. One of the greatest moments on the DVD. However, the second half of the performance is ultimately better than the first. Almost flawless, actually. Where the first half was mostly okay and sometimes good, the second half is mostly good and sometimes okay. It opens with the most powerful "Promenade" on the album and careens on to "The Hut of Baba Yaga", the most popular part of the original. This is the other movement that lends itself best to a rock interpretation. It is left very close to the way it was originally, and works very nicely. The ELP original "The Curse of Baba Yaga" divides the two sections of this movement. It's a great tune, but on the concert DVD you don't see the band members because there are segments of Marvel comics flashing across the screen. Likewise, there are psychedelic colors flashing about during "Blues Variations". This, of course, is mildly annoying, but it was filmed in 1970, so it's somewhat to be expected. After the second part of "The Hut." comes and goes, the final part of the composition begins. "The Great Gates of Kiev" was the most moving part of the piano and orchestrated versions, and it's the same way here. The bit of noise that ensues when Emerson spins his Hammond B-3 around on its edge actually works here because it increases the emotional impact when Greg and Carl come back in for the grand finale. This is easily the best moment on the DVD, and ends an "okay" concert in a way that would make you think that the whole thing was great.

Most of the concerns I have with this DVD I've expressed above; noisy bits, ridiculous stage actions, Marvel comics, etc; but my main concern is that it really doesn't stand up well in front of Ravel's orchestrated version, or even to Mussorgsky's original piano version. But treated as an ELP album, and not as a classical adaptation, it flows pretty nicely and documents the band's live sound fairly well. A decent effort.

Report this review (#82330)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars When ELP released their vinyl in the early' stages of their career, this modern, bold and daring version of Moussorgsky's best-known oeuvre was certainly impressive, but one of the main gripes of this album is that it has not aged well. And what is true for the vinyl is certainly even more so for the live performance now available on Cd. Actually I had never seen this video or film before renting out the DVD.

Taped/filmed on the first (or original) concert of their famed rendition, I must say that the pictures do not always help out their cause because the extra dimension also shows (confirms) the pretentiousness of it all. Let me explain, before I get death squad sent out searching out for me at my hideout in the white house (hint, hint;-). Clearly, seeing Emerson's antics on this tour (I had seen all of their other 70's film footage all released on DVD and then some) was not exactly refreshing, and in the early part, his Moog is barely heard. As a matter of fact, only Keith's Hammond and Carl's drums as well as Greg's singing are on proper level. One has to strain too often to hear also Greg's bass in the early stage of the concert. But my main gripe is that the film shows the vacuity (and vanity) of doing this live. The concert in itself was not really fascinating to say the least, but the psychedelic effects added on the tape does intrigue for a few minutes,before ultimately leave you cold.

As bonus material, we get from comparison a Ravel Orchestra full symphonic version of Pictures, with some rather doubtful animation all framed as the cover would have it. Not indispensible as a bonus, but I rather prefer this version to ELP's.

Of course, the DVD is a pure archives document that should be seen as such, as ELP were groundbreaking back then, and therefore it must seen in the right frame of mind. I must say that since reading Emo's book (baring a spoof name of this oeuvre), I have had more problems being as receptive to the trio than prior to reading it. Nevertheless, this DVD is a must for fans (unconditional and more or less confirmed ones), but maybe not for more casual fans, and certainly not (IMHO) as an introduction to the band.

Report this review (#104740)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What the producers have done with this DVD is precisely what I had recommended in my review for the vinyl release of Pictures At An Exhibition. They provided an example of Mussorgsky`s original 1874 compisition showing the way it should be played by including a bonus feature of a performance by the National Symphony of the Ukraine ( the piece was actually initially composed for piano ). For comparison purposes I still highly recomend that the listener check this out before witnessing 3 young English gentlemen hack the piece into oblivion. Emerson wasn`t understating in his brief introduction that " this is a descriptive piece of music set in an art gallery where some of the pictures are ours and some are Mussorgsky`s ".

Originally released as a short feature film for presentation in movie theatres, this December 1970 performance was rejected by the band in favour of a performance a few months later at the Newcastle City Hall for the release of the 1972 LP Pictures An Exhibition. So be fore-warned this is NOT a video of that live album. Unfortunately , perhaps due to the absence of engineer Eddie Offord, some technical flaws pop up every now and again with unbalanced bass / keyboard sound, parts of Emerson`s keyboard array cutting out etc. etc. However before bickering about the technical shortcomings of the day one must bear in mind that this is a timetrip back to 1970 and we should be thanking our lucky stars that with existing 21st century technology it was possible to make considerable improvements over the original. The musical performance is quite similar to the original with minor differences, particularily in Emerson`s Moog synthesizer effects which really demonstrate the overwhelming power and futuristic sound of that instrument in 1970.

For those familiar with the original 1972 live album the the most stunning part of this package is the visual aspect. As this is written in April 2007 it`s still hard to believe that only three guys pulled this musical triumph off. The compactness of the stage area combined with the restricted space of the venue lends more to the enormity of the ELP sound at the time. The definite highlights are, of course, Emerson`s keyboard acrobatics he originated while with the Nice, particularily the organ spinning and the suggestive motions with the detatched keyboard ribbon which are not apparent on audio. The video also certainly captures the passion of Greg Lake`s classically derived "The Sage" with more mood and intensity. His pristine recital is only marred a bit courtesy of Emerson who over anxiously cuts in too early with his synths at the beginning of "The Old Castle". A very young Carl Palmer also seems to be having a ball and effortlessly holds all the madness together with infinite precision albeit on a much more cut down drum kit than seen in later ELP shows, a testimony tto why he was one of the top rock drummers of the period. Each individual band member recieves roughly equal camera attention and due to area restrictions full band shots are shown from wierd angles from stage left.

Post production visual treatments are featured during the heavier instrumental blowouts which would lead one to believe that the director was tripping out on too much LSD. The regular psychedelic `60s spiralling colour designs over negative film reversals seem to drag out at times but are inserted appropriately. Bear in mind there was no light show at this early ELP concert. Included in these hallucinogenic freakouts is a bombardment of stills of Marvel Comics characters including Dr. Strange, The Fantastic Four and Spiderman. I think that the drugged out director was trying to convey a metaphor between the adventurous music of ELP and the adventures of the action heros and their creators. If you could sit through the Jupiter sequence at the end of 2001: A Space Odessey then you should have no problem having your mind blown with these effects.

In case anyone is wondering why a grand piano shows up on the instrument credits it`s there but it`s buried somewhere beneath Emerson`s keyboard array and he does play it on the Barbarian during the same concert which shows up on a Japanese laser disc of the complete show along with other early ELP compositions. The only thing missing from this DVD package would be some contemporary interview footage of the band/fans but otherwise a precious glimpse into the past through a progressive rock time portal.

Report this review (#117991)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The vinyl album was the first recording I haVe purchased from the band back in 1973. It is with a lot of emotion that I was looking at these images. They brought me back to my very youth since I went to see ELP on stage for their "Welcome Back My friends To The Show That Never Ends" tour in 1974. I was fifteen years old and ELP was one of my preferred band at that time.

Seeing these young lads is quitte impressive. It is a pity that it took so long to get images from this concert, but what a great moment to see Lake on the vocals in subtle a track as "Promenade". Also pleasant is to see how much fun Carl is getting out of this. Looking most of the time at the master (Keith, is it necessary to mention ?) to know how to drum ?

These might be called excesses but that's what the fan was expecting at the time. You need to be pretty old (as I unfortunately am) to have experienced those prog times live. "Pictures" was one of the encores of the concert I have seen in 74. Would you believe ?

There is nothing such band today. Of course, several Japaneese bands will try and recreate the ELP sound, but none will have the creativity of their early days (even if some of them are very interesting, but that's another story which I will cover later on in my reviewing duties). Some takes will have a psychedelic flavour (but this was shot in 1970, remember) and the whole attraction is of course Keith.

I have mentioned this story already in my review of the album but when you learn that : "The label told the band it was a piece of s h i t and would damage their careers," But ELP "Felt otherwise, and had released it in Europe, where it was a huge hit. The British import started to filter to US shops and eventually sold 50,000 copies. The next thing I know (said their manager Steward Young) the label is on the phone telling me they'd like to put the album out. I told them to go to hell. Three days later the President of the label flew to London to try to get us to change our mind. Eventually, we put the deal together and the album came out. Ultimately, it was a multi-platinum hit."

I can only recommend you to get this DVD version. You'll get the whole music as well as some scenes featuring one of the greatest prog act in the world. Keith' s acting only reminds me the concert I have seen some thirty-three years ago. So, yes : I am filled with emotion and completely biased. But at least (as usual in this case), I mention it in my review. Can you expect more ?


Report this review (#126169)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars The songs here are great, but the special effects here are horrible!!!!!!, sorry, but... i cant put more than 1 star. If you need to listen the songs of this thing, i reccomend you to get the CD, and, it is cheaper than this ;-D


Report this review (#128733)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This DVD produced some mixed feelings for me; mostly I think it is a positive experience for me.

The visuals are mostly excellent, except for some bad instances. They are usually very sharp, you can see the band members' hair very sharply, Keith Emerson's six-pack as well as his hands playing the keys, all very sharp. This is especially true considering that this DVD is based on some almost 40 years old footage. However, there are the psyckedelic visuals that take place mostly during 'Blues Improvisations' and the flickering cartoons that occur during 'The Hut/Curse of Baba Yaga' I think. I really don't get the point of these and they are very disturbing, obscuring the otherwise brilliant picture quality.

The sound is mostly good, with some weaknesses in the mixing, I think. Greg Lake's acoustic guitar is not immediately heard, and there are some uneventies in KE's moog(?) versus his hammond, the former being too loud. Also, GL's acoustic guitar sound is a bit harsh and rough, but whether it is as a result of his technique or the mixing I don't know; anyway, it is not nice. Still, mostly it is very convenient, the sound, and they have even managed to get it Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1.

What really makes this stand out for me is its intimacy. The band members are not, as in most concert films, separated on the stage by smoke and nice lights. Instead, it feels like you are standing right in their middle in the studio. This probably does not appeal to some, but as a musician myself, I like it. Also, concerning musician curiosities, it is interesting to see in 'The Great Gates of Kiev' when the members actually lose the beat, how Carl Palmer then rescues the situation; all this is experienced while seeing the whole band at once. So, if you want to see Keith Emerson's six-pack, Carl Palmer's greasy hair, or the band members swollen and sweaty faces, along with feeling almost like they are showing you how to play 'PaaE,' then here is your chance.

I don't understand the bonus material, a concert recording of the classical piece. I was, before watching it, looking forward to seeing the orchestrated version performed. But what do I get? A recording playing while the film shows various picture frames showing mostly abstract films whose point is to follow the mood of the music. But they are occasionally awful, and don't always fit the mood, like in 'Il Vecchio Castello.' But the sound quality is excellent.

The general impression for me is that the DVD is of mixed, mostly good, quality, but too short for being a concert film, only about 30min main feature. It certainly is good, but non essential due to its short length and some weaknesses in the filming; therefore, 3 stars.

Report this review (#157505)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars ORIGINAL ALBUM REVIEW: This is not just another live album, this is totally new. Not at all, it was an adaptation from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (you know about it). But Mussorgsky would be proud of this guys. It's full of self-ideas and improvisations, that ELP improvisations! You can feel at the very beginning, The Gnome, these guys are playing with fun, they're music masters and are joking. At The Sage, you will taste the beautiful voice and acoustic song from Greg Lake, and if you like From The Beginning, you will love this song too. It's incredible to see how Keith can (always) improvise and experiment without mistakes, and Carl Palmer's drums easily follow his notes at any speed.

DVD ADDITIONALS: It's a good performance and a very enjoayable show. But the DVD is too short, and the special video effects are... annoying. But it worth for any ELP fan.

Report this review (#970610)
Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 | Review Permalink

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