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Emerson Lake & Palmer

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Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special album cover
4.55 | 37 ratings | 3 reviews | 62% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Abaddon's Bolero
2. The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits
3. Karn Evil 9- First Impression, Part II
4. Pictures At An Exhibition
a- Promenade
b- The Gnome
c- Promenade
d- The Hut Of Baba Yaga
e- The Curse Of Baba Yaga
f- The Hut Of Baba Yaga
g- The Great Gates Of Kiev
5. C'Est La Vie
6. Lucky Man
7. Piano Concerto No.1- 3rd Movement, Toccata Con Fuoco
8. Tank
9. Nutrocker
10. Pirates
11. Fanfare For The Common Man

Documentary film; mainly interviews/behind the scenes footage but also excerpts from various ELP songs such as 'Karn Evil 9', 'Hoedown' and 'Pictures At An Exhibition'.

Total Time : 140 minutes

Line-up / Musicians

- Keith Emerson / keyboards
- Greg Lake / bass, guitars, vocals
- Carl Palmer / drums, percussion

Accompanied by a full 70 piece orchestra on 'Works Orchestral Tour' conducted by Godfrey Salmon

Releases information

Released by Pilato Entertainment in 2003; 'Works Orchestral Tour' consists of a live performance from 26th August 1977 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, and 'Manticore Special' is a documentary from 1973

Thanks to salmacis for the addition
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(62%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by crimson87
5 stars Don't let the sound and image aspects fool you , this is essential!!...

This is your chance to witness one of prog rock's most defining moments: The Works Tour. This concert was recorded in Montreal Olympic Stadium and is up to this day an attendance record for that venue. This is the most bombastic and pretentious band on earth accompanied nothing more and nothing less than a 70 piece full orchestra!

The show starts with a sudden burst from a cannon and then both band and orchestra start playing The enemy god dances with the black spirits. Unluckily , there is no live footage of Abbadon's bolero as the track list states , there is just a brief introduction with images from the band. Quite a pity since the tune sounds really impressive with the orchestra. Then we have the 1st impression part 2 from Karn Evil 9 (welcome back my friends). Greg Lake's vocals sound as clean as always and in my opinion , much better than in the California Jam concert. This song does not feature strong orchestral arrangements it's more like the typical version you will hear in any record.

Right after that Keith announces: We 're gonna give ya' Pictures of an Exhibition!! And damn right you will. This is a shorter version of Pictures , similar to the one recorded in the 90's , it does not feature The Sage but the orchestra gives an amazing performance specially in The Great gates of Kiev where Greg Lake's highly emotional vocal delivery is complemented by the arragements , simply outstanding. Now , if you know the structure of an ELP album/concert you are very likely to know what comes next. Yes! you guessed right: A Greg Lake ballad , C'est la vie to be more precise. As I stated in my review , I find Lake's side of Works vol 1 to be the weakest side of the album , I also stated that this song was good but nothing impressive to write home about. My thoughts about this number have radically changed , this is the ultimate Lake moment! You see , ELP is not all about technical skill and bombast as many seem to think , they can also write truly beautiful music like this ballad. Here Keith plays the accordion for a brief moment and also the orchestra captures the song's mood with it's wind instruments. Quite an unespected high moment for the show.

After the obligatory Lucky Man , Keith and the orchestra play the 3 rd movement of his Piano Concerto Toccata con fuoco. The song is just as impressive as the Works version , it's a shame they didn't play the whole piece since he had the orchestra right there , it would have been incredible. Next , we have Carl Palmer's solo spot with Tank. I am not a fan of drum solos but Palmer's drumming is energetic and entertaining , and on top of that his kit is impressive. You can deslike lots of aspects from this band but they sure knew how to make your money worth: Big explosions , rolling kits , impressive lightshow. Tank has it all. After the whimsical but uplifting Nutrocker some haunting synths can be heard. This is it , the summum of the show. ELP's most underrated gem of all time: Pirates All I can say is. What a outstanding performance!! This song is what the band has always been about: Bombastic , fun , grandiose and moving. Lake's voice is at it's peak , the lyrics are incredible and the orchestra can be fully appreciated here. The Works tour was a financial disaster for the band , but this show was totally worth the price. Finally the band closes this show with their biggest hit at that time , their own version of Fanfare for the common man including some typical Emerson antics with his Hammond.

In my eyes , this is some of the best material you may get from any progressive rock band from the 70's. It also includes some bonus interviews and tracks but unfortunately , with the exception of Hoedown none of the songs are complete. The sound and image is typical from the era and the camera shots are appropiate enough ( not like Godbluff Live as an example). ELP fans and prog lovers can't go wrong with this release.

Review by Gerinski
5 stars While this DVD can not compete with modern releases in terms of image and sound quality, and it's possibly not even the best ELP live performance ever captured in video, it's an historical document of such significance for the genre (and the concert is so great anyway) that I can't give it any less than 5 stars. This is a testament of where the big got biggest, where the ambition crossed the sustainable limits, the inflection point for one of the bands who had shaped the meaning of Progressive Rock, where they went bankrupt and from here they would never be the same again.

Keith Emerson had achieved his dream of recording a classical concerto in Works I, and his next dream was performing live with an orchestra. Not that he was or would be the only one, but while others (Purple, Wakeman) concentrated on one or a few shows, Emerson & Co attempted to do a full tour with a 65-piece orchestra conducted by Godfrey Salmon, all coupled with the excesses of stardom they had got used to until then. Everything big, bigger, biggest. Unfortunately this proved to be excessively ambitious and money ran out before they had done 10 gigs.

This video captured the concert at Montreal's Olympic Stadium on August 26, 1977 in front of 78,000 people, the biggest venue they played, and besides the financial issues the task of recording it in audio and video for posterity turned into a nightmare when a line in the recording unit went dead, which meant that a lot of material was messed up and for the audio LP 'In Concert' (released 1979) they had to combine with tracks from other concerts. Eventually the full audio concert would be recovered and released in 2013 with the name 'Live in Montreal 1977'.

At any rate, the song selection in the video is good enough, even if for my personal taste I would have preferred it slightly different. Although the tracklist mentions Abaddon's Bolero, we only hear some of it as background during the intro. For the rest it's in the line of what ELP were doing at the time, with several group pieces and some where each member could stand out. 'The Enemy God', 'Pictures at an Exhibition' and 'Pirates' are gorgeous with the orchestra, fantastic performances of great songs. 'Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Pt 2' is performed as a trio piece, always a great song. Lake uses his turn to perform C'Est La Vie which is great with Emerson playing the accordion and the orchestra adding some bits, and we get also the unavoidable Lucky Man.

Emerson's turn is, of course, his Piano Concerto, but sadly we only get the 3rd movement, yet it is outstanding. Palmer uses his to perform Tank with orchestra including his long drum solo, surely a landmark document in drumming history.

We have also the energetic NutRocker, and the concert closes with a long version of 'Fanfare For The Common Man' including 'Rondo' and Emerson's archetypal abusing of his Hammond L100.

Personally I would have preferred them to skip Lucky Man, NutRocker and to shorten a bit Fanfare or Tank in order to take advantage of having the orchestra and playing the Piano Concerto in it's entirety, that would have been awesome, but perhaps Lake and Palmer were not too keen on that.

The 2003 release includes the documentary 'The Manticore Special' of their 1973 tour which while not great is a nice add-on.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This DVD has two things:

The "WORKS ORCHESTRAL TOUR", recorded live at the Olympic Stadium, in Montreal, in 26-August-1977. Parts from a concert from their "Works Tour" in 1977, with an orchestra and a choir. Audio recordings from this same concert were released first in their "In Concert" album in 1979, and in 1993 they were re-issued with bonus tracks as a 2 CD set titled "Works Live".

The quality of the images and of the sound in this DVD are not very good. The camera angles are good, but the sound mixing sometimes let the sound of the audience "bury" the music being played by the band and the orchestra. Anyway, it still is a good document of a very good concert. But I think that it is better to listen to the "Works Live " 2 CD set which sounds better and has more songs played at that concert, with a better sound mixing.

Despite the fact that their "Works " Vols. 1 and 2 studio albums were not very well received by some fans of the band, this tour was done by ELP with an orchestra in only some dates because it was very expensive for them to take the orchestra with them at all tour dates. And I think that they sound very well rehearsed with the orchestra and the choir. In fact, "Pictures at an Exhibition", while it is a shorter version in comparison to the other live recording which was released in the live album of the same title in 1971, sounds played much better with the orchestra and the choir, particularly in "The Great Gates of Kiev". "C`est La Vie" also sounds very well played with the help of the orchestra and the choir. But I like more the version of "The Enemy God" which was released in the albums "In concert" and "Works Live", because it doesn`t include the orchestra, and it makes me think that it was taken from another concert or was mixed without the orchestra. "Pictures at an Exhibition" was also edited a bit for the video, being at least two minutes shorter that the version which was released in the "In Concert" and "Works Live" albums, So I prefer the version which was included in those albums. But in the video I also could see that among the members of the orchestra there were a bassist and an electric guitarist playing along with the band in some parts. Carl Palmer also appears playing some percussion instruments (a xylophone, a timpani and a tambourine) during Emerson`s "Piano Concerto". The band also did not take themselves very seriously, with them playing some songs with some humour. For example, during Carl Palmer`s impressive drums and percussion solo during "Tank", they used a rotating plattform for his drum kit, and with him also throwing the drum sticks to the air and catching them without losing a beat. Keith Emerson also did his antics with the Hammond Organ, "wrestling" with the instrument on the stage`s floor during the improvised section in "Fanfare for the Common Man", and with him also "playing" some noises with his Moog Synthesiser. So, the video version of this Montreal concert is very good, showing the band playing very well with and without the orchestra and the choir. Godfrey Salmon was the conductor of the orchestra, with him being a former member of the ESPERANTO band (he played violin with that band).

Also I could see some of the musical instruments they used then. Emerson was mainly playing a Hammond organ, and a Yamaha GX-1 polyphonic synthesiser (which included four keyboards put together in the same instrument) and a modular Moog synthesiser which he tended then to use less time than before. For his "wrestling" routine he used another Hammond Organ (which obviously looked with some "scars" due to the "wrestling). Lake used a 8 string bass guitar which had a very characteristic "metalic" and "percussive" sound being played by him using a plectrum. He also played an acoustic 12 string guitar and a bit of electric guitar. And Palmer`s drum kit looked very expensive with the metalic drum shells (maybe he was using a Slingerland drum kit then, a fine instument, but I really don`t know), and he also used some other percussion instruments (two timpanis, a xylophone, a triangle, a tambourine, tubular bells, etc.)

The "MANTICORE SPECIAL" is a documentary recorded during one of their 1973 tours, and it shows the band and the tour crew working hard during that tour. It also shows the members of the band rehearsing and also being interviewed out of the stage and also in their respective homes. There are also some humorous moments showing the members of the band and the tour crew having some fun before and after the concerts. This documentary also shows some of the problems they had, like when they had to cancel some tour dates because Greg Lake became ill for some days and he could not play and sing with the band. Anyway, it is a good documentary which maybe could be more interesting for the most dedicated fans of the band.

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