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

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION - 35TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTORS EDITION

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.56 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
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.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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