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Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

4.16 | 27 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a great live album. The performances are some of the best I've heard from Keith Emerson in years. But there are flaws. The first I presume is evident on all versions of this album. The recording, which sounds like it came from a mixing board, distorts at many times.

The other problem, which occurs on the Varese Sarabande release that I have, is that whoever mastered the CD is a moron. Anyone who has ever burned music to a CD with all but the cheapest software has seen the setting to either put a gap between each track, or have them run directly from one track to the next.

Well guys? This is a live album, having the crowd noise stop for two seconds between each track is annoying, and inexcusable. And on disk 1, tracks 7 through 12 are a suite, where each track is a piece of the one song. The gaps here are more than annoying, they ruin the flow of the song.

Luckily, I can rip the CD, and re-burn the tracks properly. But I shouldn't have to.

That out of the way, Emerson has come all the way back from his well known medical issues, and brings everything to this concert. Sure, some of the passages are a bit slower than we remember, but his solos are as fierce as ever. Marc Bonilla, with whom Emerson has been playing for years now, is a technically better guitarist than Greg Ocean (he's too big to be a Lake now), although not as subtle. But Bonilla has a talent of knowing just what to keep from Lake's versions of the songs. And the additional guitar in the songs adds some awesome heaviness while at the same time allowing Emerson to break loose on the keys.

The songs that benefit the most are the Piano Concerto (3rd Movement), that sounds less classical, and more metal here, and The Barbarian, which become much more barbaric. And Lucky Man has been rearranged without losing the soul of the song. I just which they would include their new version of Living Sin.

The Miles Away suite from the Emerson/Bonilla studio album, despite the gaps, is much more energized here, and the 35 minute Tarkus is luscious.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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