Monday, January 11, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Live at the Isle of Wight

5/10

This was the band's second ever live show in 1970 and was recorded before the studio debut, but not released until 1997. There are two songs here from the debut, the full Pictures at an Exhibition suite, Rondo and Nutrocker. On the tracks from the self-titled album, the band sounds awfully unpolished (as should be no surprise); Emerson, Lake and Palmer clearly weren't fully comfortable with each other at the time, and they interrupt each other at odd moments. I'll save my critique of their renditions of Pictures and Nutrocker for the Pictures live album that they would release later, but Emerson's keyboard tones are fairly off throughout and it's clear that their arrangements weren't as polished as they would be later.
Live at the Isle of Wight is more important for its historical value than as a great performance. It's not and embarrassment or anything, but while all three band members were very talented, they hadn't quite gelled yet here.

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