Monday, February 15, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Live at the Royal Albert Hall


Live at the Royal Albert Hall isn't essential or anything, but at least it's somewhat pleasant, if hardly a replacement for earlier live efforts. Lake's voice sounds even rougher here than it did on Black Moon, but ELP was smart enough only to include the halfway decent songs from Black Moon here. Unfortunately, the band's most famous epics are here in extremely truncated form (Tarkus is cut in half and has some really annoying synth wanking at the end, and we get less than two minutes' worth of Karn Evil 9). Also, "Still... You Turn Me On" is the most boring song ever without the overdubs- at least "Lucky Man" gets some actual texture-based synth work from Emerson before the tacked-on solo in this live version.
Another problem is the drums- these just had to be electronic, as I've never heard drums this echoey in a live setting before, and they really detract from these songs. Also, even though I didn't like the original version of Pirates, the synth tones here that replace the orchestra make the song even cheesier.
Fortunately, there's an excellent instrumental medley at the end of "Fanfare for the Common Man," "Rondo" and "America" that ends things pretty well. I can only recommend this for people who've heard the classic albums first, but it's a pretty good replacement for Black Moon.

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