Monday, February 1, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Works Live

7/10

If you get just one ELP album bearing the Works moniker, get this one. Originally released in 1979 as the 1-disc "In Concert," it was revamped in 1993 as a 2-CD album. This was recorded live in Montreal on the Works tour, with many tracks featuring a live orchestra. Not surprisingly, most of the songs are from the Works albums, although a few appear from earlier releases (an abbreviated Pictures suite with full orchestra, Knife Edge from the debut, Abaddon's Bolero from Trilogy) as well as a version of Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn theme.
"The Enemy God," surprisingly, is a synthesized version that doesn't use the orchestra, and Emerson's piano concerto is cut down to just the last movement. Abaddon's Bolero and the Pictures suite are given new life by the combination of the band and the orchestra, and some of the duller tracks from Works, Volume Two sound considerably better here.
Unfortunately, the Lake ballads still suck, and much of the band's stronger material is absent here (but most of what's missing is on Welcome Back anyway). Works Live is a very good substitute for the patchy-as-hell studio records.

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