Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends: Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson Lake &

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Upon its release, the 1973 LP Brain Salad Surgery had been hailed as Emerson, Lake & Palmer's masterpiece. A long tour ensued that left the trio flushed and begging for time off. Before disbanding for three years, they assembled a three-LP live set something of a badge of achievement at the time, earned by Yes in 1973 with Yessongs and, somewhat more dubiously, Leon Russell with Leon Live. Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends gives a very accurate representation of ELP's shows at the time, including their uncertain sound quality. It isn't that the group didn't try hard to give a good show; they did, but left to just his two hands, without the use of multi-tracking and overdubs to build ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Upon its release, the 1973 LP Brain Salad Surgery had been hailed as Emerson, Lake & Palmer's masterpiece. A long tour ensued that left the trio flushed and begging for time off. Before disbanding for three years, they assembled a three-LP live set something of a badge of achievement at the time, earned by Yes in 1973 with Yessongs and, somewhat more dubiously, Leon Russell with Leon Live. Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends gives a very accurate representation of ELP's shows at the time, including their uncertain sound quality. It isn't that the group didn't try hard to give a good show; they did, but left to just his two hands, without the use of multi-tracking and overdubs to build layer-upon-layer of electronic keyboard sounds, Keith Emerson was at a singular disadvantage on some of the boldest material in the trio's repertory. And even allowing how far the art and science of recording rock concerts had advanced in the 1970s, there were still inherent problems in recording a fully exposed bass -- Greg Lake's primary instrument -- in an arena setting that couldn't be overcome here. Even the most recent remastered editions could not fix the feedback, the occasionally leakages, the echo, the seeming distance -- the listener often gets the impression of being seated in the upper mezzanine of an arena. That said, the group still had a lot of fire, enthusiasm, and cohesion at this point in its history, and that does come through. And if they don't solve every problem with the sound, the remastered editions from Rhino, Japanese WEA, and Sanctuary do give Lake's voice and Emerson's piano their richest, fullest possible tone and a fighting chance in these surroundings, and bring Carl Palmer's drumming much more up close and personal than it ever was on the LP. On the down side, the division into two CDs as opposed to three LPs means that the 26-minute "Take a Pebble"/"Piano Improvisations"/"Take a Pebble" chain -- complete with Lake's excellent acoustic guitar spot for "Still You Turn Me On" and "Lucky Man" -- is broken up between the two discs. The song selection -- if not quite the career-ranging array of repertory that Yessongs was for Yes -- is stellar and features all the material from Brain Salad Surgery with the exception of "Benny the Bouncer", including a complete 36-minute rendition of "Karn Evil 9," which filled both sides of the third LP in the original set. The latter is thoroughly bracing, with a level of visceral energy that was lacking in some moments of the original studio version, and is also almost as good a showcase for Lake, whose singing and playing here are better than they were on the studio original, as it is for Emerson and Palmer. Add to that a 27-minute "Tarkus" -- complete with one Pete Sinfield-authored verse from King Crimson's "Epitaph" which they'd been adding to the piece in concert at least since the Trilogy tour -- and you now have three quarters of the music. Hearing any of those three pieces and the stunning "Toccata" performed live, obviously without any overdubs, makes one realize how accomplished these musicians were, and how well they worked together when the going was good. This was the group's last successful and satisfying tour, as subsequent journeys on the road, in association with the Works album, were mired in acrimony about expenses, repertory, ego clashes, and the decision about going out with an orchestra or not, or were motivated purely by contractual and financial obligations, whereas here they proved that even their most ambitious ideas could work musically, done by just the three of them. The sometimes disappointing sound quality should not be too much of a turnoff for fans, but newcomers should definitely start with the studio albums, and make this the third or fourth ELP album in their collection. And it should be listened to loud. ~ Francois Couture & Bruce Eder
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/21/1996
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227222826
  • Catalog Number: 72228

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Primary Artist, Vocals
Keith Emerson Vocals
Carl Palmer Percussion
Technical Credits
Alberto Ginastera Composer
Hubert Parry Composer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Arranger
Friedrich Gulda Composer
Joe Sullivan Composer
Keith Emerson Arranger, Composer
Greg Lake Arranger, Composer, Producer
William Blake Composer
John Chichester Contributor
Robert Fripp Composer
Michael Giles Composer
Peter Granet Engineer
Ian McDonald Composer
Carl Palmer Arranger
Peter Sinfield Composer
Andy Hendriksen Engineer
Bruce Pilato Liner Notes, Sleeve Notes
Michael Ross Original Design Concept
Sarah Southin Reissue Design
Richie Walborn Contributor
Mike Lowe Contributor
Carl Dunn Original Photography
Michael Ross Package Concept
Stewart Young Management
Martyn Hanson Liner Notes
Emily Johnson Artwork
Steve Hochman Liner Notes
Derek Dressler Reissue Producer
Jeff Palo Producer
Andy Pearce Remastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Best ELP album

    This is the Best ELP album you can get. Live with amazing performances. I would rather have this than any "hits" package.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I listened to this on vinyl once...

    When I was in high school a friend loaned me this for a few days on vinyl. I just got it on cd and you have to be impressed. This is the first thing that sold me on how great ELP was...if you think their music is tough stuff listen to them kick it out live...this was a powerhouse peformance from the true prog-rock power-trio...favorite track Take A Pebble...but it's all good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Incredible Live Show

    ELP picked some incredibly complex material to play live, and pulled it off. There are some legendary performances here. A lightning fast Emerson rips at his Hammond organ and early Moog synthesizer, Lake surprises with electric guitar, and Palmer displays percussive genius on a 2.5 ton revolving stainless steel drumset. The sound mix favors keyboards, but otherwise a good documentation of ELP at the peak of thier (70's) career.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A must for ELP fans

    The version of Tarkus here kicks butt on the studio album. And musicians will appreciate the unique flair ELP developed for playing this very difficult material live. I'll take two.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews