on 4 June 2001
This 2001 release of ELP live in 1974, at the height of their career, has a better sound than ever! What more could you ask for as no band could be more furious and fabulous on stage! Perhaps the most amazing thing about this gem is that ELP manages both to reproduce their complex studio recordings live, and make it even more exciting with a lot of astonishing (and amusing) improvisations. Just listen to Keith's piano impros, mixing jazz, classical, ragtime and blues while always keeping that tongue in his cheek! And this version of Tarkus is perhaps even better than on the studio album, with a long and mind blowing Aquatarkus at the end.
And of course great liner notes!
The only negative aspect is that this even with 2CD's (original 3 LP's) does not contain the complete show. It would have been a nice gesture to have included their 1974 version of Pictures at an Exhibition.
on 11 October 2001
This is another of the exellent re-masters series.This was recorded on the brain salad surgery 73/74 world tour when ELP were massive and as a live act , breath takingly brilliant.It cotains a selection of their first four albums including the full karn evil 9 suite,hoedown.take a pebble,tarkus and for me the track that is worth buying the album for alone the awesome AQUATARKUS.This see,s the trio at their most powerful,fast and at the top of their game,keith emersons use of the polyphonic moog syntheiser is virtuoso like (it,s even more breathtaking re-mastered).I,ve still got the triple vinyl version of this album,which was a masterpiece in itself,the cd version is much more user friendly !!!(top sleeve notes aswell).
on 9 March 2004
Well, it's not really either (subtle or sensitive) but you have to be impressed by the musicianship of these three, shown at its best when they are playing together fast and furious - such as passages from Tarkus or Karn Evil 9 - rather than some of the long solo's which were probably great to watch if you were there on the day, but not so great to listen to after the event.
But then, this is a live recording, so you expect imperfections. Personally, I find ELP's studio albums sound a little bland - to me, their epics (Tarkus, Karn Evil 9), come alive on stage, even with the odd bum note (like at the very end of KE9). "Hoedown" is another number that sounds so much better live. The high point of the album is probably "Aquatarkus", as other reviewers have noted.
Of the solo spots, Greg Lakes is the best. "Piano Variations" is a little too frenetic for me, but Emerson's piano really shines on "Take A Pebble". Carl Palmer is blindingly fast, and a great showman, but again it's probably more impressive seeing him play live, than just listening to the solos here.
ELP may have received their share of criticism and yes, some of the lyrics on say Tarkus are truly appalling ("preacher says a prayer, save every hair on his head..he's dead.." ?? Oh dear!), but ELP set out to entertain and boy, as a live act, few could match them.
One minor criticism of an otherwise excellent production - both Tarkus (including Aquatarkus) and KE9 are each listed as being just a single track, which is annoying.