Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Pictures at an Exhibition
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Top Customer Reviews
This performance is good but not as good as the Emerson Lake and Palmer: Masters From The Vaults DVD. The video and remix of the sound are very much improved over my Japaneese import laserdisc of the same concert. This a young ELP still in their prime.
The not so positive:
There are some unfortunate things about this video. The special effects are annoying to the point of being nauseating. The overly "creative" post production crew really got carried away with the psychedelic tint & color saturation effects. This may have been interesting as a DVD special feature, (I might have even thought it was great 30 years ago), but these days I'd just like to see the performers without these effects. I wonder if the unaffected video source even exists anymore.
Yes, the performance is over the top. But so is about every live rock performance from that era. Just look at the recently released Zeppelin DVD. But hey, the era was what it was. I'm just glad that some of these bands were captured live while they still had some fire in their bellies.
My laserdisc of this concert includes full performances of Barbarian, Take A Pebble, and Knife Edge along with Pictures At An Exhibition. It's really, unfortunate that they chose not to include the entire concert in this DVD! They should re-release this without the special effects (except for maybe in the special features section) and included the omitted songs.
It starts with the anthemic "Promenade" which leads to a bizarre intro of The Gnome, which then takes off as a synth-washed quirky jazz fest. "Promenade" (reprise) follows, this time with lyrics written and sung by Greg Lake. "The Sage" starts off softly then turns into an elegant classical guitar instrumental. "The Old Castle" starts with some synth/distortion feedback then kicks into a rocker. Next comes "Blues Variation" which is a beautifully crafted mix of well...jazz and blues. "Promenade" starts the second half of the disc. Unlike the previous two versions of "Promenade," this version features Greg Lake, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer performing collectively with their instruments. "The Hut Of Baba Yaga" is frenzied up jazz rock. "The Curse Of Baba Yaga" continues as Keith Emerson is doing genuinely innovative stuff on his keyboard. It is also in this section that you will probably find the most explosive moment on the disc, as Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson are out of control on the drums and synths respectively, while Greg Lake is shouting passionately as he plucks his bass strings frenetically. "The Hut" is briefly reprised before the beautifully dark and haunting finale of "The Gates Of Kiev/The End.Read more ›
it is not the full length concert video that also featured
"The Barbarian", "Take A Pebble", "Knife-Edge" and "Rondo" on
it. I knew that before I bought it, but I got it anyway because
I *had* to have this on DVD, hoping that the sound would be
improved like it said on the box. And guess what--it is!
Whoever remixed the sound here did a GREAT job; it is much
louder and clearer than the professional VHS copy I had previously. It is true that some psychedelic visual effects are
superimposed on about half of the performance (from "The Old
Castle" to just before "The Great Gates Of Kiev"), but I always
thought they were great, especially the comic book effects
over the intense "Curse" segment. And, other than in that segment, I can still see the band playing underneath the effects.
So, to some people (like some of the reviewers below) the visuals can look a little dated, or annoying because they semi-cover the band. But the band's performance itself is magnificent. This version of "Pictures" is better than the
actual album version (taken from a live show four months later),
because "The Gnome", "The Old Castle" and "Blues Variations"
are extended, there is no hideous "Nutrocker" and there is FAR less audience noise. In fact, the audience is so silent that when listening to the bonus audio CD of the performance, it almost sounds like a studio release. Indeed, I would declare this performance--in spite of one or two slight mistakes--to be the definitive version of "Pictures" from all those that are available.Read more ›
And anything later than "Love Beach" isn't really ELP at all...
But "Pictures" finds them in the middle of their awesome period. As a classical fan, I've always thought this is actually the best arrangement of Mussorgsky's piece. I much prefer the original piano version to any of the three orchestrations: the (sorry, this is heresy) banal Ravel version, the attempt by Stokowski, or even the Ashkanazi version, which is the best orchestrated arrangement.
The ELP version doesn't have the depth or the "Russianness" of Ashkanazi, but it wins out on sheer gusto, virtuoso musicianship and energy. Speaking as both a classical and a rock fan, this is one of the few rock/classical hybrids that actually add (rather than cancelling out) the virtues of each style.
And the Greg Lake contributions, interpolated songs musing on ideas from the music, are brilliant: the heart of the album in many ways.
(Just as Greg Lake was always the heart of the band, despite Emerson's greater showmanship. It needed Lake's voice and the humanistic side of his music. When Lake lost his voice, and seemingly the ability to write good songs, that was when ELP spun into its astonishingly rapid decline.)
Some people have criticised the sound quality. I can't say I've ever noticed that as an issue. On the other hand, Greg Lake had one of the greatest voices in rock when this was recorded.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First, the music on here is really good, and watching the band play, especially when Emerson and Palmer are timing out these very fast moments and watching Carl smile, fully... Read morePublished 14 months ago by D. Barker
This is great live album when ELP were at their peak. It is probably one of their more underrated albums.Published on December 5, 2013 by buddy
CD is OK but thé box was broken when - received it, had to replace it by one of m'y own.And thé label in thé box with title is from ELP's double CD Thé... Read morePublished on November 6, 2013 by Pen Name
ELP's "Pictures at an Exhibition" was probably my first exposure to classical music (along with the music in "2001: A Space Odyssey"). Needless to say, I was blown away by it. Read morePublished on May 1, 2012 by James Higgins
I was surprised to find this in a music store as I didn't know it even existed. After examining the cover to make sure it wasn't one of those 'documentary' DVDs, I paid my money... Read morePublished on January 2, 2012 by Stephan Clarke
I suppose that if you are a committed collected of everything ELP, you might want to add this to your collection. Read morePublished on May 21, 2009 by Kaiser Soze
ELP initially wanted to release this album as a free give away with "Tarkus", but common sense prevailed and it was released, initially in the UK, on Island Records' budget Help... Read morePublished on February 23, 2009 by John B. Buchanan
I have been an ELP fan from their first album onward. The CD version of "Pictures" is good but this DVD sucks. Read morePublished on March 19, 2008 by Sea Otter
This is a pretty awesome performance by a very young ELP. All three are in fine form and the sound here is very good. Read morePublished on February 29, 2008 by Rob in L.A., Calif.
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