Someone on the music forum started a thread on the greatest live prog albums, and it kind of morphed into a discussion of concert videos as well. A live album thread would be cool, but I thought it would be even better to discuss our favorite prog concert videos. Official releases and bootleg videos are both welcome!! Youtube has been the source for a lot of incredible discoveries these past few years. Here's my top five favorite concert videos that come to mind, along with my reasons why, plus some runners up. The only criteria, I think, should be that the concert should be at least an hour long.
1. Genesis, Shepperton Studios Oxford, Oct 1973: to me, this concert is the absolute epitome of everything that makes prog what it is, on every level. Pure magic from start to finish, there's a real otherworldly vibe here. My only complaint: it only presents one hour of the nearly two hour show--I can only wonder if the performances of "Firth Of Fifth", "More Fool Me", "Epping Forest", "Cinema Show" and "The Knife" are lying in a vault somewhere...
2. Magma, Hippodrome Paris May '77: for sheer intensity, this cannot be beat by anyone possibly EVER in music history! The playing is quite simply inhuman, and this was the group at its absolute peak. Once again though, this presents only about one hour of what was likely at least a two-hour show.
3. Emerson, Lake And Palmer, Lyceum Dec 1970 (aka "Pictures At An Exhibition"): a sentimental favorite, I have always loved this concert despite the visual effects that many complain about. I actually like the effects, but more than that, I think the performance is just killer. This was the best period of the group IMO; the Belgian TV appearance from a month or so later is very similar and has less extraneous visuals, but I choose the Lyceum show because it contains the entire concert. (beware of DVD releases that only contain the performance of "Pictures", however.)
4. Yes, QPR, 1975: although the sound mix during the first half of this concert is infamous, with Anderson's rhythm guitar drowning out Howe's lead, it is a well-directed show of an absolutely monster epic performance. Moraz was a more than adequate replacement for Wakeman, and the setlist covers practically everything you'd want to hear including all of "Close To The Edge" and "Relayer". The acoustic melody of songs is lovely--plus, you get the whole show. If the sound mix here were a bit better I'd probably rank this at #3, actually, above ELP. I also prefer it to "Yessongs".
5. Pink Floyd, Live At Pompeii, Pompeii/Paris Oct 1971: there's only an hour of live footage here, but this really is a legendary concert film showing the group at their tightest just as they hit their mature stride with "Meddle". The setting is spectacular.
There are superb concert clips of King Crimson during their peak 73/74 period but nothing which I've found which lasts at least an hour, I'm afraid. "Deja Vrooom" from the Thrak tour is quite good, however. Camel Hammersmith Odeon '76, The Soft Machine on Pop2 1970, and Porcupine Tree's two DVD sets are all worthwhile.
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