Pictures At An Exhibition (Special Edition)
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Pictures At An Exhibition was filmed at the Lyceum in London in December 1970. A slightly different version was
recorded for a live album release in Newcastle in early 1971. The film version was finally released in cinemas in 1973
and has had brief previous releases on VHS and DVD. This new special edition, forty years on from when it was
originally filmed, has the most complete version of the film available and is presented in the best possible sound and
picture quality, complete with the original seventies psychedelic effects. The band is in fantastic form and their
awesome musicianship is instantly apparent.
Pictures At An Exhibition: 1) Promenade 2) The Gnome 3) Promenade 4) The Sage 5) The
Old Castle 6) Blues Variation 7) Promenade 8) The Hut Of Baba Yaga 9) The Curse Of Baba Yaga 10) The Hut Of Baba Yaga
11) The Great Gates Of Kiev 12) Take A Pebble 13) Knife Edge 14) Rondo Bonus: Pop Shop 1971 - 1) Interview 2) Rondo
3) Nutrocker 4) Take A Pebble 5) Knife Edge 6) Blues Jam / Nutrocker
Bonus Features The previously unreleased live performance from the Belgian TV show Pop Shop from 1971.
Original theatrical trailer for Pictures At An Exhibition .
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Top customer reviews
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, was a British progressive rock band formed in 1970, that consisted of: Keith Emerson (organ, piano, synthesizer, and other keyboards), Greg Lake (bass, guitar, and vocals), and Carl Palmer (drums and percussion).
This DVD has some great moments, since it captures the band when it was new, playing in a small club, rather than in a large arena. The instruments and stage set are sparse, rather than elaborate. There are no 10-foot tall modular Moogs, flying pianos, Persian rugs, or rotating metal drum kits here.
It is obvious that these songs were new to the band, not just the audience, at the time. This performance took place almost four months earlier than the one recorded at the Newcastle City Hall that became the album version of Pictures at an Exhibition. Beside the Mussorgsky piece, ELP also played “Take a Pebble”, “Knife Edge”, and “Rondo”. “Take a Pebble” and “Knife Edge” were from their self-titled debut album, released only a month prior to this show. This was one of the earliest performances of any of these songs, and it is clear from watching the video that the songs were new to the band. Band members looked at each other more than they looked at the audience, particularly during a call-and-response between Emerson and Palmer, and when Emerson played the same bass line on the Hammond that Lake played on the electric bass guitar.
The camera shots that showed the audience were interesting. The audience resembled attendees at an orchestra concert, rather than attendees at a rock concert. Audience members were rapt in attention and were not: talking to each other, drinking, or smoking. They only applauded at the end of each song and clapped during certain songs when directed to do so by Emerson and Palmer.
This was a 1970 performance that was made into a film shown in cinemas, so the director added psychedelic effects and Batman comic book pictures. Those effects were not overly distracting to a viewer in 2016 until near the end of the film. I can appreciate that those psychedelic effects would have been considered “groovy” back in 1970. ELP was a geeky band that appealed to geeks. Geeks have long had an interest in comic books. However, “Rondo” was ruined by the psychedelic effects. One could not see much of Carl Palmer during his drum solo other than his drumsticks. The psychedelic effects made it impossible to see Emerson’s organ when he tipped it on end and shook it, played it backwards, and performed his trademark rapid glissandos. Greg Lake was completely obscured by the psychedelic effects, and it was impossible to tell he was even there.
The Pop Shop segment was better, since it avoided most of the psychedelic effects. The Pop Shop segment also includes a blues jam completely unlike anything ELP had ever done, with excellent vocals and guitar by Lake. There was also a short interview of the band during the Pop Shop segment. That was interesting, since the band members were so young and gave responses regarding hobbies and other job options. Carl Palmer never had a job other than music; he went from schoolboy to drummer. Palmer seemed excited to get his first car. Greg Lake said that he would probably commit suicide if he couldn’t play in a band. Ironically, Keith Emerson said he had no hobbies; perhaps that was a contributing factor to his suicide almost 46 years later.
Final verdict: I recommend this video to fans of Emerson, Lake & Palmer or anyone who is interested in 70s progressive rock. It provides a different perspective of the band in its early days than the one that most people associate with this band. Turn up the volume and leave the room if the psychedelic effects become overwhelming.
The Amazon Editorial review is pretty complete and accurate so refer to that for DVD specifics (sans ranting and raving.) There's one thing they didn't mention since the DVD cover (insert actually) gets it wrong. The jacket states that the sound is PCM Stereo. It is most certainly NOT stereo, in PCM or any other format. It is the same mono soundtrack that the previous DVD had, at least as far as the P@aE concert is concerned. I've never previously seen the Belgian TV footage that is included here, but it also is simple mono, issued from both L & R channels. I listened carefully to the entire disc (over 100 minutes longer than the previous one!) in Sony headphones and there is not a single sound from either side that is not precisely duplicated on the other. Credit Eagle Rock Entertainment for having the sense to NOT create a fake digital stereotrack, which would've been easy with today's mastering software, and keeping the film's original integrity. I don't pretend to know if the original audio recordings still exist somewhere, but I DO know that remixing and sync-ing them for this edition WOULD be a hellatiously time-consuming and expensive project, and the few die-hard ELP fans like you and me out there just plain don't rate it. Fact of life...
That said, I'm delighted to have this even though I bought the 2001 version not long ago, and it's the ONE to have if you don't own this piece of prog history. The extras are extensive and as good or better than the centerpiece suite. As ELP were known for, they almost never played songs "straight" like you'd hear them on a studio album. They mixed them up, rearranged, regrouped and lots of times played themes from some material as 'segments' of something else. So it is here, where the 1st encore "Take a Pebble" also includes middle snippets of Emerson piano improvs, "Tank," and "Hoedown" before returning to finish the last verse of "TaP."
The Belgian TV show POP SHOP obviously showed the set recorded for them as two, half-hour episodes, as the credits roll twice, once in the middle (spliced in during "Nutrocker," as more freaky effects) and again at the end. The video quality is much weaker than the P@aE film, but the mono audio is, if anything, a tad better. The version of "Take a Pebble" included here is worth the price of admission alone.
OK... What about those "Rock and Roll Your Eyes" visuals (as this movie was rechristened for US release.) Yeah... they're stupid looking... even obnoxious. But (as my wife accurately commented) Keith Emerson jumping up on his Hammond, crouching down and rocking it back and forth like he's trying to hump it is just as stupid. The 70s were just plain 'everything to excess' and this work is a product of the time. Keep that in mind and close your eyes if it bugs you. Fortunately the soundtrack is unaffected by the silly video "enhancements." And there's lots of time where the video is shown straight-no-chaser anyway. The junk doesn't even start for the first time until over 17 minutes in, and then it comes and goes about half-and-half for the rest of the show. I found it easy to "get over it."
If this were just a live album from this early stage in ELP's career, and noone knew it had attendent glopped-up video, they'd be jumping for joy to even HAVE a copy of it. May be a fan-boy, but I certainly am!
One you'll want to push the pause button if you leave the room.
beautiful boys in their 3 piece sweet/70s hair/heavy atmosphere/one small stage without any props and no pyrotechnics/but brilliant blazing fireworks/ drama corps set/intense hard work/musical sense/this tight 3 piece orchestra/here/hear it shows you how it's done/ /no theater/no glitter no puppet stage/just pure energy and artistry.
2 and 1/2 hours pass by but doesn't seem like time
Unfortunately, it's missing "The Barbarian," which is available on the Masters from the Vaults - Emerson, Lake & Palmer DVD, which is the entire "Pop Shop" film, but not as good video quality.
Note that the "Pictures... (Special Edition)" DVD lists separate tracks for "Interview" and "Blues Jam / Nutrocker," but they are included on "Masters from the Vaults" as well: the interview clips are after "The Barbarian" and the "Blues Jam..." is the encore after "Knife Edge."
By the way, "Knife Edge" and "Rondo" from this film are also included on the Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Beyond the Beginning DVD.