In Concert (CD/DVD)

Greg Lake

Image, 2007

http://www.greglake.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/03/2007

Resembling nothing more than a nostalgia tour, Greg Lake's solo CD/DVD set is simply a vehicle to record new live versions of well-worn Emerson, Lake & Palmer songs. 

The disc offers 10 songs, including Lake-centric ELP tunes, a solo disc and a King Crimson piece from Lake's one album with that band. Taken from a 2005 tour, this is played professionally and well but rarely goes into anything deeper or new; from songs so intricate, the possibility for exploration is endless, but here it is eschewed for standard readings.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lake plays his ELP songs, which makes sense, but they aren't ones that fans necessarily care about: "Touch and Go," "Paper Blood" and his solo "Farewell to Arms" are mundane, while "Lucky Man" has been played to death and "Pictures at an Exhibition" is even more tedious and forgettable now. Even "Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression Part 2)" is robbed of energy save for a brief, unnecessary drum solo.

There are three highlights of these 10 tunes, and they are good enough that fans who stumble across this may want to investigate. "In The Court of the Crimson King," which is a hell of a song to start a concert with, is stripped down to an opening acoustic guitar arpeggio and Lake's voice, which has grown deeper with age, before the song itself comes in (with no Mellotron, thankfully). Perhaps a 60-year-old feels funny singing about fire witches and puppet dances, but the inherent melancholy of the song is revealed even in this simpler form.

"Take a Pebble," from ELP's debut, also is shorter and moodier, buoyed by some beautiful acoustic work by Florian Opahle. It is the opposite of "Fanfare for the Common Man," which is where the band cranks the electric guitars and synthesizers and lets loose in a free-for-all battle, the lead instruments battling with the insistent rhythm section for supremacy, and everybody wins. With this sort of punch on every song, Lake may have had better results on this project.

The package also comes with a DVD called Welcome Backstage, which provides pre-show warmups of six songs. The music is pretty much the same as the final product on the CD, but the rehearsals are played and shot like professional concerts, so for those who want to see these songs played in person this will do. (Note: The actual DVD of the concert itself is available elsewhere, oddly enough). The DVD is superfluous and only for hardcore fans, as is the majority of the entire In Concert disc. Approach with caution.

Rating: C-

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