40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (DVD)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

MVD Visual, 2011


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Welcome back my friends to the show that (almost)) never ends.

Keith Emerson (The Nice), Greg Lake (King Crimson), and Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster) formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer during 1970. They quickly became known for their bombastic, creative, pretentious, and complex brand of progressive classical/rock. Love them or hate them, they rose to superstar status during the 1970s, while selling over 40 million albums.

The trio broke up during 1978, reunited several times, but had not played together for over 10 years when they took the stage, July 25, 2010, at the High Voltage Festival in London in celebration of their 40th anniversary. A double CD of the concert was released last year and now it comes to DVD.

40th Anniversary Reunion Concert presents the 90 minute performance plus adds a close to 30 minute documentary, which includes interviews with the three band members.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The sound and picture quality are fine as it should be with a modern recording. The camera work was outstanding, catching the three band members both individually and collectively from many angles, which enhances the concert experience for the viewer.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer are really trying here. Keith Emerson may have lost a little dexterity but he more than makes up for it in showmanship. ELP’s music has always relied on the complexity of the keyboards and he still manages to present their music well. Greg Lake has had a great weight gain, but he still sounds good and his bass undergirds their sound. Basically, he sounds better than his visual presence. Carl Palmer is still Carl Palmer and he is one of the better drummers of his generation. In a keyboard, bass, drum band, he is required to not only provide the flare but also to fill in the gaps in the sound, and he continues to do so effortlessly.

The music is what can be considered typical for an ELP concert. The main focus is upon their self-titled debut album and Tarkus, but there are a few other gems as well. The shortness of their performance – 90 minutes – takes a little away from their creativity, as in their heyday they would extend songs out past the 20 or 30 minute mark.  Some of the band’s that preceded them ran over, so their proposed encore of “Pirates” was scuttled, and that was a song I would have liked to have seen and heard.

“Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression – Part 2,” “The Barbarian,” and “Bitches Crystal” get the concert off to a rousing start and create an atmosphere for what is to follow.

“Take A Pebble/Piano Solo/Tarkus” transported everyone back to the 1970s. The final three songs, “Lucky Man,” “Pictures At An Exhibition,” and the dramatic “Fanfare For The Common Man/Drum Solo/Rondo” end the concert and leave you wanting more.

Whether they will reunite, perform, or record together again is not known at this time. What we have at present is the 2010 Emerson, Lake & Palmer and that will have to do. If you are a fan of the band or have an interest in exploring one of the more eclectic yet popular bands of the 1970s, then this DVD is highly recommended.

Rating: B+

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© 2011 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MVD Visual, and is used for informational purposes only.