Live At Montreux 1997

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Eagle Rock, 2015

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


To quote the title of their 1974 live album, “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.” Emerson (keyboards), Lake (bass/vocals), and Palmer (drums) formed during 1970 as a super group with the members coming from The Nice, King Crimson, and Atomic Rooster, respectively. They have gone on hiatus several times but have always reunited to tour and record.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

ELP is a progressive rock band that incorporates classical elements into their sound. This was unique and very creative during the 1970s, which enabled them to sell tens-of-millions of albums and headline stadiums though out the world.

During one of their resurrections during the second half of the 1990s, they performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the tape was running. That concert has now been released as a two CD set titled Live At Montreux 1997.

The set is a journey through their career, complete with Emerson’s solo keyboard excursions and Palmer’s drum solos, which are a trip back in time. “Lucky Man,” “Tarkus/Pictures At An Exhibition,” “Tiger In A Spotlight,” “From The Beginning,” “Karnevil 9,” and “Hoedown” have lost little of their appeal with the passage of time. The performances are a little more controlled than those contained on some of their previous live albums, which is welcome.

The three musicians are tight as might be expected of a three person band nearly four decades into their career at the time. They are a band that does not feature a lead guitar as a central instrument; rather, Emerson plays the lead and rhythm parts over the rhythm section, which gives the sound smoothness with few holes. Lake’s voice has lost a little range recently, but here it is still in fine form.

The sound is excellent, which was a problem for their earlier live albums. In fact, it is the cleanest I have heard ELP as the three instruments are mixed perfectly.

The music from Live At Montreux is now nearly 20 years old. It captures a mature band doing what they do best. This release is an excellent presentation of what Emerson, Lake & Palmer is all about.

Rating: B+

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