Live At Montreux 1997
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Eagle Rock Entertainment 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. The have gone on hiatus several times but have always reunited to tour and record.
ELP is a progressive rock band, which incorporates classical elements into their sound. This was unique and very creative during the 1970’s, 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 1990’s, they performed at The Montreux Jazz Festival and the tape was running. That concert has now been released as a 2-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 but 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. It is an excellent presentation of what Emerson, Lake & Palmer is all about.