CD Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (CD 6305790),
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Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival

  • 1. Barbarian
    2. Take a Pebble
    3. Pictures at an Exhibition
    4. Rondo
    5. Nutrocker
    6. Interview (Bonus Track)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CMRCD458

  • Credits

    In much the same fashion as the folkie supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had played their second gig in front of half-a-million people at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in August of 1969, the all-star prog rock aggregate, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, performed in public for the second time -- a year to the month later -- at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival. Their ragged but ultimately inspired set is recounted on the simply titled Live (2002). As the band had only been together briefly, their repertoire was not yet fully developed. In fact, it would be another couple of months before the trio's self-titled debut, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, (1970) was issued. As such, it's no great surprise that the show is comprised mostly of covers -- with the exceptions being "The Barbarian" and "Take a Pebble" -- which likewise commenced the forthcoming long-player. The band rips and snarls through the opener, with the same dark and aggressive tone that permeated the album. If the sound quality on this recording is any indication, the audience were most likely not able to thoroughly discern the more intricate interplay between Keith Emerson's piano and Carl Palmer's jazzy accompaniment during the double-time duet that the pair share before re-launching into "The Barbarian"'s full-blown coda. Emerson's delicate introduction to "Take a Pebble" was probably also completely inaudible to the festival crowd, which consists of him physically strumming muted piano strings like a guitar, and is barely evident. The remainder of the track is breathtaking, as they improvise off of each other with open ears and in the moment. The arrangement of "Take A Pebble" is similar to the studio version, with Greg Lake's acoustic guitar solo followed by a variation of the same dark and haunting melody he incorporated onto the LP. Both Lake and Palmer join him for a swinging post-bop interlude that seemingly appears out of the ether. Equally inspired is the epic "Pictures at an Exhibition," based on and adapted from a classical work by Mussorgsky, and became a centerpiece of ELP's live sets for years to come. They likewise nail the cover of Dave Brubeck's "Rondo," which truly sounds like it must have been a visual spectacle, especially Palmer's solo near the end. The encore cover of B. Bumble & the Stingers' "Nut Rocker" is a high energy rave-up that, sadly, suffers from the band not being properly mixed on the recording -- as a majority of the keyboards can barely be heard. The interview segment that concludes Live features individual memories from each member -- including the Spinal Tap-esque 'cannon story'. ~ Lindsay Planer

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