Emerson, Lake, and Palmer/Live in Montreal 1977

elp     Being a purveyor of nostalgia, I revel in moments in time such as these. At the height of their musical career, Emerson, Lake , and Palmer dazzled the progressive genre with complex, if not nearly impossible feats of classically based musical adaptations of the masters and their masterpieces. Indulging within those chasms of organized cacophony, their original pieces were  overwhelming at the very least. Flirting with incredulous manipulations of the instruments in hand, ELP has transformed the world’s view of classical music and the like in stone (or vinyl if you will) forever. This double CD set includes some of the more recognizable tunes by the band, but the treasure lies more in the cuts that are out of the ordinary. Featured here are vivacious versions of “Pictures at an Exhibition”, “Knife Edge”, and “Tank”, songs that though known to their audience, have not generally been recorded live as a rule. And superseding that, they are versions enhanced by signature deviations from the originals practically making them new songs to the discriminating ear. Keith Emerson’s fast fingered frolicking is duly noted on “Piano Concerto No. 1, 3rd Movement”, unleashing a volcanic eruption of speed and agility to the brink of the masters lair. Greg Lake’s sweet melodic tones are captured within both his strings and his voice lulling us into a void of tenderness and the sublime. Carl Palmer and his nearly inhuman ability to pound the percussive devices surrounding him, grants us a portal into what can be done with percussion if unchained, yet kept within the boundaries of musical discipline. This is a masterful collection of wondrous recordings of a time when imaginations were the driving force behind the creativity of a truly amazing assembly of musicians ahead of their time.

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