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DVD Review
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition - Special Edition

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Pictures At An Exhibition - Special Edition
Record Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review by Gregory Harutunian
September 2010

With a debut at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, ELP (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) cemented the start of their legacy and disposition for adapting classical pieces, with a dizzying version of Mussorgsy’s “Pictures At an Exhibition.” A live album was quickly released, along with a video filmed at London’s Lyceum in December 1970. The film has gone through several incarnations including a road show movie “Rock n’ Roll Your Eyes” as part of a drive-in double bill in the 1980’s.

This special edition of “Pictures at an Exhibition” brings to DVD the most complete version of the concert possible, a tremendous upgrade from collectors’ version, which have been floating around for years. although, it does lack the opening tune, “The Barbarian,” the rest is mint picture and sound. Eagle rock entertainment has been releasing ELP material over the last year, and this is truly an exception for classic rock history. The picture of “Pictures” is stunning.but the original 1970’s special effects does distract with its cartoon superheroes pages and effects from whatever was being smoked in the control room that was felt to add to the music…(it’s minimal, though.)

These guys were at the dawn of their career and this captures the time perfectly (look at Emerson’s outfit…eek.)  The Lyceum film also includes a raging version of “Rondo,” complete with the knife-throwing emerson plunging daggers into the keyboard, showing he was the Hendrix of the ivories. As an aside, Hendrix and ELP actually rehearsed together initially when ELP formed, to perform as a group (HELP), but emerson wasn’t keen to work with a guitar player—-so he stuck with Lake.

As a bonus, the band’s appearance on Belgium’s “Pop Shop” from early 1971 is also included here, for the first time, in complete form with all the songs. “Nutrocker,” “Knife Edge” and another “Rondo” are the highlights. All in all, a satisfying package, if you are inclined to hear these guys in their prime.



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