Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Classic Pictures Entertainment
Catalog Number: DVDP002
Format: DVD
Total Time: 70:00:00

If we take our battered vinyl copy out of the cupboard then we see that the original Pictures At An Exhibition album was actually recorded on 28th March, 1971 at the City Hall in Newcastle, UK. Released on 4th January, 1972 this album certainly was quite a daring experiment from such a young band. Needless to say it was Emerson's love of the classics that had him tackle this masterpiece by Mussorgsky. This DVD however (the material of which was already released as a VHS-tape some years ago), includes a recording which dates from 9th December, 1970, filmed at the Lyceum Theatre in London. So this recording actually preceeds the release of the album by more than a year!!! Needless to say such a situation would be unthinkable today because pirate copies would be flooding the market the next day! In fact, the US branch of their record company didn't even want to release the album as they thought the press would ridicule the band. Instead, in no time no fewer than 50,000 copies of the album were shipped to the States as import copies. After the chairman of the label was finally able to persuade the band, Pictures At An Exhibition got an official US release and went on to become a multi-platinum seller, including the Kim Fowley classic "Nutrocker" on its way. On this DVD however there's no sight of "Nutrocker" as all our attention go towards the full version of Mussorgsky's work as performed in London in 1970, footage which was only found as late as 2001!

From the early chords in opener "Promenade" onwards it is clear how the timing between keyboards and drums is executed in the most perfect way. Carl Palmer is constantly looking at Emerson's gestures in order to be right on time, to the split second. Throughout this concert Emerson is constantly finetuning his synthesizers which in the case of "The Sage" does deliver some weird sounds in the beginning. Amateuristic looking microphones are taped to tripods, as if you're watching a band rehearsing in their attic! And that was only thirty years ago. My god how things have changed! During "The Sage" Greg Lake illustrates what a fine guitarist he is as he delivers a wonderful solo on acoustic guitar, which even contains some medieval influences. Then Emerson performs a solo on what can be called a precursor of the keytar even playing the "instrument" between his legs during "The Old Castle."

During "The Old Castle," "Blues Variation" and "The Hut Of Baba Yaga," the images get a psychedelic treatment with some cartoons added in during "The Curse Of Baba Yaga." However, I think the advantage of DVD should have included a "toggle" option here that would enable the people at home to switch between the "normal" pictures as filmed way back in 1970, and the "treated" psychedelic touches. I'm sure that most people buying this DVD will be diehard ELP fans and all they want to see is the band. The album closes with "The Great Gates Of Kiev" where Emerson goes walking with his Hammond. Knowing how heavy this little beauty weighs this is by no means an easy thing to do.

All in all some interesting footage of a band that at that time was very experimental and young, and with an audience that was silent during the entire piece. Knowing the fact that no one in the audience knew the music as the album would only be released the next year, maybe the audiences of today can take a lesson from this! Sadly the extras contain badly scanned photographs and text from the ELP household, and even some vintage paintings from the likes of Van Gogh and Renoir are not sufficient to make this an outstanding DVD. Surely much more must have been possible, such as including interviews with all bandmembers and fans who attended that particular show on December 9th 1970. I'm sure that both parties would've jumped at the chance to collaborate! An opportunity sadly missed!

Promenade / Gnome / Promenade / The Sage / The Old Castle / Blues Variation / Promenade / The Hut Of Baba Yaga / The Curse Of Baba Yaga / The Hut Of Baba Yaga / The Great Gates Of Kiev

Special features: fully animated menu / track selection / band member profiles / profile on Mussorgsky / band history / photo gallery / discography / art gallery

Keith Emerson - organ, electric clavinet and moog
Greg Lake - bass, acoustic guitar, and vocals
Carl Palmer - drums and percussion

Emerson Lake and Palmer (1970/1983/1996)
Tarkus (1971)
Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Trilogy (1972/198?/1996)
Brain Salad Surgery (1973/1983/1996)
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends (1974)
Works, Vol. 1 (1977)
Works, Vol. 2 (1977)
Love Beach (1978)
In Concert (1979)
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
Black Moon (1992)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1992)
The Atlantic Years (1992)
Works Live (1993)
The Return Of The Manticore (Box set) (1993)
In The Hot Seat (1994)
The Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1994)
Classic Rock (1995)
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
King Biscuit Flower Hour: Greatest Hits Live (1997)
Then & Now (live) (1998)
The Very Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2000)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 1 (2001/2006)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 2 (2001)
Live In Poland (2001)
Show That Never Ends (2001)
Live (2002)*
Best Of The Bootlegs (2002)
Solo Anthology (2002)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 3 (2002)
Live In Poland (2003)
Greatest Hits Live (2003)
An Introduction To? (2004)
Three Classic Albums (2004)
Ultimate Collection (2004)
Critical Review 1970-1992 (2005)
Bootleg Box Set (2006)
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults, Vol 4 (2006)
Lucky Man: Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (2006)
The Birth Of A Band: Isle Of Wight Festival (2006)
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer (2007)
From The Beginning (CD/DVD) (2007)
Works 1 & 2 (2009)
A Time And A Place (4CD Box) (2010)
Live At The High Voltage Festival (2010)

Pictures At An Exhibition (VHS/DVD) (1970/2002)
Welcome Back (VHS/DVD) (1993/2001)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (VHS/DVD) (1996/2001)
Works Orchestral Tour: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 1977 (DVD) (1998)
The Manticore Special (DVD) (1998) (broadcast on TV 1973/1974)
Masters From The Vault (2004)
Live At Montreux, 1997 (DVD) (2004)
Critical Review 1970-1995 (DVD) (2005)
Beyond The Beginning (DVD) (2005)
Music In Review (DVD) (2005)
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Live Broadcasts: Collector's Rarities (DVD) (2006)
Pictures At An Exhibition - Special Edition (40th Ann. Edition) (2010)

*this is of the Isle Of Wight festival, too.

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 4th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.emersonlakepalmer.com
Hits: 1123
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]