Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Welcome Back To The Show That Never Ends


5.0
classic

Review

by e210013 USER (121 Reviews)
September 2nd, 2015 | 38 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For many, this is probably the most pretentious and excessive live album in the history of progressive rock music. Anyway, this is for sure one of the best live releases in the 70’s.

“Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends...Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer” is the second live album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and was released in 1974. The line up on the album is Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer.


Undoubtedly, this is, for sure, one of the most extensive names that any album ever had. The 70’s was a very creative musical era and sometimes it was also an era of some musical excesses. And probably, “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends” is with “Tales From Topographic Oceans” of Yes, the two best examples of those excesses. Some detractors of both albums even say that it was because works like these that the punk movement and the new wave arise in 1976. Sincerely I really don’t know if that it’s true. What I really know, it was because the punk movement, the progressive rock went into crisis and some progressive bands became pop rock bands, like Genesis, and others simply disappeared, like Gentle Giant, only to mention two of the most known and emblematic examples. Curiously, in this moment, it becomes to my mind one declaration of Frank Zappa of 1979, on his album “Joe’s Garage”, released in 1979, and which he clearly shows his thoughts about the punk movement, at the time. I’ll leave you with it, for you interpret it, as you want: “Selling punk like some new kind of English disease! Is that the wave of the future?”.

Anyway, and as many of we know, Emerson, Lake & Palmer was the progressive rock’s first super group. The band was created by three musicians from three very well know progressive groups. Emerson was from The Nice, Lake was from King Crimson and Palmer was from Atomic Rooster. Greeted by the rock press and the public as something akin to conquering heroes, they succeeded in broadening the audience for progressive rock from hundreds of thousands into tens of millions of listeners, creating a major radio phenomenon as well, of course with some other contemporary progressive groups, such as Genesis. There flamboyance on record and in the studio echoed the best works of the heavy metal bands of the era, proving that classical rockers could compete for that arena scale audience.

Only in five years, from 1970 to 1974, Emerson, Lake & Palmer became as one of the majors acts of the progressive rock. They did to manage six great albums, four studio albums and two live albums, which are their great works and which are also considered some of the best albums ever made in the progressive scene. The albums are, by the order of they were made and not in the order of they were released, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Pictures At An Exhibition”, “Tarkus”, “Trilogy”, “Brain Salad Surgery” and this work, “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends”.

As I said before, “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends” is in general considered their last great work. The album was recorded during the 1973/1974 “Someone Get Me A Ladder” world tour. The title of the album comes from the introduction to the performance, itself a phrase of the opening line of the track “Karn Evil 9: First Impression, Part 2”. The album revisits almost of their five previous works with the exception of “Pictures At An Exhibition”. So, “Hoedown” is from “Trilogy”. “Jerusalem” and “Toccata” are from “Brain Salad Surgery”. “Tarkus” is from “Tarkus” and includes “Epitaph” from “In The Court Of The Crimson King” of King Crimson. “Take A Pebble” is from “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” and includes “Still…You Turn Me On” from “Brain Salad Surgery” and “Lucky Man” is from “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”. “Piano Improvisations” is an original track by Emerson with arrangements of different classical pieces of music, which includes Friedrich Gulda’s “Fugue” and Joe Sullivan’s “Little Rock Getaway”. “Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff” is a medley from “Tarkus” and “Trilogy”, respectively. “Karn Evil 9” is from “Brain Salad Surgery”.

“Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends” was their last release during almost three years. The group took an extended break to recover and pursue solo projects until their next project in 1977, “Works” (Vol. 1 & 2).


Conclusion: “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends” is the last great album from the band and represents the climax of their art. However and for many, this is a very pretentious album, one of the most pretentious works ever made in the progressive rock scene. Sincerely, I don’t agree we that point of view. I think that it’s not really the pretentious that counts here, but a lot of many other things. What it does essentially prove is that Emerson, Lake & Palmer, isn’t just a bunch of technology crazy machine programming guys but a really astonishing live band. The repertoire chosen is excellent and the live versions are amazingly performed. The album also proves that Emerson is as good at classical piano as he is with his synthesizers. This album is probably, for me, with “Yessongs” by Yes, “Playing The Fool” by Gentle Giant and “Seconds Out” by Genesis the four best live albums produced in the 70’s.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (39)
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
September 2nd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Once more, I bring to you one of the most controversial albums in the progressive rock history, in a so short period of time as a member of Sputnik.



Probably, I run the risk of getting known as the guy of the controversial albums. Sincerely I don't give a damn.



Anyway, as we like it or not, I'm sincerely convinced that we are in presence of one of the greatest live albums ever.



So, I liked to know the opinion of the prog heads of the site, about it and, of course, about my review too.

Jethro42
September 2nd 2015


15960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've started to listen to this album. I like it so far except for the times Emerson goes to much over the top. To much is too much. I'm now to that segment where they play an excerpt of Epitaph. Pretty cool.



Great review, John.

e210013
September 2nd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm glad you like it too. As I wrote before, this is an album with some excesses.



However, Emerson is really a great keyboardist. It's with any doubt one of the best classical trained keyboardists ever. Probably only Rick Wakeman competed at the same level.



As you mentioned the excerpt of Epitaph, Lake has really a great voice. For me, it sounds even better than in In the Court.



Once more, thanks Jethro42, by you sharing your point of views with me and give me a pos.



By the away, why you called me John?

Jethro42
September 2nd 2015


15960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Because you're always writing ''Music was my first love'' - John Miles (rebel)



Now I assume this is a quotation of someone else, haha sorry!



Also I do prefer Wakeman over Emerson...He is more sober, more humble, modest, and he never gets on my nerves.

e210013
September 2nd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ok, now I can see why. No, the citation is mine. John Miles is a singer that became known in the 70's when he released his debut album called Rebel. The first track is "Music" and its refrain says: "Music was my first love". As it was the same with me, I adopted that. The music is very nice and the album is not bad at all. You can listen to the song on the You Tube.



"Also I do prefer Wakeman over Emerson...He is more sober, and he never gets on my nerves."



I agree with you. However there are many other keyboardists of the 70's that I love too. It comes to my mind, in this moment, John Lord, Tony Banks, Patrick Moraz, Peter Bardens, Hugh Banton and Richard Wright. You know, the keybords are my passion, as the drums are yours, I think.

Jethro42
September 2nd 2015


15960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok, I'm gonna check it out on youtube.



And yes, you got a nice list of great keyboardists here. I'm sure you forgot Kerry Minnear, or at least he can do the list. Also as your review mentioned some of the best live albums of the 70's, I would add Deep Purple - Made in Japan, and Jethro Tull - Bursting Out ;)



And you're right about the drummers. My favorites are Jojo Mayer, Neil Peart, Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Sonny Emory, Dennis Chambers, Thomas Lang, Gavin Harrison, John Bonham, Barriemore Barlow, Mitch Mitchell...





e210013
September 2nd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh! I'm completely ashamed. How could I forget Kerry Minnear?



Of course, I can't forget those two live albums, which are simply some of the best. To those albums, I would add few more as: Solar Music-Live of Grobschnitt, Two For the Show of Kansas, Space Ritual of Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest Live of BJH, Live At Carnegie Hall of Renaissance, USA of King Crimson, Cook of Premiata Forneria Marconi, Eloi Live of Eloi, Live In The Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra of Procol Harum, Uriah Heep-Live of Uriah Heep, All The World's A Stage of Rush, Caravan & The New Symphonia of Caravan and Lotus of Santana. As you can see I managed to get a very varied extensive list, and I still left many outside it.



To your drummer list I would add: Neil Pearl, Keith Moon, Mike Portney, Ian Paice, Carl Palmer, Michael Shrieve and Alan White, to be not to much extensive.

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry, Jethro42. By mistake I repeated Neil Peart. It would be very strange you forget him.

Jethro42
September 3rd 2015


15960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You named some other essential live albums indeed...in particular Kansas, Barclay James Harvest, Renaissance, King Crimson, PFM, for Rush I own and love both ''Different Stages'' and ''Exit Stage Left'', and I'm certain the other ones worth a listen, Eloy among others.



You named some other big names for the drummers, but they are not exactly among my favorites except maybe for Keith Moon, Mike Portnoy, and Ian Paice who would be an honorable mention. I already had Neil Peart above ;)



Edit; correct for Neil Peart. I'd never forget THE PROFESSOR ;)

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You must forgive me by answering here, but the text is so big that does not seems to fit in the shoutbox.

You mean "Unfolded Like Staircase", because I have rated their debut "Push & Profit", too. However, they're two completely different works. In relation to "Unfolded...", yes, the album is really astonishingly good. I know that "Canto IV" is the most known track on the album. However, I sincerely think the album has no highlights. All the four long pieces are really great and all the album is complex, aggressive and totally progressive It has also dark lyrics and a theatrical musical atmosphere, which isn't strange because their lieder and front man Parmenter, usually use masks on stage as Gabriel did. Musically I can see influences of Genesis (era-Gabriel), of the excellent neo-pro band IQ, King Crimson, but above all Van Der Graaf Generator. This was for me a big surprise, because I never new before a band so strongly influenced by them. So, soon as you can, you must check it. You can also check "Push & Profit", but also don't forget to check their third studio album "To Shatter All Accord", released in 2011. Fortunately they came back in force and this new album is as good as "Unfolded..."

Once more thanks for your support. And when you told me that you was probably the elder on the site, you was wrong. I'm probably the eldest. I was born in 1958.

TheIntruder
September 3rd 2015


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Another great band, another great album and another excellent review. Have another pos.

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ok. Once more thanks, The Intruder.

altertide0
September 3rd 2015


3027 Comments


I don't like the review. It's not even that you have some problems with language, which is all right, but you focus too much on the history of the band and various facts in general - we have wikipedia for that.

FOUR middle paragraphs are entirely about the history of the group and the music scene in general, which should be only quickly mentioned in the introduction and/or outroduction. The ONLY remaining middle paragraph is entirely about which song is from which album - which is totally irrelevant. One sentence saying "although most of the material comes from ELP's previous studio records, there are also some new improvs and even KC's "Epitaph" makes an appearance" would be enough.

A review should be an opinion piece. In your review, however, you only really give your opinion in one place, in the "summary". Which makes it not too good. I won't neg you now but there's definitely room for improvement in the future.

danielcardoso
September 3rd 2015


11770 Comments


"However there are many other keyboardists of the 70's that I love too. It comes to my mind, in this moment, John Lord, Tony Banks, Patrick Moraz, Peter Bardens, Hugh Banton and Richard Wright."

All great keyboardists but damn, no mention of Ken Hensley.

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

daniel cardoso:

When I did the list it wasn't my intention do do an exhaustive list of all great keyboardist of the 70's. My intention was only to mention some names of prog keyboardists. I must say that it was an incomprensible fail not to mention Ken Hensley, which clearly is one of those cases. However, I had seen that.

Anyway, thanks for your observation.

danielcardoso
September 3rd 2015


11770 Comments


Yeah I know, I just figured I'd mention because he really was/is a huge influence on the genre, even if an underrated one sometimes.

tef
September 3rd 2015


200 Comments


Jethro; I'm amazed that someone with such an extensice musical knowledge and taste does not know John Miles' most well known songs "Music", in itself quite a progressive track btw....
This track must be in the top twenty of best known pop songs ever....
NIce review "John", some weird sentences here and there but hey, we all understand what you mean...

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

altertide:

I respect your point of view but I must explain some points and disagree with some others.

1st: You are right, my English is far of being perfect. As some of you know English isn't my mother tongue. By the other hand practically my only contact with that language is with music, films or internet. So, all of you must have some patience about that. I'm trying to improve slightly.

2nd: My mainly intention when I write reviews, is captivate all largest possible number of people to the music that I like more. So, my mainly targets are not to specialists with those bands and albums but to people that know very few about them or even for those who unaware them. Especially on this site, a generalist site. So, when I mention the history of the band, is to explain the context that they appeared and they being able to understand the born of the album. And as you know, many people, when they read a review, don't have patience and time to lose, consulting the wikipedia and other sorts of information. It's much more comfortable have almost everything in the same place.

3rd: About the tracks chosen by the band to the live album, I think is important to mention the studio albums from where they were taken. Once more because is much more comfortable and by the other hand, the choice of the songs are very important, especially when we are talking about prog groups. As you know, many of the prog bands change their music from album to album, like King Crimson usually do, as you mentioned once. So, the quality of a prog live album depends in part of it.

4th: In the case of reviews about live albums, in my opinion, It does not make much sense to talk individually about the songs. his should be done on the spot, which is when we review the studio albums. It's my intention to do that when I review those works. By the other hand, I already noticed that people on Sputnik dislike reviews made with track by track. You can see that when I did my first review, here on Sputnik, the people were a little bit hard with their comments.

5th: Yes, a review should be an opinion piece. On my reviews, almost of my opinions are on the conclusions. Why? Because my eldest son always told me that my reviews are too much extensive, especially for the young people. He said to me that many give up reading them for lack of patience. However, as i like to do big reviews, I skirted the situation creating the conclusion, for those read the essential of it, without the history of the group and other things.

I'm sorry to be so extensive with my explanations, as my reviews are, but I needed to say what I think about when I write a review.

However, I admit that probably, in this case, I wrote too much about the history of the group and kess about the album.

e210013
September 3rd 2015


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks tef for your comprehension about my writing. You know, English isn't my first tongue. About the review, I'm glad you liked it.

altertide0
September 3rd 2015


3027 Comments


"My mainly intention when I write reviews, is captivate all largest possible number of people to the music that I like more"

That's fine, but do you really think that three paragraphs about the history of the genre and the band will encourage anyone to check out the group? All they need to know is that EL&P was one of the most significant groups of 1970's prog scene, known for their excessive instrumentals, and this album is their second live outing. That's one sentence - if you really want to get new people to like the music you like, don't bore them with stuff they don't care about, but get down to the music - if they're really interested, then they can find the info on wikipedia, and if they aren't, then you're just wasting your time.


"I think is important to mention the studio albums from where they were taken"

But you just said you mainly care about new people! They have no idea what any of the studio albums sounds like, so this stuff means absolutely nothing to them! And people who do know the band just need to look at the tracklist (which is available with one click) to know this. So the whole paragraph is irrelevant to both the newcomers and the fans.


"It does not make much sense to talk individually about the songs."

I don't want you to do a track-by-track review (it's stupid, I agree), but surely you could mention the highlights, best or most interesting/surprising moments (like the fragment of "Epitaph" in one of the songs) and the worst ones. There's one sentence in your review that goes like "I think that it’s not really the pretentious that counts here, but a lot of many other things", but then you don't mention ANY of these things! If there are so many, how come you can't tell us even one or two? It's just not credible.



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