Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (146 Reviews)
March 14th, 2017 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This show represents the birth of a great and important band. It represents an important historical document of that mythical festival too.

“Live At The lsle Of Wight Festival 1970” is the seventh live album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and was released in 1998. The line up on the album is Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Karl Palmer.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer was the first super group in the prog rock history. Few groups can look back to a single point in time where they leapt from relative obscurity to fame, announcing the arrival of a new and utterly distinctive sound. Keyboardist Emerson had attracted attention for his staggering technique and theatrical pyrotechnics in the group The Nice. Bassist and vocalist Lake found himself the centre of acclaim with King Crimson’s “In The Court Of the Crimson King”. Palmer had brushed success as drummer with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and with Atomic Rooster.

It was in the beginning of their career they were invited to participate in the Isle Of Wight Festival that would become known as the English Woodstock. It lasted five days. Beyond Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also took part on it, names such as, Chicago, Procol Harum, The Doors, The Who, Ten Years After, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Moody Blues, and Jethro Tull. Despite it has been recorded in 1970 it was only released twenty eight years later, in 1998. Their debut studio album was also released in the same year but only few months later.

The Festival was almost the beginning of their life because it was only their second live show. They appeared six days earlier in Plymouth. The band hadn’t yet released any studio album and they didn’t have an extensive catalogue to select for the show. So, nothing could have prepared them for the response for this very important live performance. With this release of 1998, fans of the band can finely hear and see, if you bought the DVD, the short set’s significance.

That festival also marked the last UK appearance of Jimi Hendrix. It seemed that he was tired of his band and wanting to try different ideas he have expressed interest in playing with them. Due to conflicts in schedules of the musicians it wasn’t possible. But the plan was to unite Hendrix with the group, later. Unfortunately, three weeks later he was dead. That fact put a definitive end to the hypothesis of Jimi join the group and become Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer played on Saturday night, between Ten Years After and The Doors. The band opened the show with “The Barbarian” without wasting a second and rolling through the notes like a steamroller over the audience in an onslaught of distorted bass notes, furious keyboards and scattered drums like roaches in the light, showing this new massive sound. “Take A Pebble” with the ballad tone of Lake’s voice captivates as the song gently walks through the first two and a half minutes before Emerson takes the reign and gives a solid piano solo to a shuffling Palmer drum chant and the bass adds the inflections of root notes. It includes a gorgeous jazz piano melody in the middle. “Pictures At An Exhibition” is a half-hour long interpretation of Mussorgsky’s masterpiece. All prog’s recipe is superbly executed here without fail. The Moog, which was relatively new and revolutionary at the time, several passages between synthesizer and acoustic guitar making this the pleasure of a dreamy prog of a piece to listen to. The piece is broken in several sections but I prefer to look at it as a single composition. There are no blister solos here but rather a display of masterful flair and precision with a few flubs in a couple of songs but this live version is actually close to the Newcastle performance and just how amazing is it. “Rondo”, an original piece of The Nice, rises from the ashes of what’s left from the last presentation, is another onslaught of Moog freak out sounds and a drum solo in spots from Palmer which wasn’t his best. It’s rather sloppy and shoddy when compared with others on in their career. “Nutrocker” completes their set and which was often an encore during their earlier shows to somewhat calm the audience down and relax them from the massive wall of sound they had just tumbled over on to the ears of the people watching and listening.


Conclusion: John Peel, a popular BBC music journalist called ELP’s performance at the Isle of Wight, “a tragic waste of time, talent and electricity”. I disagree. I believe this live performance is precursory of their legendary live sets. The band’s performance displayed the trio in full flight, defined by Palmer’s intricate drum work, Lake’s sturdy bass and Emerson’s wizardry on the Hammond organ, piano and Moog synthesizer. The show circulated for years in bootleg form and was officially finally released in 1998 as “Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival”. It’s true that the music contained on it has been performed many other times, recorded and released much better on others live sets and the sound isn’t as good as it should be, we can hear constantly on the recording a persistent and annoying electric noise. However, this is a very important historical document that represents the birth of a great historical group. It’s also an important historical live document of that era and particularly it represents an important part of that mythic music festival too.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)




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user ratings (11)
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 14th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In the same path of my previous review, here it is another very important live document of the beginning of the 70's and in this case it represents also the birth of the first supergroup in rock history, one of the best and one of the most important prog bands too, despite they never were been one of the most beloved even in the prog circles.

About the album. the show is really great and represents the percursor, of what will be in the near future, their legendary live shows. However and unfortunately, there is a problem, its quality. On my CD version there is a kind of persistent and irritating electric noise all over the album. Anyway, thinking about the year, the place and as a beggining, if we can put away that problem, the show is amazing.

Enjoy it and tell me what you think, if you want.

e210013
March 14th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jethro

As you can see, you didn't hit the target but you was very close. Anyway, I told you almost all. I said that it would be a great and a perfect companion to my previous review. What wouldl be closer than one of the albums recomended by me on that review? As you never rated it, I think you never paid much attention to it. Probabbly because you heard something about quality of the recording sessions. I don't know. But as some of us discussed on the previous review, a bad production is acceptable if the performance itself is great. Especially in this case as it represents the birth of one of the most important prog bands.

I hope you can enjoy it, buddy.

Divaman
March 14th 2017


5708 Comments


Once again, good on you e. Nice review.

Digging: JFDR - New Dreams

e210013
March 14th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Divaman.

Jethro42
March 14th 2017


16130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are no reasons why I haven't rated it except that the album went unnoticed due to inattention. But now that you expose all these ''Live at the Isle of Wight'' shows, I'm curious about them all.



In the case of ELP, I can see that it was one of their very first shows. The second one to be precise, done while they started to record their first album. That explains why they didn't have much material to make a full show so they present Pictures at an Exhibition. It's true that the Isle of the Wight version is not crystal clear production-wise, but the execution is rather phenomenal and they offer a good dose of improvisation. On the other hand, album Pictures at an Exhibition has a better recording but they play more safely, with not much improvisation. Both versions have to be known cos their executions are not the same.



Good review, bro.



e210013
March 15th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, all these albums went unnoticed, I think because they were released very late. And as you know, despite of the lower quality of the recordings the performance in the isle of Wight of "Pictures At An Exhibition" is much more dinamic and creative with a good dose of improvisation in comparison with the later performance of the version of the album itself. And you're right too. Both versions deserve to be listened due to their significative diferences.

Thanks dude.

TheIntruder
March 15th 2017


475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review man. It's nice to see another review of that mythical festival. I love festivals. I'll check the album later. Meanwhile, pos.

e210013
March 15th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dude and do that man. I also love festivals, but right now, maybe I prefer more soft things. Ah, Ah, Ah,...



TwigTW
March 16th 2017


3828 Comments


Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer: how amazing that would have been (even once). Listening to this now and it's great!

e210013
March 16th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Twig. How amazing that would have been, indeed. I'm glad you like it, despite the less quality sound.

Thanks dude.

TwigTW
March 16th 2017


3828 Comments


Yeah, I don't mind the quality. I think it's great that a lot of live recordings from the 70s are being released now by bands like Yes, Bowie, ELP, Etc. I like listening to them.

e210013
March 16th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I agree. Did you take a look to some of the live parts of the live show in the island of Wight on YouTube? They were really great and a complete madness group. The guys were an incredibly really great show man live group, especially in those times. One of the best indeed.

TheIntruder
March 16th 2017


475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah the concert is really great, especially if we take a look to the live images of it on You Tube. The guys were really great and crazy. What a live band, especially as a beginning. I can imagine the astonishment of the guys who saw the show. I agree with Twig. H.E.L.P., how amazing that would have been, indeed. About the quality, I agree too. Isn't perfect but we can live with it. It's a pleasure to see and listen to this kind of stuff in these days. It's great that you bring these kind of things especially in these days. Continue your good work, man.

e210013
March 16th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks buddy. We agree in 100%. It's in my plans bring these kind of things, from time to time, here on Sputnik. However, I intend to review the more common and known things of the great bands, too.

Cheers.

Jethro42
March 16th 2017


16130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While I prefer ''Pictures at an Exhibition'' from the album of the same name, I appreciate more and more the Isle of Wight version with each listen even if it sounds a bit unfinished. Keith is really innovative and he goes like crazy on the keys. The machine like drumming is impressive and that bass is sexy and precise. After all, ELP paved the way for the musicians who wanted to go beyond the musical limits. That's what makes them so influential.

So here is my rating; 4/5 as well, despite the bad recording quality cos yes, the performance is impressive and it ages very well.

e210013
March 17th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As you I also prefer "Pictures At An Exhibition" from the original album. It's a more polished and professional version and the quality of the sound is much better and professional. But this previous live version also grown on me with the time. The guys proved that they were a great live band. You said all: "Keith is really innovative and he goes like crazy on the keys. The machine like drumming is impressive and that bass is sexy and precise".

So, it always was a surprise to me why E.L.P., never had the really recognition they deserved. I know that many people like them, but of the greatest prog bands of the 70's, they always were the black sheep. Maybe because many people always saw them as to much classic, elitist and bombastic. Maybe.

TheIntruder
March 17th 2017


475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed. E.L.P. were always an underrated group. To rating this album I checked on the You Tube the images of the concert in the island of Wight. They are simply amazing. Jethro is right. The performance of the group is astonishing. It reminds me the good old times of The Who.

e210013
March 17th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"The performance of the group is astonishing. It reminds me the good old times of The Who."

I completely agree. I myself did the same. In contrast with the concert of the island of Wight of Jethro Tull, in which I have both versions, the CD and the DVD, in this case I only have the CD version. And I must confess that, for many years, I never paid much attention to the images of their live shows. Unfortunatelly I never had the opportunity of see them live, in flesh and blood, of course. So, to make my review of the concert I took a look on You Tube and I could checked some of their live shows and they're all really amazing. The guys were really a great live band. Now I know why I love so much their live album "Welcome Back...". It's simply one of my favourite prog live albums ever.

TheIntruder
March 17th 2017


475 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed. One of the best live albums of the 70's for sure.

e210013
March 17th 2017


2946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the best live albums of the 70's, but not only of the 70's.



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