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“Then And Now” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Artist: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title: “Then and Now”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 11/24/1998
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 3/5

Did you ever find yourself listening to a live recording and wondering what actually went into the planning process before the release came out? I sometimes do, and have to admit that these were the thoughts that went through my mind as I listened to this classic live release by legendary Progressive Rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The double disc set spans two very different eras in the bands history and based on the way it is laid out, it comes across as a little disjointed. You might be wondering how this is possible for such an incredible band and I shall do my best to explain what I mean. The release begins with music from the legendary California Jam in 1974 where ELP had headlined and performed for something like 250,000 people which was quite a few for an outdoor concert of this kind at the time. Our introduction to that part of the CD begins with Carl Palmer’s drum solo after a brief portion of “Toccata” and that makes no sense. Why not bring us in from the start and skate around a bit instead of coming in at the tail end of a tune for the solo break and then letting the shaky wander down the path grow even worse. From here the show now becomes acoustic and Greg Lake sings a medley of tunes with “Still You Turn Me On” and “Lucky Man” being a part of the mix and notable highlights. Yes, he has an incredibly powerful voice that shines through but to go from blazing drum solo to acoustic tunes was just leaving me wanting more “oomph” from the respected trio. The “vintage era” of the band on this CD ends with a part of their mega-epic “Karn Evil 9”. It’s not the best version I have heard from the band and I will take the studio version or the one done on the superb live release “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, Ladies and Gentlemen Emerson, Lake & Palmer”. Find that one if you can remember the albums very difficult to remember title. It was remastered in 2007.
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