Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- _Greatest Hits Live_ (King Biscuit Flower Hour, 1997)

King Biscuit Flower Hour Records presents a great-sounding and extremely insightful live set from Classic/Progressive Rock heroes Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. Recorded on two different tours, from 1974 and 1977, the 2-CD set includes some of their strongest material, including "Lucky Man", "Peter Gunn Theme", and the entire 34-minute "Karn Evil 9". The liner notes are excellent, and part of the second CD is an interactive CD-ROM, making this release stand out even in ELP's already full live catalog.

Most impressive, though, are the ways in which this new release shines a new light on the band. The sound mix is terrific, with clearer percussion and generally better sound than other live recordings of the band, making the whole show much more enjoyable than other live efforts. In addition, while not neglecting their full-band work, this recording spotlights the performers as individuals, including a Palmer drum solo, two unsurprisingly masterful Emerson piano improvisations (one could argue that their entire repertoire is a long Emerson solo, but that's a different story), and solo renditions of "C'est La Vie" and "Still, You Turn Me On" by Lake that take on interesting new life without accompanying keyboards or guitar overdubs. ELP fans will also no doubt find the interactive CD-ROM an essential inclusion, with its live performances and never-before seen interviews.

This is an extremely strong anthology, giving interesting perspectives into Emerson, Lake, Palmer, their band, and their live shows, likely to appeal to even those who usually dislike the sound of live sets. It is in many ways a fresh look at a 25+ year legacy, a very welcome release and sure to be gratefully embraced by all ELP and Progressive Rock fans.


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