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Emerson Lake & Palmer – Assault Your Senses (Siréne -203)

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Assault Your Senses (Siréne -203)

Grugahalle, Essen, Germany – June 4th, 1972

Disc 1:  Hoedown, Tarkus, Aquatarkus, Endless Enigma Part 1, Fugue, Endless Enigma Part 2, Take A Pebble, Lucky Man

Disc 2:  piano improvisation, Take A Pebble (conclusion), Promenade, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Curse Of Baba Yaga, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Great Gates Of Kiev, Rondo, drum solo, Rondo (reprise)

Assault Your Senses is the latest Emerson Lake & Palmer silver release on the prodigious Siréne  label.  It contains two incomplete audience recordings from the first European date of their Trilogy tour in Essen, Germany, on June 4th, 1972.  The first tape source is new and is a very good stereo recording.  It is a fair distance from the stage but three-dimensional with a very good live sound placing the listener right in the middle of the action.  This source is used for “Hoedown”, “Tarkus”, “Endless Enigma”.  The second audience recording is then edited in and is used for “Take A Pebble”, “Lucky Man”, the piano improvisations, “Take A Pebble (conclusion)”, and the Pictures suite. 

This audience recording is listenable although very flat with the emphasis upon the deep frequencies.  The first tape source picks up afterwards for a twenty-minute version of “Rondo” including the long Carl Palmer drum solo before fading out one minute and forty two seconds into the reprise.  A third good audience recording also exists for this show although was not utilized by Siréne .  This is the first time this concert has ever appeared on a commercial release in any format and is the second Siréne  release, after Wisdom Decay Bologna (Siréne -077), from the 1972 summer tour of Europe.

Essen was the first of twelve dates in June across Europe and they were supported by the J.  Gieles Band, making their first appearances in Europe.  “Hoedown” opens the show and is their strongest opener.  “Tarkus” is introduced as something old and features well timed shouts from Emerson to build enthusiasm.  The “Battlefield” section of the rhapsody sounds tremendous in this recording and builds to a furious climax without the nod to “Epitaph”.  “Aquatarkus” is tracked separately as it is on many other Siréne  releases and features interesting moog experiments. 

The piece sounds great but will reach its developmental climax the next year when it will routinely reach thirty minutes.  “ Endless Enigma” from the new LP was added to the set list at the end of the U.S. tour in April and is played on all of the dates in Europe.  Greg Lake sings the vocals instead of shouting them and is played very close to the studio version.  “Take A Pebble” includes a soft version of “Lucky Man” and the piano doodlings before returning to the main theme.  The individual pieces of “Pictures At An Exhibition” are tracked separately and last for fifteen minutes and closes the set.  “Rondo” is the encore and features Palmer’s drum solo and Emerson’s organ gymnastics.

Limited bonus dvdr, Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Lyceum 1970.  Lyceum Ballroom, London, England – December 9th, 1970 (Japanese broadcast version):  Intro., Rondo (including drum solo), The Barbarian, Promenade, The 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 

The bonus dvdr is called Lyceum 1970.  It looks like a recording from a Japanese television show called “Young Music Show”.  It begins with a shot of a Japanese woman in a strange looking outfit before the film of the band begins.  Most of this footage has been released officially on Pictures At An Exhibition (aka Rock ‘N Roll Your Eyes) which saw limited release in movie theaters in the seventies before appearing on vhs and dvd.  Director Nicholas Ferguson dominates the screen with close ups of Emerson’s fingers and Palmer staring at Emerson.  Greg Lake gets least screen time with most shots coming over his left shoulder. 

Lyceum 1970 contains more music than the official release with a good part of “Rondo” (including the drum solo) and “The Barbarian”.  The silly comics and psychedelic lights in the latter part of “Pictures” are still unfortunately present.  The picture quality is also very good but not nearly as good as the official release so it is a trade off.  There is a drop in the sound quality at 2:40 in “The Curse Of Baba Yaga” but otherwise is very enjoyable.  The Lyceum show was very early in their career and it is good to have a complete “Pictures” suite captured on film including “The Sage” and “The Old Castle”, two great numbers that were subsequently dropped in live performance.  This dvdr could have stood on its own but works magnificently as a bonus and makes Assault Your Senses a release worth having. 

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