Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Historical At An Exhibition (Highland HL448/449)

Historical At An Exhibition (Highland HL448/449)

Obras Sanitarias Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina – April 5th, 1993

Disc 1 (56:41):  Opening, Tarkus, Knife Edge, Paper Blood, Black Moon, Piano Solo, Creole Dance, From The Beginning,  C’est La Vie, Lucky Man, Honky Tonk Train Blues

Disc 2 (63:25):  Touch And Go, Pirates, Hoedown, Inst Jam, Pictures At An Exhibition (Incl. Drum Solo), Fanfare For The Common Man ~ America ~ Rondo

Emerson Lake and Palmer’s comeback release Black Moon was released in the summer of 1992.  Close to a year of almost non-stop touring followed.  Traveling included their first shows ever in South America in the latter part of March and beginning of April.  For about two weeks they played in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, Brazil. 

The final shows were at the basketball arena Obras Sanitarias on April 4th and April 5th.  Two shows were played each night and Historical At An Exhibition documents the second show on the second night in a flawless soundboard recording.  The balance and presence of the music are almost perfect.  The only negative is the audience is pushed very far back but nevertheless this is one of the best sounding ELP titles available.  

And since it’s the final show after months of touring, the band pour a tremendous amount of energy and fun into the performance.  After the opening they start the show with a ten minute fragment of “Tarkus.”  The first three sections, “Eruption,” “Stones Of Years” and “Iconoclast” are played before a segue into “Knife Edge.”

Two songs from the new album, “Paper Blood” and “Black Moon” follow before the two long solo sections of the set.  Keith Emerson plays a piano solo lasting several minutes.  He then dedicates “Creol Dance” to Alberto Ginastera, the Argentine composer whose work “Toccata” Emerson adapted on Brain Salad Surgery.  Since they were playing in his home town it would have been interesting if ELP pulled that out, but it’s complexity means it hadn’t been played in twenty years.

Greg Lake his spotlight afterwards, starting with “From The Beginning.”  He tells the story of living in Paris in 1976 while writing “C’est La Vie.”  

The final hour of the show emphasizes the complete band.  “Touch And Go” is a nice nod to the 1980’s Emerson Lake & Powell and is followed by a full version of “Pirates.”  The show ends with the “Pictures At An Exhibition” suite featuring Carl Palmer’s drum solo.  

The encore is a long piece starting with “Fanfare For The Common Man.”  Emerson stands out by featuring the old fashioned Hammond organ giving it a late sixties / early seventies progressive rock sound.  Leonard Bernstein’s “America” is played before the segway into “Rondo.”  Emerson plays every snippet of classic and jazz tunes he can think of during the frenzy.

Overall this sounds very close to ELP at an artistic peak.  While the viciousness of their performances in the early seventies isn’t duplicated, there is enough creativity to suggest this isn’t a complete nostalgia  tour but a viable ELP project for the 1990s.  Unfortunately they wouldn’t reach this peak again with health and attitude problems leading to  horrible album in 1994 and breaking up in 1998.  (Maybe, once Palmer joins Lake and Emerson on their current low-key ELP tour things would work again).  The artwork is very clean.  On the front is a photo from the Works tour in 1977 and on the back is a 1992 publicity photograph.  For the ELP collector this is an essential title.   

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