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Emerson Lake & Palmer: Once Upon A Time in South America
Emerson Lake & Palmer have achieved legendary status in the annals of progressive rock. The band's penchant for musical excess is the stuff of legend. ELP was everything classic progressive rock strove to be in the '70s, a decadent listen by any standards. Fast forward a few years to the 1992 release Black Moon, their first album since 1978 as the band had taken more than a few years off. To mark their return to the fold and their new album ELP constructed a world tour with added South American dates. The band had never played there before and this four CD set titled Once Upon A Time in South America captures the moment spread over three concerts recorded in 1993 and 1997.
To say anything new of the band that hasn't already been said is nigh impossible. Their performances of yesteryear have been well documented. Well, I have to say a little bit of that old magic returned to the band with these performances. The decadently bombastic prog of "Tarkus" complete with raging organ and synth, the fat bass line of "Knife Edge" with Lake's deep voice leading the way along with more bombast from Palmer and Emerson, the iconic synthesizer in the beautifully poignant "Lucky Man" - it's all here for your enjoyment. Newer songs at the time like "Paper Blood" and "Black Moon" sound fresh and exciting with fabulous keyboards, especially Emerson's fantastic organ playing. "Close To Home" is another one extracted from the Black Moon album this time featuring Emerson's wonderful piano work as does "Creole Dance", a vehicle for Emerson's virtuosic chops. "Still…You Turn Me On" is another great choice featuring Lake's wonderful acoustic guitar and moving vocals.
If you still don't think this band has the chops just listen to the eighteen minute suite of "Fanfare For The Common Man/ America/ Rondo", a wonderfully moving and bombastic slice of prog rock that only ELP could pull off. All three members shine; ELP were truly a band with no weak links.
Most of the fourth disc is taken the from band's 1997 concert at the Metropolitan Theater, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some of the highlights include Part 1 of the first impression from "Karn Evil 9" (although it would have been nice to have the complete song), a gorgeous rendition of the jazzy "From The Beginning" and the exquisite "Pictures At An Exhibition".
On the production side the disc sounds great with nice dynamic range and great clarity. Certainly a nice surprise given the sometimes unevenness of live recordings.
The only downside of the set is the song repetition but that is to be expected given the three concert scenario. With only one surviving member left, Once Upon A Time in South America documents an important comeback for the band proving they could still play at a very high level. Judging from the crowd response it was a great time had by all.
CD 1 – Tracks 1-13 recorded live at Estadio Chile, Santiago, Chile on April 1,
1. Introductory Fanfare (0:46)
2. Tarkus (9:10)
3. Knife Edge (5:32)
4. Paper Blood (4:42)
5. Black Moon (6:33)
6. Close To Home (3:36)
7. Creole Dance (5:15)
8. Still…You Turn Me On (3:52)
9. C'est La Vie (5:04)
10. Lucky Man (5:33)
11. Honky Tonk Train Blues (4:02)
12. Touch And Go (3:10)
13. Pirates (14:18)
CD 2 – Tracks 1-3 recorded live at Estadio Chile, Santiago, Chile on April 1, 1993/ Tracks 4-9 recorded live at Obras Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 5, 1993
1. Hoedown (3:07)
2. Pictures At An Exhibition (23:28)
3. Fanfare For The Common Man/ America/ Rondo (17:54)
4. Introductory Fanfare (0:24)
5. Tarkus (9:20)
6. Knife Edge (5:36)
7. Paper Blood (4:15)
8. Black Moon (6:57)
9. Emerson Piano Solo (5:23)
CD 3 – Tracks 1-10 recorded live at Obras Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 5, 1993
1. Creole Dance (6:34)
2. From The Beginning (3:03)
3. C'est La Vie (5:29)
4. Lucky Man (5:06)
5. Honky Tonk Train Blues (4:29)
6. Touch And Go (3:20)
7. Pirates (14:36)
8. Hoedown (3:09)
9. Instrumental Jam (1:52)
10. Pictures At An Exhibition (24:09)
CD 4 – Track 1 recorded live at Obras Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina on
April 5, 1993/ Tracks 2-11 recorded live at the Metropolitan Theater, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 16, 1997
1. Fanfare For The Common Man/ America/ Rondo (16:17)
2. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 (5:05)
3. Hoedown (4:39)
4. Touch And Go (3:58)
5. From The Beginning (4:05)
6. Knife Edge (6:07)
7. Lucky Man (4:56)
8. Tarkus (8:27)
9. Pictures At An Exhibition (10:38)
10. 21st Century Schizoid Man (1:46)
11. America (1:19)
Added: September 28th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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