While the former members Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson of prog rock juggernaut ELP have been forging ahead with their own projects since the band disbanded in the late 90's, Front man Greg Lake joined the fray by putting a new version of his solo band together for a UK tour in 2005. This DVD entitled Welcome Backstage captured the band rehearsing at Shepperton Film Studios in the U.K. and while it doesn't reveal or offer much in the way of commentary or insightful interviews, it does capture some pretty smoldering performances. Lake's band which consisted of David Arch on keyboards, Trevor Barry on bass, Brett Morgan on drums and the brilliant playing of German guitar wiz Florian Ophale. Greg's voice while certainly not at its peak like it was in the heyday of ELP, has gotten a lot better since the late 90's when he had a considerable drop in power. These new vocal chops if you want to call them that are really evident on moving renditions of "Farewell To Arms", which was played for the first time on this tour and "Watching Over You". The bands version of the ELP staple "Take A Pebble" has a slightly different arrangement highlighted by a mid song acoustic flamenco solo by Ophale that is just stunning to watch. This guy has played with two progressive rock icons in the past few years, first Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull in his solo band and now Lake so you know he's doing something right to be playing with the big boys.
Look all die hard fans would rather see these classic songs played by the three original members of ELP but until that happens we have stuff like this to get us by until the inevitable reunion. Not an essential purchase, but one for the completist and that's ok by me.
1) Fanfare For The Common Man
2) Take A Pebble
3) Farewell To Arms
4) Watching Over You
5) Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression –Part 2)
6) I Believe In Father Christmas