Reviewed! Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Live at Montreaux 1997

Emerson, Lake and Palmer
“Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux”
Eagle Rock Ent.

If you manage to take anything away from “Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux,” which might be a hefty task in itself, take away the fact that no matter what it is, 1985 or 1997, when this live show was filmed, Carl Palmer is an exceptionally talented drummer. To tell you the truth, this DVD might be better left for those who appreciate sheer talent behind a drum set over any other facet of a live performance, and it’s those enthusiasts who will enjoy this release the most. And speaking in truths still, if you do not know much about Emerson, Lake and Palmer and their massively talented back catalog, “Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux” might be right up your alley, because serious fans of the trio might be quicker to pass this off as dreadful in more ways than one.

A lot of things about “Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux” just manage to feel off, most notably the vocals and keyboards. Greg Lake seems to labor through some of the vocal numbers, though he makes up somewhat with his excellent acoustic guitar playing, and you can tell Emerson gets lost at the points where his speed on the keys picks up. And that’s not even mentioning the portion of the show that sees Emerson introduce an old organ to the stage. The quality of the on-stage product aside, the quality of the DVD itself is mostly suspect, as parts of “Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux” tend to come off as a bootleg or audience recording, and not soundboard or master.

“Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Live at Montreux” isn’t completely hard to watch, but it can be a pain at times. But even with all of its pitfalls and shortcomings, casual fans of ELP should pick up a copy, for nostalgia purposes or to reminisce, either or, even if you can tell that this band is awake well beyond their bedtime.

Grade: C-