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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Works Live  CD (album) cover

WORKS LIVE

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.30 | 136 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Yeah, it actually works better live!

Works Vol. 1 is in my opinion the weakest of ELP's studio albums (yes, I prefer Love Beach and In The Hot Seat and even Works Vol. 2 over it!). The main problem with it is that it is wildly incoherent with each member having his own vinyl side and only one proper band side. It is really three half solo albums and one half ELP album masquerading as a double album. Works Vol. 2 is unsatisfactory in its own way by virtually being a compilation album of B-sides and tracks that didn't make it onto previous albums. The best songs from both Works albums could have made up one good single album, but it was a mistake to release three whole LP's (the double Vol. 1 followed by Works Vol. 2). This live album, featuring material primarily from the Works albums, has a much better flow than the Works studio albums. It must however be added that the absence of Pirates (by far the best track from Works Vol. 1) is a disappointment. (Though, thankfully, that very good number got a well deserved appearance on the band's next official live record Live At The Royal Albert Hall.)

Originally released in 1979 under the name In Concert, Works Live is the expanded CD reissue of that third official ELP live album. As I said, the set list features primarily songs taken from the Works albums and this period in the band's career was one of decline. While it is very clear that it is inferior to the previous live album Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, I nonetheless find Works Live a decent live album in its own right that I generally prefer over both of the Works studio albums.

Discounting the brief Introductory Fanfare (which appears on both albums), In Concert featured seven tracks. Works Live is expanded with another seven tracks making the album into a double album. Peter Gunn, Tiger In A Spotlight, C'est La Vie, The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits, Knife Edge, Piano Concerto No. 1 (Third Movement: Toccata Con Fuoco), and Pictures At An Exhibition remain, with Watching Over You, Maple Leaf Rag, Fanfare For The Common Man, Show Me The Way To Go Home, Abaddon's Bolero, Closer To Believing, and Tank being added. Not all of these songs are strong additions, but overall it was a nice idea to expand the album making it truer to the actual show.

The band is supported here by a symphony orchestra emphasising the bombastic nature of the music. In general I find this unnecessary and it also ruined the band financially contributing to their breakup. While hardly their best live record, it is a worthy addition to an ELP collection.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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