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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72 CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE MAR Y SOL FESTIVAL '72

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.20 | 51 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Mar Y Sol Festival took place in Puerto Rico in April of 1972. The accounts of the media who were there suggest that this festival was not a success pointing to several accidental deaths along with a murder. Also the promoter had to sneak out of the country before the festival was over with the police looking for him. BLACK SABBATH was cancelled due to the fact they couldn't get them to the venue on time due to the traffic. Along with ELP the festival boasted Alice Cooper, The Faces, The Allman Brothers, Osibisa, Mahavishnu Orchestra along with many other bands taking part. We get the whole performance here from ELP, so just under 80 minutes of great live music with good sound quality.

I have to mention here that ELP has never been a band I appreciated a whole lot although I love their debut. So imagine my surprise at how much I like this album. There's not the silliness here and the playing is incredible to say the least, but I just love how this sounds. Listening to this recording feels like a meeting with an old friend which again completely surprised me. And I really like how prominant the bass is but then all three guys were at the top of their game here.

The recording starts with a passionate announcement of the band "Here they are, from England, Emerson...Lake...and Palmer!" to a huge ovation. The crowd was really into this and one man who was there suggests that they were the highlight of the festival. They start with "Hoedown" but without the country vibe(thankyou). That familiar organ sound kicks it off with a full sound in tow. Check out the bass after 2 minutes. The synths replace the organ but not for long. An excellent uptempo instrumental. "Tarkus" opens with Keith I believe announcing "Okay we'd like to play something your probably familiar with, there's a picture of an armadillo and this is called "Tarkus", thankyou." This is my favourite track on here and it clocks in at just under 23 minutes. Just a killer song with Emerson leading the way. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles down. So good! Love the instrumental section starting around 6 minutes then the vocals return a minute later. An interesting vocal section starting before 13 minutes with guitar. They change gears before 17 minutes as the crowd cheers. Keyboards galore follow along with upfront bass.

"Take A Pebble" is a change of pace after the furious ending of "Tarkus". With Lake singing I did think of KING CRIMSON. Nice piano solo around 3 minutes. It doesn't take long for the crowd to recognize that the next song is "Lucky Man". Up next is "Piano Improvisation" and it's just that for close to 10 minutes. I like when it turns jazzy before 4 minutes. Vocals actually arrive just before it ends.

"Pictures At An Exhibition" is good but my least favourite tune on here. They do kick some ass early on before a clam arrives before 3 minutes. Vocals 2 minutes later as it kicks back in. An interesting instrumental section starts before 11 minutes and it's actually experimental at times(gasp). Vocals return a couple of minutes later and this track ends their performance until we get the ovation that brings them back out to play the almost 19 minute "Rondo" to end it in style. Train sounds can be heard with lots of clashing cymbals. It's picking up speed, then we get this extended drum solo starting before 6 minutes. The crowd gets involved before 12 minutes and when the drum solo ends after 13 minutes we get a huge ovation. He's not quite done though(haha) then the bass joins in. Outstanding! Train sounds return followed by Emerson. Great sound!

So yes I highly recommend this fantastic live release and if your a big ELP fan you need this.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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