ELP performance on DVD is an acquired taste

Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Pictures At An Exhibition
Eagle Vision (EV303019)
Grade: ★★★★

By Michael Popke

ELP’s famous “Pictures at an Exhibition” — which first saw limited theatrical release in 1973 — has been previously issued in both VHS and DVD formats. But this 40th anniversary DVD of the trio’s over-the-top performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s famous piano suite, captured at London’s Lyceum Ballroom in 1970 happens to be the most complete version of the film, with enhanced audio and picture quality. Bonus features include a previously unreleased 1970 performance from Belgian television.

ELP transformed Mussorgsky’s 1874 composition into a noisy jazz-rock hybrid. Horribly dated psychedelic imagery that must have mesmerized viewers of the original big-screen production detracts from steady camerawork, as shots linger on fingers and facial expressions. Much of the attention focuses on organ-attacking, spectacle-seeking keyboardist Keith Emerson. But with this performance, ELP collectively proved that progressive rock was, depending on a listener’s preference, a force to either be reckoned with or destroyed.


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Buy the brand new edition of “Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948-1991, 7th Edition”

• Get the new John Lennon book: “John Lennon: Life is What Happens, Music, Memories & Memorabilia”

Get the closest thing to the full Woodstock experience with the book “Woodstock Peace, Music & Memories.”

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