Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla
Varese Sarabande (302 067 050 2)
By Michael Popke
The three members of Emerson, Lake & Palmer have each reinterpreted that seminal progressive band’s catalog using hotshot guitarists in their own solo outfits. While Greg Lake and Carl Palmer opted for young axe slingers, Keith Emerson anointed weathered journeyman Marc Bonilla (Toy Matinee, Glenn Hughes) as lead guitarist and Lake-like vocalist.
Filmed in Russia in 2008 with 5.1 surround sound prior to the release of the Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla’s eponymous album, this 15-song performance rocks, breathing new life into such ELP classics as “Karn Evil 9,” “Lucky Man” and “Tarkus.” The quartet also unexpectedly tosses in “Touch and Go” from the short-lived Emerson, Lake & Powell, plus a handful of new songs.
Emerson sets up shop with his gigantic Moog in the same corner of the stage he occupied with ELP, but he’s not quite as crazy as he used to be. He even lets Bonilla cut loose on guitar every now and then.