MC 3-200 Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends - Ladies and Gentleman Emerson Lake & Palmer
Produced by Greg Lake
Released on August 19, 1974
UK CHART POSITION #5 . . .
US CHART POSITION #4 . . . GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
MC 3-200 cover  

T he cherry atop ELP’s self-indulgent sundae, this three-record set might be the quintessential prog rock release: ambitious, overblown, and full of wonder. Yes, you could make a case that Yessongs is the best of the behemoths, but Welcome is closer to the heart of prog, an Icarus of an album package that seeks to soar by reproducing the band’s longest, most difficult works. And for the most part, ELP succeeds at replicating these gargantuan structures on stage, Keith Emerson’s keyboards dazzling like a diamond in the sun, Carl Palmer’s drums up for any challenge (the solo on “Karn Evil 9” is a feast for his fans), and Greg Lake’s voice in top form (though his bass is woefully undermiked most of the time). Because ELP’s music is superlative by design, the studio recordings are the best way to hear this music the first time; that said, the trio does an amazing job of resurrecting the magic in a live setting. At some point midway through, Emerson’s fingers should have fallen off; instead, he captivates from beginning to end, and neither Palmer nor Lake lag far behind. Concert highlights include “Karn Evil 9” and “Tarkus,” plus new “Piano Improvisations” from Emerson. The combination of “Jeremy Bender” and “The Sheriff” is a cute idea, but they both get the bum’s rush here (better to stick with the originals). I may not listen to Welcome as much as Tarkus or Trilogy, but only because of the substantial investment in time it requires. When I do make the effort, I’m always rewarded for my troubles (which for elpee owners will include frequent trips to the turntable). Pound for pound their studio albums contained more magic, but no ELP release has left a deeper impression than this.

MC 3-200 diecut trifold MC 3-200 back cover
MC 3-200 diecut trifold MC 3-200 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. HOEDOWN    (Aaron Copland, arr. by Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
  2. JERUSALEM    (Parry/Blake, arr. by Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
  3. TOCCATA    (Ginastera, arr. by Keith Emerson)
  4. TARKUS
    1. Eruption    (Keith Emerson)
    2. Stones of Years    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)
    3. Iconoclast    (Keith Emerson)
    4. Mass    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)
    5. Manticore    (Keith Emerson)
    6. Battlefield    (Greg Lake)    incl. Epitaph    (Robert Fripp/Ian McDonald/Greg Lake/Michael Giles/Peter Sinfield)
    7. Aquatarkus    (Keith Emerson)
  5. TAKE A PEBBLE    (Greg Lake)    incl. Still... You Turn Me On / Lucky Man
  6. PIANO IMPROVISATIONS    (Keith Emerson)    incl. Friedrich Gulda's "Fugue" and Joe Sullivan's "Little Rock Getaway"
  7. TAKE A PEBBLE (CONCLUSION)    (Greg Lake)
  8. JEREMY BENDER/THE SHERIFF    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)
  9. KARN EVIL 9    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake/Peter Sinfield)
    1. 1st Impression    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)    incl. Percussion Solo (Con Brio)    (Carl Palmer)
    2. 2nd Impression    (Keith Emerson)
    3. 3rd Impression    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake/Peter Sinfield)

CREDITS

KEITH EMERSON -- keyboards
GREG LAKE -- bass, vocals, guitar
CARL PALMER -- drums, percussion
Andy Hendriksen -- engineer
Peter Granet -- engineer
Michael Ross -- package concep and design
Carl Dunn -- photography

return to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK August 19, 1974 Manticore 3LP    
US August 19, 1974 Manticore 3LP MC 3-200 diecut trifold cover, black picture sleeves
GER 1974 Manticore 3LP 88150  
  June 1989 Atlantic 2CD/2CS 3-200  
US Nov/Dec 1993 Victory 2CD/2CS 84001  
  1996 Essential 2CD ESM 359  
US May 21, 1996 Rhino 2CD 72228  

 

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