Emerson Lake & Palmer Welcome Back My Friends 1974

The full title is of this live album by ELP is Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends… Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

When I was a young lad I used to look at this album and Yessongs by Yes and dream about the days when I could afford to buy a triple LP. It seemed so extravagant.

These two bands, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Genesis were at the very top of progressive rock’s list of dinosaurs.

Welcome Back My Friends was recorded on the 1973/74 world tour to promote the Brain Salad Surgery album. It was ELP’s second live album to be released after Pictures At An Exhibition.

Emerson Lake & Palmer Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends… Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends... Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Set List

Disc one

  1. Hoedown – 4:27 (Trilogy)
  2. Jerusalem – 3:20 (Brain Salad Surgery)
  3. Toccata – 7:21 (Brain Salad Surgery)
  4. Tarkus – 27:24 (Tarkus)
  5. Take A Pebble – 11:06  (from Emerson Lake & Palmer)

Disc two

  1. Piano Improvisations – 11:54
  2. Take A Pebble (Conclusion) – 3:14 (from Emerson Lake & Palmer)
  3. Jeremy Bender / The Sheriff – 5:26 (Tarkus / Trilogy)
  4. Karn Evil 9 – 35:21 (all 3 impressions from Brain Salad Surgery)

The recording of Take A Pebble includes  two other Greg Lake songs Still…You Turn Me On (from Brain Salad Surgery) and Lucky Man (from the self titled debut album).

Performance

I used to think that ELP were great but I find them a little hard to take in such large doses these days. It seems to think that I prefer the better balance of Yes and their classic live album Yessongs.

Keith Emerson in particular shows his incredible skills on the Hammon organ, synthesisers and piano. It’s very much his show but Greg Lake and Carl palmer are also very talented musicians and lake has a great voice.

Here is a video of Emerson Lake & Palmer live in 1974 performing Karn Evil 9 with the bit that starts “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends”.

Overall

I don’t love this album. In fact it’s one I dip into occasionally but I wish I had seen ELP perform live in their prime.

What Other People Say

With the critics hatred of prog rock, the most bombastic and pretentious of acts doesn’t appear in their best live albums listings.

It is however very much appreciated by fans of ELP.

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Buying Welcome Back My Friends

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What Do You Think About Welcome Back My Friends?

This is an album that will divide opinions.

Are you in favour of it or do you hate the crazy excess and long for an electric guitar based band?

Best ELP live album

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Best Prog Rock Live Albums

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Because there are so many great progressive rock live albums I have split the poll into two and you may find some of your favourites in the second division. Albums will be promoted when they get enough votes.

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You can get these albums from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk.

You may be interested in these other polls – best art rock live album, best AOR live album and best classic rock live album.

 

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