Emerson, Lake & Palmer were recognized as progressive rock's first super-group, framed on supreme virtuosity, extended compositions, melodic song-forms and over-the-top concerts. But during a 2010 world tour, Keith Emerson (keyboards) and Greg Lake (bass, guitars & vocals) delved a bit inward, like old friends who weathered the storm amid the trials and tribulations of the music business. Consequently, drummer Carl Palmer nixed any future reunions after a 40th anniversary performance in 2010 at a London music festival. Otherwise, the duo engages the audience via some charming and insightful anecdotes between songs.
Lake and his friend, guitarist Robert Fripp
founded King Crimson in 1969, releasing its soon-to-be mega-classic In The Court Of The Crimson King
, yet for various reasons, Lake parted ways a year or so later. Here, Lake revisits the maiden Crimson album with a performance of the dreamlike and harmonious "I Talk To The Wind." True to form, his majestic and booming balladry remains intact atop his soothing, plugged-in acoustic guitar voicings. Emerson, performing on an acoustic or digital acoustic piano, weaves in and around Lake's wistful vocals with lush phrasings, shaded with a jazzy twist. He also stretches out a bit towards the finale, incorporating subtle block chords and zinging harmonics atop Lake who steadily strums the primary theme. While other works from the ELP songbook contain Emerson's customary use of electronic keyboards, the artists' cordiality poses contrasting insights with understated hues. Other than various tracks where they up the ante, recollections of their exhaustive agility and mammoth chops are morphed into a quiet fire as they conspicuously play for the audience and not merely for their own satisfaction.