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Prog Report: Yes- Emerson, Lake & Palmer- Niagara

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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A listen to releases from progressive bands including Yes' In the Present-Live from Lyon, Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Live at the Mar y Sol Festival and special 3 disc Niagara reissue.

Yes
In the Present-Live from Lyon

Frontiers

The addition a few years back of singer Benoit David to the ever-evolving Yes line-up was perhaps the most significant member change in the group's entire history. With a voice that sounds amazingly like that of departed original vocalist Jon Anderson, David is able to breathe new life here into warhorses like "I've Seen All Good People" and "And You and I." There was a time when the thought of another live version of "Siberian Khatru" would cause even diehard fans to cringe but Yes opens this 2-CD/1-DVD set with the song; a few gentle but noticeable tweaks bring the song into the 21st century making it far more energetic and interesting that the somewhat soporific original. With a stellar cast of players including keys man Oliver Wakeman and seasoned vets Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White the show is note-perfect and includes lots of favorites like "Roundabout," "Owner of a Lonely Heart," "Starship Trooper" and "Heart of the Sunrise." The DVD features excerpts from the concert and interview segments.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Live at the Mar y Sol Festival

Shout Factory

This show was recorded in Puerto Rico in 1972 and the CD booklet offers a brief remembrance from each member; Emerson claims his Moog wasn't performing properly due to the Caribbean humidity, Lake remembers watching out for rattlesnakes and how the sleeve of his velvet jacket almost caught fire upon contact with super-heated TV lighting equipment and Palmer acknowledges that the show has been treated with modern technology to improve the sound. That's nice but maybe it wasn't necessary; the concert recording, finally seeing official release in the U.S., has long been well-coveted on the bootleg market. "Hoedown," "Take a Pebble" and the vaunted "Lucky Man" are the "short" numbers here while the set's other four songs, "Tarkus," "Pictures at an Exhibition," "Rondo" and Emerson's piano improv segment spread out over more than an hour.

Niagara
(Self titled)

MIG

The brainchild of German jazz drummer Klaus Weiss, Niagara was an early '70s outfit composed strictly of drummers and percussionists and Niagara, the first of their three albums features only two cuts; long jams called "Sangandongo" and "Malanga." These are not indulgent drum solos; rather they are luxurious grooves meant to lose oneself in. This special 3-CD set also includes subsequent Niagara albums Afire and S.U.B. in which Weiss experimented a little by adding bass, guitar and sax to the mix.

Buy Niagara CD Here

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