Technically, blah...BUT it's Prime ELP!
Michael A. Zikmund | New Orleans, LA United States | 12/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, I agree. Technically, this DVD bites! The video is particularly bad. BUT this is probably the only chance to see ELP at the height of their powers with the full orchestra (unless other, unknown footage exists). And, the sound isn't THAT bad! Musically, this is a landmark DVD (the first rock band to tour with a full orchestra). "Pirates" alone is worth the price of the DVD. The orchestra is perfectly integrated into the performance (unlike many other such excursions from the period, where a rock band would play for a while and then the orchestra would play their part). The second part of the show (the "Manticore" special) is a 1973 documentary on the band during the making of "Brain Salad Surgery" and the tour that followed. It's interesting to see life on the road with the band (lots of alcohol, cigs, and funny-looking cigarettes!). There is also good (but incomplete) performance footage of several ELP classics (the only complete song is "Hoedown" at the end of the program). Again, the technical quality is very ragged, but from a historical perspective it's quite fascinating! ELP have said that the Montreal concert with the orchestra was one of their best performances. Get the DVD and find out why!"
Works doesn't Work
Micro Ray Corp. | NY, USA | 11/11/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Simply put- Garbage.The audio quality is poor, Very muddy, no highs.The sound reminds me of someone sneaking in a hand held recorder and bootlegging the show! I have to put up the treble on my receiver three quarters and back down the bass half to get something listenable.The video is fair to close to good.Grainy, at times out of focus.The only good point is EL&P performance with the orchestra.For a DVD, it has to be one of the worst releases by a professional company.Very surprised EL&P let this get released.Do not buy .Hopefully, this disaster will be discontinued and a re release with the sound remixed correctly, the video cleaned up better."
Only for the die-hard fan of ELP
Rykre | Carson City, Nevada | 07/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's not enough "s'es" in "sucks" to describe how bad the picture and sound quality is of this DVD.
But, if you were fortunate enough to catch ELP during their 1977 Works Tour, than this DVD will give you back some of that fond memory you had when you saw them back then.
I saw them in Detroit, so seeing this show live again is a treat. But, the quality of this DVD is truly horrible.
However, if it is simply not possible for these two ducumentaries to be improved, then I guess we should be thankful that they actually released this at all.
My favorite ELP DVD is still my very first purchase. The documentary of their "Black Moon" tour called "Welcome Back".
Their double DVD called "Beyond the Beginning" is pretty good too."
Some technical notes on the Montreal show
JESSE R. MC Glown | Enterprise, AL | 03/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's got its moments. For ELP, this concert was a phenomenal success. As to the recording aspect, it was a star-crossed night...the irony of the poor audio of this DVD stems from the fact that the location 24-track recorder broke down during the show ( interview with Keith Emerson, 1980 ). The videotape audio for the then state-of-the-art two-inch machine was limited to one track; hence the monaural sound, although they tried to create "stereo" with reverb. The biggest flaw, and in my opinion the most unforgivable one, was the inadequate lighting for the video cameras. The "ghost" images also resulted from the relatively low light. I saw ELP twice during this 1977 tour, and the stage lighting was great for human eyes...but those big TV cameras required something like 35 lux illumination ( versus one lux for camcorders today ). Shame on the video team; they knew better. If you check out the size of ABC-TVs California Jam stage lights during that ELP set, it becomes obvious that ABC did its homework. Don't hold your breath waiting for the "new and improved" on Montreal. This unfortunately is as good as it gets. It does, however, capture ELP at a monumental peak in their career, no matter how poor a business decision it turned out to be."