Exposé Online banner

Emerson, Lake & Palmer — The Birth of a Band - Isle of Wight Festival 1970
(Eagle Eye RV0597, 1970/2006, DVD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

The Birth of a Band - Isle of Wight Festival 1970 Cover art

Having seen bits of the footage floating around, I was excited to learn that Emerson Lake & Palmer’s live debut at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival was finally going to have an official DVD release. This was an historic event, not just for E.L.P. but for progressive rock music as well since, other than King Crimson’s bursting on the scene the year before, the world hadn’t quite seen anything like this at the time and this event helped to make the band famous overnight. This is really two disks in one; one side is the concert film plus recent interviews with the band and John Graydon (infamous former ex-partner of E.G.) to be played on a DVD player. The other side is a recording of the show (most of it, anyway) for play in a CD player. Upon listening to the four songs that comprise the CD (early and pretty raw — especially from Greg Lake — attempts at “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Take a Pebble,” “Rondo,” and “Nutrocker),” it becomes clear that E.L.P.’s live show had been shortened to fit into the slot the band was given, but also that parts of some songs have been edited out, Lake’s acoustic guitar soliloquy in “Take a Pebble” being the most obvious victim. But a worse fate befalls the film of the concert. Other than “Rondo” (which is pretty cool, I’ll admit) most of the film of the band’s performance is missing. A large swath of “Pictures at an Exhibition” is absent and there’s even less of “Take a Pebble” (and none of “Nutrocker” at all). Instead, the viewer is treated to Murray Lerner’s documentary footage shot around the Isle of Wight while the soundtrack plays over it. Or worse, footage from other songs is substituted and edited to appear to be what you’re listening to. Does the missing footage even exist? Or is it not in good enough condition to use? Who knows, but film of speedboats and hippies bathing in the surf are hardly reasonable substitutes. E.L.P. fans and completists will probably be willing to look past these shortcomings, plus there’s certainly value in the concert recording and interviews. But otherwise all I can say is buyer beware.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases, 1970 recordings

Related artist(s): Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), Keith Emerson, Greg Lake

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Runaway Totem - Esameron – Since their debut in the early 90s, Runaway Totem has always had interesting music to serve up. Their early Black Widow releases were extremely dark and twisted endeavors, while their first for Musea...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues