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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Harmonia 76 - Tracks and Traces – 1976 was a transitional year where Brian Eno changed his context for working with electronics to an ambient perspective. This was due in part to his meeting with synthesizer duo Cluster (Moebius and...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues