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

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Hans Reichel & Eroc - The Return of Onkel Boskopp – Careful. This is Hans Reichel; not to be confused with another German experimentalist - Achim Reichel. The Reichel featured here is known for constructing home made string instruments, and performing...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues