Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends ... Ladies & Gentlemen (1974)

Did we really need almost 36 minutes of “Karn Evil 9”?

It's a wonder they didn't split up sooner than they did — all the signs of an "it's complicated" relationship status were in place for this threesome. In the long, hot summer of 1974, this Emerson would lose his quiet cool by stabbing daggers into his synthesizers, strapping himself to a Steinway piano spinning upside down and rigging it with more explosives than Wile E. Coyote employs in a single Road Runner cartoon. At a San Francisco concert earlier that year, Emerson injured his hands when his piano detonated prematurely. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of the nights they recorded for posterity on this live album, which was a triple set in order to accommodate the lengthy title on the cover's spine. And to accommodate a lavish trifold cover where Messrs. E, L & P each get a whole 12-inch-square letter all to themselves. Cry, softly, cry for all the little trees in the rain forest that lost a mommy and daddy over that exorbitant waste of cardboard! But wait, there's more ... there is always more! Approximately 24 minutes and 36 seconds of the total 109 minutes and 20 seconds show features either E, L or P playing with himself while the other two get in some necessary laundry time, take in a movie, maybe settle down and start a family before returning to the stage. So it's no wonder that there's some enforced quality time where the partners are forced to stay together and share common interests. But was that any reason to use up an entire album to complete "Karn Evil 9"? For 35 minutes and 58 seconds, to be precise! Sheesh! That's more than most married couples converse with each other for an entire week!

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