The notorious prog rock trio each went off and did their own thing (cynics may insert a masturbation reference here), and this was the result. Emerson did a classical piano concerto, Lake did crooner ballads (tracks 2-6), and Palmer did jazz (tracks 7-12), and there are two band tracks to finish off.
The piano concerto is easily the most listenable thing on the double album, and Emerson can play. It hardly has the raw power of a Prokofiev concerto, or the freedom of a Keith Jarrett improvisation, but it's moderately successful as a crossover. Lake's ballads are embarrassingly overblown and the lyrics contain a fair bit of nonsense. Palmer's instrumental jazz is rather too busy, spoiled by some messy orchestral arrangements. Of the band tracks, their arrangement of Copland's "Fanfare" works well as a dynamic, driving rock piece, although the subsequent improvisations are dragged out far too long. "Pirates" is a podgy, incoherent ramble.
August 12, 2003