Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen

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Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen
ELP Welcome Back My Friends.jpg
Live album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Released 19 August 1974
Recorded 1973–1974, worldwide tour
Genre Progressive rock
Length 109:41
Label Manticore
Producer Greg Lake
Emerson, Lake & Palmer chronology
Brain Salad Surgery
Welcome Back, My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen
Works Volume 1

Welcome Back My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen is a 1974 live album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It was originally packaged as a three-disk vinyl set in a gatefold ("trifold" with two sections opening away from the centre) cover, the inside of which used the letters "E", "L" and "P" as retainers for the individual disks. The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard album chart, making it ELP's highest charting album in the US.[1]

This was the last ELP release for almost three years while the band took an extended break to recover and pursue some solo projects that eventually ended up on their next release Works Volume 1 in 1977.

The album was recorded during the 1973/1974 Someone Get Me a Ladder world tour. The title of the album comes from the introduction to the performance, itself a paraphrase of the opening line of the song "Karn Evil 9: First Impression, Part 2". The "welcome back my friends" hook was also used by Alan Freeman on some of his radio shows.

The Quadraphonic mix of the album was only released in the Quadraphonic 8-track cartridge format, as a three-tape set. Despite the tape cartridge box art sharing the Quadradisc record logo, a planned CD-4 quad vinyl version of the 3 record set had to be scrapped, due to engineering issues with master tapes that prevented JVC from cutting a stable master to meet strict CD-4 format specifications.

Most of the original recordings included on the album had been first issued as a presentation for the syndicated US radio show "King Biscuit Flower Hour". In 1999, these original radio recordings were released on CD.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]

AllMusic gave the album a mixed retrospective review, saying that it "makes one realise how accomplished these musicians were, and how well they worked together when the going was good." They praised the set for including all but one song from Brain Salad Surgery, and particularly commended the performance of "Karn Evil 9" as being far superior to the studio rendition. However, they noted that unlike most live albums of the era, Welcome Back did not incorporate studio overdubs, limiting the band's ability to recreate moments from their albums and resulting in poor sound quality: "Even the most recent remastered editions could not fix the feedback, the occasionally leakages, the echo, the seeming distance – the listener often gets the impression of being seated in the upper mezzanine of an arena."[2]

Track listing[edit]

CD track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

  1. "Hoedown" (Taken from Rodeo) (Aaron Copland, arr. Keith Emerson, Greg Lake & Carl Palmer) – 4:27
  2. "Jerusalem" (Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, William Blake, arr. Emerson, Lake & Palmer) – 3:20
  3. "Toccata" An adaptation of Ginastera's 1st piano Concerto, 4th movement (Alberto Ginastera, arr. Emerson) – 7:21
  4. "Tarkus" (Emerson, Lake) – 27:24
    1. "Eruption" (Emerson)
    2. "Stones of Years" (Emerson, Lake)
    3. "Iconoclast" (Emerson)
    4. "Mass" (Emerson, Lake)
    5. "Manticore" (Emerson)
    6. "Battlefield" (Lake) including "Epitaph" (Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Lake, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield)
    7. "Aquatarkus" (Emerson)
  5. "Take a Pebble" (Lake) (including "Still...You Turn Me On" (Lake) and "Lucky Man") (Lake) – 11:06

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Piano Improvisations" (including Friedrich Gulda's "Fugue" and Joe Sullivan's "Little Rock Getaway") (Emerson) – 11:54
  2. "Take a Pebble (Conclusion)" (Lake) – 3:14
  3. "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" (Emerson, Lake) – 5:26
  4. "Karn Evil 9 (Emerson, Lake, Sinfield) – 35:21
    1. "Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression" (includes Percussion Solo (Con Brio)) (Emerson, Lake, Palmer)
    2. "Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression" (Emerson)
    3. "Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression" (Emerson, Lake, Sinfield)

Original LP track listing[edit]

For songwriting credits, see above.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Hoedown" – 4:27
  2. "Jerusalem" – 3:20
  3. "Toccata" – 7:21

Side two[edit]

  1. "Tarkus" – 16:42
    1. "Eruption"
    2. "Stones of Years"
    3. "Iconoclast"
    4. "Mass"
    5. "Manticore"
    6. "Battlefield" (including "Epitaph")

Side three[edit]

  1. "Tarkus (Conclusion)" – 10:42
    1. "Aquatarkus"
  2. "Take a Pebble" (including "Still...You Turn Me On/Lucky Man") – 11:06

Side four[edit]

  1. "Piano Improvisations" – 11:54
  2. "Take a Pebble (Conclusion)" – 3:14
  3. "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" – 5:26

Side five[edit]

  1. "Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression" (includes Percussion Solo (Con Brio)) – 17:26

Side six[edit]

  1. "Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression" – 7:36
  2. "Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression" – 10:17



Organization Level Date
RIAA – US Gold 19 September 1974


  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 200 via AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Bruce Eder, François Couture & (2011). "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends: Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson Lake & – Emerson, Lake & Palmer | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 26 July 2011.