There’s something decidedly old school about Emerson going all the way to Moscow to launch the debut album by his latest band. It may have been 2008, but the pomp’n’prog of the venture is more in keeping with his early 70s activities in the company of Greg Lake and Carl Palmer.
Of course, the ghost of ELP looms large, as it might in a live set that opens with the trio’s Karn Evil, and even the newer material (Crusader’s Cross, Marche Train) harks back to former glories. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing as, despite the contributions of his absent buddies, Emerson’s dextrous keyboard work more often than not provided the signature sound.
Singer and guitarist Marc Bonilla is a different prospect to Lake, though: more rooted in the blues-hollering camp of rock vocalists, he seems to relish letting rip on the live stage. It’s a more forceful performance than on record, Emerson and Bonilla enjoying extended bouts of call-and-response that bring a more organic feel to the material than captured in the studio.