Rejoice progressive rock fans! The Nice has returned. Well, in a sense they have, now introduced as Keith Emerson and The Nice, which is no surprise considering what the keyboardist has accomplished since the bands inception.
I remember visiting my brother in Boston when I was 16 and checking out his album collection and finding a red vinyl LP of The Nice. At that time, I did not have clue, if I only knew then what I knew now.
Well it seems like it is never too late, with bands reforming for one last show, or CD and DVDs coming out and even better, reissues. There is a multitude of ways to relive the past in music now. Vivacitas-Live At Glasgow 2002 is one of those special events captured for those to relive their past or for the uninitiated to discover who some of the pioneers of prog-rock were.
What makes this set so enjoyable is the fact that you get select tracks from the catalogs of The Nice and ELP, what more can you ask for? An interview disc? Well, you get that too; the only thing that is missing now is the DVD so maybe that is next?
With the exception of the worn out vocals of Lee Jackson, who sounds like he has been on a diet of Camel straights and JD for many years, this is an outstanding performance. Emerson is brilliant, particularly on the 21-minute exposé of the ELP marathon “Tarkus.” Emerson is in a league with Rick Wakeman, and it is a very exclusive club. He was one of the very first keyboard wizards to take classical music and shape and mold it to fit a rock band in an imaginative and intelligent way while giving due respect to its creators. It is interesting how ancient music then became progressive, and it still is.