Greg Lake Newcastle Mayfair 1981
The Mayfair was packed for this concert, and quite right too, as Greg had assembled a band of rock heavyweights for his first solo tour. The Greg Lake Band line-up for this 1981 outing was Greg on bass and vocals, special guest guitar ace Gary Moore, Tristram Margetts (from the very under-rated and too often forgotten Spontaneous Combustion) on bass, Tommy Eyre (ex-Joe Cocker and the Grease Band, and Alex Harvey band) on keyboards, and Ted McKenna (ex-SAHB, and Rory Gallagher) on drums. The set consisted of a mix of new songs, drawn from Greg’s first solo album which had just been released, and older ELP and King Crimson classics. Gary Moore played the excellent Parisienne Walkways, with its tremendous soaring guitar, and almost blew his band leader off the stage. But Gregg has a set of classic rock songs to draw from. Lucky Man is one of my favourite ELP tracks, and I was pleased to hear Greg sing it that night. It was also great to see them play tracks from the first, excellent King Crimson album. Epitaph is a particular favourite of mine, and 21st Century Schizoid Man was dark and loud, vibrating through the ballroom. The two Hammersmith Odeon gigs were recorded for a live album. The setlist for the Mayfair gig will have been something like: Fanfare for the Common Man / Karn Evil 9; Nuclear Attack; The Lie; Retribution Drive; Lucky Man; Parisienne Walkways; You Really Got a Hold on Me (a cover of the Smokey Robinson song); Love You Too Much; 21st Century Schizoid Man; Epitaph; The Court of the Crimson King; C’est la vie. I would have sworn that they also played I Believe in Father Christmas, but I’ve searched the internet and everything I have found suggests that my memory is playing tricks again, and that it didn’t feature in the set during the tour. Support came from pop-rock band Voyager who had a minor hit with their debut single, “Halfway Hotel”, which reached No. 33 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979.
Archive for the ‘ELP’ Category
Greg Lake Newcastle Mayfair 1981
Emerson, Lake and Palmer reformed in 1991, and returned to play at Newcastle City Hall a year later. This gig was some 20 years since I had last seen the band, and I was looking forward to seeing how they shaped up after all that time. They released a new album Black Moon in the same year, and the programme features the cover from the album. The City Hall wasn’t full for this gig, but a respectable crowd turned out to see the band. The set was a mix of songs from throughout ELP’s career, including tracks from the new album. My favourites were the Greg Lake songs: Lucky Man, Still….You Turn Me On. It was good to hear America and Rondo again, which took me back to seeing the Nice. I don’t recall whether Keith played the City Hall organ at this concert, but I suspect he will have done so. Setlist: Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 2; Tarkus; Knife-Edge; Paper Blood; Black Moon; Close to Home; Creole Dance; From the Beginning; Still… You Turn Me On; Lucky Man; Honky Tonk Train Blues; Romeo and Juliet; Pirates; Pictures at an Exhibition. Encore: Fanfare for the Common Man; America; Rondo. My friend John saw the US leg of the tour, and picked up a signed programme, which has a different to design to mine. Since that gig I have seen little of ELP or its members. I’ve seen Greg Lake playing solo once in concert, and he is touring the UK at the moment, so I may catch another gig of his shortly. The only time I’ve seen Keith Emerson recently has been as part of the supporting bill for the Led Zeppelin reunion/Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert at the O2 Arena in London in 2007. Emerson opened the concert along with Chris Squire and Alan White from Yes, and Simon Kirke from Bad Company/Free. This supergroup lineup played a new arrangement of “Fanfare for the Common Man” at the O2 gig. In 2010, a one-off Emerson, Lake & Palmer reunion concert closed the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London to commemorate the band’s 40th anniversary. I regret now that I didn’t go to that gig.
By 1972 ELP were mega popular, and had graduated to playing two shows at Newcastle Odeon which was a larger venue than the City Hall, the venue for their previous concert in the city. I went along to the early show with a group of friends. The concert was originally set to take place on November 16th 1972. The place was packed and everyone was looking forward to the gig, but before they were due to take to the stage a message went over the PA to tell us that there were problems with the equipment and the concert would not be going ahead. We all had to leave, very disappointed; however the concert was rescheduled to take place a couple of weeks later, on 29th November 1972. When we did finally get to see ELP this time, the spectacle had moved up a level. Keith had his usual bank on keyboards and also had a portable keyboard which he dragged around the stage and held out to the crowd for people to play. The stage show was much bigger; I seem to recall a massive Tarkus behind the band. ELP were massively successful at this point in their career, and would go on to even greater success, particularly in America. I recall the show as being pretty wild, with the crowd going crazy for the band, and Keith playing extended solos. We were quite close to the front and had a good view. A published setlist for Hammersmith Odeon on the same tour shows the songs played as: Hoedown; Tarkus; The Endless Enigma; At The Sign of Swinging Cymbal; The Sheriff; Take a Pebble; Lucky Man; Pictures at an Exhibition; Nutrocker. They may also, I suspect, have played Rondo. This time the programme was a nice white booklet with a red bow on the cover. Thanks to John for sending me a scan of the programme to the right, which comes from an earlier gig at the City Hall.This looks to me like a “show souvenir” which were often sold outside the venue. These are highly collectable now, more so than the official programmes.
I’ve been searching the internet a lot for any stories of ELP in concert in the early 70s to help jog my memory, but have found very little, which I must say surprises me. ELP were a very important band, and their legacy is often forgotten. They blended classical music with rock in a way that no other band did. There were, of course, several other bands working in a similar style, The Moody Blues, Yes and Deep Purple come to mind. But none of these bands were as true to the classical nature of the music as ELP. Having said that, they were very much of their time, and of that period. I think back to that gig at the Odeon with some fondness; it was vert different to anything else that I was going to see at the time.
Emerson Lake & Palmer Newcastle City Hall 1971
Support from Michael Chapman & Spontaneous Combustion
Emerson, Lake & Palmer were pretty hot stuff in 1971. They were very popular, and just on the verge of mega success. My mate had their first eponymous album and Pictures at an Exhibition, which had been recorded at Newcastle City Hall earlier that year. We used to go round to his house and we would play both albums again and again. The music on th first album was a curious blend of the pomp classical-rock of Keith Emerson, coupled with the beautiful melodies of Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer’s drum solo Tank. I would always ask to hear Take a Pebble and Lucky Man. I’d seen Keith Emerson in concert in the Nice at Sunderland Empire, and I knew how good a showman he was, so when ELP returned to the City Hall later in 1971, I bought a ticket. I remember being totally blown away by ELP that night; I had a seat close to the front, which always helps. Going to concerts was still a relatively new experience for me, and I would watch every minute of each gig that I attended, studying the musicians and their onstage antics, and ELP had so many strengths to wonder at. Emerson live was a spectacle to behold in himself. Surrounded by two Hammond organs, a Moog, a grand piano, and a Lesley cabinet; Keith was the ultimate early 70s performer. He would play two organs at once, pull them about and on top of himself, stab the organ with a massive dagger, use the dagger to hold down notes, and reach into the piano and play the strings with his hand. He would also famously run up the steps at the back of the City Hall stage and play the massive pipe organ, and is recorded doing so on the Pictures album. ELP’s concert set at that time featured most of the tracks from the first album; I also think Hoedown was included, perhaps as the opener. The Nice live favourite Rondo remained in the set from Emerson’s previous band, and Nutrocker was the fun encore. Pictures also featured, with the aforementioned trip up to the City Hall organ. The programme I have included here is worthy of special mention. It probably doesn’t look much from the scan, bit its actually one of the best produced programmes I have in my collection. Its a small booklet with a white card cover and the band’s name embossed across the top. Inside each picture page is separated from the next by a clear plastic page which contain the text surrounding the photos. It is really a lovely item, which my description can’t possibly do justice to. Looking through it the other day, I discovered that I’d kept a flyer for support act Michael Chapman, which I have also included here. Spontaneous Combustion were first on the bill at this gig. I’ve blogged separately about both of these acts elsewhere. Michael popped up all the time in those days, as support act on a number of tours of major bands, and was a good opening act with some great songs. Spontaneous Combustion were a largely instrumental prog/psych trio, who were produced by Greg Lake. They played a great version of Sabre Dance, as I recall.