EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica (Capacity: 3,000)
(the Mahavishnu Orchestra were the supporting act for this concert – see previous concert post)
I vividly remember the first time I heard “21st Century Schizoid Man” on FM radio back in late ’69; I was 18 working at my drafting table as an artist for a government-sponsored art department; SWRL: SouthWest Regional Laboratories – I used to play that up and introduce myself as an Agent of SWRL, cashing-in on the popularity of the James Bond SPECTRE, TV’s Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart’s K.A.O.S. acronym culture. What the hell, I was havin’ a good time.
Anyway my first thoughts while listening to this nearly seven minute epic was that we were all truly experiencing musical advancements by leaps and bounds and the proof was this song.
We never knew what to expect from each day’s unfoldment; good, bad or ugly but as far as the music and Rock scene; all was good, all was great, all was amazing.
So, upon hearing this instant classic I know that a wide grin crossed my face because there would surely be more to come tomorrow, and there was, and the day after that, and the day after that, ….
I immediately went out and bought “In the Court of the Crimson King” and was thrilled to find the entire album incredible. I couldn’t get enough of every song – I was hooked. This quickly became one of my personal favorites.
King Crimson was Robert Fripp guitar, Greg Lake bass and vocals, Ian McDonald flute, clarinet, saxophone, vibes, keyboards and mellotron, Michael Giles drums, percussion, and Peter Sinfield – lyrics.
I also had acquired several early Nice LPs (Keith Emerson – loved their version of “America” from West Side Story) and an Atomic Rooster (Carl Palmer) import; so I was eager for the first release of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, as were many and we were not disappointed. It was a classic from day one!
ELP’s monstrously seductive single, “Lucky Man” from their self-titled debut LP continued the positive visions of King Crimson.
A quick bit of trivia I just found out about recently: the ELP “Dove” cover was actually designed for the group Spirit and it is Ed Cassidy’s bald head that was used on the left side under the Dove’s wing! Trippy!
While Greg Lake’s influence dominates; Keith Emerson’s classically-trained evolution from the Nice to a full-blown keyboard maniac and master of showmanship further engaged the fans. Carl Palmer was up to the task with the classical beats and tempos demanded in their music; his reach and mastery was beyond normal rock drum requirements and elevated him into the group of Icon Drummer status.
At this concert ELP featured several songs from the as yet released,” Trilogy”; the last LP before they’re popularity took off to stratospheric Arena Rock Star status.
Our seats were back from the stage six to ten rows, a little left of center, on the side where Emerson was set up. So we caught him doing his signature dagger-jam-into-the-keyboard move to sustain a note while workin’ it on a couple other keyboards.
Lake’s singing has to be one of the most heart-rending, but commanding voices in rock; just beautiful, a great match for their unique style.
Great music, perfectly loud and the whole show was very entertaining and fun!
Plus ELP were the headliners for this concert – the opening act was Mahavishnu Orchestra. (see previous concert post)
A truly historic concert experience for many reasons!
ELP would go on to produce even more incredible music and equally amazing performances that forever indelibly earned them the undisputed title of “Kings of Prog Rock”; in every positive sense.
Lineup: Keith Emerson (Hammond organ C3, Steinway piano, Zoukra, Moog synthesizer IIIC, Mini Moog Model D),
Greg Lake (vocals, bass, electric & acoustic guitar),
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion).
Set list: Intro, Fanfare, Tarkus – Eruption, Stones Of Years, Aquatarkus, Trilogy, Take A Pebble, Abbadon’s Bolero, Pictures At An Exhibition, Rondo.
Rant Zone: ELP need to be vindicated from all those pompous critics through the years who could even think about taking a negative swipe at them. I will continue to try and educate these creeps that still don’t get it and maybe never will.
Regardless, of a band or frontmans’: attire, attitude, delivery, “musicianship”, pretentiousness, out of tune, over-the-top, rude, crude, tattoo’d grandiose performance, if it’s performed honestly then it’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and you can’t take that away from any of us.
Everyone from Little Richard and Elvis Presley to today’s er, um, “talent” are accused of these traits – good, that means the Spirit of Rock is alive!
I’ve said it before; Rock ‘n’ Roll in ALL of its genre-splitting forms is 90% heart and 10% sweat!
So, you critics who don’t understand this, butt out! ‘Cuz you know not what you speak!
Besides, I don’t see you up on stage, so sit down!
The rest of you out there, ROCK ON!