Artist: Emerson Lake and Palmer
Venue: Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto ON
Date: February 3, 1978
Tour: Works Volume II
Members Of The Band
Keith Emerson (Keyboards and Accordion)
Greg Lake (Bass, Guitar and Vocals)
Carl Palmer (Drums and Percussion)
Comments: So Bill and I committed to hosting the midnight to eight AM leg of the MCVI dance-a-thon on this particular Friday night. Never mind the fact that we had already purchased a trio of tickets to go and see Emerson, Lake and Palmer live at Maple Leaf Gardens on their Works Volume II tour. Since there were only two of us committed to going we had to work out a third party that could drive down to the gig and still commit to getting us back to our high school in Oshawa by midnight. Lee Strongman was one of the few friends we knew who had a car and wouldn’t feel compelled to get fucked up out of their minds at a concert. We held our breath until Lee agreed to pick up the spare ticket, give us a ride to the concert and make sure we were returned to our high school before our allotted time slot rolled around.
Bill had been a long time ELP fan and had, in fact, seen them the previous summer at the CNE on their bands Works Tour. This was my first time seeing them, and while some might argue their best days were behind them and the cracks were beginning to show in band relations, they still put on one fantastic show. Opening with their version of the Henri Mancini tune The Peter Gunn Theme they played for well over two hours, with a fifteen minute break between Pictures At An Exhibition and Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 2.
Carl Palmer beat the crap out of his wonderful drum kit during Tank, including a wailing on a pair of fantastic gongs, emblazoned with Chinese dragons. Between the previous years gig and this years the band had released Works Volume 2 and five of those tracks had made it into the set. These shorter tunes actually fit in and helped flesh out a set otherwise overburdened with songs of epic and near epic proportions. Their classic live album, Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends… Ladies and Gentlemen, clocks in at an impressive 109 minutes but contains only nine songs.
Stand outs from the show include a majestic Pictures, a brilliant rollicking one two punch of Tiger In the Spotlight / Nutrocker, an epic reading of the Works Volume 1 track Pirates (including a bank of “cannon” that fired across the top of the lighting rig at songs end), Fanfare For the Common Man / Rondo and their subdued shuffle of the old drinking chestnut Show Me the Way To Go Home which closed out the evening.
True to his word, Lee got Bill and I back to M.C.V.I. in time for our midnight shift, fucked up as we may well have been at that point. I was DJ for the first four hours, Bill for the second four. By the time 8 am rolled around the next morning I had been up for going on 30 hours straight. Hell, we both had been. It was the first time in my life that I can recall being unable to keep myself awake while waiting for my Dad to come pick us up. Walking around was fine until I realized I was walking around with my eyes closed and tending to bump into things. Sitting down was a sure invitation to fall asleep, except when Bill and I talked about the previous evenings concert and all the fun we had while DJing… that is so long as you can forget the fact I was falling asleep mid sentence.
And the fun we had DJing? Well, your just going to have to read I Am Not Animal, the follow up to my first book, Not Only Am I With The Band…
Fanfare For The Common Man
I just couldn’t resist including this video of ELP’s great shuffle “Tiger In A Spotlight”. I mean, how many videos have you seen with a live tiger onstage with a band… yeah, that’s what I thought.