As Seen On Classic Rock Radio (UK)
Uncle G’s FUN Concert Reviews
Spotlight: Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy
Venue: The Iridium
Location: New York City, NY (USA)
Date: 22 October 2018
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
A few hours before this gig was to start, was when by chance I was on Twitter and saw mention of it. Nice looking ad. A free internet broadcast compliments of a pretty cool concert location; The Iridium. Located in the city that never sleeps.
Was told there a five camera option. That the ‘world wide web’ viewer could choose which view out of the … count them … 5, that they were most comfortable with. Four shots of the stage, at various angles. The fifth was a view of what looked like a typical backstage area. Appeared to be a narrow space. Nothing going on there at all. Was lit up well. A mystery as to why it was offered. Hope the guys knew a webcam was there. Would have sucked to be seen, one of the three scratching their whatever while waiting for the applause to die down. And I’ll tell you ahead of time, it never did. Spontaneous and grateful the entire performance. From my online view here in Greeley, Colorado, it really seemed to be a terrific audience. Sitting at tables with either old and new friends, drinking adult beverages, one would assume. If I was there in person, odds are I’d be throwing them back. A cold bottle of Samual Adams (or perhaps another brand of beer) by my side. I wouldn’t get shit-faced drunk. I admit to doing so when I was an empty-headed youth, and as a grown adult, now that I think about it. Maturity dictates a better time and recall of that night’s events when straight, or successfully maintaining a moderate head buzz. After all, who consumes booze just for the taste? So said the potential alcoholic (only kidding). Nowadays I drink two beers in a row, and then pure Colorado water (12 oz give or take). Rarely do I repeat this. In my older age, I’ve become a lightweight. Afterward, no puking on my shoes, while on the way home. Behaving responsibly does have payoffs.
Anyone who knows me personally, or has read my writing in the past might have caught one or more of my stories about one of progressive rock’s best groups ever: Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. I became aware of their music when I was a teen. Since then, I witnessed the band in concert, on 3 different occasions. I briefly met Keith, Greg, and Carl (after show meet and greet), back in 1997 (Saint Louis MO). I actually had a real conversation with the now departed, Keith Emerson. Got all of their autographs. Speaking of, I managed to take a picture of Carl, signing an ELP ‘Isle Of Wight Festival 1970’ CD for a long time friend (brother from another mother) of mine. A NICE experience! Regarding music CD’s, I have the entire ELP catalog. A few times a year I get into an Emerson, Lake, & Palmer kick. Or related music such as; 3 or Emerson, Lake, & Powell. Play their music for days in a row. Easy to now understand how this ‘free broadcast’ excited me so.
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy members:
The very first song I ever saw ELP perform live was back in 1977, at Madison Square Garden (NYC NY USA). With a full orchestra, a Keith Emerson (RIP) instrumental track from ELP’s 1972 Trilogy album called; Abaddon’s Bolero. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy started off with the same, keyboard driven song. When it was ELP, even Greg played keys on that one. There’s rare audience footage of that on YouTube if you look for it. Today, there are other instruments capable of creating sounds that resemble the music well enough, that you know damn sure, what is being played. You just might not believe where the sound(s) are coming from. Either exactly as is on the studio recording or with a slight variation. Watching this happen, is captivating, and exciting as hell. The music played by guys who have dedicated their lives to music. Carl’s been a professional musician for five decades now. Compositions played, not only considered songs from Mister Palmer’s past. Each and everyone, compositions that are near and dear to not only those that attend live shows but a worldwide following as well. Except for maybe a wife or girlfriend who is there that night with her better half, only for a night out of the house, and deep down just don’t give a fresh turd as to what all the excitement is about.
I was married. Twice. Would bring my better halves along with me to live performances. Majority of the time, huge mistake. I, of course, have stories to tell that can back this up. From my days in the trenches. Here’s a short one. My first wife thought it logical that we leave a Yes concert (90125 tour) before the show finished because she knew it was encore time and I already saw the band perform the song being played; Roundabout. What die-hard fan leaves during the encores? Nevertheless, she was a good woman. Truthfully, and I would find out later on … she HATED Yes.
Back to Carl, Paul, and Simon. The show carried on; Karn Evil #9 (first impression part two) – Trilogy – Tank – Knife Edge – From The Beginning (featuring Simon) – some Maple Leaf Rag (sounded like) – Canario – 21st Century Schizoid Man and a captivating solo to end the first part of the concert, that spotlighted Paul.
Loud so we’re told. At certain intervals, hard rocking. The guys came back after a 15-minute intermission, with a smokin’, ‘Rondo’. When over, Carl told the audience; “It’s great to be alive.” A round of applause followed, as did the ELP signature tune; Lucky Man.
Throughout the performance, Carl would chat to the crowd. Informative, and revealing a good sense of humor. Received hearty laughs during his recollection of the ‘Love Beach’ days. I remember the band on New York City’s WNEW FM with Scott Muni (RIP) doing promo for that album. The legendary DJ could not help but comment on how healthy the band looked, referring to the album cover picture. My least favorite ELP studio release, besides the groups last album: On The Hot Seat. Some longtime followers, the wise-asses who only are into early ELP (before Fanfare…) disliked the offering so much they called it instead; On The Toilet Seat. Like ‘Love Beach’, I would say it had its saving graces. In other words, the LP didn’t entirely suck sewage water. Included an outstanding almost 16 minute re-recording of ‘Pictures at An Exhibition’. Worth the price of admission. Also, Greg Lake had a remarkably sad tune on there called; Daddy. A story of true crime/violence. Money raised with the song, going to charity: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Back to the show, Carl introduces one of my ELP favorites; Tarkus. He gets back behind his drum kit. The stage lighting and all that fits the band like a glove, the entire concert. Quality sound out of my headphones. I talked to someone who said they could not get any audio. When one first got on, that was true. Next step was to pick a camera view they liked, which was located on the right side of the screen. Clicking one would take you to another screen, which included sound. Took a few seconds for this to dawn on me. Was too good to be true for then my wi-fi connection took a hard left and headed straight to Shitsville.
It’s like I put the concert, on pause. Screen froze. Anyone or everyone who has ever been online experienced this before. Always at the fuc*ing wrong time. Come to think of it, when is a good time for that to happen? Like NEVER! Especially if one pays their bill like they are supposed to. I can understand the reason why. Carl’s show was playing during a wi-fi peak usage time, here in the house I call home. Usually between 6 pm and 9 pm (mountain time). Too many people/devices in use. I tried so hard to not totally have lost my temper. I admit my ‘jersey‘ came out (meaning I’m cursing as I learned while living in the garden state during my formative childhood years). I panicked! Tried one device, and then another. I didn’t want to totally lose a connection. Same thing! Over and over. I was so enjoying myself. More cuss words! No rescue. Like actress Natalie Wood, decades ago, dead in the water. For me, that was all folks.
Seriously, as horrible as that is, the world keeps spinning. I did catch three-quarters of the set list. Should be appreciative, right? Took notes, and even a few pictures of the screen, once or twice. They mostly came out looking shitty. Still, I was thinking this to be a new ‘Uncle G’s FUN Concert Review’, and having the same fate as one’s morning constitutional, right down the pipes, it went. My first assessment of the situation. Was late in the evening. I, later on, fell asleep listening to early Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974). A new up and coming, Uncle G’s FUN Book Review. The author; Jon Kirkman … And the Lamb, Lies Down, On Broadway (2018). Its what we do, us classic rock writers.
The next day I’m looking at the couple 3×5 cards I managed to fill with thoughts and observations about the nights before Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy concert and made a decision to still keep this as a rough draft. A work in progress. But I need HELP. Can’t do a review and only report on ¾ of what that evening’s festivities were. Of course, being a professional writer, I could pull one of these:
“And the trio finished the evening with rousing versions of crowd favorites. A good time was had by all (even the wait staff).”
Too generic. Add to this I’m an old boy scout/alter boy. That type of behavior is just not in my blood. So I pulled the old journalist card out, and via Twitter (which is how this all started), contacted Carl Palmer ELP Legacy bass player, Simon Fitzpatrick. Really, I get the vibe anyone could have done this. No special club membership required. I tweeted Simon and asked simply if he could tell me (and our collective Twitter followers) what I missed. During his off-duty hours, Simon kindly replied back:
“Absolutely. After Tarkus is Hoedown, Fanfare For The Common Man, and Nutrocker. Look forward to the write up!”
Note: I mentioned the desire I had to do a story. Explains Simon’s full response. Would like to have killed me at first finding out the classics that I missed. Recovered. Am actually hoping to catch a show in person, one of these nights. Thanks, Simon! Saved the day (story).
I wind up this write up, by recommending those so inclined, to catch at least one in person performance by; Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy. Buy the merchandise. Support the band/individual members. Have FUN while doing so. The setlist seems to vary a little from gig to gig. Good choice in material. Besides celebrating Carl’s long career, a fitting tribute to his late bandmates; Keith Emerson, and Greg Lake. God bless their souls. And Tony Ortiz as well. All missed. Never forgotten.
Thanks to; The Iridium … appreciate Y’all broadcasting the gig live. Cool for those of us too far away to participate.
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Tour Dates – http://www.carlpalmer.com/tourdates.php
Paul Bielatowicz Official Website – https://paulbielatowicz.com/
Simon Fitzpatrick Official Website – https://simonfitzpatrick.net/
Gary “Uncle G” Brown Archives – www.garyunclegbrownarchives.com