Ganton 9 (Highland HL550/551)
Friedrich Ebert Halle, Ludwigshafen, Germany – April 10th, 1973
Disc 1 (58:32): Abaddon’s Bolero, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression), Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff, Tarkus, Take A Pebble, Still…You Turn Me On, Lucky Man
Disc 2 (50:43): piano improvisation, Take A Pebble (reprise), Hoedown, Pictures At An Exhibition, Toccata (including drum solo), Rondo
Emerson Lake And Palmer were a band who played almost constantly on the road during their first couple of years together as a band, establishing themselves as one of the most compelling live act. The live performance was important enough for them that in the first half of 1973 they toured while recording their masterpiece Brain Salad Surgery before the songs were even ready for the stage. Such was the Get Me A Ladder tour in Europe. Ganton 9 presents the April 10th show in Ludwigshafen almost complete. There are three different tape sources for this show and although Highland use the best sounding, their copy is incomplete. About six minutes of “Pictures At An Exhibition” and the first two of “Toccata” are missing. Since Highland released this a better sounding and complete edition of this tape surfaced.
Sound quality is very good but thin which drop-outs and wavering in places. It sounds like the tape itself suffers from deterioration. It is however a listenable document of an interesting tour which begins with “Abaddon’s Bolero” as the previous tours did. Emerson complains about some electrical problems and Lake has problems tuning the bass before the play and early version of “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression.” This lacks some interjections in the lyrics and the long drum solo, and the second and third parts would be written later in the summer.
The medley of “Jeremy Bender” and “The Sheriff” follows, an arrangement they would retain on the Brain Salad Surgery tour later in the year. A roar is audible as they begin a twenty-two minute version of “Takrus,” probably from the Tarkus doll on stage. There is a very small cut 19:11 in the piece. Lake includes the “Epitaph” reference and he and Emerson get into an interesting duel between moog and bass in “Aquatarkus” before Emerson takes off into a high pitched improvisation.
“Take A Pebble” segues into an early draft of “Still…You Turn Me On.” At this early stage it has additional lyrics and a quick tempo hand clap bridge which wouldn’t survive onto the studio recording. Lake then plays his hit “Lucky Man” before Emerson plays improvisations on the grand piano before leading into the final verse of “Take A Pebble.” “Hoedown,” which would begin their shows on later tours, is played much later in the set. “Pictures At An Exhibition” serves as the set closer and a fifteen minute early version of “Toccata” begins the long encore section. Palmer plays his drum solo and the band come back in with “Rondo,” an early stage favorite. There are several really good documents surviving from this interesting tour and Ludwigshafen is among the better ones. It is a shame they used a defective tape on Ganton 9 and another edition would be most welcome.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)