Mein Kampf (Siréne -269)
Disc 1: Introduction, Tarkus, Aquatarkus, Karn Evil 9, Jeremy Bender / The Sheriff, Take A Pebble (includes Still…You Turn Me On), Lucky Man, piano improvisations, Take A Pebble (conclusion)
Disc 2: Hoedown, Pictures At An Exhibition, Toccata, drum solo, Rondo, outroduction
Mein Kampf is another Emerson Lake And Palmer release on Siréne from the transitional Get Me A Ladder tour of Europe in the spring of 1973. About fifty minutes of this show has been in circulation and contains only “Tarkus,” “Toccata,” the drum solo, and “Rondo.” Making its debut on this release is the complete two hour show. The taper is a fair distance away from the stage and produces a fair to good mono recording. Emerson’s song introductions a difficult to hear and the music is very constricted. This exists as a good and somewhat clear record of the show but isn’t in the same class as the Munich tape Siréne released on Evil Fantasy. The sound quality is very similar to the Deep Purple tape produced at this venue on January 23rd, 1973 (and issued on Definitive 1973 on Bondage), so most likely it comes from the same taper. There is a cut between “Jeremy Bender” and “Take A Pebble” and after “Pictures At An Exhibition,” neither of which lose any music. The there is a minute of tape handling noise between 11: 10-12: 12 in “Tarkus” where the taper points the microphone towards his feet and a similar disturbance at 1:38 “Take A Pebble (conclusion).” There is also significant amounts of distortion during the piano interlude in “Take A Pebble” which clears up by the end of the piece.
The tape begins with a minute long tune up where the band play the crashing minor chord used the “The Gnome” part in “Pictures At An Exhibition” before playing “Tarkus.” Versions of this fantasy will routinely reach the thirty-five minute mark later on, but this is confined to twenty-two minutes. It is not noted on the liner notes, but “Aquatarkus” is tracked separately. They play a unique variation of this section when the tempo slows down when they reach “Norwegian Wood” and then speeds up to double time before they reach the end. Afterwards Emerson says, “We got some new numbers to play for you now as soon as we get these things together there….This machine also makes coffee…give it a chance” while adjusting the moog. “Karn Evil 9″ is the first impression only since this was the only part written by this time. The rest would come during the summer recording sessions for Brain Salad Surgery. This performance with the breaks in the first part lacking the ornaments it would have in later versions and in the studio recording.
“All right, okay, thank you. We’ll play some numbers now we hope you know. This thing coming up now is funny…it starts up in Georgetown. You see, Rocky plays ‘Nutrocker.'” Emerson then plays the opening notes to the “Nutrocker” and the audience bust up laughing. “Jeremy Bender” contains “The Sheriff” with the saloon piano conjuring up images of Hollywood western back lots. “Lucky Man” has Emerson on piano accompaniment. “Pictures At An Exhibition” is eighteen minutes long and begins immediately after “Hoedown” with no announcement from Emerson. There is a fade out afterwards and the encore begins immediately after the cut. “We’re gonna feature Carl on this one…this is a newie.” The new song “Toccata” sounds naked without the synthesized drums that would be used on the studio recording and subsequent live performances. The new song segues into a fifteen minute drum solo which in turn leads into the latter half of the older stage favorite “Rondo” where Emerson plays very valiant sounding variations on the moog above the unremitting rhythm section. No other band would play a long encore consisting of a new song and a long drum solo except for ELP. Mein Kampf is packaged in a double slimline jewel case and is limited to three hundred copies. The sound quality is just listenable enough and the show is unique enough to make this essential for ELP collectors.
Addendum: The speculation that the taper of this show is the same as the one for the Deep Purple show at this venue is incorrect. The Deep Purple taper isn’t a fan of ELP and didn’t bother with this show. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)