In Concert (King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710-88010-2)
Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – November 5th, 1981
(56:56): Fanfare For The Common Man / Karn Evil 9, Nuclear Attack, The Lie, Retribution Drive, Lucky Man, Parisienne Walkways, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Love You Too Much, 21st Century Schizoid Man, In The Court Of The Crimson King
When an exhausted Emerson Lake & Palmer broke up for the first time in 1979, the three drifted into projects of the own. Carl Palmer joined Asia and Keith Emerson worked on soundtracks for the films Inferno and Nighthawks, and Greg Lake recorded his first solo album Greg Lake in 1981.
Wanting to play in a band which emphasized guitars over keyboards, he brought on Gary Moore from Thin Lizzy and they were supplemented with an impressive array of other musicians.
They made their live debut at the Reading Festival on August 30th and played a month long tour throughout the UK with the final two shows on November 4th and 5th at the Hammersmith Odeon. The King Biscuit Flower Hour recorded and broadcast an hour of the second show five weeks later on December 13th in preparation of Lake’s limited US tour of the east coast.
A copy of the show, taped off of the radio, was booted several times in the early nineties. Welcome Back My Friends (Living Legend LLRCD 151) is an Italian release missing “Parisienne Walkways” and ” You Really Got A Hold On Me” and listed as an 1980 date (which is impossible since Lake played no dates that year). This was copied onto Moore Attack ’81 with the same setlist except attributing the show to December 31st, 1981.
In Concert includes the two missing tracks from the unofficial releases. Lake’s shows in 1981 normally ran about seventy-five minutes which means about twenty minutes are missing. It’s known that “C’est La Vie” was played after “Lucky Man” based upon other tapes from the era. KBFH Records could have improved this release by including the entire concert from that night.
But, it is very good for what is here. It starts off with “Fanfare For The Common Man” in the same rock arrangement ELP played in 1977. Gary Moore’s guitar takes the place of Emerson’s keyboards in the first half of the show, but Tommy Eyre does assert himself during the improvisation in the middle. He solos on the keyboards and duets with Moore’s guitar. The Copeland cover segues into a heavy metal arrangement of “Karn Evil 9.”
The bulk of the show is drawn from Greg Lake including the Moore written “Nuclear Attack,” “The Lie” and “Retribution Drive.” Thin Lizzy is represented with Moore’s “Parisienne Walkways” and they play a cover of the 1962 hit “You Really Got A Hold Of Me” by The Miracles.
A highlight of the set is “Love You Too Much” from Greg Lake. This is the song which Lake co-wrote with Bob Dylan. The lyrics are closer to Lake circa Love Beach and really not too much like Dylan, but it is a fun song none the less. Moore especially has fun with the solos in the middle.
“21 Century Schizoid Man” has a spacy introduction and Moore doesn’t try to duplicate Fripp’s angular guitar solo, but rather plays his own brand of heavy riffing power chords. The show ends with a version of “The Court Of The Crimson King” in which Moore plays the mellotron melody on the guitar. It is interesting how Lake, wanting to establish a solo career, would end the song with two ancient King Crimson songs. It seems to really undermine his intent.
However, for ELP fans this is a great title to pick up. It’s unfortunate it’s so short, but the sound is really good and the performance is very enjoyable. And since there aren’t many documents in circulation from Lake’s rather obscure solo career, it fills a considerable need. Inexpensive copies can be found on ebay rather easily.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)