At Hollywood Bowl (Highland HL556)
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA – July 19th, 1971
Introduction, The Barbarian, Take A Pebble, Tarkus, Knife Edge, Rondo (incl drum solo), Nutrocker
At Hollywood Bowl by Highland is a release covering Emerson, Lake, & Palmer’s show at the Hollywood Bowl. The artwork lists this as being from July 17th, but the Hollywood show was on July 19th. This is the third show of this tour following appearances in San Diego and Berkeley. Highland use for this release a seventy minute, incomplete soundboard recording that is a wonder to hear. An eighty-six minute audience recording, with a cut in “Knife Edge” also exists. Another audience tape is said to be from this show that is eighty-two minutes long and with a cut in “Knife Edge”, but that is disputed. T his was recorded in the midst of ELP’s second tour of the US in 1971 in support of the recently released Tarkus LP. Highland places this tape on July 17th, but in reality it is from July 19th. ELP played in San Diego on the 17th. The Hollywood Bowl show was on the 19th with support from Humble Pie and Edgar Winter’s White Trash.
I don’t know who recorded this but the sound is simply breathtaking, especially for a recording from 1971. There is an unfortunate cut in the tape during “Take A Pebble” as Greg Lake is singing about his “dog named blue.” But after the fade in into “Tarkus” the tape goes into stereo and is wonderful to hear. Their new epic is played straight with no mention of “Epitaph” just like the studio recording. The short set is anchored by blistering versions of “Knife Edge” and “Rondo”. Carl Palmer’s drum solo almost slows the show down but he is inventive enough to keep it interesting. Further, given the curfew at the venue “Pictures At An Exhibition”, the centerpiece of the set at the time, is unfortunately dropped. At Hollywood Bowl is definitely recommended. The sound quality is much better than what has been circulating in the ELP collecting community and may indeed be from the master tape. (GS)