Devil’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (Siréne-096)
Sporthalle, Cologne, Germany – April 13th, 1973
Disc 1: Abaddon’s Bolero, Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1, Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2, Tarkus (incl Epitaph), Aquatarkus
Disc 2: Sheriff, Take A Pebble, Still You Turn Me On, Lucky Man, Piano Improvisation, Take A Pebble (Reprise), Hoedown, Promenade, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Curse Of Baba Yaga, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Great Gate Of Kiev, Toccata
Devil’s Rock ‘N’ Roll is a nice release from one of ELP’s most undocumented and interesting eras. The Köln show occurs right in the middle of the “Get Me A Ladder” tour. The only other commercial release is Ganton 9 on Highland (HL550/551) documenting the Ludwigshafen show on April 10th, immediately preceding this one. The tape is distant and thin sounding but very clear and enjoyable. There are several cuts in the tape including Keith Emerson’s opening words where he introduces the new material. Their short tour of Europe is the first time they played material from the yet to be completed album Brain Salad Surgery. The actual recording of the LP would be during the summer of 1973 but we can hear the “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression”, “Still You Turn Me On” and “Toccata” in their early forms.
After opening the show with “Abaddon’s Bolero” (a number which they used to open in 1972) they play “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression”. Some of the breaks between sections sound tentative but the piece is very close to its final form. The more familiar epic “Tarkus” follows and is very intense. “Aquatarkus” is tracked separately by Siréne and is unique. Instead of playing the watery variation of the “Tarkus” motif Emerson goes into The Beatles “Norwegian Wood”. “Still You Turn Me On” has a different section that was omitted from the final recorded version. The end of the first verse includes additional lyrics: “You make me so unwise/Look at me in the eyes/You’re gonna get your prize/but still…you turn me on” and then picks up-tempo with lyrics like “you still see my face”, etc. before segueing into “Lucky Man” (played with Emerson’s piano accompaniment). The piano improvs include the usual honky-tonk and ragtime figures before the show closes with “Hoedown”.
The “Pictures At An Exhibition” suite is very well received, and the third new number of the night “Toccata” is played as a final encore but is unfortunately cut in this recording. Known tape sources that exist for this transitional period include Philipshalle, Dusseldorf, Germany on March 31st, Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Ludwigshafen, Germany on April 10th, April 18th at the Scandinavium in Goetheborg, Sweden, April 25th at Konzerthaus, Vienna, May 2nd at Stadio Flamino, Rome, and May 4th at the Velodromo Vigorelli in Milan, Italy. None of these shows are in wide circulation nor have been given an official release. Siréne use the same quality paper they used for their old Ayanami releases. The front cover has a dramatic picture of Emerson caught under his organ on stage during a more energetic portion of the show. Overall this is a recommended release given the scarcity of releases from this period. (GS)