Evil Fantasy (Siréne-217)
Olympia Halle, Munich, Germany – April 24th, 1973
Disc 1: Tarkus, Karn Evil 9, Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff, Take A Pebble, Still…You Turn Me On, Lucky Man, piano improvisation, Take A Pebble (reprise), Hoedown
Disc 2: (Pictures At An Exhibition) Promenade, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Curse Of Baba Yaga, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Great Gates Of Kiev, Toccata, drum solo, Rondo
There have been several really important Emerson Lake And Palmer releases in the past couple months and Siréne continue with the release of Evil Fantasy. There are several documents floating around from their early 1973 tour during the process of writing and recording their masterpiece Brain Salad Surgery including Devil’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (Siréne-096) released last year.
But this new release contains a brand new tape source for the April 24th gig in Munich. Previously a sixty-two minute tape circulated that faded in during “Tarkus” and ended during the piano improvisations during “Take A Pebble”.
Evil Fantasy contains a small cut at fifty-seven seconds into “The Great Gates Of Kiev” but is otherwise complete. The sound quality is slightly distant (as are most tapes that originate from the Olympia Halle) but very clear with no hints of distortion. The label claims to have reduced the hiss on the tape between tracks and did a commendable job since the level is so low that it is not a factor at all. The progressive rock cdr label Blue Cafe also released this tape recently on Welcome Back To The Early Karn Evil 9 Show in what is presumably similar quality but it is nice to have it on a high class silver release.
It begins with the house announcer introducing the band in English saying “it’s time for Emerson Lake and Palmer” and the band begins immediately not with “Hoedown”, their usual opener, but with “Tarkus”. It is always a gutsy move for a band to open with an epic and this version lasts for twenty-five minutes. This version includes “Epitaph” during the “Batttlefield” section and “Norwegian Wood” is played with an interesting watery effect. Afterwards Emerson says, “We got some new stuff to play ya. I don’t know what the name of this thing is but we’re gonna play it anyway” before an embryonic, fourteen minute version of “Karn Evil 9”.
At this point only the two parts of the first Impression was written so the other two impressions are not present in this recording. The lyrics, with some minor exceptions, are the same as the final version as well as the instrumental breaks. ELP always played one of their lighter numbers in concert to break the mood from their long and demanding material and Keith plays the “Nutrocker” theme as a prelude to “Jeremy Bender” which segues into “The Sheriff”.
“Take A Pebble” leads into the as yet unreleased “Still…You Turn Me On” which is closer to the final form than the version played in Dusseldorf. Emerson again backs “Lucky Man” on the piano instead of being played by Lake on acoustic guitar alone.
“Hoedown”, which was their usual set opener is played in the middle of the set which sounds out of place. The “Pictures At An Exhibition” suite is the third long epic played and lasts about twenty minutes. The two versions of “The Hut Of Baba Yaga” are an adrenaline rush since they are played at almost double time.
The show ends with a massive version of the stately “The Great Gates Of Kiev” before the encores which begins with Emerson introducing Palmer before a primitive version of “Toccata”, which would be finished for the new LP. This new tape gives a complete and very clear record of the sequence of events during the number.
“Toccata” features the basic melody on the keyboards for two minutes but is missing the synthesized percussion of later versions and sounds more natural. Palmer gives the song a heavy tympani workout in the long drum solo before the band enter again with the later parts of the stage favorite “Rondo” and the encore in its entirety lasts more than twelve minutes.
It is to Siréne’s credit that they chose to release Evil Fantasy as a silver title instead of a cdr, which is something they have been doing too much of late. They have resigned a lot of very interesting Genesis titles to that format. But this title is again limited to three hundred copies and is one of the best ELP titles to surface yet.