Legacy (Virtuoso 099/100)
Boston Garden, Boston, MA – February 4th, 1978
Disc 1 (64:46): Intro., Introductory fanfare, Hoedown, Tarkus, Take A Pebble, Piano Concerto No. 1 1st Movement, Maple Leaf Rag, Take A Pebble (reprise), C’est La Vie, Lucky Man, Pictures At An Exhibition
Disc 2 (58:10): Intro., Karn Evil 9, Tiger In The Spotlight, Watching Over You, Tank, drum solo, The Enemy God, Pirates, Fanfare For The Common Man, Show Me The Way To Go Home, Finale
Despite lasting for two months and producing some of their best ever live performances, Emerson Lake & Palmer’s 1978 tour has been derided and has lapsed into relative obscurity. Titus, when he posted the Nassau Coliseum radio broadcast on the site Soundaboard described the contents as: “The tormented trio fiddle while Rome burns. Listen carefully and you can almost hear the bubble bursting.”
Highland never released a show from this tour, and Ayanami released only one. The only hint the band acknowledged its existence was the inclusion of the January 20th Chicago show in the The Original Bootleg Series From The Manitcore Vaults Volume Four (CMXBX1374) boxset. It is rather surprising that Virtuoso pressed the Lampinski tape from Boston on silver.
It is, like his other tapes, an excellent audience recording. He and his friends can be heard making comments occasionally (“they’re whaling!!” “unreal!!!”), but overall it’s an atmospheric tape of a great concert. It is virtually complete. There are small cuts after “C’est La Vie,” “Lucky Man” and “Pictures At An Exhibition.” There is a thirty second gap from 1:30 to 2:00 in “Show Me The Way To Go Home” which is filled in by the Nassau Coliseum soundboard tape in a perfect edit.
On disc one, the “intro” is a bit of audience noise and music played over the PA system, and the “introductory fanfare” is ELP’s performance of the “Peter Gunn Theme,” a song they used as a set opener on this tour which segues into “Hoedown.” After greeting Boston, they launch into their early masterpiece “Tarkus.” While it’s scaled down from the thirty-five minutes epics of the past, this still is quite substantial and has cute references to John William’s Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind during the “Aquatarkus” section.
“Take A Pebble” is arranged such that it includes Emerson compositions from the last two albums, an except from “Piano Concerto #1” from Works Vol. 1 and the cover “Maple Leaf Rag” from Works Vol. 2 before the reprise of “Take A Pebble.” It is interesting to note how the piece evolved from a free-form jazz piece to a blues number until finally into a vehicle for a medley of their own tunes.
Emerson is a bit distracted when he’s introducing the next song. “Someone threw a bottle out there. That’s not very cool” he scolds. Lake chimes in, asking: “A bottle of what?” “A bottle of the right stuff” Emerson jokes before Lake starts playing “C’est La Vie.” Lake’s second solo piece is “Lucky Man.”
“Pictures At An Exhibition,” even in its fifteen minute arrangement, is still a bizarre piece of work. In fact, it’s much tighter and and cohesive than the old forty-minute versions from earlier in their career. Emerson plays games with the moog during “The Great Gates Of Kiev” before the bombastic finale.
An unexplained delay occurs before they continue. “Karn Evil 9” is the well known excerpt from the long epic and segues directly into the new song, the bouncy “Tiger In The Spotlight.” Lake introduces the next song “Watching Over You” as a lullaby for his baby daughter.
Carl Palmer’s part of the show follows. Emerson introduces him as one who “needs no introduction, so we’re not going to give him one” and says that “Tank” is about his car. “Tank” contains the long and intense drum solo and segues into his cover of Prokoviev’s “Enemy God.”
The concert closes with their two band efforts from Works Vol. 1. “Pirates” remains one of their most picturesque, sweeping epics. The orchestral arrangements from the previous year are the best live versions available, but the rock versions are equally as effective.
“Fanfare For The Common Man” is the first encore. The Copeland cover has a short reference to Bernstein’s “America” and Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in the middle improvisation.
“We’ve had such a lovely time that we’re gonna play for you one more song” Emerson tells the Boston audience before they play the British folk song “Show Me The Way To Go Home” from the new album (and familiar to the audience from its appearance in the film Jaws). The “finale” is the orchestral bombast from the PA as they exit the stage.
Legacy is an essential purchase for ELP collectors. It’s a great concert in a great sound quality from an under represented tour. Works Vol. 2 is such an underrated album that even the band didn’t seem to have much faith in it. It would have been nice to hear a live version of the excellent “When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills Of Your Mind I’ll Be Your Valentine” from this era. Virtuoso use very tasteful art for the cover and tour-specific photographs for the inserts.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)