Surgery Night In Liverpool (Siréne-102)
The Empire, Liverpool, England – May 1st, 1974
Disc 1: Hoedown, Jerusalem, Toccata, Tarkus, Aquatarkus, Benny The Bouncer, Take A Pebble, Still…You Turn Me On
Disc 2: Lucky Man, piano improvisation, Take A Pebble (Reprise), Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression part 1, Karn Evil 9 1st Impression part 2, Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression, Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression
1974 was an extremely busy year for ELP. Between two tours of North America and a European tour they managed to play a very short tour of the UK. It consisted of four shows at the Empire Pool Wembley in London, one show in Stoke on April 29th and four shows in Empire in Liverpool. (Some people dispute the Liverpool date on May 2nd but it is listed on Greg Lake’s own website with audience recollections). This tape is a very good and clear mono audience recording. It has cut at 2:15 in “Still…You Turn Me On” losing some music with the tape resuming at the beginning of “Lucky Man”. There is a tiny cut at the very end of “Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression” during the spinning moog part and the tape is also missing “Pictures At An Exhibition”. None of the four tapes from this tour capture the encore.
The show contains the standard set list with no surprises. “Jerusalem” is introduced as the new single, ironic since the BBC refused to play it. “Tarkus” is again introduced as something that changes every night and lasts well over a half hour. It contains the Beatles and the Bach references, King Crimson’s “Epitaph” along with various wild west rodeo music. Emerson often called this a “fantasy” which may be accurate since it has its roots as a keyboard improvisation. Some could argue that “Tarkus” is closer to being a “rhapsody”, which is a single work with various contrasting styles yet linked thematically. Whatever the case is this is a great version of this important progressive rock piece.
Emerson introduces the finale as “Karn Evil 9, where we twiddle some knobs. Anybody here from Ireland? Get over okay?” he says while waiting. And this version of the piece is flawless and sounding very dramatic. The only variation occurs in “3rd Impression”. During the “Caribbean drums” section Emerson plays the melody of an instrumental called “Popcorn” (aka “The Popcorn Song”) which was very popular in the mid seventies and one of the first hits recorded on the moog. Surgery Night In Liverpool is another great ELP release on Siréne and hopefully we’ll see more in the future. (GS)