The Original Bootleg Series From The Manitcore Vaults Volume Four (CMXBX1374)
The fourth volume of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s bootleg boxset series was released several years after volume three in 2006. Manticore use well known tapes for three of the shows in this collection and give the debut of the fourth tape. And also like the other sets in this series they use authentic bootleg recordings, copying what has been released by well known labels.
Also of note is the time period the tapes cover. The first two shows come from the second Works tour in 1977 and 1978, their final live appearances in the seventies. This was the tour scheduled to recoup their losses from the disastrous and expensive orchestral tour. Despite the intentions there is artistic merit in these shows.
The final two shows jump fourteen years into the future during the Emerson Lake and Palmer reunion in the early nineties. The eighties, with the Emerson Lake and Powell project, are completely ignored for two shows about a month after the release of Black Moon. Volume Four is packaged the same as the other volumes, with each show represented by its own single pocket cardboard sleeve. The sleeves are extremely tight making it difficult to remove the discs and the individual shows are not named.
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT – July 10th, 1977
Disc 1 (61:37): Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Pt. 2, Hoedown, Tarkus, Take a Pebble (Inc Piano Concerto No 1 1st Movement), Still…You Turn Me On, Knife Edge, Pictures at an Exhibition
Disc 2 (48:31): C’est La Vie, Lucky Man, Tank, Nutrocker, Pirates, Fanfare for the Common Man
ELP’s Hartford show comes right after the three orchestral nights in New York and are a return to the band only setlist. Sanctuary use and excellent soundboard recording of most of the show. It was pressed before on An Obligation “Works” (Highland HL352/353) but, unlike other titles in this series, is not a straight copy. The bonus tracks of rare singles and radio edits on Highland are omitted here and the division is different (“C’est La Vie” and “Lucky Man” are moved to disc two).
Further the soundboard sounds slightly different between each title. The Highland is more loud with an emphasis on the high end while Vol. 4sounds “dirtier” and is much more weighty. They also slowed the tape down slightly to run at the correct pitch whereas the Highland runs slightly fast. The very beginning of the show is cut. The tape picks up about a minute into “Karn Evil 9.” There are also cuts in “Take A Pebble” at 8:57 between the transition from “Piano Concerto” to the reprise of “Take A Pebble” and another at 9:51.
The show begins, obviously enough, with “Karn Evil 9” singing “welcome back my friends” which is taken grossly out of context from its original intention. In the piece it is meant to depict the eternal reoccurring of human fate. But ripped from the larger piece and played at the beginning, it simply serves as a circus screamer announcing their presence.
“Here’s another one to sing along to. It’s called ‘Tarkus'” Emerson says before a seventeen minute version of the epic with includes a passing reference to “Norwegian Wood” as it does on the Brain Salad Surgery tour. “Take A Pebble” includes the first movement to Emerson’s “Piano Concerto” before returning to the song’s reprise.
Lake breaks a string right after “Still…You Turn Me On” started. “One more time” he jokes and starts the song again from the beginning and Emerson refers to Leoš Janáček before playing “Knife Edge.” For Palmer’s drum solo, Emerson introduces “Tank” as “his version of ‘The Gong Show.'” The drum solo is interesting because Palmer does not use any of his synthesized percussion.
“Pirates” closes the show and their current single “Fanfare For The Common Man” is played as the encore. This arrangement includes J.S. Bach’s Fugue In D Minor and is the one number all night that recalls the insanity of “Rondo” on tours past. Along with the New Haven soundboard, it is curious how two soundboard recordings have been released from this era come from Connecticut shows. Nevertheless Sanctuary did a good job in actually improving this tape over the Highland release.
Universal Theater, Chicago, IL – January 20th, 1978
Disc 3 (61:50): Peter Gunn, Hoedown, Tarkus, Take A Pebble / Piano Concerto 3rd Movement / Maple Leaf Rag / Take A Pebble, C’est La Vie, Lucky Man, Pictures At An Exhibition (2nd half)
Disc 4 (64:11): Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2, Tiger In A Spotlight, Watching Over You, Tank / Enemy God, Nutrocker, Pirates, Fanfare For The Common / Rondo, Show Me The Way To Go Home
The 1978 Chicago show is the big surprise of the box and alone makes it worth having for ELP collectors. The other three shows have all been available before but this is the first time Chicago has been pressed. 1978 is a tour scheduled almost solely to earn back the fortune they lost on the orchestral tour the previous summer. It began on January 18th in Montreal and ran for two months, ending on March 13th in Rhode Island. This tour has been unfairly neglected by the bootleggers.
January 20th is the first of three nights in Chicago. ELP played in Chicago before on June 4th, 1977 at Solider Field when they were still touring with the orchestra. In 1978 they played in the much more intimate Universal Theater and without the orchestra. This is a fair to good audience recording. It isn’t the best sounding tape but the ears adjust to it as the show proceeds and it turns out to be a very good show except for some deterioration in “Fanfare For The Common Man.”
The setlist is slightly different than the previous year. “Karn Evil 9,” which was the set opener, is now played in the middle of the show. ELP begin with a cover of Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn Theme” leading into “Hoedown.” “Tarkus” reaches seventeen minutes long, about half the length as it was in 1973 but still an effective stage piece.
Even though they were touring for Works 2 and were going to record Love Beach in a few months, they still affected the Works attitude of dividing the show into solo spots. This had always been part of their stage act of course, but it is much more obvious on these tours. “Take A Pebble” is completely taken over as Emerson’s solo spot since it includes not only his “Piano Concerto” from Works but also his cover of “Maple Leaf Rag” before “Pebble’s” reprise.
Greg Lake is given two solo spots in the show. The first is the two song acoustic ballad set with the melodramatic “C’est La Vie” and the crowd pleasing “Lucky Man.” The third is later in the show when he performs “Watching Over You,” one of his most beautiful creations. And Emerson announces it’s Carl’s turn before his spot which is a medley of “Tank,” “Enemy God,” and some of the drums from Ginistera’s “Toccata.”
They come together as a band again for “Nutrocker,” “Pirates,” and the encore “Fanfare For The Common Man.” The encore also features “Rondo” and a reference to Richard Strauss’ “Also Spracht Zarathustra.” The second encore is a cover of “Show Me The Way To Go Home” which was featured on their latest LP Works 2. Chicago is a great show and the true gem of the set since it’s hasn’t been commonly available.
Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA – July 22nd, 1992
Disc 5 (58:08): Fanfare For The Common Man, Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Pt. 2, Tarkus, Knife Edge, Paper Blood, Black Moon, Creole Dance, Close To Home, Affairs Of The Heart, From The Beginning, Romeo And Juliet, Greg plays….
Disc 6 (58:02): Farewell To Arms, Pirates, Lucky Man, Pictures At An Exhibition, medley: Changing States / America / Rondo, Another Frontier
1992 was the first legitimate Emerson Lake & Palmer reunion and the whole year was scheduled with band activity. The album Black Moon was written and recorded in February and released on June 27th. ELP followed that with almost nine whole months touring the world including the US, Japan, and two times for Europe and South America ending in March 1993.
Live performance began on July 24nd in Mann Music Center in Philadelphia but two days before they held an open rehearsal in the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, a suburb just north of the city. They ran through their set before the press and select fans who were lucky enough to score tickets. At least four amateur tapes exist. Manticore use the best sounding of the four and is the same one that was commecially released on CDR bootleg on Rebirth (Ayanami). It is very good sounding and has cuts at 3:51 in “Black Moon” and at 5:22 in “Pictures At An Exhibition.”
The set starts off with a medley of “Fanfare For The Common Man,” a snippet of “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2,” an eight minute taste of “Tarkus” (only the first three parts “Eruption,” “Stones Of Years” and “Iconoclast”) and “Knife Edge.” All classics in ELP’s live performance. This medley would be not be played, however. At the tour opening in Mann Music Center “Fanfare” would be moved to an encore.
“Thank you very much indeed. Well, it’s been some time hasn’t it? We want to thank you all for coming and helping us get by with our nerves” Emerson says before “Paper Blood.” They play a tight version of the new track and someone close to the recorder shouts, “you still got it, baby. The cover of Ginstera’s “Creole Dance” is the only Emerson Lake & Powell tune to survive into the new era.
They attempt the new song “Romeo & Juliet” but twice Emerson’s midi breaks down. There is much nervous laughter and mock firing of the engineers and road crew going on but they manage to pull themselves together to run though the entire song eventually. “Lucky Man” is played closer to the original studio version than ever before. There is another halt in the music during “Pictures At An Exhibition,” this time by Lake who, three minutes in, stops the song to test the bass.
They also experiment with a set closer medley of Emerson’s “Changing States” with Bern-steins “America” and “Rondo.” The Emerson solo piece would be dropped and replaced by “Fanfare For The Common Man” for the opening night and this tape is the only evidence of this medley. The final track on disc two is “Another Frontier.” It has nothing to do with the rehearsal. It also is not a live performance but a studio track from Emerson’s 1995 solo album Changing States. What it is doing here is a mystery (although it is a pretty number).
Jones Beach Amphitheater, Jones Beach, Wantaugh, NY – July 25th, 1992
Disc 7 (44:27): Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Pt. 2, Tarkus, Knife Edge, Paper Blood, Black Moon, Creole Dance, Close To Home, From the Beginning, Affairs of the Heart
Disc 8 (61:07): Romeo And Juliet, Farewell To Arms, Pirates, Lucky Man, Pictures At An Exhibition, Fanfare For The Common Man
The final show in the boxset is from Jones Beach in Nassau County, Long Island, on the summer evening of July 25th, 1992. This is the second night of the tour and is sourced from a very good audience recording. It was previously available unofficially on Carillon (RPCD 1104) and Live At Jones Beach (Continental Sounds SIAE CS.CD5-511) both issued soon after the event.
The short “Karn Evil 9” reference starts the show. It lasts only ninety seconds, just enough to sing “welcome back my friends to the show that never ends” before segueing into the “Tarkus” snippet. The new songs sound magnificent against the older songs. Of particular note is “Black Moon” which crawls upon the stage much like “Tarkus” did in the early days of the band.
Emerson begins but then stops “Creole Dance.” “Sorry I have to reconnect my midi” he explains bring shades of the rehearsal in Philly a couple nights before. This segues into his own solo tune “Close To Home” which in turn serves as an introduction to “From The Beginning” which emphasizes Greg Lake.
“Farewell To Arms” sounds beautiful in this recording with Palmer underlying the soft ballad nature of the piece. The show ends with “Pictures At An Exhibition” which lasts almost twenty minutes and includes Palmer’s drum solo in the middle. The encore is a medley of “Fanfare For The Common Man,” “America” and “Rondo” with references to Bach thrown in all lasting about fifteen minutes long.
Overall this is a very nice boxset with fascinating material. The inclusion of several tapes from the beginning of their reunion is especially poignant since it gives a glimpse of the promise they had in the early nineties, only to see the same issues that plagued them in the seventies doom them yet again. Hopefully their reunion of the High Voltage Festival on July 25, 2010 will lead to fruitful collaboration in the future. Nevertheless Volume Four is an excellent release worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)