There’s No End To Our Live (Highland HL595/569)
Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria – June 3rd, 1971
Disc 1: Introduction, Promenade, The Gnome, Promenade, The Sage, The Old Castle, blues variation, Promenade, The Hut Of Baba Yaga, The Curse Of Baba Yaga, The Great Gate of Kiev, The Barbarian
Disc 2: Take A Pebble (incl. Tarkus), Knife Edge, Rondo (incl. drum solo), Nutrocker
There’s No End To Our Live is another interesting Highland release from ELP’s summer tour of Europe right before the release of their second LP. ELP played at the Stadthalle in Vienna on December 5, 1970 during a two week tour of Germany which also included stops in Frankfurt, Breman and Munich. An eighty minute tape circulates claiming to be from Vienna on December 1st circulates but this is in dispute. They played the Stadthalle five times between 1970 to 1974, but this is the only show in the Konzerthaus. The Konzerthaus is a venue built specifically for classical concert and his the home for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. There are three halls and ELP played in the 1,840 seat Großer Saal.
It is surprising that, in such a good venue, a decent tape wasn’t produced. Highland is the first to release this tape on a commercial boot. The sound quality is distant and disturbing and the distortion makes the tape very tough to listen to. There is a digital glitch on the first disc 2:03 in the blues variation, but no major cuts in the music so we have the concert virtually complete. After the mc introduces the band there is a short tune up before Emerson says to the audience, “We’d like to split the show into two halves….We’d like to first play a piece called ‘Pictures At An Exhibition'”. Lake plays some different melodies during “The Sage”. “The Barbarian” starts off the second set and Emerson dedicates it to Jimi Hendrix.
Quite why this dedication is made isn’t clear since June 3rd doesn’t signify anything with Hendrix passing away the previous September. It is known that Hendrix expressed interested in playing and possibly even joining ELP when they first formed (and possibly calling the band Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or HELP). “Take A Pebble” is introduced by Emerson as a song written by Carl. It has the usual beginning with the song’s first two verses before a couple of verses of Lake’s “Ballad Of Blue”, a song about his pet dog.
One of the peculiarities of this show is the absence of the epic off of their latest album “Tarkus”. ELP constantly changed their set list around and sometimes didn’t play it like on June 17th in Dusseldorf (so far as that tape shows). Highland list the songs on the artwork as a part of “Take A Pebble”, and during the fast piano improvisations Emerson plays some themes that are familiar from that piece as well as themes that would later appear in “Karn Evil 9 (2nd Impression)”.
The tape degenerates a bit by the end of the song and stays that way for the rest of the show. Lakes gives a rare introduction before “Knife Edge” by saying,” We finished the album and we played it through and we played it through and found it was five minutes too short, so we wrote this.” “Rondo” is eighteen minutes long and is followed by the encore “Nutrocker”. Looking past the limitations of the tape it is obvious that this is another hot show from the band reaching their prime, but the sound quality limits it to the dedicated ELP collector.