Trilogy By Trilogy (Blue Café -126A/B)
Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA – March 22nd, 1972
Disc 1, Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA – March 22nd, 1972: Introduction, Hoedown, Tarkus, Trilogy, Take A Pebble, Lucky Man, piano improvisations, Take A Pebble (conclusion)
Disc 2: Abaddon’s Bolero, Pictures At An Exhibition, Rondo (incl drum solo). Mehrzweckhalle, Wetzikon, Switzerland – June 24th, 1972: The Endless Enigma (Part 1), Fugue, The Endless Enigma (Part 2)
Emerson Lake & Palmer’s Trilogy, their third studio album and fourth release overall was recorded in early 1972 and released to the public that summer. Their first live appearances that year, a tour of the US, began on March 21st in Denver and ended about a month later in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. For the early dates the Mahavishnu Orchestra opened for them and the earliest tape that had been circulating is the third date, March 23rd in Santa Monica and reveals they already added “Abaddon’s Bolero” from the unreleased album to the set list.
Trilogy By Trilogy, the latest ELP title from the prog rock cdr label Blue Cafe, is a new, never before released tape source from the second show of the tour in Long Beach. It sounds as if this tape comes from the same taper who produced the recently released Deep Purple and Yes tapes from San Bernardino. It is very loud and clear and the audience remains attentive to the music. The tapers also include their commentary on the action on stage at various points through the show like “[Emerson] could be a concert pianist”.
The tape is virtually complete. There is a cut in “Tarkus” at 6:29 omitting several minutes of improvisation, a tape flip at 3:13 in “Abaddon’s Bolero” and fades out 11:32 in the encore “Rondo”. The real revelation on this tape is, in addition to playing “Abaddon’s Bolero” from Trilogy, they also play the title track “Trilogy”. This tape is the only aural evidence of it played live. Emerson introduces the song by saying, “we tried for the first time last night…one of the tracks we want to try is a bit difficult on stage” before explaining the backing tracks they will use because the moog can’t play chords and is a good duplication of the final version. The audience reacts loudly to the middle section and afterwards when Emerson asks what they thought of the piece. Based upon Emerson’s words we can conclude the song was played twice on the first two dates of the tour and then dropped forever which is a shame since it could have been an effective standard.
Having a live “Trilogy” makes this release essential to own but the entire concert is tight. “Lucky Man” is played as a full band version except Emerson does not duplicate his famous solo at the end. “Pictures At An Exhibition” is the set closer and is less than fifteen minutes long without the long improvisational passages in “The Great Gates Of Kiev”. The encore “Rondo” has an energetic Carl Palmer workout. As a bonus Blue Cafe include “The Endless Enigma” suite also from Trilogy from the June 24 show in Switzerland.
The entire show exists on tape but the label wanted to include another scarcely played song from the LP. The sound quality of this tape is good and listenable but rates about a seven out of ten. The packaging, like the other releases on this label, is serviceable but not very attractive. They use the front painting of the Trilogy album on the front and a picture of the band relaxing on the back. Three great previously unheard ELP tapes have surfaced recently (June 12th, 1977 Iowa on Orchestral Works Live and the November 11th, 1977 Omaha on Gunn For Hire on the Windmill label) but this is the most interesting of the three and is highly recommended.