Carl Palmer and his band paid tribute to Keith Emerson with music spanning several decades of collaboration with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
12-July-2016: It’s fun when dedicated and knowledgeable fans come out to see an artist. When it’s an intimate setting and the performer is a legend, it raises the intensity and energy to new levels. That happened at Poor David’s Pub when Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Tour: Remembering Keith Emerson finished the first leg of their 2016 tour.
Carl Palmer has always been known as one of rock’s great drummers. Accompanied by guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick, he put together a setlist of 15 songs that covered the spectrum of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
With no opening act and no introduction, the three came onstage as a video tribute to Keith played on the overhead screen. Carl looked fit and trim for a man of 66 and sat behind the drum set centered as the focal point of the stage. Holding his sticks old school, like Gene Krupa of days long ago, he immediately set the tone of the night by playing a drum-led cover of “Peter Gunn.”
Palmer came in front of the drums to talk to the crowd, as he continued to do between songs all evening. He introduced the band and told of his long-time friendship with Mr. Emerson. He then gave away the next song as he said to the crowd, “Welcome back my friends.” Simon laid down a scintillating beat, different from the keyboard version but just as musically satisfying, for “Karn Evil 9.”
Poignant images played overhead while the band flawlessly performed complicated chord changes. Being one of the biggest hits for ELP, this naturally received a huge ovation. Carl and Paul were in complete unison (they’ve played together for 13 years) on “The Barbarian.”
Simon then exchanged his bass for a Chapman Stick for “Bitches Crystal,” the melody coming from that multi-faceted instrument complemented the song in amazing fashion.
Covering so much of his life in music wasn’t easy, but he tried with a hymn from his school days in “Jerusalem.” Simon then played an aggressive Chapman Stick on “Romeo And Juliet” that energized the crowd.
Carl had 40+ years of stories and told one of Greg Lake bringing in a song from his days in King Crimson. No one had heard “21st Century Schizoid Man” in many years, but it sounded new and fresh. Beautiful imagery overhead fit “Claire de Lune” perfectly as Paul played the upper fret for a higher sound.
Playing together for many years was evident for the difficult chord changes in “Knife Edge.” The crowd was ecstatic for “Hoedown” as all the band members played significant solos.
Simon mesmerized with a solo on the instrumental “Take A Pebble.” All three then complemented each other as only a cohesive band can do on “Carmina Burana.”
One highlight of the evening was the full version of “Pictures At An Exhibition.” At almost 20 minutes, with its tempo changes, breaks, different speeds and multiple sounds, it earned a well-deserved standing ovation.
A No. 1 hit for ELP, “Fanfare For The Common Man” showed Paul playfully interacting with the crowd. It segued into a mind-blowing drum solo that lasted several minutes. The speed and timing of the drum strokes were incredible, and the audience cheered in amazement. It also included his famous balancing drumstick trick to astonish the crowd further. It received another standing ovation.
Finishing the set, and the night, was the famous “Nutrocker.” The band had fun with what may be one of the best closing songs for any concert.
Sometimes, a show exceeds already high expectations. This concert was one of those events. Being the last night of this leg of the tour also made the three talented musicians want to perform at their best and finish strong.
Everything came together for this two-hour show as all 15 songs featured incredible music by talented performers. The intimate crowd yelled, screamed, and gave generous applause as they reveled in the greatness they saw and heard.
See Carl Palmer as they begin the second leg of their tour this fall.
Special thanks to promoter Don Wishon for all his help.
Photographer Joe Guzman of National Rock Review was on hand to capture the event.
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