Just before the band appeared on stage, Gary arrived, relieving me of my merchandising burden - thanks Gary. I managed to get to the hall just after the music started, standing just inside the doorway for most of the first half of the show. After the break, wait for the full review to explain that comment, I managed to find a free seat on the front row - good luck or what - and should have some great pictures from there. The set was played in a slightly different order this evening - John Young playing his solo one track earlier than normal! Apart from that it was business as usual - a pretty excellent show and a nice, intimate way to end the short tour. At one point Carl mentioned that he'd never played the venue before. As the said it it seemed that he was not used to playing in such a small, not to mention oddly shaped, hall. I should probably explain that comment. If you can imagine a long thin hall with the stage placed in the centre third of one of the long walls, extending out almost half the width of the hall and seats placed all around it then you'd have a pretty good idea of the venue. Compact and bijou - but great if you have one of the expensive seats in the third in front of the stage. I don't know quite what the band made of it - but there were some bemused looks from them during sections of the performance. I guess the extension mentioned above will expand the area for the audience and probably make for a better view of the stage - though the intimacy of the place will no doubt be lost in the process.
I missed the Introductory Fanfare
but arrived just in time for the first of the opening salvo of Asia tracks,
Again. As usual (see previous reviews for fuller details of performance
of individual tracks) Dave Kilminster really attacked these two Asia tracks,
Survivor being the second. Carl introduced the third track, and first
of a fitting trilogy of ELP tracks, Bitches Crystal which John Young
seemed to cope with admirably.
The second set began
with the track which would normally have proceeded John's keyboard solo,
on Air. The true power of John Wettons bass playing can be appreciated
with this track - a new on on the audience - though something John has
had waiting around I feel. This is one heavy track and the guys really
gave it their all. There was no way they could have done it justice without
the bass amp - now the audience could feel the reason for the short break.
something a little lighter next, though still a powerful version, Only
Time Will Tell. A bit of fun next, Aaron Copeland's
made famous by the ELP threesome (to this crowd at ay rate).
An excellent show - despite the obvious problems - and a great, intimate, end to the brief UK tour. If the guy's can't get something concrete off the ground after these five dates then there is no hope for the music industry. The shows had everything, showmanship, great music, excellent performers, something old as well as some (relatively) new material and most of all, a sense of a band enjoying themselves. Roll on the live album and the supporting tour!
Funniest comment I heard all night: "Who is this John Wetton guy anyway - I'm here to see Carl Palmer"! Poor John. Still, I think the guy who made the comment was a drummer himself so he should be excused.
A fuller review will follow soon
- if I can find my notes! If not I may have to leave it like this.
You can find more pictures from this show at Caroline Mockett's John Wetton site.
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