My progressive rock fresca continues with a long, reported look at one concert that typified the peak of prog’s popularity – Emerson, Lake, and Palmer at Madison Square Garden, the “Silent Night” shows of 1973.
The band was born to be mammoth. Its origins dated to February 1970, when keyboardist Keith Emerson was treading water in the Nice and guitarist Greg Lake was falling out of King Crimson. Lake called Emerson, around 3 a.m., and said “I want to play with you, man.” Some time later, Lake made a late night call to Atomic Rooster’s drummer Carl Palmer. “He said that if I didn’t join the band,” Palmer remembered, “I’d not only be damaging myself, I’d be damaging him, and he said that was heavy.” The hyperbole got earned. Within two years ELP was one of the planet’s biggest bands, inventing stadium rock on the fly.
It’s fun, and you can’t read about gaffes all day. Enjoy.