On This Day (January 30)…Works at Cornell

Emerson, Lake & Palmer performed on this day in 1978 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Ticket for the show. Retrieved from here.

The second leg of ELP’s Works Tour was fully underway by this point, about to wrap up its first month. The tour would go on for two months, coming to an end in March. With that would also end ELP’s days on tour until July of 1992.

It’s fitting, given that this was their swan song tour for the 70s, that they would represent every item in their catalogue, not just the two Works albums they were touring in support of. “Tarkus” was their biggest moment of improvisation, since “Take a Pebble” had now been merged with the first movement of Keith Emerson’s “Piano Concerto No. 1”.

There is sadly no known recording of this concert.

The specific hall at which they performed, Barton Hall, is part of the larger Cornell University. Cornell is one of the prestigious Ivy League schools, and the third university ELP performed at on this tour alone.

Barton itself was designed by Lewis F. Pilcher and opened in 1917 as a location for drills for the Department of Military Science. For a while, it was the largest unpillared room in existence, covering about two acres! Besides a drill location and a concert hall, it has also served as an airplane hangar (during WWII) and a sports center for both basketball and track (source). It even hosted the college’s graduations until the mid-70s. Its total capacity is apparently around 4,800.

File:Barton Hall from Schoellkopf Field.jpg
Exterior of Barton Hall in 2015 featuring its “revivalist gothic” elements. Retrieved from here.

The hall’s concert history includes one particularly notable superlative: apparently, a concert widely considered to be the Grateful Dead’s greatest concert took place here on May 8, 1977 (source). Some of the other concerts which took place here can be found here.

Barton Hall
Interior of Barton Hall. Retrieved from here.

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