On This Day (March 31)…Trilogy in Miami

Emerson, Lake and Palmer performed on this day in 1972 at the Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

Ticket for the show. Retrieved from here.

ELP were at this time early in their Trilogy Tour, done to support the forthcoming album of the same name. Unlike pieces from their two prior studio albums, however, much of the music off Trilogy was exceptionally difficult to perform live due to the massive amount of studio overdubs on the record. As such, numbers from this album got relatively little time onstage. By the time this concert rolled around, for instance, the title track had been dropped from the setlist after only a few performances. Other pieces, such as any portions of “The Endless Enigma”, had yet to join the setlist.

This concert is said to be partially recorded. However, I’ve come across at least one spirited debate over whether the recording said to be of this concert was actually recorded on this day or the day prior.

Cover of the show’s recording. Included with my copy of the recording.

The Venue

This was the first time the group had ever performed in the greater Miami area, and was the only time they would perform on Miami Beach. The venue at which this concert took place was the Miami Beach Convention Center, which actually is a larger center which includes a ballroom, some exhibit spaces, and a theater. The center was completed in 1958, and featured many notable events throughout the ensuing years. Interestingly, in the same year that the band performed at the Convention Center, it hosted both the Democrat and the Republican Party’s National Conventions! Today, the center hosts the yearly Miami Art Basel Exhibition, one of the major local events.

Exterior of the Convention Center. Retrieved from here.

Most likely, the band performed within the small theater on the site, which actually opened in 1950, prior to the Convention Center’s opening. Known variously as the Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium, the Jackie Gleason Theater, and the Fillmore Miami Beach among other things, this theater was where Jackie Gleason filmed his show in the mid-to-late 60s. Architect Morris Lapidus redesigned the theater in the early 70s; the exact time frame during which the work took place is a bit vague, making it possible that the theater was closed when the band came through!

Theater exterior. Retrieved from here.

The post-renovation auditorium can seat a crowd of at least 2,713. Despite occasional discussion among city leaders to demolish the building in favor of condominiums or a hotel, music fans in the community have thus far kept the Fillmore Miami Beach safe. The theater is still in operation today. You can find its site right here.

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Venue Sources

  • Edit on 2020-07-19: added setlist info, venue info and cover.

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