On This Day (May 26)…ELP’s Carnegie Hall Debut

Emerson, Lake & Palmer performed on this day in 1971 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Poster for the show. Retrieved from here.

This show came near the end of the band’s first-ever American leg of a tour. The United States would become the country which ELP performed the most of their concerts in; some of their tours, such as their Works Tour and their final 1998 tour, took place entirely in North America with the vast majority of dates being in the US.

For now, however, the band was still on the Tarkus Tour, the second tour they undertook overall. At this point, Tarkus was still about three weeks away from hitting the shelves. The title track of the album still made it to the setlist, however! The rest of the setlist featured the same songs as the debut tour‘s setlist, with “Pictures at an Exhibition” apparently opening the concert. Other songs from the first album, namely “The Barbarian,” “Take a Pebble”, and “Knife-Edge” were also on the list. The setlist was finished out by “Rondo”, ported over from The Nice. Fittingly for Carnegie Hall, a venue that is most strongly associated with the classical genre,

Ticket for the show. Retrieved from here.

There is some debate over whether this concert was recorded. While there is a bootleg purported to be of this concert, it is apparently identical to a recording labeled as a concert at Fillmore East from the previous month. I can neither independently verify this nor state which gig the concert is actually of. Either way, it hasn’t been officially released.

Cover for the show. Retrieved from here.

While the name “Carnegie Hall” usually evokes classical music, the truth is that this hall caters to many different kinds of music. Since its opening in 1890, it has become one of the most famous venues in the United States in subsequent years.

Early photo of the hall’s exterior. Retrieved from here.

It is built to stand for ages, and during these ages it is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country.”

Andrew Carnegie at the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone of the hall, 1890.

The hall derives its name from Andrew Carnegie, the famed industrialist who dedicated much of his wealth to various philanthropic projects later in his life. He was apparently given the idea for the hall on his honeymoon when he and his bride, Louise Carnegie (née Whitfield) met conductor Walter Damrosch, who proposed the idea to him. Damrosch later conducted at the concert hall’s opening festival, alongside famed Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who conducted some of his own works.

The hall was noted for its remarkable beauty from the beginning. At the time of its opening, it only had a single concert hall, which seats 2,804 today. The hall was named the Isaac Stern Hall in honor of the violinist who championed it in the 1960s, saving it from almost certain destruction. There are two other concert halls which have since been added, which seat 599 and 268 people respectively.

File:Carnegie-hall-isaac-stern.jpg
The interior of the hall in 2008. Retrieved from here.

The hall’s website can be viewed here.

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