On This Day (November 27)…ELP at Petersburg

Emerson, Lake & Palmer performed on this day in 1977 in St. Petersburg, Florida. They were on their Works Tour, the final tour they undertook until their 1992 reunion. As of this time, they no longer had the orchestra they’d set out with due to budgetary constraints, but still were in fine playing shape as a trio.

Ticket for the concert. Retrieved from here

The concert has been recorded. It has not been officially released, and is in circulation online.

This was the second time Emerson, Lake & Palmer had been to St. Petersburg, Florida at the Bayfront Theater.

The Bayfront Theater is actually an interesting case of potential mistaken venue identity. There is no ‘Bayfront Theater’ as far as I can find now, which originally led me to believe that ELP were performing at the Bayfront Center.

Vintage postcard of the Bayfront Center, of which the Bayfront Theater is a part. Retrieved from here.

This Bayfront Center was built starting in 1963, opening in 1965. It could hold 8,500 people in its concert setting. During its history, it played host to many legendary rock acts, including Elvis Presley and the Who, before it was demolished in 2004 to make way for a Salvador Dalí museum.

However, there was a building attached to it, the Mahaffey Theater, which this site mentions being formerly called the Bayfront Theater. Due to its having far fewer seats (just under 2000), this little theater also received a lot less attention and fewer rock ‘n roll acts. It sounds like ELP, on a stripped-down tour as they were, went here rather than the large arena in the same complex.

Bayfront/Mahaffey Theater’s interior. Retrieved from here.

The Mahaffey Theater has been renovated, has since played host to several presidential debates, and is still hosting events to this day (source).

Edit as of 2019-12-10: Some information I’d initially given was incorrect. ELP did not get a chance to finish the tour with the orchestra; that was the summer tour, finishing in Montreal. Furthermore, I’d received information that there’d been a date on December 30. As I can no longer verify that, that claim has been taken down as well.

0 thoughts on “On This Day (November 27)…ELP at Petersburg

  1. The November 30, 1977 show in St. Petersburg was the concert of the 2nd leg of the WORKS 1977-1978 tour. They did not return to play in St. Petersburg again on the tour. Also, the Orchestra returned to play three shows in New York City on July 7, 8, and 9, 1977 and one show in Montreal on August 26, 1977. However, the orchestra did not finish out the tour with ELP.

    1. Gotcha—got a few things mixed up (and had had some info about a tour date on December 30 there, but I guess it’s wrong). Thanks for the corrections! I’ll edit my post right now.

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