On This Day (November 2)…The Last ELPowell

Emerson, Lake & Powell performed on this day in 1986 at the Open Air Festival in Phoenix, Arizona.

This appearance was the final concert at which Emerson, Lake & Powell appeared. It closed off their extensive North American Tour, which had begun in August of that year. The band quietly disbanded at some point after this concert, due in part to the financial issues which plagued this tour. As of Cozy Powell’s death in 1998, a true reunion of this band became impossible. Keith Emerson died eighteen years later, followed quickly by Greg Lake’s nine months after that; all three members of this group have thus passed on.

Cozy Powell provides no insight to how this concert went in his tour diary. It is the only concert on this entire tour which includes commentary by him.

This concert was apparently recorded, and is in circulation online.


Drummer Cozy Powell continued with his career as one of the most well-respected drummers in heavy metal. Around this time, he broke the world record for most drum beats in one minute.

Powell’s next major project was as a player on former bandmate Don Airey’s debut solo album, K2: Tales of Triumph and Tragedy. As a self-professed great fan of Keith Emerson, Airey likely would have had many questions about the Emerson, Lake & Powell tour!

Greg Lake did not make any sort of major public appearance for the next five years. Keith Emerson, meanwhile, teamed up with the third member of their original trio, Carl Palmer, and singer Robert Berry for a second spinoff band of the original ELP. This group, Three, also undertook a single tour of North America. The group performed at much smaller venues, resulting in far fewer financial problems.

Emerson, Lake & Powell reformed in 1992 for an album and a tour. They remained together for the next six years, disbanding in December of 1998. The only song from either of the spinoff groups to cross back over to the original group was “Touch and Go” by ELPowell. A few months after Cozy Powell’s death, when ELP were on tour with Deep Purple, they performed “Touch and Go”, perhaps as a tribute to their fallen bandmate. The song even made the setlist of ELP’s last concert in 2010.

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