In my “tour guide” series, I’ll be setting up guides to certain tours by certain bands. This is an aspect of a project I have been undertaking in some form or other since the summer of 2017, with some collaboration. I hope it’s useful to fellow music historians and aficionados!
Emerson, Lake & Palmer exploded onto the scene in 1970, forming in late spring and already releasing their first album six months later. All three members involved were known quantities on the rock scene, especially keyboardist Keith Emerson, who then as he is now was one of the most famous keyboardists in rock. Greg Lake, formerly of King Crimson, nonetheless quickly established himself as an effective lancer who could balance Emerson both onstage and in the studio. Carl Palmer, formerly of Atomic Rooster, rounded the group out.
This debut tour allowed ELP to introduce themselves to England and Western Europe. It coincided with the release of their first album on November 20 of that year, which made up the majority of the setlist. The group’s take on “Pictures at an Exhibition”, the Nice’s “Rondo”, and a cover of “Nutrocker” also showed up in lieu of other original material, as the band simply didn’t have a ton of it yet.
The respected DJ John Peel famously stated of the band that they were “a waste of talent and electricity”. Other critics were kinder, however, and fan response was positive from the start. The hard work ELP put in in this first year set the tone for all to follow, and the debut tour gave them the momentum which would carry them for the next four years.
In total, the group played thirty-four known shows (with some ambiguities addressed below), one rehearsal gig, and recorded one TV appearance. One gig was cancelled and rescheduled. The Lyceum Theater gig on December 9 was filmed and later shown in theaters. One other gig, the Isle of Wight performance usually treated as their official debut, has been officially released. Four other concerts from this tour are extant and in circulation online.
Below is a chart of all their known gigs, planned gigs and TV appearances. There will be links taking you to gigs I’ve either covered or reviewed. Anything else pertinent (venue info from another gig, etc) will also be linked.
|1970-08-21||Lyceum Theater, London (UK)||No||Dress rehearsal|
|1970-08-23||Plymouth Guildhall, Plymouth (UK)||Incomplete||Here|
|1970-08-29||Isle of Wight Festival (UK)||Officially released||Here|
|1970-09-19||Winter Gardens, Malvern (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-21||Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-24||Town Hall, Watford (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-25||City Hall, Hull (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-26||Starlight Room, Boston (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-27||De Montfort Hall, Leicester (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-09-28||Portsmouth Guildhall, Portsmouth (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-01||City Hall, Leeds (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-04||City Hall, Newcastle (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-07||Brighton Dome, Brighton (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-09||Greens Playhouse, Glasgow (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-11||Caird Hall, Dundee (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-16||Technical College, Waltham (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-17||Brunel University, Uxbridge (UK)||No||May not have happened; discussed here|
|1970-10-19||Colston Hall, Bristol (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-20||Winter Gardens, Bournmouth (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-21||Town Hall, Birmingham (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-25||Fairfield Hall, Croydon (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-26||Royal Festival Hall, London (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-27||City Hall, Sheffield (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-10-28||St. George’s Hall, Liverpool (UK)||N/A||Cancelled; Keith Emerson was ill|
|1970-11-22||St. George’s Hall, Liverpool (UK)||No||Rescheduled from Oct. 28; Here|
|1970-11-26||Planned Recording of Beat Club, Bremen (GER)||N/A||Cancelled; weather was bad|
|1970-11-28||Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt (GER)||No||Here|
|1970-11-29||Cirkus Krone, Munich (GER)||No||Here|
|1970-11-30||Unknown Venue, Nuremberg (GER)||No||Here|
|1970-12-01||Konzerthaus, Vienna (AUS)||Yes||Here|
|1970-12-02||Sporthalle, Boblingen, Stuttgart (GER)||Yes||Here|
|1970-12-04||Limathaus, Zurich, (SUI)||Yes||Here|
|1970-12-07||Manchester Free Trade Hall, Manchester (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-12-08||St. George’s Hall, Bradford (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-12-09||Lyceum, London (UK)||Yes||Here|
|1970-12-12||Leeds University, Leeds (UK)||No||Here|
|1970-12-13||Kinetic Circus, Birmingham (UK)||No||Here|
Charts and Visualizations
Below is a breakdown of the concerts by whether or not they were recorded. Official and unofficial recordings are lumped together for the sake of this chart. If other information on recordings surface, I will update it.
Below is a breakdown of concerts by country. This includes the dress rehearsal, but does not include the
- Freeman, Garry. Do You Wanna Play Some Magic? London, Helter Skelter Publishing, 2012.
- Edit on 2020-12-14: Removed references to a concert at “Boeblirgen” on December 6, 1970, as this was likely a typo. Removed references to a concert at Royal Festival Hall on October 25, 1970. Fixed the location of Kinetic Circus and removed ambiguities on the location of the December 13, 1970 concert. Removed reference to a December 5, 1970 concert at the “Stadthalle” in Vienna which did not happen. Cleaned up other ambiguities/inaccuracies. Added all dates.
- Edit on 2022-03-29: Added charts.