Keith Emerson and Greg Lake only undertook a single tour with drummer Cozy Powell in the wake of the recording of their sole album.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer had been on hiatus for seven years when Emerson and Lake decided to try again. Carl Palmer was unavailable due to his commitments with Asia, so Emerson and Lake decided that it was time to recruit another drummer. Fortunately for the world, the drummer chosen was Cozy Powell. Besides being among the finest the world has seen, Powell also left a far more complete historical record of this period of ELP’s existence than we usually have access to. His tendency to tape studio sessions has left us with two behind-the-scenes sets. Meanwhile, a short list of comments to a fanzine gives us insight into his thoughts on all but one gig the trio did on their North America tour.
The group also had a few appearances on MTV to promote themselves and their work, including an appearance as veejays. The appearance is available to watch here.
The band’s setlist varied somewhat night to night, always beginning with “The Score” from their newest album as well as a few other new album numbers. The majority of the concert was composed of old ELP favorites, including abridged versions of “Tarkus”, “Pictures at an Exhibition”, “Pirates” in full, “Knife-Edge”, and others. The exact nature of the pieces included sometimes changed from night to night; “Step Aside”, for instance, was only included at the debut show as far as I can find from bootlegs.
Each member received a solo spot, with Keith Emerson bringing in numbers from his solo career rather than reviving old ELP songs; contrast this with Greg Lake, who chose to bring back his old acoustic ballads for his solo spots rather than take separately-written material from his two studio albums from earlier in the decade. Cozy Powell got a customary drum solo in the middle of “Mars, Bringer of War”; associating his solo with a classical piece was a tradition he had begun while still with Rainbow in the mid-70s.
The band began their tour supported by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, though he was quickly let go. This was apparently due to his refusal to play a gig, though details are sparse about this.
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.
|1985||In-studio||Yes||In circulation as “Space Gospel”|
|1985||In-studio plus equipment delivery||Yes||In circulation as “Back on the Road”|
|1986||Sprocket Studio, London (?)||Yes||Tour rehearsals, released officially; may actually have been at the London Hammersmith Odeon|
|1986-08-15||El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, TX||Yes||Here; May have also been recorded for MTV|
|1986-08-17||Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK||No||Here|
|1986-08-19||Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA||No||Here|
|1986-08-20||Summit Festival, Houston, TX||No||Here|
|1986-08-21||Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX||No||Here|
|1986-08-23||Convention Center, San Antonio, TX||No||Here|
|1986-09-01||Riverbend Center, Cincinatti, OH||No||Here|
|1986-09-03||Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-09||Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-12||Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-13||Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, NJ||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-15||Performing Arts Center, Providence, RI||No||Here|
|1986-09-16||Greatwoods Center, Mansfield, MA||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-19||Capital Center, Landover, MD||No||Here|
|1986-09-20||Madison Square Garden, New York, NY||Yes + partially filmed||Here|
|1986-09-21||Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-22||Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA||No||Here|
|1986-09-23||Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, OH||Yes||Here|
|Some time before 1986-09-25||MTV appearance as Veejays||Yes||Information given conflicts with other reports|
|1986-09-25||Hershey Stadium, Hershey, PA||No||Here|
|1986-09-27||Coliseum, Hampton, VA||No||Here|
|1986-09-28||Coliseum, Richmond, VA||Yes||Here|
|1986-09-30||Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY||No||Here|
|1986-10-02||Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA||No||Here|
|1986-10-04||Civic Center, Lakeland, FL||Yes||Here|
|1986-10-05||Knight Center, Miami, FL||Yes||Here|
|1986-10-12||Coliseum, Charlotte, NC||No||Here|
|1986-10-14||Opera House, Boston, MA||Incomplete||Here|
|1986-10-16||Coliseum, Grand Rapids, MN||No||Here|
|1986-10-17||Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI||Yes||Here|
|1986-10-18||Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN||No||Here|
|1986-10-19||Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, IL||Yes||Here|
|1986-10-21||MET Center, St. Paul, MN||Yes|
|1986-10-22||Mecca Arena, Milwaukee, WI||Yes|
|1986-10-23||Stephens Auditorium, Ames, IA||No|
|1986-10-26||Civic Auditorium, Portland, OR||No|
|1986-10-27||Paramount, Seattle, WA||No|
|1986-10-29||Henry J. Kaiser Pavilion, Oakland, CA||Yes|
|1986-10-30||Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA||No|
|1986-10-31||Pacifica Theater, Costa Mesa, CA||Yes|
|1986-11-01||Open Air Festival, San Diego, CA||No|
|1986-11-02||Arizona State Fair, Phoenix, AZ||Yes||The only concert which Cozy Powell did not comment on.|
Many fans remember this tour fondly as a treat for the ears and, thanks to the addition of video and occasional pyrotechnics, the eyes.
ELPowell may have been entirely too short-lived for fans’ preference, but they sure left an impact while they were here!
- Macan, Edward. Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. p 501
- Edit on 2020-10-20: Fixed photograph link. Updated Glens Falls date. Fixed ‘Richfield Coliseum’ spelling.