Tour Guide: Get Me A Ladder Tour

In my “tour guide” series, I’ll be setting up guides to certain tours by certain bandsThis 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! 

Although we were not so aware of it at the time, this tour was to become a significant event in the band’s European career. It not only defined our success as a band with our own brand of music, but it had also confirmed that we were at the very cutting edge of live show production.

Greg Lake, Lucky man, p 161

Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s third tour, the Get Me A Ladder Tour, is something of an anomaly for the group’s touring work in the 70s.

Planned tour dates of the Get Me A Ladder tour. Retrieved from here.

Unlike their three previous tours, there was no album released during the tour. In fact, there wasn’t even an album ready; while the music of their forthcoming Brain Salad Surgery was being prepared, the album had not yet been recorded. In fact, recordings from this tour show that the group workshopped some of their pieces during the tour. The song which underwent the most dramatic changes night by night was “Still…You Turn Me On”, which showed up during Greg Lake’s solo spot in the middle of “Take a Pebble”.

The band was accompanied by Stray Dog, an American band which had been signed to Manticore Records, ELP’s then-recently launched label. The band was brand new themselves, so putting them on the tour with ELP no doubt was a great help to them. Interestingly, guitarist William Garrett “Snuffy” Walden III of the band would one day work with Lake on his solo albums. Later still, he would score The West Wing!

Stray Dog. Retrieved from here.

This tour also featured a spate of cancellations, both due to bad weather and to Lake’s contraction of laryngitis. Even so, the tour was overall a big success. At the end of the year, in December of 1973, a documentary shot on this tour aired on the BBC.

The band performed a total of 22 dates. A total of two dates were postponed, and five were cancelled without any rescheduling. This was thus the shortest tour the group undertook in the 1970s.

DateLocationRecorded?Other Info
1973-03-30Ostseehalle, Kiel, GermanyNoHere
1973-03-31Philipshalle, Düsseldorf, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-01Forest National, Brussels, BelgiumNoHere
1973-04-03Saint Ouen, Paris, FranceNoHere
1973-04-04Les Arenes, Poitiers, FranceNoHere
1973-04-05Palais des Sports, Caen, FranceN/ACancelled
1973-04-06Palais des Sports, Lille, FranceN/ACancelled
1973-04-07Palais des Expositions, Nancy, FranceN/ACancelled
1973-04-08Palais des Sports, Lyon, FranceN/ACancelled
1973-04-10Friedrich-Eberthalle, Ludwigshafen, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-11Friedrich-Eberthalle, Ludwigshafen, GermanyNoHere
1973-04-12Stadthalle, Freiburg, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-13Sporthalle, Köln, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-15Hallenstadion, Zurich, SwitzerlandYesHere
1973-04-16Ernst-Merck Halle, Hamburg, GermanyNoHere
1973-04-17Broendby Hallen, Copenhagen, DenmarkNoHere
1973-04-18Scandinavium, Gothenburg, SwedenYesHere
1973-04-21Oude Rai, Amsterdam, NetherlandsNoHere
1973-04-22Grosse Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, GermanyNoHere
1973-04-23Münsterlandhalle, Münster, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-24Olympiahalle, Munich, GermanyYesHere
1973-04-25Konzerthaus, Vienna, AustriaYesHere
1973-04-26Konzerthaus, Vienna, AustriaNoHere
1973-04-28Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan, ItalyN/APostponed due to illness
1973-04-29Ponte Sant’ Ambrogio, Modena, ItalyN/ACancelled due to illness
1973-04-30Stadio Comunale, Bologna, ItalyN/APostponed due to illness
1973-05-02Stadio Flaminio, Rome, ItalyYesHere
1973-05-03Stadio Comunale, Bologna, ItalyYesHere
1973-05-04Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan, ItalyYesHere

Despite the cancellations and postponements, the tour went well overall, delighting fans across nine countries. Just as importantly, the stage had been set for the most famous tour the band ever undertook: the Brain Salad Surgery Tour.

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