Tour Guide: Three Titans 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! 

As a disclaimer, the above was not actually what the tour I will be talking about today was called! It’s a nickname only, meant to reference the incredible people who were on this tour. It also reflects the fact two of the bands on this tour are pretty much my favorite bands ever. Take a look back at the bands I write the most about and you’ll probably figure out which.

I feel a weird sense of excitement just looking at this poster. Retrieved from here.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Deep Purple had a surprisingly long history together. Keith Emerson is the first known guest to ever take the stage with Purple three months before ELP debuted onstage. Four years later, the two bands were the penultimate and the final acts at California Jam, each giving one of the most memorable performances of their respective careers. Ian Paice had guested on Keith Emerson’s Christmas album, and Ian Gillan and Greg Lake had shared at least one member, the drummer Ted McKenna, between their solo acts. With all these connections, it is only fitting that they would meet again here at this point in their careers.

This tour saw the two bands and Dream Theater going on the road together for a single month at a pivotal time in their careers. Dream Theater released albums the year before and after this tour. Deep Purple, meanwhile, had released an album in June of that year; these were the first North America dates they had performed after its release. In three years, the band would undergo its final lineup change to date, and were generally at a very stable period in their history.

ELP were at this time gearing up for a new album themselves, with the first new song they’d written since releasing In The Hot Seat four years prior opening their setlist. Less than six months later, however, ELP had broken up. They never did write that album. Barring a single one-off appearance in 2010, this tour would be their swan song.


Solo Band Dates

ELP performed a total of four or possibly five dates by themselves before the beginning of, during, and after the end of the tour. Three of these concerts were recorded. Dream Theater is also known to have performed a single date in August leading up to the tour. Deep Purple also performed a single solo date during the tour, near its end.

DateLocationRecorded?Other Info
1998-08-01Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New HampshireYesELP-only; Here
1998-08-02Flynn Theater, Burlington, VermontYesELP-only; Here
1998-08-03The Chance, Poughkeepsie, New YorkNoELP-only; Here
1998-08-04Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New HampshireYesDT-only
1998-08-29The Joint, Hard Rock Cafe Hotel, Las Vegas, NVYesDP-only; Here
1998-08-314th&B, San Diego, CaliforniaYesELP-only; Here

Combined Tour Dates

It total, the three bands performed seventeen dates together. Two more planned dates were cancelled.

Only one date was recorded for all three bands, making that date, August 30, the single most well-documented night of the tour. In total, ELP had thirteen dates recorded, Deep Purple had fourteen dates recorded, and only one date was recorded for Dream Theater. Thus, Deep Purple was the most recorded on this tour. ELP comes in a close second and Dream Theater takes home the bronze medal (and, perhaps, the least bootleg-inclined fans?). Adding the solo dates, however, ELP nudges Purple out with sixteen total recordings for August in comparison to Deep Purple’s fifteen and Dream Theater’s two.

DateLocationELP Recorded?DP Recorded?DT Recorded?Other Info
1998-08-04Cumberland Civic Center, Portland, ME, USAN/AN/AN/ACancelled
1998-08-06PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-07Meadows Music Theater, Hartford, CT, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-08Great Woods, Mansfield, MA, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-09Jones Beach Amphitheater, Wantagh, NY, USANoYesNoHere
1998-08-11Bud Light Amphitheater, Harvey’s Lake, PA, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-12Sony Blockbuster Entertainment Center, Camden, NJ, USAN/AN/AN/ACancelled
1998-08-14Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY, USANoNoNoHere
1998-08-15Pine Knob Music Theater, Clarkston, MI, USAYesNoNoHere
1998-08-17L’Agora du Vieux-Port, Quebec City, CANYesNoNoHere
1998-08-18Molson Centre Theatre, Montreal, CANYesYesNoHere
1998-08-19Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, CANYesYesNoHere
1998-08-21Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-22New World Music Theatre, Tinley Park, IL, USANoYesNoHere
1998-08-23Grand Casino Amphitheater, Hinckley, MN, USANoYesNoHere
1998-08-24Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, WI, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-26Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater, Denver, CO, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-28The Warfield, San Francisco, CA, USAYesYesNoHere
1998-08-30Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA, USAYesYesYesHere


I have listened to several concerts from this tour, particularly on the ELP side. I can say confidently that it was an extremely strong tour in substance as well as in pedigree. While I’m sad that the ELP show had to eventually end, at least it did on a high note.

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