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!
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.
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.
|1998-08-01||Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire||Yes||ELP-only; Here|
|1998-08-02||Flynn Theater, Burlington, Vermont||Yes||ELP-only; Here|
|1998-08-03||The Chance, Poughkeepsie, New York||No||ELP-only; Here|
|1998-08-04||Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire||Yes||DT-only|
|1998-08-29||The Joint, Hard Rock Cafe Hotel, Las Vegas, NV||Yes||DP-only; Here|
|1998-08-31||4th&B, San Diego, California||Yes||ELP-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.
|Date||Location||ELP Recorded?||DP Recorded?||DT Recorded?||Other Info|
|1998-08-04||Cumberland Civic Center, Portland, ME, USA||N/A||N/A||N/A||Cancelled|
|1998-08-06||PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-07||Meadows Music Theater, Hartford, CT, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-08||Great Woods, Mansfield, MA, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-09||Jones Beach Amphitheater, Wantagh, NY, USA||No||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-11||Bud Light Amphitheater, Harvey’s Lake, PA, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-12||Sony Blockbuster Entertainment Center, Camden, NJ, USA||N/A||N/A||N/A||Cancelled|
|1998-08-14||Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY, USA||No||No||No||Here|
|1998-08-15||Pine Knob Music Theater, Clarkston, MI, USA||Yes||No||No||Here|
|1998-08-17||L’Agora du Vieux-Port, Quebec City, CAN||Yes||No||No||Here|
|1998-08-18||Molson Centre Theatre, Montreal, CAN||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-19||Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, CAN||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-21||Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-22||New World Music Theatre, Tinley Park, IL, USA||No||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-23||Grand Casino Amphitheater, Hinckley, MN, USA||No||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-24||Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, WI, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-26||Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater, Denver, CO, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-28||The Warfield, San Francisco, CA, USA||Yes||Yes||No||Here|
|1998-08-30||Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA, USA||Yes||Yes||Yes||Here|
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.