MUSIC NEWS - For a number of years, rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer ruled the progressive rock genre and toured with some of the most amazing stage productions (orchestras included) during the time period. As a result,they were often maligned by music critics and in the case of an ill-fated tour with an orchestra, financial devastation to the group.
Now with an album reissue campaign upcoming and a chance to re-examine and expand their catalog of work, Keith Emerson is looking back at the highs and lows that ELP experienced in their music history, which now spans over four decades. He recently recalled, “We were a band who could play in front of any size of audience. We were comfortable in front of a few thousand in Newcastle, but we could also play the California Jam, which we headlined in 1974.”
Emerson related to UltimateClassicRock.com that the California Jam had them playing in front of a crowd that numbered almost half a million, “but we took the challenge and made it work.”
For Emerson, the “challenge” meant presenting a show that was more than just music. In doing that, they brought out the critics who found their elaborate stage show excessive. He still feels like they were unfairly targeted when others were doing the same things, sometimes in a vein that he considered to be ridiculous by comparison.
“No disrespect to Peter Gabriel, but I never got his approach to theatrics in Genesis,” says Emerson of the former Genesis lead singer. “What was he trying to prove by dressing up as a flower? That’s pretentious. What we did was become showmen, yet we get hammered for it, while everyone applauds Gabriel.”