Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Carl Palmer Band at World Cafe Live

I had the tremendous good fortune to have been gifted with a ticket to see the Carl Palmer Band with a friend last night at the World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington (6/6/16). Carl Palmer (wikipedia entry here) is one of the legendary rock drummers, having been a part of the progressive art rock band Emerson Lake and Palmer, and later the drummer for the supergroup Asia.

This particular show was the third (?, started June 2 in NY) in a 25 show tour called "Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy Tour 2016". The shows would be an entire set of instrumental music, almost entirely of ELP classics.
The Carl Palmer Band (picture by me)

Our seats were in the fourth row, just left of center stage, and the view of Palmer and his two band mates from that close was amazing. Band members were guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick, both of who were also terrific. Palmer's energy at age 66 is astounding, and being as close as we were you could clearly see how physically demanding 2 hours of drumming is.
Carl Palmer... (picture by me)

The music was phenomenal, but would admittedly not be everyone's cup of tea. Prog rock/art rock isn't to everyone's taste, and listening to hard rock versions of classical music like Pictures at an Exhibition and Carmina Burana might be more akin to torture to some. But I thought it was great.

This tour is, in part, a tribute to Keith Emerson, the keyboard player from ELP, who committed suicide in March of this year at the age of 71. He suffered from depression, brought on at least in part by nerve damage that affected his ability to play. A very sad story, and a reminder that rich and famous people who would seem to have it all have their burdens as well.

Anyway, Emerson's keyboards were the foundation of much of ELP's music, and upon arriving at the venue, I couldn't understand how they were going to do ELP music without any keyboards (which it was obvious they didn't have). It turns out that the guitarist played pretty much all of what would have been the keyboard parts. I was a bit skeptical at first, and it was different (no question), but it worked.

A few tidbits from YouTube:
  • Hoedown (Aaron Copeland), ELP 1973 and the brilliance that was Keith Emerson.
  • Hoedown played by the Carl Palmer Band (same lineup we saw) in November 2015.
  • The Nutrocker (apologies to Tchaikovsky) - this is the show I saw. My head is probably in this shot somewhere on the left, 4th row, directly in front of the guitarist.

Live music of any kind is terrific, and as I have said many times before, you can't beat a venue this size (capacity is maybe 500-600 if I had to guess).
Autographed promo shot

After the show, the band had tables in the lobby to greet fans and sign things, so I got to fist-bump Carl Palmer and get him to sign a famous (reprinted) ELP promo picture from the early 1970s. Pretty cool.

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