“To be honest with you, that happens to everybody; doesn’t it? Everybody has got a band that is the landscape of their sort of being as it were; one that brings back the time, the memories, the feelings, the place, the moments. I have it with certain pieces of music that I hear so I understand it completely, it’s completely natural. That’s what music is all about, dealing with emotions and it’s a nice thing to be part of and nice to be part of it for such a long time,” says legendary drummer Carl Palmer.
“I was part of a movement that was fresh and new, I mean prog-rock was relatively new in the 70’s and I was at the forefront of that with ELP and if I was to go back a bit farther, “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” was at the height of that period which was the psychedelia period. That was when theatrical sort of approaches to presenting a rock sort of concert as it were were being put in place; long before David Bowie or Kiss. So I’ve been part of a few sort of quite big movements in my time and I’m very proud of that.”
Decades later Palmer is still recreating the sounds of his famous trio and the latest presentation of the classic material comes in the form of the ELP Legacy: “Emerson Lake & Palmer Lives On Tour.”
Palmer has taken to the road once again and on November 17 brings the “The show that never ends” into the South Orange PAC followed by two shows on November 19 and 20 at New York City’s famed Iridium Jazz Club.
After years of performing the music that has transcended generations, Palmer’s response was immediate when asked what is different this time around; what makes this time unique from previous shows?
“There’s some different pieces of music that we are playing, there’s different video footage that we’re using on the back wall, there’s different solos from Simon Fitzpatrick; the shows differ all the time because we keep changing the repertoire. We play a lot of ELP original music and we also play a lot of new classical adaptations so it’s constantly evolving.”
Part of that evolution comes in the form of adaptation and at the SOPAC this well oiled machine can spread out and bring its full “Cinematic” production to the audience but when the stage gets smaller as is the case with the Iridium; how does the band adjust?
“It’s a small sort of jazz club and a lot of people have played there; it’s a bit small for us but we decided that we would do it again, we had a good time there,” explained Palmer. “We can’t really put on the complete show, we can’t really have the full length screen there so the cinematic approach that we use in the concerts; we can’t really fulfill that side of it so it has got its limitations but the people are very nice and it’s in the middle of New York City so I suppose it’s in a place where a lot of tourists end up going.”
If the live performances and custom made films aren’t enough to satiate your thirst for some of the best progressive rock music ever made, there’s a look back through the camera lens via the now international release of 2016’s “Pictures At An Exhibition” which was done as a tribute to Keith Emerson and Greg Lake
“There’s a tribute CD/DVD tribute set that was done about 18 months to two years ago now; it was done in Florida and features various people from Steve Hackett to Mark Stein on vocals and keyboards. There was also a dance group that we used in “Pictures At An Exhibition” and we used a local choir to sing on “Jerusalem” which was always a big favorite of the group. So there was a CD which had some slightly different material on it and there was the DVD which was the exact show that was happening that night which was done as a tribute to both Keith and Greg.”
After the two Iridium shows, the tour has a stop in State College, PA and one more in Plymouth, NH; so what comes next for one of the world’s most recognizable drummers?
“Next year is the 50th anniversary of Emerson Lake and Palmer and we’re about to put in place various things involving orchestras and using film of Greg and Keith and me playing with them on stage along with Paul and Simon; possibly holograms as well. The Emerson and Lake families have agreed to use holograms so we might do that; to what extent I can’t say right now. We are literally experimenting now and looking at what the possibilities are and there are obviously some rather large companies which have come to the table who I can’t mention just yet who are very interested in doing it. So we are still under discussion at the moment but it is definitely moving forward. We have some unbelievable archive footage which could be involved in the show once I’ve got the technical side of this sorted out to the point where Keith and Greg could be playing with this band at the same time. With the various click tracks and things that we can put together; we are just about to dive into it now, looking at the various stems and things. We could actually incorporate this in a a bigger way to celebrate the 50th anniversary and obviously, if we get it right we will probably tour it globally as well.”
To purchase tickets or discover more about Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy, please visit www.carlpalmer.com.