King Biscuit 1996 / Purple Pyramid 2015
The dinosaur rips the joint – all classics included – in the heavy company.
Possessing a top status as a progressive player, Greg Lake’s rock credentials were close to zero for a long time, so the line-up of his own band in 1981 couldn’t be more surprising, especially to those who missed on the artist’s self-titled solo debut and who failed to notice prog credentials of Lake’s new foil, Gary Moore, previously not only with THIN LIZZY but also with Jon Hiseman‘s COLOSSEUM II. The guitarist receives his share of spotlight during this concert, taped at the Hammersmith, in the perennial “Parisienne Walkways,” voiced here by Greg with uncanny resemblance to its original singer, Phil Lynott, and packs the brontosaurus riffs into “21st Century Schizoid Man,” yet for the most part Gary’s work pins down the art of the main man.
Starting with the blast of ELP’s signature salvo, “Fanfare For The Common Man,” that, edgier than ever, flows into the groovy embrace of “Karn Evil 9,″ and bringing the spectacle to a close with the baroque sway of “In The Court Of The Crimson King,” the band are in fine form throughout. They put a jovial jammy flame into Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” and the hard rock mode suits Lake well, as prove “Retribution Drive” with its heavy bass runs, “Love You Too Much,” co-written with Bob Dylan and given a Ted McKenna drum thunder, and “Nuclear Attack” which Moore later reclaimed for himself. But there’s an equal surge of energy in the romanticism of “The Lie” or “Lucky Man” that, with the help of Tommy Eyre’s keyboards, turns into the spiritual folk tune.
More so, there’s a special magic in a bonus track from the Greg’s group’s NYC show, “C’est La Vie,” which Gary and Ted take to dizzy heights with their flamenco explosion. Even in ELP Lake didn’t shine as brightly as he does, ruling a den of his own and rocking at his most powerful, on this invaluable historical document.