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Emerson still rocks

July 30th, 2009 3 comments

It was a real bummer to all ELP fans when Keith Emerson announced that he had to cancel the tour with The Keith Emerson Band band and also the 2009 tour with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I guess he is really gutted by this and then losing his mother on top of that only compounded matters.

You gotta give credit to a true professional who, despite all the crap in his life, has made appearances at Spinal Tap and at NAMM 2009 where he played live and played extremely well.

Sure the Spinal Tap gig didn’t require a great deal of dexterity or playing skill but he still did the gig and performed. Much more difficult was the performance at the Korg stand at NAMM 2009 where he played with Marc Bonilla and bass player Travis Davis. Most previous appearances were only with MB.

You could see that Keith had to modify his fingering for performing (especially on Tarkus) and use a lot more of finger combinations 1,2,2 and 1,2,5 presumably to get over the curling of fingers 3 and 4. It must be a real bummer and very distressing with such a debilitating problem, (clearly not what you need as the world top rock keyboardist and standard bearer for all the worlds keyboard players).

I remember when he had a problem (not sure if was the same thing or a related but different thing) in 1993/1994 around the time of the recording of In the Hot Seat and The Return of the Manticore. He explained in an interview (with Keyboard Magazine I think) how scary it was being a professional piano player with a potentially career threatening condition in his right forearm. He seemed to get over that but only to get a recurrence 15 years later.

Sometimes you think there was a curse on ELP and their fans. Whilst fans of other bands get copious amounts of material and tours and output from their fave bands ELP has always been a tough band to follow. Many years between tours and albums, infighting over production credits, illness…….. But then perhaps it makes us ELP fanatics value it all the more, as it is so rare and gets rarer every year as everyone (fans and the band) get older.

Notwithstanding all of that you have to give credit to the awesomeness of Keith Emerson. The show truly never ends and that he performs in such adversity with total commitment and professionalism he demands total and complete respect from every musician in the house …and not just keyboard players.

Rock music and Progressive Rock music owe a massive debt to Keith Emerson for his past and continuing contributions to the world of rock music and for bringing keyboard players into the front of the stage.

In a time where we are starved of true rock keyboard flag flyers (in my opinion the few are John Beck and Tom Brislin) we still need Keith Emerson to show us the way.

Total respect to Keith Emerson for continuing to delight all of us with his unique playing, performing, compositions and general awesomeness.

Hopefully he’ll get to stage where he feels he can go on the road again and treat us all again to his musical wizardry and rock magic. Wherever he plays in the world I’ll be there at the gig and I’m sure many other traveling ELP fans will too.

Keith Emerson makes appearance at NAMM 2009

July 19th, 2009 2 comments

Keith Emerson made an appearance the Korg Booth at the Winter NAMM 2009 along with Marc Bonilla and Travis Davis. Demoing a Korg M3-88 they played a wee medley of tunes including Tarkus, Nutrocker and From the Beginning. Keith busked some great piano parts on From the Beginning giving some new life to an already great song.

Despite the ailment in his right hand he still plays with such mastery. He has such a distinctive style and command of his instrument that few people would know he has major issues with his right hand. Respect!

Keith Emerson with Spinal Tap

July 5th, 2009 No comments

Keith made a short appearance at the recent Spinal Tap gig playing the Tap classic ‘Heavy Duty. You could say it was a relatively easy gig for any keyboard player playing a few Hammond lines but few can really rock with a Hammond as good as Keith Emerson does.