Tuesday 15 March 2016

The Show That Never Ends?

About a year ago, I wrote a blogpost that had been on the back-burner for some time. I knew it would be published eventually, but had not been looking forward to the day. On the 12th March 2015, the world lost the wit and wisdom of Sir Terry Pratchett. Turning my half-formed thoughts and patchy notes into a cathartic eulogy was an emotional experience.

Fast forward to the 11th March 2016, which would've been my mum's 86th birthday, and I was stunned once more to discover that another of my heroes had shuffled off this mortal coil.

The soundtrack to my teenage years was heavily influenced by keyboards, usually several of them all at the same time, played by the dextrous hands of the prog rock maestro, Keith Emerson of ELP. From tracks featuring classical piano, through honky tonk, Hammond organ and on towards Moog synthesisers (often with amazing segues in the same song), I was spell bound.

Not for me the 'cold' dystopian feel of the synthesisers demonstrated by Kraftwerk (though I'll admit that Autobahn is cool!) or Gary Numan and Tubeway Army. Nope, I was hooked on soaring, melodic synths and Emerson's boundless Moog energy.

Particular favourites were the Moog solo at the end of Lucky Man, just about any bit of Pictures at an Exhibition, the transition from piano to synth in the middle of Trilogy and the live version of Aquatarkus.

It wasn't until ELP had been disbanded for some time that I eventually had the chance to attend a Keith Emerson gig. He was touring the UK with a show combining music from his days with The Nice and ELP. Then, a few years later, as a treat for their Dad, First and Second Born took me to the inaugural High Voltage festival in London's Victoria Park, where ELP were headlining the Sunday. At last! Messrs Emerson, Lake and Palmer together again on one stage [Happy, happy, happy and a chorus of contented sighs].

So, to hear of the great man's untimely passing is sad indeed.

In a bizarre twist of Fate, I had just received an email from a colleague, for whom I had proofread an article. In typical Tense style, I had littered his carefully-crafted words with a bucket load of additional punctuation, to which he responded with a jokey "Fanfare for the comma, man!" Chuckling to myself, I closed down my email, clicked over onto the BBC News website and, in an emotional diminuendo, discovered the news of Keith Emerson's death.

So now, I guess, Emo will be finding out first-hand, just what Mussorgsky thinks of ELP's rendition of Pictures at an Exhibition.

No comments: