Friday, July 23, 2010

There be dinosaurs about!

You don't need to visit London's Natural History Museum to see dinosaurs in London this weekend (24th and 25th July). There is a herd of them in Victoria Park.

Gracing the High Voltage festival stage this weekend are the likes of Uriah Heep, Steve Hacket, Marillion, (the fantastic) Argent, Backman Turner and the wonderful Wishbone Ash. Bands you'd have sworn were extinct but remembered with respect through the dim, distant mists of time. I had to look at the site address twice to make sure it did read Victoria Park and not Jurassic...

Mighty amongst these lumbering giants are the headliners, ZZ Top and ... wait for it ELP! Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

ELP are celebrating their 40th anniversary with this 'final', farewell gig. Then fossilisation sets in (though there were those in the late '70s punk movement who'd have argued the process actually began then).

They were a fantastic band though. A supergroup if ever there was one. The memory of Emerson plunging knives into his organ (electric, that is!) is unforgettable, though I remember my first ELP concert at the Colston Hall, Bristol, 1970, for entirely different reasons. As we waited expectantly for them to appear I looked in amazement at a girl sitting on the stage. It couldn't be could it? She looked so like an old flame from the grammar (high) school back home in South Wales. In my pre-college years she'd dumped me. 'Rebbecca?', I shouted up from the foot of the stage. She turned to see me. 'What are you doing?', I shouted. 'Oh,' she replied nonchalantly, 'I'm Carl Palmer's girlfriend now.'

I got a gasped 'pardon!?' out as the lights dimmed, and she faded into the side-stage gloom never to be seen again though I looked long and hard after the concert, hoping for introductions, backstage parties or even a souvenir drumstick... And I was so deflated. No wonder she'd have none of me when she could pull a rock god!

I never found out what became of her. Certainly not Mrs CP. Pity in a way. I'd have shot down to Jurassic Park to see her and meet the grand kids, and maybe, finally, Mr Palmer himself.

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