‘I don’t get the same buzz’: Keith Emerson doesn’t miss Emerson Lake and Palmer’s 1970s-era mega-concerts

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Keith Emerson remembers Emerson Lake and Palmer playing before crowds that would swell into the 10s, even 100s of thousands, then buzzing off by plane to play before another. Though, he admits, he doesn’t remember it very fondly.

“Quite honestly, I don’t really miss public performance at all,” Emerson says, in the video below. “I don’t get the same buzz.”

There just isn’t the same intimacy, as with ELP’s legendary headlining appearance at the California Jam in 1974 in front of a whopping 200,000 fans — subject of a 2012 archival project from Shout! Factory. After a lengthy layoff in the 1980s, Emerson Lake and Palmer reformed in the early 1990s, but has — other than one-off appearances like 2010’s High Voltage Festival — been on hiatus now since 1998.

Emerson, meanwhile, just released The Three Fates Project, perhaps his most completely realized experiment yet with combining rock and orchestral music.

Of course, despite his lukewarm feeling about full-blown arena concerts, you can still find Emerson playing live these days — just in much different venues.

“I’m more apt to go down to my local pub, or whatever, in Santa Monica, California and sit in the local band,” Emerson adds. “I do that automatically. I don’t get paid for it. I get more fun out of that.”

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  • I (#DrMorq) saw ELP in 1975 at Henry Levitt Arena in Wichita,Kansas. And I didnt see any other show that had that impact on me for 25 years. I ‘play’ keyboards but seeing Mr. Emerson changed my way of writing and thus my playing. I knew that no matter what I did, I couldnt get close to his ability, but my love for the keyboards had me innovate for my own style. It forced me to become my own person and musician. And I really like that. Looks like I have to come to California to thank you in person, unless you come to
    Everett,Washington, across from Clark Park to the #houseofmanycolors
    And check out our crappy studio #theSoundry
    Thanks again!