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The prog-rock show that never starts

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Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never starts.

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake—the E and L of prog-rock dinos ELP—embarked on a 20-date North American tour earlier this month. Make that 16 dates—the first scheduled show, in Cleveland, was canceled at the last moment; three more were called off after that. Fans—some of whom had traveled hundreds of miles for the occasion—had already taken their seats, psyched for some looooooong keyboard solos. The house lights had already gone down when both musicians refused to take the stage. Merchandise was snapped up—this star-crossed tour has “collector’s item” stamped all over it. The band has a history of contentiousness, and E and L had reportedly been squabbling during rehearsals. “The production we had hoped to put on was lacking in its musical and technical preparations,” said 65-year-old keyboard whiz kid Emerson in a statement.

Calendar

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake
April 24, 8 p.m.; $39-$59. Las Vegas Hilton, 732-5111.

In his statement, singer/guitarist Lake, 62, coyly alluded to Emerson’s “stage fright”; next it was Lake’s turn to publicly apologize—a gig was canceled due to his reported laryngitis. The show eventually went on in New York, and judging from reports, the stripped-down staging is a far cry from ELP’s excess-epitomizing ’70s heyday, when their concerts featured rotating drum kits, a flame-throwing synthesizer and a somersaulting grand piano. And what about P?, I hear you cry. That would be drummer Carl Palmer, who is touring Europe with prog supergroup Asia. Perhaps tellingly, P recently announced on his website that he has not spoken with either E or L—and that he plans to perform ELP songs when he tours North America in October and November.

A 40th-anniversary ELP reunion show at London’s High Voltage festival is scheduled for July. Stay tuned …

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