Rondo RIP

Rondo RIP

Very sad to hear this morning of the death and probable suicide of Keith Emerson. I never got beyond Pictures At An Exhibition with ELP, but the Nice were the most exciting and entertaining group I ever saw – and I saw them many times. The live performances of Rondo and America were the anthems of our youth, and we travelled miles just to idiot dance/freak to them: on the dance floor several times at the Boston Gliderdrome, in the aisles at a Hull gig. The crescendos in Rondo are still spine-tingling forty-odd years later, though a freak’s probably out of the question nowadays…

I never knew that Lemmie was their roadie and responsible for the knives in the keyboard till today, though. Not that I’d have known who the hell he was back then, but it does add an extra cachet to the legend.

And no mention of the Boston Gliderdrome could be complete without referring to the wonderful and unforgettable Stan Griggs, the resident “conductor”. Always there at the front of the stage, always immaculately dressed, brylcreemed hair, baton in hand, calmly conducting anything that was thrown at him while all around madness reigned. Another name to keep alive on the clacks.

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