Fanfare For The Uncommon Man: The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert

Various Artists

Cherry Red Records, 2021

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/02/2021

Despite the beautiful packaging, I was a little bit hesitant when it came to listening to another tribute show. When I actually did play The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert, I marveled how solid it was. I’ve had a pleasure of seeing ELP several times in the ’90s, and I did see Keith Emerson on his own once. I have to say, this show is as solid, and all the players put their hearts into it. It could never duplicate the original, but it’s done for the right cause with the right purpose: a great show celebrating a musician who is no longer with us.

There are 27 players involved in this tribute show, including such innovative musicians as Brian Auger, Eddie Jobson, Steve Lukather, Jordan Rudess, Jeff Baxter, and Vinnie Colaiuta.  Also included is Marc Bonilla, one of Emerson’s closest collaborators in his later years. It’s an extensive cast of A-listers and a major production honoring one of the best piano/keyboard players ever.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Keith Emerson was a very adventurous person and a magnificent player. You could always expect the unexpected from Keith, and he usually delivered. The few times I met the man, I would always throw a joke about a keyboard falling on him or something like that, and he would always have a good laugh.  Keith was a good sport, and an incredible presence in the world of rock.  No one like him will ever grace the world stages again, for sure.

This tribute concert is mostly based around ELP material, which is perfectly understandable. This is what the man was mostly known for. If you dig deeper, you find The Nice, 3, solo work, and soundtrack scores, but it was ELP that became this gigantic monster and elevated Keith Emerson into a superstar.

Plenty of familiar songs can be heard here: “Karn Evil 9,” “The Barbarian,” “Take A Pebble,” and the spectacular “Fanfare For The Common Man.”  The track that secretly steals the show is “Touch And Go,” which was initially written for the Emerson, Lake, And Powell collaboration and later re-recorded by ELP.  The sound of this song is just massive; It fills the room completely. “Tarkus” is another great highlight. Even so many decades after its release, this piece of music still sounds very ambitious. These are timeless songs tied to the best of times.

This beautifully packaged set includes two CDs and two DVDs; if listening to this show isn’t enough, it can also be viewed. The more you listen to it, the more spectacular it becomes. I was definitely proven wrong; don’t ever judge a book by its cover. It’s a shame there will never be any new Keith Emerson recording, that he will never again throw a knife into his keyboard, ride one, or have one fall on him.  What’s left behind is great legacy of music that will never grow old.

Rating: A

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