Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Sizzles with A Progressive Display of Artistry!


All photos: © 2015 Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Carl Palmer “live” on the last 3 out of 4 tours to the USA and last week’s THE 2015 RHYTHM OF LIGHT TOUR show at The Tangier was simply the finest I’ve seen Carl perform onstage since his days with ELP. It was also the most spectacular show I’ve seen by Carl and his young guitarist, Paul Bielatowicz and bassist, Simon Fitzpatrick . The growth of these prestigious musicians as a unit has propelled the band to incredible musical heights in progressive rock!  The only disappointment of the entire evening was the crowd turnout (perhaps due to a Wednesday evening date), but I was encouraged by the many people, who discovered the show via The Rust Belt Chronicles.


All photos: © 2015 Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

The acoustics of The Tangier and intimate setting was the perfect venue to see these stellar musicians display their progressive talents. The Tangier with its up- close seating, gave us percussionists in attendance, the privilege to observe one of greatest drummers on the planet in action! The merchandise table had Carl Palmer’s fine art canvases (The Rhythm of Light) and (A Twist Of The Wrist) on display for sale along with numerous collectables. The beautiful inspired limited edition art products are also available at:

I believe the addition of Simon on bass and technology has allowed the band to further breakdown the keyboard parts between the bass and guitar, not only producing sounds previously unmanageable onstage; but also stretching the limits of skill, while creating new freedom to expand. Keith Emerson would be proud, after all; Mr. Emerson loved to experiment with musical and technical boundaries.

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy not only preserves the legacy of ELP, it actually expands the original musical compositions to fresh musical heights! The musical genius and vision that founded what ELP represented, individually and collectively; has now been re-invented or reversed engineered, minus the physical keyboard wizardy. Truly an impeccable array of talent, technology, passion and commitment, whom rightfully are a “Super Group” in their own right. Carl Palmer and his young band mates have raised the bar, surpassing something; we may never see again. Welcome Back Indeed!

-Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles

After the sound of a helicopter subsided, cheers arose as Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy took the stage. The band romped through, “The Ride of The Valkyries“, followed by a crisp rendition of “Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression Part 2” (Welcome Back, My Friends) as the crowd was delighted with their approval. Next was, “Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 and the musicians clearly were on pace for an exciting evening of masterly proportions at the top of their art. The trio shot into “Peter Gunn” with a fury and robust tempo spirited by Carl driving the band and would’ve made Henry Mancini proud any day!

Carl stepped front stage to tell us the story of the song, “The Barbarian”, which was featured on the debut album by ELP in 1970. The band received a knock on the door of their flat by a legal representative from the family of a classical composer (Bartok’s), notifying the band of copyright infringement. Carl noted it may have been a problem: as he saw Emerson climbing down the fire escape. The classical rendition probably had Bartok tapping his foot and nodding in approval. This band is lightning in a bottle!

Jerusalem” was also introduced by Palmer and he explained the song was banned on British radio by the Church of England, which inspired ELP to perform the song onstage regardless. The jubilant version featured the bells and all of the intricacies of the original recording in a bold fashion similar to the proper response of ELP in the day. Majestic delivery of the masterpiece.

The story by Carl of his suggestion (originally turned down by the band in the early days) of performing a rendition of “Mars, Bringer of War” by Gustov was interesting since the band decided to instead perform a rendition of King Crimson’s, “21st Century Schizoid Man“. Ironically, Emerson and Lake chose to perform “Mars, Bringer of War” were performing wit Cozy Powell on drums, years later. On this night, both songs were played together to perfection, perhaps signifying anamusing analogy by Carl and his band.

DSC_0100Paul Bielatowicz was introduced by Carl as he took the spotlight on an impeccable solo of  Claude Debussy’s, “Claire de Lune“. The  prodigy delighted the crowd with his dual harmonics, often featuring both hands on the neck of his guitar. The solo was stunning and beautiful. The ease at which he performed this complex task, while maintaining his concentration was quite effective and visually perplexing. With the immense dexterity to master his instrument at such a young age , the sky is the limit for the former member of the Neal Morse band, and heir apparent to Steve Howe in Asia.

Trilogy” was next on the agenda, as Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy roared through the 3rd album of the distinct historic recording.

DSC_0023Simon Fitzpatrick was featured under the spotlight of The Tangier and he amazed the crowd with his ability to use his Chapman Bass between his fingers,(just like Paul) playing the neck of the bass and creating repeating sequences in a round fashion while actually playing all the rhythm’s, along with keyboard, bass, guitar and horn parts to Toto’s “Rosanna“. Just like his mate Paul, Simon’s concentration between his hands and feet on the pedals appeared effortless and inspiring. One man band indeed!

“Tarkus” was performed in its entirety next (and in my opinion, was worth the price of admission alone). The ferocity and intensity during the opening of “Tarkus” set the tone for this epic tune. The complex arrangement loaded with time-signature, tempo and key changes were delivered flawlessly with Carl drumming like a man possessed, while Paul and Simon split keyboard parts between their instruments flowing in a masterful arrangement. Paul’s guitar spots soared and sizzled the venue with his searing licks and frenzied fingering. We even heard the Dinosaur roar. Of all the songs on the setlist, this was the most stunning rendition. Progressive Rock doesn’t get any better than this!

Video Credit: Tony Ortiz.

As the Trumpeters appeared on the beautiful High Definition screen above the band, heralded the introduction to Aaron Copland’s, “Fanfare For The Comman Man“, Palmer and company launched into a vigorous shuffle beat with intense overtones resonating throughout The Tangier as the crowd rose to their feet! To all of us drummers in the crowd, we knew what was next- a Carl Palmer drum solo!


All photos: © 2015 Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

As I stated earlier, Carl Palmer appeared to be as fluent as his days with ELP. The vigorous speed, showmanship and finesse we witnessed was incredible! The stick tricks were amazing, cross-sticking, tossing a stick behind and over the shoulder, back-sticking, bouncing a handless stick on the ride cymbal and more. The high-hat fanning and Max Roach high-hat tricks, his work on the cymbal bells, edges, over and under the Paiste cymbals with speed, rubbing the butt of the stick on cymbals, integrating the use of the Korg drum and his traditional double-bass drum rolls while pounding each Gong with his hands above his head. Not to mention, playing sticks on the drum rims, stick on stick, everything but the kitchen sink.

But the ferocious climax is Carl Palmers attack of the snare like no other since Buddy Rich! The press rolls combined with the speed and accents between the snare and bass drum building like a frenzy of an air-attack. Incredible strength, endurance and a timeless performance to witness in person. The band joined Carl as they went back into the ending bars of “FanFare“.

The encore was also a bright point in the evening as the band launched into the other composition ELP recorded by Copland entitled, “Hoedown“.  As the High Definition video screen above the band displayed images of Carl Palmer throughout his career with: Atomic Rooster, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, ELP, ASIA and his solo career, I couldn’t help but wonder if we will ever see anyone take the torch within the younger drummers of this world?

But when you consider the young talent on-stage with Carl Palmer performing ELP material, I have to believe his legacy will live on too!

*Special Thanks to Bruce, Carl and The Tangier for your hospitality!

All photos: © 2015 Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles.




Tweet: @ELP_carl






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Jim Carver About Jim Carver

Jim Carver is the President of The Rust Belt Chronicles.

In 2004, Jim graduated from North Central State College with a degree in Business Information Technology. Jim developed "Rock Lines" news report online in 2010.After a trial-run of The Rust Belt Chronicles in April of 2013, Jim decided to make his dream a reality in 2014 by re-launching The Rust Belt Chronicles.


  1. I’ve been a fan of Carl Palmer since 1973 when I first heard ELP (of course, being a pianist, Keith was my idol, but as piano and drums are percussion instruments, you simply have to relate to them both. Like Jan Hammer was a drummer, who became quite the keyboardist. But I digress). I got to see ELP many times over the years, and Carl’s solos were already legendary. He’s one of the few guys you actually WANT to hear take a drum solo! And now, with all his skill and experience over the years, you understand why he was the perfect bandmate to Mr. Emerson – he IS the world’s greatest rock/jazz/classical drummer (of course, this is open to debate, and not to detract from the many brilliant drummers out there); Carl is the Gold standard (or would that be Platinum?); if you call yourself a musician, you have to give him his due and acknowledge his contribution to history. And his story isn’t over (not by a long shot!), as his playing is still tight, clean, rhythmically precise, dynamically wise – he’s the frucking Buddha of drumming. So thanks, Carl – I love your work! And I hope to see you soon!!

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