GREG Lake’s solo show at the Guildhall on Saturday was not your standard rock experience.
Walking on to a sparse stage, with only the odd flight case and a few guitars lying around him, the founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer proceeded to deliver a one-man show which included songs, chat and even an audience participation section.
From the opening number, Crimson’s Schizoid Man, Lake took the audience through a musical history of his life. His rendition of Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel was accompanied by a story of when he went to see Presley live in Vegas in the early 70s.
Standing centre stage, or sitting down to play guitar on one of the many flight cases, Lake delivered a potted history of the songs that had influenced him, along with several classics that he wrote himself.
The occasional long gaps between songs were filled with stories about his childhood and pivotal points in his life. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away concluded the first half of the show.
After a brief intermission, Lake returned to the stage and proceeded to cover his time with ELP in both words and music. Trilogy, C’est La Vie and Lucky Man where all delivered in Lake’s distinctive voice and guitar style, with the other instruments being supplied via backing tapes.
The minimal on-stage lighting enhanced a number of the performances, adding enough dramatic atmosphere to keep any ELP fan contented. The inclusion of a question and answer session broke away from the normal format of a concert but gave the audience a chance to ask Lake a series of questions that involved their own memories, and extracted from the musician honest and heartfelt answers.
Returning to the stage for an encore of Welcome Back from the iconic Brain Salad Surgery album, once again enhanced by dramatic and effective lighting, the evening ended on a high note. While the format of the evening’s show may not have been to everyone’s taste, it was a shared journey between artist and fan that was at times both Intimate and informative.