Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the Oval September 30th 1972

Originally posted on Psychedelicgaragepunk.com May 20th 2008.



The first big gig I remember going to was at the Oval cricket ground, on the 30th of September, 1972. The main attraction for me was Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP).  My dear old mate Barn was fanatical about them and I’d bought “Pictures at an exhibition” myself, which I thought was rather dark, and rocked in an odd kind of manner.

The cover images of the “Tarkus” were all it took to convince me I should attend. When we walked into the Oval, either side of the stage there were what initially looked like huge images of the Tarkus. But they were actually full sized models of Tarkuses. They were almost as big as the p.a. stacks – which were about the size of a house! It seemed like a comic book prog rock wet dream!




A word about progressive rock, or “prog rock” as it’s now termed… It certainly wasn’t called “prog” in 1972. I think our generic term for it back then was “Underground music”, although I’m sure “prog” became a common term in ‘73 or there abouts.

“Underground music” was enjoyed by “freaks”. I suppose “freak” was a term for pot smoking, long haired rockers – a la the Ladbrook Grove crowd. Weekend hippies. Kids who liked the hippies use of recreational drugs (LSD and pot) and their style, but for whatever reason couldn’t live the lifestyle proper. Perhaps they were students or, shock horror, actually worked!!! The freak fashion of the day was Afghan coats, old fur coats, army great coats, loon pants – most of which were available from the ads in the back pages of Sounds, New Musical Express (NME), or Melody Maker.




It has to be said, and someone may have already made the observation, that prog was essentially an extension, a high tech version, a PROGression of psychedelic music. It was more overblown and self indulgent than psychedelia – but then some late 60s psyche, like Rainbow FFolly, was already heading towards the indulgence of prog rock. However I personally would have been horrified had you have suggested at the time that there was a link between psychedelia and progressive rock. As much as I adored ’60s music (and I still do with a passion), at the start of the ’70s, the ’60s seemed light years away. Old hat, old fashioned. Just old!!! It was inconceivable, at the time, that the 60s would ever be in vogue or fashionable again. However, less than 3 years later  the music world was once again, ready to go FAB! And I must have been amongst the first few hundred to witness the Flamin’ Groovies re-birth as essentially (arguably both visually and musically) a reincarnation of the Beatles, with added  Mod/Powerpop overtones.

I seem to remember that prior to this gig Barn may have bought “Moving Waves” by Focus (what hip young Dudes we were!), so it’s likely we were expecting something exciting. And I remember they played a blinder – Jan Akkerman, in particular, delighting me. Don’t think I’d ever heard an electric guitar (a Gibson SG, similar to the model Tony Mcphee of the Groundhogs played,I believe) so loud before. Of course I’d never heard such loud music before, absolutely thrilling, I can recall delight and not a little fear. Major physical vibrations.

Genesis were simply breath taking. Unbelievable. And don’t forget children, this gig was their first major London appearance. These were still their real glory days, the Peter Gabriel led Genesis wasn’t the hideous bloated Phil Collins led dross monster rubbish they became in the 80s.



Just like the photo, given to me by some chappy at Reading the following year, Gabriel had shaved this odd circular chunk out of the peak of his hair. He looked so otherworldly. Well, that and the make up. And the red evening dress. And then, at some point in “Supper’s Ready”, I believe (it was an abridged version as far as I remember) he wore a full head mask of a Fox’s head. It looked so damn real. Very scary!!! The sound seemed fabulous, the instrumentation rather surreal yet very heavy and rock out in places. Those rumbling bass pedals!!! And of course, Gabriel’s between song banter, sounding like a public school boy (as he once was), reciting Edward Lear in the most sleazy and almost pervy way. That gig totally sold me on Genesis. I saw them four or five times more in their Gabriel heyday. They kind of lost it for me with “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” – though I think that album has its moments.

I can recall Jack Bruce jamming with Focus, which was rather exciting. Jack Bruce had won best bass player of the year in the Melody Maker awards, for no doubt the umpteenth time. He was backstage collecting his award when they asked him to jam. I think they may have done “Crossroads” and perhaps a couple more Cream songs. I lost interest when it became a dirgey jam.












Next up were Argent. I’d loved “Hold your head up” and “Dance in the smoke” from some CBS compilation – was it “Fill your head with Rock”? If you know the answer, please leave a comment below. But when they came on, the volume went up and the quality control went down – especially post Genesis, who were brilliant. I remember laughing my head off at the end of their opening number. The guitarist seemed to be using an unfeasibly short curly lead (remember those, chaps? I think they got to be dreadfully unfashionable just prior to punk). He was throwing lots of silly shapes, and while he was pretending to stab at his amp with his stratocaster, he managed to pull the amp off the top of his two Marshall 4×12’s (which were obligatory in those days), causing the whole ensemble to collapse.

There was much panic amongst the roadies who tried to prevent the amps from crashing to the ground. And then, of course, they had to put the whole lot back in place again, while they launched into the second song. It looked really daft. Oh how we laughed. I don’t want to sound like I’m dissing Rod Argent though. He played keyboards in the Zombies and wrote most of the material on their album “Odessey And Oracle”. That album, which has just been reissued as a fortieth anniversary edition, surely ranks as one of the all-time top British baroque pop psychedelic classics.




I’m afraid I simply can’t recall Wishbone Ash. I thought they headlined, although other sites say ELP did. I’m not sure. So Barn, if you’re listening mate, any ideas? And hey, how about re-instating the Gabriel look on the barnet for old times sake. Barn’s barnet!!!

I adored Wishbone Ash. I saw them many times up until the mid 70s. They seriously rocked in those days. They were incredibly loud live. The twin guitar lines and vocal harmonies were amazing, very dynamic, and not a little folky round the edges. How about folk sensibilities in their arrangements and vocals??? Ah well, I remember seeing them at the Kursaal. It was a wonderful evening, with lots of bopping on that sprung floor. But at the Oval?


Not in this life.

I can’t actually recall at which point in Emerson Lake and Palmer’s set the Tarkuses kicked in, but they breathed a lot of smoke and fire, and shot fireworks into the sky. It was incredibly spectacular.

That was one of the really great and entertaining aspects of Prog. Whether it was Pink Floyd’s inflatable pigs on the “Animals” tour, or Gabriel’s costumes in “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” show, or the Tarkus, it had a grand sense of theatrics. It might sound a little absurd in this day and age (although the Flaming Lips stage show is very theatrical) but the sight of Keith Emerson sticking bloody great daggers into his keyboard just totally rocked.

And of course they did “Lucky Man” complete with wonky Moogs.




Keith Emerson’s Moog synthesizers were specifically designed for him by Robert Moog. They were heat sensitive machines and tended to go out of tune if they weren’t kept at a specific temperature. It was a warm and sunny afternoon and many circular fans were employed to keep them cool and in tune.

Greg Lake’s voice was fabulous – and that day I probably got to figuring it was he who sang on “Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson, an all-time prog rock classic. And if I’m not very much mistaken, the stage was covered with a huge Persian carpet, which apparently ELP would insist upon being laid, before they even thought about setting foot on stage!!! Rock’n’Roll excess,anyone?

I think this little adventure may have been a school trip organised by Paddy Mulville and Bob Mardon (who went onto  Chelmsford Punk festival infamy). I seem to recall reluctantly being herded onto a homeward bound coach. But now, I could say I’d hung out with the Freaks, heard some great underground rock, maaan, and I was only 15!

Original comments:

Barn // May 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Hi Tev,
Blinding website !! Great to get some confirmation on some very hazy memories. Yes, I remember getting moving waves, was it at Lightning records or what became lightning records near the castle ? You brought Relics I believe that afternoon, I strangely remember the bus ride back but for no real apparent reason !!!!
Yes, I would have said ELP headlined but now I doubt it. I remember a bloke standing in front of us while watching Ash…I was too shy to ask him if he was David Bowie or not !!! Could’ve swore it was him.

Yes, you’re correct ‘Dance in the smoke’ was on ‘Fill Your head with rock’….I’ll have to dig that out again ! I also remember Argent being a bit of a joke.

Pictures are great, historical treasures. They are wandering around on the page tho’…..psychedelic.

I look forward to more memories.

Love from ‘Why you shaved your head , you fucking hippie’ Barn
Ali (Mr Spins) // Jun 1, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Yup you’re right it was Dance in the smoke from fill your head with rock CBS sampler Side two Track 3 actually
Coffer // Aug 4, 2008 at 9:28 am

Terry what were you on!! You completely forgot a gig in August that year (before ELP), Yes at the Crystal Palace Bowl. Amazing performance by a band at the height of their abilities and before they disappeared up their self-indulgences. Actually the weekend was also notable for the fact that we had no where to sleep the night before and wandered round London with an older friend (Ian) before finding a squalid squat to kip in.

Other bands there were: Spooky Tooth, Capabilty Brown, the Mahavishnu Orchestra (complete with 20 minute Billy Cobham drum solo) and Lindisfarne (complete with 20 minute harmonic a solo). Yes were worth the wait though and I still remain convinced that the girly scream at the start of Yours is No Disgrace on Yessongs is me.
Terence Ruffle // Aug 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Great you remembered the bit about staying in a squat!
I do remember the Yes gig, but really couldn’t figure the date, thought maybe it was September too. It was a fabulous gig and I do intend to write about it, got a mega Ramones article coming up, working on a Dennis Wilson piece to tie in with the POB re-ish, and next , Sunshine pop!Phew!
Also, I have the program and ticket for the Yes gig, neither of which has the date on!
What was I on? Lemonade and Lovehearts, of course!!
Peace and Love. Mr T
Gordon Adam // Dec 22, 2008 at 11:19 am

Great concert, we slept outside the Oval all night (hardest pavement in the world) so we got a really good spot.
Sorry you forgot the Wishbone Ash set and that they almost didn’t play due to the Gibson flying V being srolen.
I have forgotten who the best female singer was. I believe it was Maggie Bell but am uncertain. (probably due to consumption of illicit substance way back then)
terence // Dec 22, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Hi Gordon,
thanks for the comment mate. As I say, I saw Wishbone Ash many times, but simply can’t recall them at the Oval. Those were the days, huh?
What a terrific decade the 70’s was, the tail end of Psyche, Prog, Blues Rock and Metal, and of course my faves, Glam and Punk. Life, Culture and Music is so bland and manufactured these days, not to mention stifling and sad….
Glad you clocked the site mate, glad you were at the gig coming soon: Yes at the Crystal palace bowl, the world premiere of “Tales from Topographic Oceans” Yee-har! The Psychedelic old farts dissapear in smoke…..
Terry Garrett // Jan 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Anybody who was there,
Yeah I remember it well, queuing to get in I thought Argent were playing, might be mistaken. Definitely remember Focus (and with Jack Bruce) as this started a long (still existing) love of there music culminating buying Moving Waves on the Monday (rejected Close to the Edge at the time – couldn’t afford both). Eventually met Focus as my band’s drummer Chris (Cobby) Cobb did a roadie stint with Blue (supporting)in ‘74 at the Rainbow. Anybody remember AYUP?(after the Yorkshire saying). Three of us went to the Oval that day and were NOT too popular when we arrived ‘a bit’ late for a gig at Bromley’s Stockwell College that evening.
Anyhow ELP were great and I am almost certain that Wishbone finished the concert as we couldn’t see them because of aforementioned gig. Still I had seen them before and what a blinding band.
So glad I went to this and other great gigs in the seventies, wasn’t that decade great (well the first half at least). This ranks almost with Bath 1970 (best gig in the world).
Terry Garrett // Jan 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Oh forgot to mention Genesis – a band that took me some time to appreciate but when you’re hooked boy what a band. Bought all there stuff by Christmas that year. Managed to get Genesis – the Gabriel Years, and it’s a good read. By Bob Carruthers (on Angry Penguin) bought mine for £5 from Zavvi but may be avail online.
Terence Ruffle // Jan 24, 2009 at 11:18 am

Argent did play Terry,I made a comment about them in the article.
Yeah, Gensis were brilliant, an almost Supernatural quality to their music.
Didn’t get to Bath, sadly, every one says it was one of the best festivals ever.
I’ll check out the book, cheers mate, the 70’s, they were such a gas!
Coffer // Jan 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

Terry those lovehearts must have had some extra fizz – the Crystal Palace Bowl was the premier of Close to the Edge – thankfully (can you imagine sitting through the whole of Tales from Topographic Oceans).

Alan White had only recntly joined the band, after Bill Bruford’s departure to join King Crimson, and had to learn their whole set in a matter of days. Jon Anderson had to put lyric sheets down on the stage for Steve Howe and Chris Squire as they had not yet memorised all the lyrics.

Looking forward to your review of this gig – definitely one of my all time favourites.
millwall paul // Jun 1, 2009 at 9:51 am

hi all i was there at this concert was just great and that evening i went to the brixton acadamy to see deep purple do machine head one of the best days and night of my life just blew me away
vagabond trader // Jun 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Whoa, talk about shaking out the cobwebs. My first trip abroad and we went to the Oval show. Fantastic memories, thanks!

33 Responses to “Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the Oval September 30th 1972”

  1. Does anyone remember the Irish band Fudd that played the Oval that day?

  2. Hello, I’m new to this site.

    Well, I certainly remember Fudd were first on the bill. Had never heard of them before, nor have since.
    Drove down from Glasgow with two student friends.
    It was a glorious day – hard to believe it was late September. My first (and only) open-air festival. Had gone mainly to catch ELP (cool pic of Emerson ta!), who had gone mega (there’s a note on the gig in the Trilogy sleevenotes.)
    The band that blew me away, though, were Genesis (thank you Terence for confirming my hazy recollection that PG _ did _ wear that red dress and fox’s head (a la Foxtrot sleeve)).
    In fact I recently obtained a (very low quality audio) recording of their set (with the omission of Supper’s Ready, which according to yopur blog, they played).
    Fantastic memories of a great day.
    Wishbone Ash came on late indeed iirc, by which time I had developed severe stomach cramp following the consumption of a large proportion of the contents of a warm Party Seven container of Watney’s Red Barrel and a packet of Fruit Clubs – ah, those wild days!

    (Incidentally, I discovered this blog on returning to another website which I found some time ago by googling “Oval Melody Maker Poll-winners Concert”.)



  3. Just stumbled onto this site and it brought back great memories from a truly memorable day.
    The line up in order of appearance if my memory serves me right was
    FUDD they came from Ireland?
    GENESIS – Absolutely fantastic I was a big fan, my favourites but only when they had P. Gabriel
    ELP – Headlining as they cleaned up in the MM polls that year
    WISHBONE ASH – Finished a great evening with an even greater set. How good are their two guitars. I still love Argus today.
    The whole place was on it’s feet and dancing their socks off to Blowin Free. Ash was the ideal band to finish.
    And all this for the princely sum for my ticket of £1-50, even then this was peanuts.


  4. I was reminiscing with my barber today (really!) and he had been to the other Oval gig with The Who. I went to the Ash/ELP/Genesis one and thought I would dig out the programme, which I still have. Then thought I would Google the gig and found this site (amongst others). Can’t remember too much about the day. I was 15 at the time. I do remember (like the VdGG fan above – so am I) that Fudd kicked off, whom I had never heard of. My biggest regret is that I actually fell asleep during the Genesis set (my favourite band at the time). It would be great to go back to those prog days and see ELP and Genesis in their prime. I’m still going to gigs (at 54) and watch a lot of Indie rock bands around Manchester, but still listening to ‘Selling England by the Pound’, ‘Foxtrot’, etc. That will never change!

  5. I haven’t had time to read all of this ( will do tommorrow) but Wishbone definitly headlined. I wasn’t a big fan but was blown away by the whole experience of their act. It was a warm evening for the end of Sept, the day had been superb and the breeze, the hair and two guitars playing so well was magnificent despite the cans of god knows what being thrown from behind!

  6. Just looked at an earlier comment and it seems their interpretation of ‘headline’ is slightly different to mine. So I’ll just say Wishbone were the final act.

  7. ELP came on before Wishbone Ash – we were told that Emerson’s Moog would be affected by the ‘cold’ if they came on last!
    Great day – some good memories -went with best mate Bill Glass

  8. Yes I was there, it was a great day and after this concert that night I went to see Deep Purple at Brixton do Machine Head, a great day, will remember it forever……

  9. Only just found this site.
    I was there with mates Terry and Paul.
    Genesis were great, shame when Peter left, Focus also excellent, ELP were the main act, by the time Wishbone Ash performed the crowd had dispersed, though maybe they were the best ?.
    Happy days that will stay with me forever, also the evenings at the Dagenham Roundhouse.
    Life seemed so much simpler then.

  10. Does anyone remember a guy sitting on the top of the stage when ELP were on, doing all the drum solos in perfect time? The crowd were cheering him on and he was up there for quite a while, then suddenly a hand came up and grabbed him and pulled him down. Everyone booed! Great memories, although a bit fuzzy by now!

  11. I cant believe no one made a recording of this epic day

  12. This was an amazing concert, I was only 16. I’d been to the Great Western Concert at Bardney so was really hooked on live music!!! The bands at ghe Oval were fantastic especially ELP, Focus (who also I saw live at The Rainbow possibly a year later) and Wishbone Ash and all for £1.50 which I soon recovered by charging people 10p a time to re-assemble their recently purchased muddled up Turkish puzzle rings!!!

  13. Hi, so good to hear your review and others recollections. I went there with my wife to be, Susan, we were both 16 and this was our first festival. We travelled down from Stevenage proud weekend hippies in our Afghan coats. Loon pant and a tee shirt with stars on. Paid the exorbitant £1.50 I think and almost fainted to see so many others like us. Made us feel like we were part of something bigger and finally real. It was a hot day and the Afghan became our rather smelly picnic blanket ( could any hippy afford to dry clean these? ). We found a place halfway back and enjoyed the day. I remember all the bands. Except Argent, they may of been on first or I may have been overwhelmed at first! In those days the headline act went on second last so yes ELP came on BEFORE Wishbone Ash. As the concert finished around 9.30 ( obviously to cater for tripped out and stoned heads/ freaks and before chemicals which kept us up all night appeared acceptable) Wishbone Ash were the ” time to leave the venue band”

    Focus were amazing and yes I had duly bought my ” Moving Waves” album after hearing Hocus Pocus on the Alan Freeman show ( compulsory listening for us WEH ( weekend hippies) strangely I don’t remember buying any food or drink there but did splash out on an Evening Standard Special Edition for 12p with the headline proclaiming ” ELP the oval is rocking”. I was bitterly disappointed to find it was just a cover leaf over the normal Evening Standard and not an in depth 30 page discourse on the bands, I wanted to go to the wandering paper vendor and demand my money back but Susan with perfect sense said “what did you expect?”

    Genesis thrilled, confused and excited me. I vividly remember ” get em out by Friday” never knew this band before but was intrigued. Being a drummer I had come to see Palmers legendary drum solo, he had a silver ( stainless steel ) kit and when he played his drum solo every spotlight shone on his kit. A I could see was rays of light shining back so it looked like a neutron star wrestling in a sea of black. Brilliant but for a young drummer hoping to learn new chops from the master ultimately frustrating.
    Wishbone ash were amazing and by this stage the roads had thinned, night was falling and I found myself up by the stage doing my best Pete Townsend windmill air guitar moves much to the amusement and consternation of Susan. We only caught half their set as we had to catch the last train from Kings Cross Station where rather foolishly I ditched my Evening Standard artifact. I never heard music so loud or feared being shot by the Tarkus,a beautiful day shared with the love of my life and a field full of beautiful freaks. Going back to school after that I felt I had entered a magical kingdom that day, and the world would never be the same again, and as I have spent the last 45 in the music industry I have to thank those bands for opening my eyes, heart and mind, and with a little help from not a Dot com but a microdot.

  14. I remember this concert as it was my first big gig, loved ELP and Genesis

  15. I remember seeing Peter Gabriel with his fox head on and even in daylight it looked freaky, great music and great times

  16. I was there with a load of young hippy types, on a coach from Swansea, and remember very little except a guy who sat on the top of the stage canopy precariously mimicking Keith Emersons piano playing, it was hilarious as a lot of the audience were watching him instead of ELP, and it was a note-perfect air-piano rendition! If I can remember anything else I will return! Cheers, Nick Fry

  17. I was at this gig aged 14….wishbone ash were the headliners and of course ELP and the twin tarkus stole the show

  18. Hi guys I was the singer with Fudd and it’s amazing you guys remember us (some of you) it was a special day for us as we were playing alongside some of our heroes so you can imagine how we felt.
    We were backstage and met a lot of the band’s.
    We broke up shortly after that and most of us continue to make music to this day
    We were managed by the people who ran the festival so that’s how we ended up playing at it
    A great memory.
    Benny White. 😉i

  19. I was the singer with Fudd..
    what a day appearing on stage with your heroes.

  20. Shall never forget this gig! Focus took people to another place as their music drifted over the crowd, ELP demanded attention as Keith Emmerson’s antics echoed from the tower blocks and stunned residents looked on. Genesis took us all on a journey as always…..very special memories.
    Worked with some of those acts and their label mates years later….a seminal moment in 72 for me.

  21. Sure do remember the guy on top of the stage!!
    Incredible there are no recordings……are there no recordings by the sound guys..not even something by an audience member? Is there any film?

  22. Thanks for your comments Andy.

    As for bootlegs of the show, as far as I’m aware only a couple of crappy audience recordings of Genesis have surfaced, and their provenance is in doubt.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some sound board recordings surfaced? Anybody have any further info? T

  23. I was at this gig. It was the first real gig I’d been to. I was thrilled to see Jack Bruce and I remember him coming on to jam with Focus. I clearly remember Greg Lake’s incredible English voice and the theatricals of the amazing Keith Emerson. What really blew me away was Peter Gabriel’s performance and his various characterisations complete with foxes head and flower face. I’d love to travel back in time to witness this very special time again.

  24. An excellent summary Sue, you took away pretty much exactly the same feelings as me 🙂

  25. It was my 1st concert and I have very vivid memories of the day. Fudd were first on ( I assume to help test the sound system? ); they played just 3 numbers and did say at the time they were breaking up the next week.

    I did record the days events and listened to the tapes for months; ended up buying all Focus and Genesis LPs as a result. ELP were headliners; they won 7 awards and overran their time, leaving Wishbone Ash unfortunately with just 45 mins to play.

    Other moments that stick in my head…

    Beautiful music (from Focus) just drifting across the late summer air
    Peter Gabriel inter song anecdotes; he did wear the red dress and fox mask, but didn’t wear the flower mask from “suppers ready”.
    Russ Ballard (Argent) losing control of his guitar whilst swinging it around and drawing blood (from his head I think)
    Someone on top of the stage mimicking Emerson’s piano playing
    Jack Bruce / Focus jam session
    A very long gap (>1 hour) between Argent & ELP; I could see welding going on near Emerson’s equipment
    Alan Freeman introducing ELP
    Variations from recorded versions including King Crimson excerpts (Epitaph)
    The large letters “ELP” firework display to the left of the stage (green I remember)
    Musical echoes from the large Gasometers that border the ground
    Waves of tin cans (some quite full) being thrown from the back if you stood up during an act
    Organisers telling the crowd to put out the small fires that people had started for warmth on cricket square after ELP had departed
    Wishbone Ash being told to stop (9 o’clock curfew), negotiating permission to play just 1 more song, much to the crowds approval they chose a 15 minute LP track!
    Must look out those tapes!

  26. Thanks for your excellent comment Phil.

    I sadly don’t recall the fireworks, and me being a pyro head too!

    You did remind me of the sound bouncing off the gasometers, and I can recall similar ar the Who’s Charlton gig in ’74.

    Peace and love, brothers and sisters 🙂

  27. This was also the first big gig I went to. I was 15 and went with 2 mates.

    One of the highlights of entertainment that I remember was during a Keith Emerson keyboard solo. Some guy who had climbed onto the roof of the stage was sitting perched on the edge miming a piano player. However, within a few minutes, and a lot of cheering from the crowd, two arms appeared around his waist from behind and he was unceremoniously dragged off out of sight only to make a very brief re-appearance for his encore, having presumably briefly escaped his tormentors.

    And now I am finally able to say with a certain amount of guilt, that we were one of the ones who thought a fire would be a good end to the day. Particularly my mate Mick who turned into some kind of pyromaniac rushing off to find more fuel to burn (of which there only seemed to be nothing of burnable substance other than discarded copies of Melody Maker!)

    Not that I was an impressionable young teenager or anything, but … I have to hold my hand up and admit that Wishbone Ash, Genesis, Focus & ELP were all bands who’s albums were in the first 5 I ever bought! (The first LP I bought was by The Who, which could lead me into a discussion of the first time I saw them at Charlton Football Ground … OK another time then!)

    Finally, as I recall, ELP came on before Wishbone Ash for some reason.

  28. Was it the Who Charlton gig mentioned in this piece Nigel?

  29. Went to the first Oval concert with the Who topping the bill and living in tooting decided to go to the second as it’s just down the road. Some great acts on but not as good as the first one
    Big ELP fan but Wishbone Ash stole the show with out a doubt !
    And remember the guy sitting on the roof remember the puzzled look on Keith Emersons face wondering what everyone was cheering at

  30. Lovely to read others memories – which helps me recall the day. I was 16 and had been to the Oval a couple of weeks before to see the Brinsley Shwartz, Biggles, Sam Apple Pie (brilliant!), Linda Lewis (lovely), Man (superb!) , Jeff Beck Group, Frank Zappa (Grand Wazoo oh yes), Hawkwind (enough said!! Terrific)
    My own memories are very sketchy – but I had an absolutely enduring love of Hocus Locus after this – actually, now Phil Rich has said it I do recall Fudd saying about breaking up – not quite a Bowie Spiders moment but for a young lad as I was it was jolt in the brain. But I was an ELP nut by then and the rest of the bands came and went – as someone else has said it would be great to see Peter Gabriel again – but sometimes, like the singer at my wedding in 1984, the memory of it is best – assuming that one does remember! And if you have a great memory a recording may well spoil it….
    Anyway, I just found ELP at the time to be superb – Keith Emerson in absolutely sparkling form from my memory – and pretty loud too – but with the pyrotechnics and his outfit and the stage presence just wow – and Just Take A Pebble…..sold at the time…Happy daze – Argent – I’m sure that I recall Hold your head up – it was big in the day (John Peel again?) but not a lot else.
    Nice site.
    Regards to all – increasingly distant times!! But they were so important to many of our formative years. I ended up as a massive Grateful Dead fan among many other fine bands and artists.

  31. Wow….I was there. Also a mere 16 years old. I thought the Irish band was Horslips ? No matter. I also remember Capital Radio’s Dave Cash playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ over the PA before the bands came on. Brilliant memories of a long lost world. A great day and my first major gig.

    Nigel – we also went to the Who gig at Charlton (same year?). It pissed with rain the whole day, till the Who came on – and it stopped! Pete Townhend SLID onto stage. When Roger Daltry launched into ‘See Me, Feel Me’ just at dusk green lasers shot out from the top of the stage, with red lines hitting mirrors rigged in the lighting towers overhead. A stand-out gig, shortly before Keith Moon dropped off his perch.

    Glad someone mentioned Linda Lewis. Later that year I saw her play live at the Leeds University Union Bar, she was gorgeous. Still playing small folk and blues clubs. Thanks Terry.

  32. I came to see some cricket and was jolly disappointed there was only bands on. They could have played the cricket match around the band while they played and if the ball accidentally came near the band the guitarist could bat it away.

    I tried to listen to some cricket on my little transistor radio with earplug but the bands kept drowning it out despite my politely asking them them to keep it down.

    In addition, someone stole my cricket programme and set fire to it, trying to keep warm in the evening. It happened while Focus were playing so I have written to the Dutch consulate and asked that they reimburse the 9d I paid for it.

    The burger I bought was of decent quality so the day was not a total loss.

  33. I went to this concert primarily to see ELP and Focus (I had recently bought their ‘Moving Waves’ album). I didn’t like Genesis (too pretentious and high brow, ha ha quite literally with Peter Gabriel!) or Wishbone Ash. Needless to say, ELP were amazing, but it was Focus who I wanted to see, and I was blown away. Unfortunately, the vast majority, (or so it seemed) of the crowd weren’t particularly bothered, as they were talking throughout the first couple of numbers, at least those in our immediate proximity were. I know this because I surreptitiously recorded Focus (and ELP) on my trusty Philips portable cassette tape recorder. However, as the set list progressed, the crowd realised that they were hearing something quite incredible, and by the end of Focus’s set, the crowd were exuberant! The worst part of the day in my opinion was the dreadful jam session by Jack Bruce, Jan Akkerman and Focus’s drummer (who’s name evades me) the song they jammed on was apparently called “Give me power” as that was the phrase used throughout the ‘song’.

Leave a Comment

To prevent spam, the first time you post a comment on this blog, it will be held for approval. After that, as long as you use the same name and email address, your comments will appear straight away.