RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Greg Lake – London ’81
Purple Pyramid

Rating: B

Greg Lake was already a seasoned rock and roll veteran when he released his debut, self-titled solo album.  He was infamous for his time with King Crimson and famous for being “L” in ELP! 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were no more by 1981, so Greg teamed up with something ELP never had, a guitarist, and hit the road.  He didn’t just pick any geetar player, however.  There were no ads placed in trade magazines and there was no search for a new hot-shot six-stringer.  Nope, Lake called up his buddy, Gary Moore, which, in retrospect, was a good move.   

This concert is from the Hammersmith Odeon, a classic London rock and roll venue.  After spending years performing huge productions with ELP, Lake was ready to come down to earth.  He demanded to play smaller venues and he cut all of the fancy stuff.  There were no levitating keyboards, or knives stabbing keys to keep them playing forever.  There were no lasers or fancy backdrops.  Instead, Lake went back to basics and performed as a rock band.  He let the music do the talking.  It worked. 

The album consists of Gary Moore adding impassioned guitar solos to Greg’s solo offerings, though there are some tips of the hat to his past.  The show begins with two famous ELP tunes, “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Karn Evil 9.”  Moore’s addition to these classically based prog rock classics is wonderful.  Gary was such an amazing player.  He was rocking hard as he supplied the perfect muse for Lake to shine.  Greg sings in his lower, almost at times monotone voice and he slays it.  “Nuclear Attack” and “The Lie” both from his solo album, are performed with balls out energy.  The band was tight, the mood was light and the rhythm was right on this rocking night in London.  The show was captured for posterity and now, you can click on this link https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/greg-lake-london-81-cd/ and own the CD!  

This was Greg Lake at a time of change in his career.  While his solo career never took off the way he would have liked, this live concert proves he had the goods.  Throw in Gary Moore soloing his arse off on the timeless tunes by King Crimson, “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “In the Court of the Crimson King” and you have something special.  It’s too bad these guys didn’t do more work together, as London ’81 proves they worked well together.  Greg and Gary give a great performance on “Parisienne Walkways” as well.  Moore’s guitar on this one is pure class!   

Okay… I have resisted it this entire review… Lake signing up Gary Moore for this concert proves… (here it comes… are you ready for it?)  ...it proves what a lucky man he was!   

There I said it. C’est La Vie. Now leave me a comment below and roll your eyes about what a dork I can be and then click that link and help keep great releases like this one coming!   

By the way, Gary plays a killer solo on this live version of “Lucky Man.”  And Nuclear Attack! 

  Track Listing
1a. Fanfare For The Common Man
1b. Karn Evil 9
2. Nuclear Attack
3. The Lie
4. Retribution Drive
5. Lucky Man
6. Parisienne Walkways
7. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
8. Love You Too Much
9. 21st Century Schizoid Man
10. The Court Of The Crimson King
11. C’est La Vie 

By Jeb Wright