Emerson Played his Organ while Lake, Well, C’est La Vie.


Saturday, May 8, 2010.
(Better late than never)

As if we had stepped onto the set of a David Lynch movie, my husband and I entered the suburban venue darkly. We drifted past several gray-haired seventies rockers, with retro glassy-eyed stares, while climbing a flight of stairs to the balcony where our sardine-size seats awaited us. In unison, my husband and I forced our butts into the narrow mutant seats, like bloated corks into wine bottles, until our hips melded into the cushions, while our knees kissed the balcony wall.

My husband turned his head .55555 degrees left. “You want something to eat?” he asked.

“I’d rather not die here,” I said, concerned that just a one millimeter expansion of body fat would permanently conjoin me to the chair. Food was not an option. However, breathing was. I had to pucker my lips in order to take a sip of air.

Out of boredom, I started working my eyeball muscles, shifting my gaze from left to right. When something that was right in front of me all along suddenly caught my eye, literally. My eye got stuck in that position.

Somehow, I was able to move my lips to grunt out several words. “What’s that thing on the stage?” I asked, referring to a large square box that resembled a telephone switchboard.

“That’s Emerson’s original Moog synthesizer.”

“Moo synthesizer?” I echoed. “For cows?”

“Moog, not moo,” my husband said crossly and likely with blood pressure flushed cheeks, although I couldn’t turn my head to confirm my suspicions. I assumed he was angry from his silence amid the hostile mutterings of my seat neighbors, most of whom were stoned or brain dead from being stoned since the 70s.

My question about the Moog synthesizer, a no-brainer for an Emerson, Lake, and … fan, revealed that I was not a devotee of the band. I was just a hanger on, a seat filler, accompanying my husband, who was the true fan.

He could name all their songs. I could only name several of them. Hell. I didn’t even know which one of the two was Lake and which one was Emerson. I just knew that neither of them were Palmer since he didn’t make the tour.

Remember Dave Lynch? For a moment during my mental melee, I thought I would be Daved, uh, er, lynched, until I realized that my seat compadres were stuck like me, thus making a lynching seem rather unlikely, although their mutterings grew louder, more abrasive, something like “MUTTER! MUTTER! MUTTER!” I imagined they texted in all caps.

If the concert hadn’t started seconds later, I might have become deaf to their angry grumblings. But it was my good fortune that Emerson or Lake took the stage. The audience squealed like freshly minted pigs. I pressed an arm against my side, holding a pen like a claw, while taking copious notes on several drug store receipts, and scribbling in the dark. Afterward, I couldn’t read most of my notes when the lights made a final appearance.

The photos I took with my cellphone and several words I was able to decipher, Moog and Lake, helped revive my memory. Other than that, I just knew that a thin Emerson played the organ (I memorized their blurred forms halfway through the concert), while a pudgy Lake sang and strummed his guitar.

The evening was magical … because we got out of there alive. After finding discarded bags of popcorn soiled with saturated fat, we smeared bag oil across our bodies, shimmied our way out of the seats, and then survived the shuffle of the crowd down the stairs.

On the way home, my husband relived the evening by blasting the music of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, yes, and Palmer, the silent partner in a very loud band of three, while I . . . just, well, c’est la vie.

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8 Comments Emerson Played his Organ while Lake, Well, C’est La Vie.

  1. ReformingGeek

    I bet your car smells like a movie theater.


    Oh what a night..
    Late December back in '63

    Yeah, I know. Wrong band.

  2. Lauren

    My kind of band! I like songs you can tap a foot to, but not too quickly. And, yeah, I like to sing along with a song in a car or other enclosed structure that muffles my singing.

  3. Ryhen

    I'm checking out their videos. I didn't know your husband likes progressive rock music. I guess that's something we have in common.

    Oh wait, it says the band was active from 1970–1979. haha. I was still in nirvana at that time smoking a joint with Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad.

  4. Ed Jennings


    Liked your blog post about Emerson and Lake concert at Ridgefield Playhouse. As you know we were fortunate to get a rescheduled performance for Keith and Greg.

    I liked your perspective. Your pictures from the balcony give a new vantage point for the show we saw that night.


  5. JD at I Do Things

    Hey, tell your husband if he'd pronounced "Moog" correctly (rhymes with "vogue"), you wouldn't have experienced cow confusion.

    I read somewhere that ELP is considered one of the 50 worst bands in history. I don't agree. I quite like that one song. You know. That one that goes . . .


  6. Lauren

    Ryhen: It all depends upon what the meaning of progressive is. Oh, God. Not another nirvana smoking Buddha hippie.

    Thanks Ed. I wish I was more of a fan. My husband loved the show.

    It's tough getting a good shot with a cellphone, especially from the balcony and the glare problem from all the balding heads.

    The Cyndi Lauper concert should be a great one.

    JD: That moog faux pas was mine. Hell. I still think it was a switchboard. Yeah. I like that song, too.

  7. Tracie

    My husband likes to drag me to concerts, too. He forces me to sit through Rush and Pink Floyd. *shudders*

    There's not enough pot in the world to get me to enjoy that crap.

  8. Lauren

    Tracie: Ha! I actually like Pink Floyd even though it doesn't follow my foot tap and sing-along rule. When my husband and I were in the Bahamas, I brought a book with me to a casino. Ended up playing the slots and losing $40.


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