For rock fans like me who love to connect the historical dots of all the players, this night had it all.
Legendary Emerson Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer did double duty behind the kit with his current line-up, ELP Legacy and Asia.
Fronting ELP Legacy was the "God of Hellfire" himself Arthur Brown, who Carl performed with in the late sixties when their concert requisite "Fire" was a worldwide smash for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The two veterans were backed up by Paul Bielatowicz (who bears a striking resemblance to a young Peter Frampton and has the guitar chops to back it up), and David Pastorious (More dots...this is jazz master Jaco Pastorious' son). Mostly instrumental, ELP Legacy finds Pastorious in the groove while Bielatowicz transforms Emerson's keyboard runs into guitar histrionics.
Palmers' crew was followed up by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Lodge, who performed many of the hits he penned with The Moody Blues including, "Ride My See Saw" and "I'm Just Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) with his 10,000 Light Years Band. Connecting even more dots, its worth noting that keyboardist Alan Hewitt performed on Warrant's hit "Cherry Pie"!
Asia was the evening's surprise, with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal handling not only lead guitar, but vocal duties as well. He mentioned to me later that it was an acquaintance he'd made through Rudy Sarzo that lead him to Geoff Downes and the Yes/Asia camp. The Asia line-up also picked up on ELP's "Lucky Man" and since everyone is connected, included The Buggles "Video Killed The Radio Star". Geoff Downes was of course a member of that band, the first ever to be played on MTV. Thal wielded his double necked guitar and megaphone simultaneously for the vocal effects on "Radio Star".
As a photographer, we are usually asked to photograph just the first two or three songs, so it was unusual that Yes asked to be photographed during their encore, which involved being in place through the 22 minute epic "The Gates of Delirium" preceding. I had an itchy shutter finger by the time they reappeared with an unexpected cover of John Lennon's "Imagine". They'd connected the dots as well, noting that drummer Alan White played on the original recording back in 1971. The prog masters concluded with "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper". I've been singing "Roundabout" ever since.
I spoke to many fans after the show and on social media since that said it was the "time of their life" and thrilled in getting to take photos with the likes of Carl Palmer, Arthur Brown and Yes/Asia album cover designer Roger Dean who was also on site. In the end its about connecting with the audience, and with what I've seen in the exuberant aftermath, all of these professionals remain masters of that.