carl palmer

We went to see the Carl Palmer Band last night at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. Besides being a great night out for music, it was a high school reunion of a sort in that I managed to pull together a Paul McAskill, Mez, John Foley and Bruce Ward (Paul Dillon joined us at the show) all out for a good time of music and reminiscing.

The current Carl Palmer Band lineup is Carl on drums, a young virtuoso named Paul Bielatowicz on guitar and an equally talented Stuart Clayton on bass. It isn’t often that you get to see four hands dancing across two fret boards all to the backing of one of rock music’s standard-bearers of drumming. As a guitar-obsessed kid I always imagined what it would be like if ELP’s music were done by a guitar, bass and drums…now I know! The band was an amazing instrumental prog power trio that pulled off some of ELP’s more challenging bits Tank, Toccata, Bullfrog, Fanfare for a Common Man, and a totally kickin’ Hoedown (on the other hand Carmina Burana just doesn’t work without the chorus of voices). Bielatowicz may have been a little too “over the top” in his playing, completely lacking subtlety, but any guitar player that can do Flight of the Bumblebee deserves applause, IMHO. Clayton was equally impressive combining rapid-fire slapping and two-handed tapping with fluidic ease. Carl was truly a magician on the drums including the bits in his solo (which was thankfully not too long) where he would completely let go of a stick on a drum or cymbal while still playing and the stick would continue bouncing along as if controlled by Palmer’s telekinesis.

All-in-all I am very glad that last year when my neighbor Leland, who books acts for the Regent, asked me if they should pursue the Carl Palmer Band I said “Yes”.

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