Happy Fourth of July, everyone! As the mayor of Bootleg City, it’s my responsibility to give you the best aural fireworks display money can buy, but therein lies the problem — Bootleg City has run out of money.

You see, Fiscal Year 2008 was kind of a downer in Bootleg City, just as it was for many other cities around the world. Did you hear Gotham City is liquidating its entire police department and putting all further law enforcement in Batman’s hands? And in Erotic City, the Fruit on the Bottom Edible Underwear factory closed earlier this year, putting thousands of citizens out of work and forcing them to wear real underwear for the first time. Mayor P.R. Nelson responded to the crisis by saying, “If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time. Thoughts of pretty you and me, Erotic City come alive,” which seems to indicate City Hall is heavily courting the cuckoo-clock industry to set up shop there sometime soon.

Here in Bootleg City I was hoping to present you with a great Jackson 5 bootleg on the Fourth, but instead you’ll have to settle for 3. You remember 3, don’t you? Yeah, neither do I, but here’s a little bit of background …

Popular prog-rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer broke up in 1979. Six years later, keyboardist Keith Emerson and bassist Greg Lake got back together without drummer Carl Palmer, who was in Asia at the time (the ’80s supergroup, not the continent; then again, I don’t have the man’s itinerary for that decade, so anything’s possible), and formed Emerson, Lake & Powell with drummer Cozy Powell. ELP thus became a slightly different ELP, with a drummer whose initials were the same as the first guy’s. Totally uncool, gentlemen. But at least Steve Augeri, the Steve Perry look- and soundalike who replaced Perry in Journey in the late ’90s, can’t say a precedent hadn’t already been set.

ELP2 broke up after one album, at which point Emerson got back together with Palmer and they added a new guy, Robert Berry, on bass. Somewhere along the way they must have decided “EBP” wasn’t catchy enough, so they did a quick head count and came up with “3,” giving Geffen Records’ marketing department a terrific reason to reach for the nearest noose.

Like ELP2, 3 only recorded one album: 1988’s To the Power of Three. On April 14 of that year they performed a show at the Ritz in New York City that was then broadcast on WNEW-FM, and is brought to you today by our own Dw. Dunphy. Thanks for the bootleg, Dw.!

Next week the citywide budget cuts continue, with a bootleg of Three Dog Night performing one song — Nilsson’s “One,” of course — that will only be available for download for half a minute. We all have to make sacrifices, people.

Fanfare for the Common Man
Desde la Vida
Lover to Lover
You Do or You Don’t
Talkin’ Bout
[Keith Emerson piano improvisation]

Creole Dance
On My Way Home
Standing in the Shadows of Love
[Carl Palmer drum solo]
Eight Miles High

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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