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Jon Anderson recalls his drink-fuelled gig with Keith Emerson in 1969!

Jon Anderson plays London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on July 22 and 23 and Dublin’s Vicar Street on August 1



Former Yes singer Jon Anderson has been recalling the time he played a drink-fuelled show with Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s Keith Emerson while on tour in Ireland.

Speaking in a new interview with Eon Music’s Eamon O’Neill ahead of his solo shows at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Saturday and Sunday and Dublin’s Vicar St on August 1, Anderson recalls the time he was touring Ireland as a member of Yes in 1969, along with Emerson, in The Nice and The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

“Well, we love Dublin, of course. We love Ireland,” says Anderson. “My mum was Irish, and so I have that in my blood. And it’s great to be able to travel around Europe and just do shows and have fun. Everybody seems to enjoy the show. I’ve just got to learn to remember the words.

“I remember it very clearly because we drove from Dublin to Cork, and we stopped at every pub on the way. as you can imagine! By that time we were on tour with The Nice, which was Keith Emerson’s band, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. By the time we got to Cork, we found the gig, and it was a hurling sort of pitch [sports ground], and the stage was facing the stand. So we kind of looked at it and realised there was only one plug! Somebody had gone around the back and said; “hey, there’s a plug around here!” So, we went into the Abattoir pub and started drinking. 

“Well, we can’t really just play on one plug; we’d need a dozen at least for the equipment, and so on and so on, so we thought; “well, maybe we shouldn’t” So, right there we started; Keith Emerson’s on the piano. We’re singing silly songs and we’re drinking a lot, and a lot of fans have bought tickets and started coming into the pub. And some of them are a bit annoyed, you know? So we kind of brushed it off and said; “sorry, we’ll sing the song now on the piano”, and that kind of thing. It got a little bit rowdy, and our manager at the time said; “I’ve got to sneak you out of here because there’s another fifty people outside wanting to come into the pub”. Just at that moment, the guy behind the bar, the pub owner, rang the bell said; “everybody, everybody, everybody look at the TV!”, and he had this little TV in the corner, and it was the moon landing! And while everybody’s watching, the manager has sneaked us out the back, and we went on the coach, and got to the local airport, flew to London.”

You can read the whole of O-Neill’s interview with Anderson here.

Jon Anderson is currently touring Europe and plays London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on July 22 and 23 and Dublin’s Vicar Street on August 1.