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Appearances to the contrary, this is not another scaled-down ELP revival, despite the involvement of two-thirds of the original ELP personnel. It is the unique brainchild of drummer Carl Palmer (the only member of the original band who declined 1986's ELP revival), who discovered a sensational new singer/songwriter in the California Bay area named Robert Berry. Palmer later played a Berry demo tape for keyboardist Keith Emerson, who was equally impressed with Berry's formidable talent, and the ensuing collaboration became 3. Musically 3 is closer in conception to Palmer's later band Asia than to ELP, that is, a mostly song-oriented band that is commercially appealing without a loss of musical integrity. The solid repertoire on the group's debut album To the Power of Three on Geffen Records will be the centerpiece of their Chicago appearance this week at the Vic, a stop along the way of a national club tour that has seen a revitalized Emerson and Palmer rediscovering the performer/audience connection that was so difficult to establish in sports arenas. It has also given audiences a chance to discover firsthand a powerfully dynamic west-coast legend in Berry. An unusual and exciting show that shouldn't be passed up. Wednesday, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Randee St. Nicholas.

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