Part 1:
Cold and misty morning, I heard a warning borne in the air
About an age of power where no one had an hour to spare,
Where the seeds have withered, silent children shivered, in the cold
Now their faces captured in the lenses of the jackals for gold.
I'll be there
I'll be there
I will be there.

Suffering in silence, they've all been betrayed.
They hurt them and they beat them, in a terrible way,
Praying for survival at the end of the day.
There is no compassion for those who stay.
I'll be there
I'll be there
I will be there.

There must be someone who can set them free:
To take their sorrow from this odyssey
To help the helpless and the refugee
To protect what's left of humanity.
Can't you see
Can't you see
Can't you see.

I'll be there
I'll be there
I will be there;
To heal their sorrow
To beg and borrow
Fight tommorow.

Step inside! Hello! We've the most amazing show
You'll enjoy it all we know
Step inside! Step Inside!

We've got thrills and shocks, supersonic fighting cocks.
Leave your hammers at the box
Come Inside! Come Inside!
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Left behind the bars, rows of Bishops' heads in jars
and a bomb inside a car
Spectacular! Spectacular!

If you follow me there's a speciality
some tears for you to see
Misery, misery,
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Next upon the bill in our House of Vaudeville
We've a stripper in a till
What a thrill! What a thrill!
And not content with that, with our hands behind our backs,
We pull Jesus from a hat,
Get into that! Get into that!
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Part 2:
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show's about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you'll get your money's worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth.
You've got to see the show, it's a dynamo.
You've got to see the show, it's rock and roll ....

Right before your eyes we pull laughter from the skies
And he laughs until he cries then he dies then he dies
Come inside the shows about to start
Guaranteed to blow your head apart

You gotta see the show
It's a dynamo
You gotta see the show
It's rock and roll


Soon the Gypsy Queen in a glaze of Vaseline
Will perform on guillotine
What a scene! What a scene!
Next upon the stand will you please extend a hand
to Alexander's Ragtime Band
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Performing on a stool we've a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule
Keep it cool. Keep it cool.
We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown
were exclusively our own,
All our own. All our own.
Come and see the show! Come and see the show! Come and see the show!
See the show!







Lyrics submitted by thedanman344

Karn Evil 9: First Impression song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment"Soon the Gypsy Queen in a glaze of Vaseline
    Will perform on guillotine
    What a scene! What a scene!
    Next upon the stand will you please extend a hand
    to Alexander's Ragtime Band
    Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
    See the show!"

    After "to Alexander's Ragtime Band", he says "Dixie Land, Dixie Land", before he chants roll up. Thought it should be noted for accuracy.
    ColdCaton August 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song Karn Evil 9 as a whole is about a future in which all of humanities imperfections are removed.
    First impressions is about a future in which everything evil, corrupt or dangerous, or which can cause wars, corruption and the like, are no longer existant except as a display in a carnival show. This includes sex, violence, religeon, death, sadness and so on. We also get our first hint as to what will happen in the end of 3rd impressions during the line "Just behind that glass is a real blade of grass, be carefull as you pass, move along, move along" You see, grass is natural. Nature is viewed as imperfect in this future and this is the only remaining piece of grass. And unlike the other displays, the blade of grass is viewed as dangerous rather than entertaining.
    All of this is reenforced at the end of First Impressions when he says "We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown
    were exclusively our own,
    All our own. All our own.
    " which shows that none of these things exsist outside this carival.

    Now, this then leads into 3rd impressions. In third impressions, the final imperfection is destroyed: man. The computers that man made in the goal of perfection now view humans as imperfect. A war is fought and one man is spared. He thinks that he has won, and that, since all the other humans were recorded onto tape, that humanity can be restored. However, it is then revealed that the computer simply let him live, assumably to put on display in the carnival as a one of a kind example of the imperfections of man. Then, the final line the computer states "I'm perfect, are you?" and the rest fades out into computer noises as imperfection is whiped out.

    So, the song is about the dangers of reaching for perfection as in a world where everything imperfect has been removed, there is no place for humanity, who is flawed by nature.
    malec2bon January 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do hope the person above me is all right.
    Also, I don't think this song is very Christian.
    The line "We pull Jesus from a hat" kind of clinches it.
    :/

    anyway, groovy song!
    classicrockgirlon May 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Rayman and malec2b are right and this song is about the future.
    There are plenty of uncannily accurate descriptions of the future in this song. For example "There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
    be careful as you pass." relates to today's global warming issues very well.
    msecondion April 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Rayman and malec2b are right and this song is about the future.
    There are plenty of uncannily accurate descriptions of the future in this song. For example "There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
    be careful as you pass." relates to today's global warming issues very well.
    msecondion April 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song is awesome. I agree with everyone, especially malec2b. I think Rayman's interpretation is good but a bit off. The song doesn't strike me as sounding as though it has any strong basis in Christianity. (Though I do agree with his advice to get yourselves a Bible. Best book you'll ever read.) I think it's more a science fiction song than a Christian song, although you can find some pretty interesting Christian undertones in some otherwise secular rock songs ("Stairway to Heaven" and "After Forever" are coming immediately to mind, but there's bound to be others).

    The line "there behind a glass is a real blade of grass, be careful as you pass" is the most memorable to me, but it's slightly disturbing. The "be careful as you pass" part to me suggests that if you aren't careful with it, then you might damage the blade of grass, like it's the only one that exists anymore. That idea just strikes me as frightening. These guys know how to put together a really scary song.

    Even though people have written similar stories, I think that if someone wrote a science fiction story that was deliberately based upon Karn Evil 9, then that would be awesome. (Perhaps the person to write it could call the computer at the end Karn 9?) Even though I've dabbled with writing science fiction, I don't think I'd be the one to write that story. (But if I ever do, I shall put it up online and put a link to it here.) If someone did that, I'd totally read it.

    I also like the image of the "show that never ends" that part 2 conjures up. It just strikes me as something really cool. The sort of thing that entertains my imagination and gives me lots of thoughts (which is good) and that I can imagine perfectly. Which I can.

    By the way - does anybody know exactly to what "a glaze of Vaseline" refers? It could just be something put in to give you a good visual picture (and it does!) or maybe just to fit the meter and rhyme. But it almost sounds as though it's got implications of some kind. (You know what kind of implications I mean...) That's been irking me for a while. Has anybody any suggestions?
    Pippin the Mercuryon November 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"They hurt them and they beat them, in a terrible way,"

    Glad it was specified that "hurt[ing]" and "beat[ing] them" was done in a "terrible way."
    bbjron March 24, 2016   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis is a good song, but nowhere near Tarkus.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 10, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI'd say that "Karn Evil 9" was ELP's glimpse of the FUTURE. "Come and see, the shows about to start... guaranteed to blow your head apart!". And if the show began way back in 1973... it's well underway now, isn't it? Yes, "our" world is ALL about SHOW now. People gather around their big flat-screened TVs, and in movie theatres to be ENTERTAINED by the SPECIAL EFFECTS that BLUR the lines between FICTION and REALITY. The media is part of it too. They spend a good deal of their time focusing on TV SHOWS, MOVIES and the lives of CELEBRITIES... and in turn, the entertainment industry determines what's important to the media. It's a FRIGGIN CIRCUS SHOW. It's an ALL-OUT ATTACK on TRUTH. "They" (the non-christians behind it all) are SUBTLY (there's the serpent again) introducing new social values to REPLACE the Christian ones our forefathers knew where writ in stone! "They" attack the TRADITIONAL concepts of FAMILY, MARRIAGE, THE CHURCH... in short, ANYTHING THAT'S SACRED is being VISCIOUSLY ATTACKED and TORN DOWN for the purposes of ENTERTAINMENT! I've heard Star Wars was written just to get people in the West introduced to Buddhist philosophy... and it worked because now people talk about characters like "Yoda" as if they were REAL! The "force" as if it were real!

    The GOOD NEWS (i.e. the GOSPEL) is that the BIBLE (the TRUTH) clearly predicted that all this would happen! This is the serpent's last gasp. He WILL be crushed and the CHRISTIANS WILL WIN.

    So get yourself a Bible, put your faith in JESUS CHRIST... and prepare to be attacked by the anti-christ forces on ALL SIDES. You WILL emerge victorious. It's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! Do I sound crazy? Good. So did John the Baptist. I'd sure hate to sound "normal" in this screwed-up world!
    RayManon February 27, 2007   Link

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