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Gentle Giant Tour History

*** Part One ***

*** The Early Days ***


(1970 - 1971)


new information will be in RED


* Prologue *



Gentle Giant was formed by the three Shulman brothers (Phil, Derek and Ray), all of whom had earlier been in the late '60's British pop/soul/rock and roll band known as Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.  This earlier group, formed in 1966, played all around England for about four years with the odd TV and radio spot thrown in, as well.  They managed one album and one UK Top 5 single, but failed to make any lasting impression on England's pop music scene.  By the end of 1969, the Shulmans decided to disband Simon Dupree and set their eyes on the growing market for a more creative, intelligent type of music that eventually came to be called progressive rock.  Apparently, the group stayed together long enough to complete contractual obligations for live gigs into January 1970.  At least one of these gigs is known to have been advertised for Jan. 19, 1970 at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Whatever the case, by February 1970, they had formed their new group, retaining Martin Smith from his time at the tail end of the previous group, and adding new members Kerry Minnear and Gary Green.  Derek originally hoped to simply call the band Giant but an alternate name was suggested by a booking agent named Colin Richardson who worked at their management company, the Gerry Bron Agency.  Richardson noticed the music they had begun working on had both powerful and delicate qualities, so he proposed the longer name Gentle Giant and the band agreed.  This new group clearly strove for a sound that was adventurous, challenging and distinctly its own.  Right from the start, their compositions seemed to be equal parts rock, jazz, classical, avant-garde, blues, medieval, and whatever else they could mix into the musical stew.  They were ambitious, to say the least, but with their vocal and multi-instrumental virtuosity, they were confident that they could realize their vision.






Feb. ?           Gentle Giant was formed, classically-trained Kerry Minnear being recruited on keyboards from a defunct band called Rust just returning from Europe.  Formal rehearsals and songwriting sessions began immediately in Portsmouth, England.  Kerry brought Rust’s guitarist, a gentleman named Eric Lindsey, into the band with him so it could be said that Lindsey was Giant’s first official guitar player.  However, it was clear from the start that he wasn’t really right for the job so his stay was short.  After a few weeks, he was let go and the band immediately began looking for someone to permanently fill the guitar spot.


Mar. ?           During March, Gary Green joined Gentle Giant.  Thirty to thirty-five guitarists vied for the spot, with the Shulman brothers viewing Gary as clearly superior.


Apr. ?           In April, the brand-new band went into Philips Studios in London for their very first recording session, the intention being to record an audition tape for the Vertigo record label.  The liner notes included with the 1997 UNDER CONSTRUCTION album state that this happened on Feb. 23, but that is clearly wrong, as Gary had not even joined the band by that date.  Kerry has confirmed April as the correct month of this session.  The songs on the audition tape were Weekend Cowboy, Bringing Me Down, Freedom's Child and an early version of Nothing at All.  There has been some indication that Weekend Cowboy and Freedom's Child were actually intended for release as a single and, in fact, early advertisements did suggest a single was planned for later in the year, but the truth of this has not yet been verified one way or the other.  Whatever the case, all these songs remained unreleased until their inclusion on UNDER CONSTRUCTION.



For the first few months of its existence, Giant was more or less a studio band.  Instead of concentrating on live work, they were content to spend their time shaping the musical direction of the band in the rehearsal hall and recording studio.  They spent quite some time early on rehearsing in a cottage in Southampton.  At the time, they mostly lived off profits from the Simon Dupree days and financial support from their manager, Gerry Bron.  By mid 1970, the group began playing sporadic live gigs, generally in the Portsmouth area, before even recording their first album.  Kerry recalls early appearances with the Faces and others with Rory Gallagher.  As the year wore on, they hit the stage more and more often.  The vast majority of these gigs were in England, the band rarely venturing onto continental Europe.  It was customary for live bands at the time to display their band name on their bass drum.  Following suit, Martin’s bass drum was painted with a particularly elaborate, colorful design.  The head of this bass drum was last seen hanging on the wall in a Hard Rock Café in Baltimore, Maryland.

            In concert, they mostly played the songs that would turn up on their first album.  They are known to have played all seven of these songs live, plus a few others, though not all at every concert, and the order was undoubtedly switched around from time to time.  Choosing from these songs allowed them to feature each of the players on a variety of instruments.  Switching instruments back and forth became one of their trademarks.  The band members became so comfortable with these songs that material from their first album continued to make up the bulk of their setlists well into 1972.


TYPICAL SETLIST  (Mid 1970 - Mid 1971)



            Funny Ways - Kerry’s vibraphone solo was much more subdued originally than the frantic renditions he played on later tours.


Isn't It Quiet and Cold?

Nothing at All - This song, in particular, showed off the group's versatility as it included a percussion break that not only featured Martin Smith but, according to Kerry, also saw he and Ray pounding on the drums.  It's been said that Derek ended this break by beating a gong.  Eventually, in later years, this evolved into a full 5-man drum bash, still including Derek's gong.  This is also the only live number on which Kerry ever played the bass guitar.

            Why Not?

Plain Truth - This was released on the second album, ACQUIRING THE TASTE.  It served as a vehicle for Ray Shulman's violin solo, which became a fixture on many future tours.  Like Kerry’s vibraphone solo described above, this solo was, at first, a bit more reserved but, in later years, Ray extended it and added quadraphonic echo effects, turning the song into quite a crowd pleaser.

Hometown Special - never included on any of their regular albums, though it saw release many years later

City Hermit - also never included on a regular GG album, but released many years later.  On stage, the band originally referred to the song by the name City Hermit, Me.

The Queen - generally used to end the main set, giving the band members a chance to thank and say goodbye to the audience

 Peel Off the Paint - Often used as an encore, this song could be considered an early precursor to Peel the Paint from the third album.  However, although the lyrics were very similar, the music was quite different in nature.  It included an extended guitar solo.



Sadly, very few live recordings from the early days of the band exist, so it is not known whether any other material such as Weekend Cowboy, Bringing Me Down or Freedom's Child may have been included in their stage shows at that time.  However, it is known that a song called Evil Woman was played live in the early days, one which Gary described as a "very pretty, lilting tune".  A 12-string guitar chord pattern from that song was recycled into the song Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It many years later. 



May 9            Portsmouth, England                    Portsmouth Polytechnic - Union House                                          Contemporary write-ups in a Portsmouth newspaper verify this as being Gentle Giant's very first gig, an event further corroborated by a recently discovered concert poster.  A 1973 issue of Melody Maker also makes reference to the band’s first public performance as having been in their hometown.  Beginning in 1965, Union House held the college’s Student Union facilities.  The four story building contained not only Union offices and meeting rooms, but also a couple bars, a lounge and even a travel agency.  It also contained a hall used for concerts such as this one, the hall being simply called Union House Hall.  This Hall had an official capacity of only about 150, although more were often present at events.  The Union’s Entertainment Committee that would book these events would then use the name “Soc Scene” to promote them.  In 1991, Portsmouth Polytechnic merged with Portsmouth Art School and the following year, the college was renamed University of Portsmouth, as it is still known today.  Gary Green has described this as a “tune-up gig” and the band members were quite nervous. Giant was the headline act with Fairfield Parlour serving as the opener.  This support band was managed by BBC deejay David Symonds and already had its first single getting some radio airplay.  This raises the question of why Giant, a band with no gigs under its belt, was granted the headline position.  It can only be assumed that, while Fairfield Parlour was a London based group, Giant’s status as local Portsmouth residents worked in their favor.  More importantly, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound had been hometown heroes and it may have been assumed that many in Portsmouth would be interested in seeing what the Shulman brothers had come up with next.  In fact, the concert poster even stated that the “exciting new sound” of Gentle Giant would feature “ace singer Simon Dupree”. Unfortunately, although the Portsmouth Evening News gave an encouraging review, the newspaper also described the turnout as “disappointing”.  The Student Union moved out of Union House in 1983.  The original building is now a gymnasium run by the University.




Portsmouth Polytechnic - the band’s very first gig    May 9, 1970



June 6           Exeter, England                           Exeter University                      GG was set to open for Van Der Graaf Generator on this date, but the gig was canceled.  Gary recalls that members of the headlining band arrived in town early and did some sunbathing.  It was quite a hot day, however, and one of them ended up with sunstroke, leading to the cancellation.



Exeter ad - canceled concert    June 6, 1970



June 20         Hamburg, Germany           Klein Flottbek                            Giant appeared on the first day of the two day “Hamburg Open Air Pop Festival”, more commonly known as the "Big Gig Festival”.  This was one of the few concerts GG played outside of England in 1970.  Other bands scheduled to appear on the same day were Humble Pie, Black Sabbath, Steamhammer, East of Eden and Uriah Heep, with five more bands booked for June 21.  Vertigo, Giant's record label, sponsored this event, held in a 20,000 seat outdoor venue.  It’s estimated about 10,00 fans actually attended over the course of the two day event.




Hamburg - “Big Gig Festival”    June 20, 1970



June 25         London, England                          Haverstock Hill Country Club                This was billed as a special promotional appearance of some sort, with no other bands taking part.



London - Haverstock Hill ad    June 25, 1970



June 29         There is evidence that the band recorded a studio session on this date for the BBC, with the intention that it air on deejay Terry Wogan's afternoon radio program.  However, no information exists as to what songs were taped and there is no indication the program ever aired.


July 2            London, England                          Speakeasy

July 4            Portsmouth, England                    Greyhound Stadium                  This was an open-air festival billed as "Popday '70" and promoted as a “progressive extravaganza”.  Also on the bill were ten other bands, including the Strawbs, the Keef Hartley Band, East of Eden and Uriah Heep.  The master of ceremonies was Mike Raven, who introduced each band.  Melody Maker subsequently reviewed the event poorly, claiming it had “a turn-out of about 300 people in a stadium capable of holding 10,000 and a house PA system that was unbelievably bad”.  Greyhound Stadium was a dog-racing track.


19700704 Portsmouth 1         



Portsmouth - “Popday 70 Festival”    July 4, 1970



July 10          Birmingham, England                   Mother's                                   played in support of Andy Ferris

July 15          London, England             Marquee Club                           According to records kept by the Marquee and published in the book London Live, Giant was only ever booked to play three times at this famed London nightclub.  This was the first, the others being on Sept. 14, 1970 and Nov. 24, 1971.  A fan does recall seeing the band play a Marquee gig at the very end of 1970, after the release of the first album, but the fan may be mistaken, as there is no evidence to support such a claim.  Unlike many of their contemporaries in the young progressive rock genre, Giant never secured a regular weekly residency at the Marquee.  This may have been a contributing factor to the difficult time they had later on gaining acceptance by English audiences.  On this night, they played in support of Slade. 



London ad - first Marquee Club appearance    July 15, 1970



July 21          The band recorded their first verified BBC studio session at the Playhouse Theatre in London, England.  Two out of the three songs from this session, City Hermit and Isn't It Quiet and Cold?, appear on the 1996 album, OUT OF THE WOODS and the 2000 album, TOTALLY OUT OF THE WOODS.  The third song, Freedom's Child, is missing.  


Aug. 17         The BBC session from July 21 was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by David Symmonds.  The other band appearing on the same broadcast was called Honeybus.  Simon Dupree had had a number of BBC sessions aired, but this was the first confirmed time Gentle Giant appeared on British radio.


Aug. ?           Their first full album, GENTLE GIANT, was recorded at Trident Studios in London.  It took only a couple weeks to record, but the group had been writing and rehearsing in preparation for this since the beginning of their time together.


Aug. 29         The UNDER CONSTRUCTION liner notes state that on this date, at Trident Studios, the band recorded Freedom's Child and Hometown Special.  In that case, these two songs would certainly have been recorded as part of the overall recording sessions for the first album.  However, once again, there is confusion as to which non-album songs were recorded in April and which were done in August.  Whatever the case, these two songs finally saw the light of day on UNDER CONSTRUCTION.


Sep. ?           Southampton, England                 Concorde Club                          An early New Musical Express article mentioned this gig, stating it was held on a Thursday.  The date would have been either Sep. 10 or Sep. 17.  This was one of many times GG performed in the Southampton area during their early years, the city being only about 20 miles from their home base of Portsmouth.  One fan who attended many concerts in the Southampton area remembers taping Giant’s performance once in one of that city’s small clubs.  No specifics are known, except the fan seems to feel it was during 1970 or 1971.

Sep. 14          London, England                          Marquee Club                           shared the bill with Czar and another band named Jenks



London ad - second Marquee Club appearance    Sep. 14, 1970



Sep. 28         Ads in New Musical Express and other UK publications listed a BBC session as being broadcast on this date on Sounds of the Seventies, but no information exists to confirm there was actually a second recording session.  More than likely, this was a re-broadcast of the earlier July 21 session.  Also appearing on this date’s program was Spencer Davis and Peter Jameson.


Oct. 9            London, England                          The Temple                              a triple bill with Tear Gas on first, a band called Kiss playing second, and Giant taking the stage last.  This is not the same Kiss that captured the hearts of heavy metal fans later in the 1970's, although Giant and that band did actually follow each other at an American venue on August 23, 1975.  The Temple was similar in design to the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool and was located down a steep set of stairs from Ronnie Scott’s, a well-known London jazz nightclub.  On this particular night, Kiss needed help getting their mellotron down these stairs, so two of Giant’s roadies cheerfully gave them a hand.  At the conclusion of their set, Giant didn’t play a traditional encore, instead playing some sort of loose jam.  The crowd was impressed with the band and, according to Kiss’ road manager, that band became Giant fans this night.  Ironically, Kiss wasn’t even on the bill originally.  Early ads showed the band Arcadium was scheduled to play with Tear Gas and Giant, but later ads confirmed that Kiss had taken their place.




London - Temple ads - original and revised bill    Oct. 9, 1970



Oct. 10          Coventry, England                       Lanchester Polytechnic - Students’ Union                                          shared a bill with Stone the Crows and Mead.  In the Coventry Evening Herald, Giant was advertised as “Simon Dupree’s New Group”.

Nov. 14         Exeter, England                           Exeter University                      Giant shared the stage with Quartermass, both opening for Ginger Baker's Air Force.


Nov. 27         On this date, their first album, GENTLE GIANT, was apparently released in England, followed by European releases over the next few months.  However, it was not originally released in America.  This UK release date of Nov. 27 seems fairly definitive, but album release dates are often very difficult to pin down exactly.  Even when a specific date was planned and advertised, it sometimes got moved back or forward at the last minute.  At times, it may have been leaked prematurely in certain locales.  For these reasons, all release dates in this Tour History should cautiously be viewed merely as best evidence available so far.  Further information is always welcome. 


Nov. 27         Glasgow, Scotland                       Morpheus                                 This popular Glasgow night spot had previously been known as the Maryland Club.

Nov. 28         Kirklevington, England                 Country Club


Dec. 1           The band did their second verified BBC studio session, this time at London's Maida Vale Studio 5.  The songs were Hometown Special, Nothing at All and Funny Ways.  Unfortunately, this entire session is missing.


Dec. 2           Harlow, England                          Aquarius Birdcage                    shared the bill with Gnidrolog.  Stewart Goldring of Gnidrolog remembers Gentle Giant as being "not so gentle!"

Dec. 5           London, England                          Bumpers                                   The band played this gig alone.  Bumpers was a brand new 600 seat club which had just opened the previous night and which was promoted in the press as having a “progressive policy”.



London - Bumpers ad    Dec. 5, 1970



Dec. 7           Bolton, England                           Bolton Casino                           This was the annual ball sponsored by the Bolton School of Art.  It was held at a nearby venue which, although named the Casino, was actually a dance hall and had nothing to do with gambling.  Opening the show was guitarist Mike Harding who later went on to considerable fame as a comedian but who, at the time, was an unknown.  Second on the bill was a band called Embryo.  A member of this band claims his group played horribly, but were consoled afterwards by kind words from some of the members of Giant.  GG themselves closed the show in the headlining slot.  Although unconfirmed, an eyewitness claims the band played The House, The Street, The Room at this show.  He also says that after this song, an employee of the venue came up on stage and asked the band to turn the volume down because the "neighbors are complaining."  The band laughed and carried on without changing anything.


Dec. 8           The second BBC session was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by Mike Harding.  Music by the band Greatest Show on Earth was also featured on this program.


Dec. 10         London, England                          Lyceum                                    opened for Colosseum.  Ian Carr's Nucleus also played support on this bill.  A Melody Maker review called Giant’s music “twee” and criticized the band’s frequent switching of instruments as being “pretentious for the sake of it”.  In an odd twist, this last phrase became a wry badge of honor for the band and even appeared as the title of their 1977 compilation album.



London Lyceum - the infamous Melody Maker review    Dec. 10, 1970



Dec. 12         London, England                          Speakeasy                              

Dec. 18         Redcar, England                          Redcar Jazz Club - Coatham Hotel        Located in the northeast of England, this was a very popular mecca for up and coming rock bands in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Dec. 19         Durham, England                         Durham University

Dec. 30         London, England                          Tooting Castle                          Czar played support.



            Long-time fans of the band remember several other UK gigs from the early 1970's, but they are not all confirmed and specific details do not exist.  Even the exact year of the concerts is unknown, except to say that 1970 or 1971 is likely for most of them.  Additionally, it is known that, early on, they shared a bill on at least one occasion with a London band called Clear Blue Sky, although no date, city or venue information is available.



???                Eastleigh, England                       Technical College                     an unconfirmed show

???                Fareham, England                        Fareham Youth Center              Although not able to recall the exact date, other than being prior to December 1971, a fan does specifically remember this early gig and recalls the band as being eagerly anticipated by the youth of the area and very loud the night of the show.  Another source remembers a gig at the Technical College in Fareham, but this actually may be the same show.  Then again, Fareham is very near Eastleigh, so the second source may really be recalling the above listed concert.

???                Southend-on-Sea, England                                                           Giant played Southend-on-Sea a number of times in 1970 and early 1971, a fact confirmed by one fan who attended three of them.  Details are very sketchy about this particular gig, except that it probably was sometime between September and December of 1970.  One report had them opening for Egg.  However, this has come into question, although the two bands did share a bill in this town on Mar. 26, 1971.  The venue on this occasion has not been absolutely confirmed either, though it may have been the Kursaal Ballroom.

???                Cardiff, Wales                              Llandaff Technical College                                                  remembered as being from either 1970 or 1971.  a fan at the show seems to recall hearing the song Black Cat.  This might have placed the show more correctly in 1971 but, actually, band members have no memory of ever playing this song on stage.

???                Nottingham, England                    Trent Polytechnic                      A reliable source recalls this gig, but no exact date can be located.  However, Phil was still in the band, so it had to have been no later than 1972.

???                Portsmouth, England                    South Parade Pier                     recalled simply as being from the “early 1970’s”

???                Hertford, England                         Balls Park Teacher Training College                                               recalled recently by a BBC presenter during an interview with Ray Shulman






During the first few months of 1971, Gentle Giant still tended to spend a lot of time on songwriting and recording, but they were also doing more and more live work.  They stuck with the same basic setlist of their inventive originals but, unfortunately, they had some trouble shaking the Simon Dupree tag with the English audiences.  A press report at the time mentioned that they planned to do a six-week US tour later in the year, possibly with a big-name American band, but this never came to pass. The group didn’t make it to America until the latter part of 1972.



Jan. - Apr.    Their second album, ACQUIRING THE TASTE, was recorded at A.I.R. and Advision Studios in London.


Jan. 5            The BBC Sounds of the Seventies program rebroadcast one of Giant’s studio sessions, probably their second session, recorded on Dec. 1, 1970.


???                Portsmouth, England                    Tricorn Club                             This is a fascinating gig recently recalled by Pete Cross, the Tricorn’s deejay at the time, and corroborated by Phil Shulman in a 2009 radio interview.  Apparently, a ballad singer by the name of Richard Barnes was booked to play this club but needed a backup band.  Gerry Bron, who managed both Giant and Barnes, asked Giant if they could help by backing Barnes at the gig.  They agreed and after a very short time for rehearsal, all six members of the band appeared at the show, setting up on tiered levels behind the singer.  Interestingly, a string section was also employed to bolster the sound and give it the right cabaret feel for Barnes’ ballads.  The exact date of the show is unknown, except that it occurred on a Saturday.  Gary, who also specifically recalls this unusual concert, believes it to have taken place in early 1971.

???                Portsmouth, England                    Tricorn Club                             The club’s deejay, Pete Cross, has also confirmed that the group played on a few other early occasions at this Portsmouth night spot.  It’s known at least one of these appearances was on a Tuesday, as that was the day of the week the club set aside for presenting the more “progressive” acts.

???                Southend-on-Sea, England           Kursaal Ballroom                      another of the band’s numerous gigs in Southend-on-Sea.  There are indications this one was probably in early 1971.  Giant either headlined or played alone.  The Kursaal was notorious for poor acoustics.

Jan. 16          London, England                          Imperial College                        shared the bill with Affinity



London - Imperial College ad    Jan. 16, 1971



Jan. 22          London, England                          Bedford College                        shared the bill with Uriah Heep



London - Bedford College ad    Jan. 22, 1971



Jan. 29          Exeter, England                           Exeter University                      scheduled to open for the Faces, but the headliners did not show up.  GG played an extended set alone.  A decent crowd was in attendance and seemed to enjoy the show.  Phil was recently asked about this gig and, although he has an excellent memory, he could not recall this one.



Exeter flyer    Jan. 29, 1971



Jan. 31          Southend-on-Sea, England           Palace Theatre                         yet another gig in Southend-on-Sea.  Here, Giant played in support of Uriah Heep, the gig being promoted by a gentleman named Jon Paul whose main occupation was as the owner of a local clothing outlet.  The only substantive information about the band’s set on this evening was that they did indeed open with Giant.

Feb. 2            London, England                          Lyceum                                    This was a lunchtime gig billed as a “lunchtime workshop”.  The venue was open from noon until 3:00 P.M. and deejay Andy Dunkley was also on hand for the event.

Feb. 7            North Finchley, England               Torrington                                a show they played alone

Feb. 12          Winchester, England                    King Alfred’s College - John Stripe Theatre                                                  This gig was arranged by a lifelong friend of the Shulman family who was attending the college at the time and this friend was thanked from the stage during the band’s introduction.  An existing tape of this concert, recorded by a member of the road crew, is the earliest known live Gentle Giant recording.  The tape remained in the possession of a band member and, for years, the possibility was floated that the band would someday release it officially.  In 2009, they finally did under the simple title KING ALFRED’S COLLEGE.  This CD includes the only known live recordings of Hometown Special, City Hermit, Isn't It Quiet and Cold? and Peel Off the Paint, all of which disappeared from their setlist shortly afterwards.  Some band members had originally remembered this to be from the band's fifth gig in 1970.  However, they were incorrect.  On the recording, Derek mentions that the first album had been released "seven weeks ago" and they had just been in the studio recording Plain Truth as their first recording for their second album.  This places the gig in the first half of February 1971.  Although the exact date has still not been 100 percent confirmed, the Feb. 6, 1971 issue of New Musical Express does include an announcement that Giant were scheduled to play at “Winchester College Theatre (February 12)”.  Curiously, Derek also mentions on the CD that Plain Truth was to be included as a bonus track on an upcoming U.S. release of their first album, an event that did not come to pass.  On this night, the band played to a "packed house", as Derek described it, also claiming that to be "unusual" for the band's college gigs at the time.  John Stripe Theatre was a small to medium sized facility with a few hundred tiered seats. 

Feb. 18          London, England                          NEL Polytechnic                       This gig was part of an “Arts Festival” held at this college that ran for a number of days, ending on Feb. 20.  On this particular date, only Giant and Colosseum played, with Giant opening.



London - NEL Poytechnic “Arts Festival” ad    Feb. 18, 1971



Feb. 26          London, England                          Horseshoe Pub                         another lunchtime gig, this time billed as a “lunchtime live album”.  The Horseshoe regularly held these events at which bands were invited to perform live the music from their latest album.  There is an unsubstantiated report that a recording of this performance may exist.

Feb. 27          Manchester, England                   Manchester University - Student Union  opened for Colosseum, who recorded their set on this night and released part of it on their LIVE album



Manchester poster    Feb. 27, 1971



Mar. 1           London, England                          City of London Polytech            Swegas was the headliner with Giant, Formerly Fat Harry and a band called Gehenna opening.  This event was advertised as a ragdance, basically a student charity dance.

Mar. 5           Manchester, England                   Didsbury College of Education   another show they played alone

Mar. 6           Liverpool, England                       Cavern Club                             Several band members remember this early gig at this legendary club, most famous for boosting the career of the Beatles.  However, the event was hardly a glamorous one.  While the band was setting up, a live rat joined them on stage, watching the proceedings.  When asked to describe the place, Kerry said “cramped”.  As was the custom with all bands that played at the Cavern, GG’s name was engraved into a brick on one of the building’s walls.  Opening for Giant was the band Gass.




Liverpool’s Cavern Club    Mar. 6, 1971



Mar. 13          Polesworth, England                    Memorial Hall                           yet another solo gig.  To promote this show, local advertising played on the fact that Giant had recently participated in the “Arts Festival” in London with Colosseum, of course referring to their Feb. 18 appearance at NEL Poytechnic.

Mar. 18          Manchester, England                   University of Manchester          shared a bill with Supertramp

Mar. 19          Blackpool, England                      Empress Ballroom - Winter Gardens                                                This event was called the "Arts Ball 71".  At this show, Colosseum and Marmalade were both the featured bands while GG and Mott the Hoople played support.  A portion of the proceeds of this concert were donated to charity.  A rumor has surfaced that Giant and Mott the Hoople may have also played together on a different occasion, with Giant in support.  However, no details at all are known, including the year this allegedly took place.



Blackpool ad - “Arts Ball 71”    Mar. 19, 1971



Mar. 20          London, England                          Thames Polytechnic - Student Union                                               Here they headlined with Maya and Third World War opening.


19710320 London


London - Thames Polytechnic poster    Mar. 20, 1971



Mar. 22          Bristol, England                           The Granary Club                     Opening for Giant was a band called Bucephalus.  According to a published book about this well-known club, Giant received 30 pounds payment for the evening’s performance.                                         

Mar. 26          Southend-on-Sea, England           Kursaal Ballroom                      another Southend-on-Sea appearance, this time organized by Southend Technical College.  Giant apparently were booked heavily on the English college circuit in early 1971.  At this show, also advertised as a ragdance, Gypsy, Egg and Giant all opened for Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express.

???                Southampton, England                 Woolston Pub                           Giant played a gig in this small pub, but the exact date is not known, other than that it was in the first half of 1971.  A couple of young schoolboys convinced pub employees to allow them entrance with a camera, saying they needed to take photos for a school project.  Some of these photos were indeed displayed afterwards in the halls of their school.  These same photos indicate that the band likely opened for the newly formed Wild Turkey, led by ex-Jethro Tull member Glenn Cornick.  That band formed in March, so the gig could not have been before that.




Southampton    Early 1971



???                Haverfordwest, Wales                  Market Hall                               a headlining gig with Gnidrolog as the opening act



Starting at the very end of March, Giant went on its first known organized tour of Europe, opening for a series of several concerts in Germany for Colosseum.  Colosseum was a band also managed at the time by Gerry Bron and with which they had played a number of gigs in England.  Giant found that they were somewhat better received in continental Europe than they were back home in Great Britain.  Originally, ads in December 1970 issues of Melody Maker and New Musical Express reported that that these two bands were also planning to play dates together in Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland.  One of these planned French dates is known to have been advertised in another publication, as well.  However, a March 1971 issue of New Musical Express only mentioned dates in Germany.  Record Mirror reported that Giant purchased a brand new Cleartone P.A. system just in time for this tour.



Mar. 31          Oldenburg, Germany                    Weser-Ems Halle                      opened for Colosseum.  It appears this is the correct date for this gig, although a surviving ticket stub lists Wednesday, Mar. 31, 1970 as the date.  The stub is clearly wrong, as GG had not begun gigging in March of 1970.  Besides, March 31, 1970 was actually a Tuesday, while the same date in 1971 was indeed a Wednesday.



Oldenburg - ticket printed with wrong year    Mar. 31, 1971



Apr. 1            Hamburg, Germany                     Musikhalle                                opened for Colosseum.  Although Giant was mostly unknown beforehand, the Colosseum crowd was very enthusiastic in their response to the openers and cheered for more.  Colosseum granted them an extra twenty minutes on stage, giving Giant an opening set of over an hour.

Apr. 2            Hannover, Germany                     Mulltonne                                  opened for Colosseum.  A German magazine ad claimed the gig would be in Munster at Munsterlandhalle, but it was apparently changed.  Significant evidence shows the two bands actually played on a very cold night at a new club called Mulltonne.  A wooden bar extended across the front of the stage, presumably to protect the performers from falling off.  One fan at the show recalls Derek holding this bar and lifting it up during the show.  Although some great concerts were staged at the Mulltonne, this club was very short-lived, lasting only from late 1970 to mid 1971.  A tape of this show once existed, but its whereabouts are unknown.

Apr. 5            Munich, Germany                        Circus Krone Building               opened for Colosseum.  This building, circular in shape like a circus tent, housed the famous European Krone Circus during the winter months, but hosted other acts the rest of the year.  The place was packed on this night with about 3000 listeners and, although Giant were relatively unknown at the time, they were warmly received.  On the other hand, one reviewer who witnessed this show was quite disparaging towards Giant, calling them “loud, bad and not substantial”.  A tape of this show is rumored to have existed at one time, but is now presumed lost.


 19710405 Munich     



Munich - opening for Colosseum    Apr. 5, 1971



Apr. 6            Nurnberg, Germany                     Meistersingerhalle                    opened for Colosseum

Apr. 7            Dusseldorf, Germany                   Philipshalle                               opened for Colosseum to a half full hall, or approximately 4500 people. The Muzik Express gave Giant a favorable review but said the audience seemed indifferent to them, giving only tepid applause until the end.  A tape of Giant’s set exists, the only known recording to include the original Martin Smith drum solo during Nothing At All.  During The Queen, the band plays a snippet of the West German National Anthem.  This gimmick of giving a nod to whichever European country they were in at the time, by including a bit of the local National Anthem, became a regular occurrence at Giant’s early shows.

Apr. 8            Offenbach, Germany                    Stadthalle                                 the last date of the tour opening for Colosseum.  There was some conflicting information that these two bands played at Kongresshalle in Frankfurt on this date, but that does not seem correct.  A June 1971 issue of the German Sounds magazine includes a review of this concert, clearly identifying it as Offenbach.

Apr. 17          Basingstoke, England                  Haymarket Theatre                   Renaissance headlined, sharing the evening with Giant, Journey, Llyn Tawton and a dance group known as the Sinners.  The Journey listed here was an obscure English act, not the well-known American rock band of the same name who formed in 1973.



Basingstoke ad    Apr. 17, 1971



Apr. 30          Paris, France                               Faculté d'Assas                        This date opening for Colosseum was the band’s very first appearance in France.  The date was not known until an ad surfaced recently in the April 1971 issue of Rock and Folk magazine.



            Returning to England, the group found themselves gigging quite regularly.  They also participated in many, but not all, of the stops on the "Vertigo Showcase" tour.  Vertigo, Giant's record label in England, was a branch of Philips Record Company, specializing in more progressive groups.  The label organized this tour to promote some of the acts on its roster. 



May 8            London, England                          Twickenham College - Student Union                At this college show, they opened for Stone the Crows.



London - Twickenham College ad    May 8, 1971



May 30          Southend-on-Sea, England           Palace Theatre                         This was at least the fifth time Giant played Southend-on-Sea, this time opening for Lindisfarne.  Although Melody Maker advertised this date, the possibility had at one time been raised that the gig may have actually been on May 29.  It has since been confirmed that the show did indeed take place on May 30, as advertised, as this venue only held concerts on Sundays.  May 29, 1971 was a Saturday.



“Vertigo Showcase” tour ad    June 1971



June 4           London, England                          City University                          This was a part of the "Vertigo Showcase" tour.  Others on the bill this night were the Graham Bond Magick, Warhorse, Catapilla and Jimmy Campbell.  Giant's future drummer, John Weathers, was playing with Graham Bond's Magick at this time and he reports that this is the gig at which he first saw Giant perform.  Giant played a room upstairs while Magick played downstairs.  The members of Giant came downstairs at one point and watched a bit of Magick’s set and, in turn, John went up to watch a bit of theirs.  The Shulman brothers actually knew John from back in their Simon Dupree days.  At that time, Simon Dupree and one of John's earlier dance bands had often shared a bill in Wales, plus Ray and John had again crossed paths later on in Porstmouth while John was in the band Eyes Of Blue.



            There is a possibility that Giant returned to Europe between June 6 and June 9 to support Colosseum in a few more shows, before returning back to England to continue the “Vertigo Showcase” tour.  This is not at all certain, as Coloseum is known to have played at least one date with the German band Kraan during this time period.



June 13         England                                                                                       Possibly, another "Vertigo Showcase" gig was held on this date but, if so, the city and venue are unknown.

June 17         Great Yarmouth, England             Tower Ballroom                        another "Vertigo Showcase" show.  Giant, the Graham Bond Magick and Jimmy Campbell again appeared.  May Blitz was originally announced as an additional act on the bill, but later ads listed the addition of Warhorse instead.

June 18         Southampton, England                 Guildhall                                   Another "Vertigo Showcase" gig was scheduled for this evening at the Melody Rooms in Norwich, England with Giant, the Graham Bond Magick, Jimmy Cambell and May Blitz, but Giant backed out.  Instead, they played in Southampton, opening for the Groundhogs.  A few photos were taken of both bands by the same local schoolboys who had taken photos at Southampton’s Woolston Pub gig earlier in the year.


        19710618 Southampton 3                                  


Southampton    June 18, 1971



June 19         Plymouth, England                       Guildhall                                   Again, they opened for the Groundhogs.  The Guidhall was a majestic looking building with a high ceiling, wood paneling and stained glass windows along the sides.  Crimson curtains hung behind the stage.  At the start of the show, Derek commented on the imposing nature of the hall and wondered aloud if the band could live up to their surroundings.  They then launched into their opening tune, believed to be Giant.

June 22         Oxford, England                           Town Hall                                 Part of the "Vertigo Showcase" tour, this night they shared the bill with the Graham Bond Magick, Warhorse and Jimmy Campbell.

June 24         Cambridge, England                    Dorothy Ballroom                      Once more, they shared the bill with the Graham Bond Magick, Warhorse and Jimmy Campbell on this date of the "Vertigo Showcase" tour.

June 25         England                                                                                       Another GG gig may have taken place somewhere in England on this night but, again, it's not known where.  There was another "Vertigo Showcase" concert scheduled, but GG was not originally billed as part of it.  If Giant did do a gig, they may have done it separately from that tour.

July 2            Eastbourn, England                      Winter Gardens                        The only thing known about this show so far is that the lights were handled by an outfit called Cerebrum Lights.

July 3            Widnes, England                          Queen's Hall                             Widnes is a small town in the north of England where very few top entertainers ever performed prior to this gig.  An obvious exception was the Beatles, who played this very venue in 1963.  A local grassroots group, in an attempt to bring more culture to the area, organized this July 3 event.  Originally, they wanted Pink Floyd as headliners but they could not afford the required fee of 800 pounds.  They were able to book Giant for 65 pounds.  Queen’s Hall was the biggest venue in town, seating around 800.  Over 400 tickets were sold for this show, which may not seem like many, but the organizers were very pleased.  Opening the show was a London band called Alcestis, followed by a local folk duo named Schunge, then two more local bands, Oblet playing third and Heavy Light fourth.  By the time Giant took the stage, all in the audience were reportedly having a wonderful time and they were quite disappointed when the band only did one encore.  Apparently, Isn’t It Quiet and Cold? was included in Giant’s set, although the review in a local newspaper mistakenly listed the song as being titled Isn’t It Nice?  It’s interesting to note that, up to this point in Giant’s career, almost all of their British gigs were held in the southern portions of England, this being one of the few times they ventured up north.



Widnes - unusual concert promotion - photo by Paul Lewis    July 3, 1971



July 4            Fife, Scotland                              Kinema Ballroom                       Playing support was the Change, one of the venue’s resident bands of 1971.  The local press mistakenly advertised the band as “Gentle Gent”.


July 16          ACQUIRING THE TASTE was released in England.



Starting in late July, the band found themselves back in Europe doing concerts and promotional appearances.  The original itinerary had them in Europe from July 26 through Aug. 2, but some evidence indicates they may have ended up staying longer than just one week.  There were also possible Scandinavian promotional dates in August, but nothing is known about any of these.  According to a notice in New Musical Express, this visit was to include several radio and television appearances in Belgium, France, Holland, Germany and Austria.  Sadly, no further information has yet been found about any of these alleged broadcasts, so they must be regarded as suspect. 

A report in New Musical Express stated that Giant was set to record incidental music beginning in London in late July for a movie by Italian filmmaker Dario Argento.  The film may have been Four Flies in Grey Velvet and recording is said to have begun on July 27.  However, this conflicts with their scheduled time in Europe.  No GG music ever appeared in any Argento movie and it's relatively certain that no recording session ever took place for that purpose.




New Musical Express notice about alleged movie score    July, 1971



???                Frankfurt, Germany                      Zoom Club                                Two separate eyewitnesses clearly recall Giant playing the Zoom Club in either 1970 or 1971, while Martin Smith was on the drum stool, though 1970 is very unlikely.  It could have been in during the band’s above mentioned time in Europe in summer 1971 but, like the Novara listing below, it could have been from some other time.

July ?            Novara, Italy                                                                                A partial tape exists of a show purportedly held in Novara in July 1971.  However, good intentions aside, no conclusive evidence has yet been found that Giant managed to perform in Italy until 1972.  On the other hand, online biographies of the Italian band Gli Alluminogeni state they supposedly opened for Giant in Italy during 1971, so dates in that country remain a possibility.



            The July 24, 1971 issue of the American music trade magazine Billboard carried a news item about an attempt by Chrysalis Agency, Giant’s management agency at the time, to create a British equivalent of the college coffeehouse circuit, then in vogue in America.  Chrysalis hoped to use this approach to give some of the newer bands they represented better access to British universities.  Included in their offerings was a package deal that included Gentle Giant, Black Widow and Freedom, all for a negotiable price of, when converted into American currency, between 420 and 600 dollars.  However, no performances where these three bands shared the same bill are known to have taken place.  Additionally, Giant had already enjoyed fairly good exposure on UK campuses, even prior to this new initiative.



July ?           It seems that ACQUIRING THE TASTE was the band’s first album released in America, probably in late July.  There has been great confusion concerning this, with many believing this album did not see a US release until at least 1972, if not later.  However, it was indeedreleased in the United States in 1971 by Mercury Records, parent company of the band’s British record company, Vertigo.  The confusion probably stems from the fact that the US release still had the famous English “Vertigo swirl” imprinted on the record’s label.  The exact date of US release is still not known with absolute certainty, but it was first noted in the July 10 issues of both Billboard and Cash Box as having a planned release later that month.  Sure enough, by Billboard’s Aug. 7 issue, it was being described as a “new release”.  This was apparently a fairly limited release with a more widespread US release not coming until December of 1974.



            At some point in the latter part of 1971, possibly July or August, drummer Martin Smith left, mainly due to personal differences between him and Phil, but also because of musical differences and because he was interested in pursuing a career as an antique dealer.  It’s also believed that after he left, he continued playing in a Latin jazz combo for a while.  Eventually, he was replaced on the drum stool by 18-year-old Malcolm Mortimore, who has claimed that about 300 candidates auditioned for the job.  Malcolm had about a week to learn the band's live set before hitting the stage with them.  For the remainder of the year, they all continued to gig fairly steadily in the UK, mostly at clubs and colleges.  Malcolm recalls many of his earliest gigs with the band being in the north of England and particularly remembers sharing bills with Supertramp, Vinegar Joe and Wild Turkey.  The time when Malcolm joined may be the time when Isn't It Quiet and Cold? and Why Not? disappeared from the set, along with all the non-album songs.





Funny Ways


Nothing at All - Malcolm says that while he was in the band, Kerry, Ray and Gary were all joining in on the percussion section of this song.

Plain Truth     

The Queen      


            Even though the band now had two albums worth of material to choose from, in a live setting they still concentrated mostly on songs from their first album.  It is unknown if any other material from their second album, other than Plain Truth, ever became a regular part of the group’s setlists at this time, although Pantagruel’s Nativity was known to have been played perhaps a couple of times and at least one other song, Wreck, was rehearsed but never performed.  It seems that the other songs from ACQUIRING THE TASTE remained unplayed for the remainder of the band's career.



???                Bournemouth, England                                                                 A spectator remembers a gig here sometime in 1971, but exactly when it took place is unknown.  Who would have been on drums is also unknown.

Aug. 21         London, England                          The Temple                              second on the bill, preceded by Flying Hatband and followed by Black Widow 



London - Temple ad    Aug. 21, 1971



Aug. 22         Stoke-on-Trent, England              Trentham Gardens                    The band played in support of T Rex.  Phil said at the time that he was impressed with how well behaved and accepting the mostly young audience was while Giant was on stage.



Stoke-on-Trent ad    Aug. 22, 1971



Aug. 28         Clacton-on-Sea, England                                                              Giant originally intended to appear at the "Weeley Festival" along with 23 other groups, but it is believed that they canceled for some reason.  This major rock music festival, headlined by T Rex and the Faces, took place on Aug. 28 and 29, with Giant originally scheduled for the first day.



            Although, as stated above, most of Giant’s concerts were in England in 1971, Malcolm took his first short European trip with the band around this time.  Included were the two festival dates listed below, but what other countries may have been visited is not known, although Malcolm does specifically remember playing in Belgium.



Sep. 4           Speyer, Germany                         Rheinhalbinsel                          The band’s European gigs included this appearance at a two-day festival, appropriately nicknamed the “2-Tage Festival” on Sept. 4 and 5.  Interestingly, it appears that this event, which showcased British bands for a European audience, ran in both Speyer, Germany and Vienna, Austria at the same time and featured the same bands.  The Speyer portion of the festival was called the "British Rock Meeting" while the Vienna portion was called the “Sensational British Superstar Festival”.  Apparently, half the bands played in Speyer on Sept. 4 while the other half of the bands played in Vienna on the same date.  Then on Sept. 5, all the bands simply switched locations.  For instance, it is known that Black Sabbath played in Speyer on Sept. 4 and again in Vienna on Sept. 5, while Deep Purple, a late substitute for Rod Stewart and the Faces, followed the opposite schedule, both bands presumably headlining in their respective cities.  Like Sabbath, Giant performed in Speyer on Sept. 4 and Vienna on Sept. 5.  Many other British acts also participated, such as Fleetwood Mac and Family.  The two Speyer shows were reported to have attracted between 25,000 and 40,000 fans.  Actually, the Speyer portion of the festival was originally scheduled to be held at the Amphietheatre Thingstatte in Heidelberg, Germany before being moved to Speyer.  Early posters and tickets were, in fact, labeled Heidelberg.



Speyer ad - “2-Tage Festival”    Sep. 4, 1971   



Sep. 5           Vienna, Austria                            Stadthalle                                 Here, Giant played at the ”Sensational British Superstar Festival” which was the second night of the “2-Tage Festival” described in the above listing.  As on the previous night, Black Sabbath headlined and a number of other British bands participated.  A tape exists of GG’s half-hour set from this evening.  Both nights of this festival were actually part of another short European tour the band did from late August through Sept. 8.



Vienna poster - “2-Tage Festival”    Sep. 5, 1971



Sep. 10          Buxton, England                          Pavillion Gardens                      On this particularly frigid night, the band was part of the "Sound 71 Blues and Progressive Festival", an event described as an "All-Night Music Festival".  The headliners were the Groundhogs and the Edgar Broughton Band, while the opening act was a blues-rock group called Brewers Droop.  Other bands appearing included East of Eden, Paladin and Juicy Lucy.  One eyewitness was particularly impressed with the band’s Park amplifiers in distinctive green cabinets, which were fairly new at the time.  The festival was scheduled to run from 8:30 P.M. until 7:00 A.M. the next day, with Giant reportedly taking the stage at around 4:00 A.M.  The BBC’s Pete Drummond was the compere for the event.  The festival took place in two separate halls inside the Pavillion Gardens.  A number of attendees have commented on the excessively crowded conditions, to the point of being dangerous.  There are also multiple reports of bikers and other unseemly types in the crowd causing lots of trouble.



Buxton ad    Sep. 10, 1971



Sep. 11          London, England                          Queen Elizabeth Hall                 Here, the group got to play a more prestigious venue.  They played two shows here on this day, opening for the Groundhogs.

Sep. 12          Croydon, England                        Fox at Greyhound                     opened for the Edgar Broughton Band

Sep. 27          Chester, England                         Quaintways                              This concert was part of a month long event hosted at this venue.  It was called the “September Wall City Festival” and, on this particular night, Giant opened for the band If.



Chester flyer - “September Wall City Festival”    Sep. 27, 1971



Oct. 8            Romford, England                        Ablemarle Club                        

Oct. 9            Isleworth, England                       Borough Road College              Here they shared the stage with Black Widow and Supertramp.

Oct. 10          Gravesend, England                    New Lord's Club - Civic Centre              At this show, they played in support of the Mick Abrahams Band.  This gig with the ex-Jethro Tull guitarist, along with previously mentioned gigs with Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey, foreshadowed the close working relationship Giant had with Tull in 1972

Oct. 15          Swansea, Wales                          Laughor Welfare Hall

Oct. 16          Southampton, England                 Southampton University            They probably opened for Jude, though it may actually have been the Robin Trower Band.  Gary Green remembers doing the rarely performed song Pantagruel's Nativity once during a show in Southampton after the second album was released.  It may have been this show, but it may have been a different show in Southampton.                    

Oct. 18          Southampton, England                 Southampton University            the band’s second Southampton gig in three days.  It appears that Giant was originally billed as support act in what would certainly have been a prestige gig, opening for the Who at the Southampton Guildhall on this date.  However, an existing ticket stub from the Who concert has Giant’s name crossed out, sadly indicating that they did not, in fact, appear.  Instead, they played at Southampton University.

Oct. 23          London, England                          London School of Economics                 opened for the Groundhogs. 



London - LSE ticket    Oct. 23, 1971



            Another trip onto the European continent was planned for late October through mid November, but it is unclear whether this tour ever took place, as no hard evidence has been found.  The itinerary called for the band to be in Denmark and Sweden from Oct. 27 to Oct. 31, in Scandinavia until Nov. 3, in Madrid, Spain on Nov. 7, and in France from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11.  A notice in an August Dutch newspaper indicated that GG intended to visit the Netherlands during November but, again, no confirmation has been found.



Nov, 5           London, England                          Harrow Technical College         shared the bill with Callum Bryce

Nov. 6           Bromsgrove, England                  Shenstone College                    A few months earlier, advertisements appeared showing GG planned to play at the University of Birmingham on this date.  However, the ads soon disappeared and it turned out they played at Shenstone College instead, where they played second on a bill after Roger Ruskin Spear and before headliners Renaissance.  As it happens, this college was only ten miles away from Birmingham University.



Bromsgrove - handwritten ticket    Nov. 6, 1971



Nov. 7           Madrid, Spain                                                                              This concert, the only known GG concert ever planned for Spain, was scheduled at one time, but it is unknown if it ever occurred.

Nov. 13         Warrington, England                    Padgate College

Nov. 18         Southall, England                         Underworld                               a show they played alone                                 


Nov. ?           An article in Melody Maker indicated that Giant spent a few more days performing somewhere in Germany sometime in late November, possibly beginning on Nov. 20, but no other details are known about these concerts.  However, it is known that they were held up from returning to England, due to a bad snowstorm in Germany.  They only made it just inside of Belgium before being stranded.


Nov. 24         London, England                          Marquee Club                           This was the last time Giant was booked to perform at the Marquee and would have been the only time with Malcolm.  However, the show was canceled, due to the snowstorm that stranded them in Belgium.  They had been scheduled to appear with the band Freedom.  Shortly afterward, the band took out an ad in Melody Maker to apologize for their failure to appear.



Published apology for not making a London Marquee Club gig    Nov. 24, 1971



Nov. 26         Liverpool, England                       Highfield Comprehensive School                                                     The band opened for Black Widow and was reportedly very well received.  The place was packed, as this was the first rock concert ever presented at this particular school.  Of course, the fact that Black Widow was known to often hold a mock sacrifice of a nude girl in their set could also have contributed to the large number of hormonal youths in the audience.  However, since it was mostly a student population in the hall, that portion of the show was left out on this evening.  Both bands shared the same management, so often played together, Giant always in the support slot.  One member of Black Widow has stated that Giant were “full of themselves” and put out by having to open for them.  He claims they “did not speak to us and were not at all friendly”.

Dec. 3           Braintree, England                       Two J's Club                             This club was located in the Horn Hotel.  They shared the bill with Copperfield.  In August and September, it had been advertised in the Netherlands that GG would open for Black Sabbath at De Doelen in Rotterdam on this date.  However, that did not happen.  It’s believed a Dutch band called Earth and Fire took over Sabbath’s support slot and GG played in Braintree.



Braintree ad    Dec. 3, 1971


Dec. 4           Amsterdam, Netherlands              Concertgebouw                         As had happened on the previous night, GG had originally been advertised as opening for Black Sabbath at another Dutch gig.  They were replaced on Sabbath’s bill by Earth and Fire.

Dec. 8           Coventry, England                       Whitley Abbey School               opened for a band called Dando Shaft


Dec. 12         They recorded their third BBC studio session, the only one done with Malcolm, at London's Transcription Service Studio T1.  They recorded Alucard, Plain Truth, Giant and Funny Ways.  The first three were broadcast on Jan. 7, 1972, while Funny Ways was intended to be included in a re-broadcast on Feb. 4, 1972.   As it turns out, it was not.  This entire session is missing.


Dec. 17         Dartford, England                         Northwest Kent College of Technology  This was billed as a "Giant Christmas Party".  They shared the stage with Roger Ruskin Spear and his Giant Kinetic Wardrobe, an interestingly named act put together by the ex-Bonzo Dog Band member.  Interestingly, a stripper was also on the bill.

Dec. ?           Fareham, England

Dec. ?           Narberth, Wales                           Queen’s Hall                             A couple sources have pointed to a Giant gig at this Narbeth venue, one placing it shortly before Christmas.  One spectator at this show remembers Malcolm definitely being on the drums, but he also remembers it as being in 1972.  However, since Malcolm played very few gigs in the UK in 1972, it was more likely late 1971.  This spectator also remembers dancing on stage during Ray's Plain Truth violin solo.

???                Sheffield, England                        City Hall                                   All that’s known about this concert is that it took place sometime in the “early 70’s” and that GG opened for Supertramp.

???                Vienna, Austria                            Vienna Opera House                 Malcolm remembers one gig in Vienna during which he had to play his drum set with just his right arm.  He had hurt his left arm after actually being knocked down by a car.  Fortunately, he recovered quickly and was back to full strength the next night.  Malcolm has listened to tapes that exist for two other shows in Vienna in which he participated, on Sep. 5, 1971 and Jan. 24, 1972, and is certain that neither is the one which he played one-handed, so the date of this one is still in question.  Although he remembers the location as being the city’s famed Opera House, this cannot be verified as very few popular music performances seem to have ever been held at that traditionally classical venue.


Dec. ?           Giant's third album, THREE FRIENDS, was recorded in London, mostly at Advision Studios, but also at Command Studios.  It was the only one to feature Malcolm on drums.  During the recording of this album, the band bus, with Ray at the wheel, got in a bad traffic accident.  Near Guildford, on the way to London, the bus crashed through a hedge and stopped just a few feet before falling down a steep incline.  Fortunately, there were no real injuries and the band was able to continue on.


Go on to   Part Two


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