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Gentle Giant Tour History

*** Part Two ***

*** Hitting the Road ***


(1972 - early 1973)


new information will be in RED





            Finally, at the beginning of 1972, Gentle Giant dropped its previous piecemeal approach and jumped headlong into extensive European touring.  For the first couple months of the year, they supported Jethro Tull on that band's tour of the continent.  This was their first lengthy organized tour experience and could be considered their first "big break".  It was a grueling tour, with very few nights off built in.  The two bands got along quite well but Ian Anderson of Tull claims that Giant frequently argued bitterly among themselves after the concerts.  Supposedly, Anderson was invited occasionally to sit in with Giant on stage, but always declined, modestly claiming to not be a good enough musician for the job.  It's believed that, generally, Giant kept the same setlist they had been using in the latter half of 1971.  It is rumored that they did play live, at least briefly, all the songs from the not-yet-released THREE FRIENDS album, with some quickly determined to be ineffective on stage and dropped.  However, Malcolm stated many years later that he has no memory of ever playing the title song, Three Friends, live on stage. 





Funny Ways


Nothing at All - This still included Kerry, Ray and Gary all joining in on the percussion section of the song.

Plain Truth - This was still the only song from ACQUIRING THE TASTE that was regularly played on stage, both at the time and in subsequent years.           

The Queen      


The band continued the trick of playing onstage a tiny portion of the National Anthem from whichever European country they happened to be in at the time.  This would be worked into the very end of The Queen, which was generally used to finish the shows.  Audiences would, of course, respond favorably to this nod to their nationalism. 



Jan. 6            Holstelbro, Denmark                     Holstebrohallen                          opened for Jethro Tull

Jan. 7            Odense, Denmark                         Fyens Forum                            opened for Jethro Tull


Jan. 7            Three out of the four songs recorded at the band's third BBC session on Dec. 12, 1971 were included on this very first broadcast of a new program oddly entitled Friday Night Is Boogie Night, hosted by John Peel.  Others appearing with sessions on the program were Keef Hartley, Miller Anderson and Anne Briggs.  The GG songs broadcast were Alucard, Plain Truth and Giant.  The other song, Funny Ways, was intended to be broadcast on Feb. 4, but was not.


Jan. 8             Copenhagen, Denmark                 KB-Hallen                                 They did two shows, opening for Jethro Tull.  Early newspaper notices advertised a double bill of Gentle Giant and Jude in support at the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke, England on Jan. 8 but by mid-December, the ads were changed to a bill of Jigsaw and Jude.  GG did indeed appear in Copenhagen instead.

Jan. 9             Gothenburg, Sweden                    Konserthuset                            scheduled to open for Jethro Tull, but Malcolm says they were, for some reason, not allowed into Sweden.  He says Tull went on without them, while they stayed for a few days in Copenhagen. 

Jan. 10          Oslo, Norway                                Njardhallen                               Apparently, the band gave up their aforementioned rest and relaxation in Copenhagen long enough to travel to Norway for this one gig, where they opened for Jethro Tull.  Although conventional wisdom among both Tull and Giant fans placed this gig at Konserthuset, it turns out that is incorrect.  Konserthuset was not even built until 1977.  Phil remembers this gig fondly.



Oslo article    Jan. 10, 1972



Jan. 11           Stockholm, Sweden                       Grottan                                     again scheduled to open for Jethro Tull but did not, due to not being allowed into Sweden.  One report has Konserthuset as being the correct venue.

Jan. 14           Lund, Sweden                               University of Lund - Akademiska Foreningen                                                                                          once again scheduled to open for Jethro Tull but did not, due to not being allowed into Sweden.

Jan. 15           Copenhagen, Denmark                 Tivoli Konsertsal                       Their banishment over, Giant rejoined the Jethro Tull tour as the opening act.  The venue was located in an amusement park.

Jan. 16          Copenhagen, Denmark                 Tivoli Konsertsal                       opened for Jethro Tull.  This was their third Copenhagen gig in nine days, though this one was not part of the original schedule.

Jan. 17           Munster, Germany                        Munsterlandhalle                       opened for Jethro Tull.  A partial tape exists of just the last song of GG’s set, The Queen, during which Ray can be heard playing a few notes of the West German National Anthem on his bass.  It would be logical to assume more of Giant’s performance may have been recorded but, if so, it has not surfaced.

Jan. 18           Berlin, Germany                            Deutschlandhalle                       opened for Jethro Tull.  Phil also remembers this gig fondly.



Berlin ticket   Jan. 18, 1972



Jan. 19          Hamburg, Germany                      Musikhalle                                opened for Jethro Tull

Jan. 20          Lubeck, Germany                          Hansahalle                               opened for Jethro Tull

Jan. 21          Essen, Germany                           Grugahalle                                opened for Jethro Tull.  A tape of this show exists.  On it, Ray can again be heard playing a few notes of the West German National Anthem during The Queen.  A second tape of this same show, from a different source in the audience, once existed, but the original tape has since deteriorated and is no longer usable.

Jan. 22           Frankfurt, Germany                       Festhalle Messgelande              opened for Jethro Tull.  GG was very well received.  An enthusiastic crowd called for repeated encores but the band had to eventually yield to the headliners.  There has been conflicting evidence as to the exact location of this concert.  There have been indications that the show was moved to the Stadthalle in nearby Offenbach.  There was even a newspaper review that did describe the show as having taken place in Offenbach.  However, both used and unused ticket stubs and a surviving concert poster, as well as convincing fan recollections, corroborate the likelihood that the show was, in fact, in Frankfurt.   Whatever the case, a tape believed to be of this show does exist, once again including Ray's nod to the West German National Anthem during The Queen.  This tape is often mistakenly attributed as being from the May 12 Offenbach concert.  However, that's not possible as Malcolm, who left the band at the end of March, appears on the tape.  To confuse collectors a bit more, a legitimate recording of the May 12 show also exists which includes later drummer John Weathers.  While in the area for this January show, Ray stopped into a music store in Frankfurt and bought the Fender Precision bass that he used from then on.




Frankfurt    Jan. 22, 1972



Jan. 23          Nurnberg, Germany                      Meistersingerhalle                    This concert with Jethro Tull was apparently canceled.

Jan. 24           Vienna, Austria                             Konserthaus                             opened for Jethro Tull.  Yet another gig Phil remembers fondly.  A tape of this particular show exists which includes the band playing a snippet of the Austrian National Anthem during The Queen.

Jan. 25          Nurnberg, Germany                     Meistersingerhalle                    opened for Jethro Tull.  This show was probably a replacement for the canceled show from two days earlier.

Jan. 26           Ludwigshafen, Germany               Friedrich-Ebert Halle                 opened for Jethro Tull

Jan. 27          Hannover, Germany                      Niedersachsenhalle                   opened for Jethro Tull.  It’s often said this gig took place at Kuppelshalle, but surviving ticket stubs clearly list Niedersachsenhalle as the venue.  Kuppelshalle was actually part of the same complex but was used mainly for classical concerts.  Niedersachsenhalle, used more for rock concerts, was a rectangular hall but, oddly, the stage was set up in the middle of one of the long sides, rather than on one of the shorter ends.

Jan. 28           Offenburg, Germany                      Oberrheinhalle                         opened for Jethro Tull




Offenburg    Jan. 28, 1972



Jan. 29          Zurich, Switzerland                       Hallenstadion                            opened for Jethro Tull

Jan. 30          Bern, Switzerland                         Festhalle                                   opened for Jethro Tull.  A tape exists and, true to form, it includes a couple bars of the Swiss National Anthem played during The Queen.  On this tape, Phil comments that the show is taking place on a Sunday afternoon.  A poster confirms that the show began at 3:00.



Bern flyer    Jan. 30, 1972



            Tull and Giant ran into scheduling difficulties when they reached Italy.  It seems that concerts were planned for the Palazzo dello Sport in Torino and the Pallazzo dello Ghiaccio in Bolzano on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5, respectively, but both were canceled due to municipal restrictions in those cities.  Other Italian dates were shuffled around and the schedule listed below, although based on the best evidence available so far, may still include inaccuracies.  Fans of Jethro Tull may notice that conflicts exist between what was advertised in the Italian music magazine Ciao 2001 and what exists in various Tull reference sources.



Jan. 31           Milan, Italy                                                                                     Tull sources list GG opening for them here, possibly filling the hole caused by the cancellation of the originally scheduled Torino gig.  However, it’s quite possible this concert never took place.

Feb. 1            Rome, Italy                                    Palazzo dello Sport                   opened for Jethro Tull.  A tape exists of this concert.  A band member recalls 20,000 in attendance, although a later report claims a more modest 18,000.  Throughout the 1970’s, whenever a name act like Tull played Italy, the venues were most often the city’s primary sports facility, known as the Palazzo dello Sport or Palasport.  The country had frequent rioting at rock concerts, so many smaller theater managers were afraid to stage rock events.  The sports facilities were supposedly more easily controlled by the local police departments.  Giant themselves, when headlining there later in the decade, usually frequented these same venues.  On this particular evening, GG almost didn't make it to the show when the security guards didn't recognize them and wouldn't let them in.  They were trapped outside, circling the building, for about an hour with a Ciao 2001 journalist with whom they had spent much of the day.  Malcolm, who was not with the rest of the group, recalls being inside when he saw his bandmates in distress and finally got them inside.



Rome    Feb. 1, 1972



Feb. 2            Bologna, Italy                                Palazzo dello Sport                   opened for Jethro Tull at two shows, one in the early evening and one later at night.  Both were sold out with a capacity crowd of somewhere around 7,000 fans.  This date of Feb. 2 seems definitive, even though some Tull sources listed a gig in Naples on this night, which Gary remembers being canceled.  A Feb. 2 gig in Bologna was indeed advertised at the time in both the national Italian press and a local Bologna newspaper, and fan recollections further corroborate this date.  A tape of Giant’s set from the late show exists which includes a brief snippet of the Italian National Anthem played by Ray and Gary at the end of The Queen.  By all accounts, Giant was extremely well-received in this city, the audience clamoring for the band to return even after an encore.  One report even has a number of disappointed fans at one of the shows leaving the venue when the lights came up after Giant finished.  Tull’s Ian Anderson was reportedly somewhat angry about the audience response to GG in Bologna.  A press report at the time even claimed that Anderson insisted on a contract clause prohibiting Giant from playing any more encores.  Giant went on to become a highly revered band in Italy and these Bologna shows seem representative of their early impact on that country.





Bologna    Feb. 2, 1972



Feb. 3            Treviso, Italy                                 Palazzo dello Sport                   opened for Jethro Tull.  Early Italian ads and posters listed the venue as Bocciodromo Ovest before being changed to Palazzo dello Sport in later ads.  Some Tull sources claim that this was actually the night of the Bologna show, but that is probably false.






Treviso - includes poster with incorrect venue    Feb. 3, 1972



Feb. 4            Varese, Italy                                 Palazzo dello Sport                    opened for Jethro Tull.  This had been a questionable date but, since an eyewitness account and substantial press verification exist, it seems pretty definitive.  Interestingly, Varese is near to Novara where the two bands played on the following two nights.  A press report stated there were 16,000 in attendance.


Feb. 4           On this episode of John Peel’s Friday Night Is Boogie Night BBC radio program, all four songs from the Dec. 12, 1971 session were scheduled to be rebroadcast, including Funny Ways which was missing on the initial Jan. 7 broadcast.  However, studio logs indicate that only Alucard and Giant were actually aired on this date, with both Funny Ways and Plain Truth being absent.  Also presenting studio sessions on the program this time around were Mick Abrahams, Lindisfarne and Miller Anderson.


Feb. 5            Novara, Italy                                Palazzo dello Sport                   An early ad in Ciao 2001 listed no gigs in Novara, although the revised itinerary published later actually listed Giant opening for Jethro Tull at two Novara dates on Feb. 5 and 6.  The Italian newspaper La Stampa also advertised these Novara dates, claiming they were replacements for the canceled Torino gig from Jan. 31, Torino being about an hour away.  Several eyewitnesses have now come forward verifying these two Novara date, plus a tape of their complete Feb. 5 set exists.  What had made this so confusing for so long is that many Tull sources incorrectly show that band traveling to Lyon, France on Feb. 5, while the February 1972 issue of Rock and Folk Magazine noted Tull as actually being in Bordeaux, France on both Feb. 5 and 6, also incorrect.  As is the case with the tape of the Bologna show, the tape from Feb. 5 includes a bit of the Italian National Anthem played at the end of The Queen.  To make matters even worse, this tape has often been mistakenly listed as being from the Varese show, Novara and Varese also being relatively near each other.



Novara - ad for two consecutive dates    Feb. 1972



Feb. 6            Novara, Italy                                  Palazzo dello Sport                   This date was also eventually advertised in Ciao 2001.  Jethro Tull sources often incorrectly list that band as playing in Paris, France on Feb. 6 or, as mentioned in the above listing, in Bordeaux.  However, when the dust settled, Giant found themselves opening for Tull in Novara again, as confirmed by a couple different sources.  One fan has fond memories of this double-bill Sunday concert which he claimed was an afternoon show before a sold-out audience.



            Jethro Tull had two Dutch dates planned for Feb. 11 and 12 in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, respectively, and Gentle Giant was again scheduled and advertised as being the opening act.  However, it appears that Giant backed out.  A Ciao 2001 article published shortly afterwards indicated that Giant returned to their home country of England after finishing their Italian dates.  It’s not known who took over the support slot in Rotterdam, but singer/guitarist Mike Tingley supported Tull in Amsterdam.



Amsterdam ad - Giant did not appear at this show    Feb. 12, 1972



            A UK press notice from December 1971 stated the band set aside the month of March for a concert and college tour in the UK.  However, specific information is still quite incomplete, with only two scheduled shows known so far.  This same notice announced plans for their first tour of the USA beginning on April 3.  As the new year came along, this tour was eventually scrapped.  However, ads have been recently unearthed in Pop Music Magazine and Rock and Folk Magazine which indicate some French dates were scheduled in early March.  These ads are quite vague, unfortunately, and there has been found no proof that these French concerts went ahead as planned.  On the other hand, the March 12, 1972 issue of Ciao 2001 stated the band returned to the recording studio immediately after their tour with Jethro Tull, though for what purpose is not indicated.  Clearly, the band’s exact activities during this time period still need to be nailed down.



Mar. 1            Paris, France                               Gibus Club                                unconfirmed

Mar. 4            Dourges, France                          Piblokto Club                            unconfirmed

Mar. 5            Dourges, France                          Piblokto Club                            unconfirmed



            The possibility has been raised that Giant played another show in the John Stripe Theatre at King Alfred’s College in Winchester, England sometime in 1972, as they did on Feb. 12, 1971 and Mar. 4, 1973.  This is as of yet unconfirmed, while the exact date during the year is unknown.  However, since the 1971 and 1973 shows were arranged by a close friend of the Shulmans who was, at the time, attending the college, it would not be unreasonable to assume that this same student arranged a show during 1972, as well.  A different student does recall attending all three shows.



Mar. 11          Bradford, England                        Bradford University

Mar. 13          Gravesend, England                     Gravesend Civic Centre             Giant played a gig with the band Writing On the Wall.



Gravesend ad    Mar. 13, 1972



Mar. 17          Lancaster, England                      Lancaster University - Great Hall                                          Playing support for the band on this night was the progressive band T2.  According to a flyer distributed on campus, this was billed as an Easter Party.  Roger Ruskin Spears’ Giant Kinetic Wardrobe also entertained the crowd, plus the University provided disco lights, late buses and a bar, all for only 45p.



Lancaster - handwritten flyer    Mar. 17, 1972



At some point in late March, Malcolm was injured in a motorcycle accident, breaking his left arm, left leg and pelvis, and the band was forced to find yet another drummer on very short notice.  Discussions were held with Mike Giles, formerly of King Crimson, to have him fill the position, but that plan fell through.  Running out of time, they then managed to recruit, as a temporary fill-in, John Weathers, who had just left his position with the Greaseband a short time earlier and had been working in a carpet factory.  With him, they went into some quick rehearsals and then straightaway into a tour of the United Kingdom in April.  Unfortunately for Malcolm, his recuperation took longer than expected so, after a short while, the group decided to offer the job to John permanently and he accepted.  At the time, Malcolm was understandably somewhat upset about his being replaced but, these days, he has put this behind him and has been able to see and rekindle his friendship with some of the band members.  He has even been overheard joking about his motorcycle accident, saying that, at least, he didn't break his sunglasses.  Derek has claimed that after the accident but before a replacement was found, Malcolm actually returned to the band for one at least one gig.  According to Derek, his brother Phil had the unusual idea of duct taping a drumstick to the cast on the unfortunate drummer's broken arm.  This did not work out too well and it supposedly ended up being Malcolm's final gig with the group.  There is no evidence whatsoever to back up this startling claim and, given Derek's penchant for exaggeration and revisionist history, it seems extremely unlikely.  A more forgiving explanation could be that Derek was simply confusing this time period with the earlier gig in Vienna where Malcolm did indeed play his drums one-handed after bruising his left arm in a far less serious accident.  This Vienna show has been confirmed by Malcolm but the exact date is unknown.



New Musical Express notice about Malcolm Mortimore’s motorcycle accident    March, 1972



The UK tour with John originally comprised 19 dates, although adjustments were made as it went along.  Looking back, the tour may have been a somewhat humiliating experience for the group, as they actually had to serve as the opening act for a movie, the Jimi Hendrix live concert film, Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Certain ads for the tour had the band's name in large, bold print, as if they were headlining, but they did, in fact, take the stage first each night, before the movie.  This tour also had its share of problems, supposedly.  At one gig, the film never arrived.  At another unknown date on the tour, Giant's equipment didn't arrive, due to a van breakdown, so they were unable to perform.  This also caused a further problem for the film, as the band's PA system was supposed to be used for the soundtrack.  Roadie Phil Freeman recalls that the angry crowd actually beat up the projectionist on this occasion, out of frustration.  An alternate version of this story has the projectionist’s violent misfortune coming about because he himself arrived late.  Whatever the case, it was certainly a trying tour at times, and Kerry has commented that being relegated to opening for a movie was a sure sign that Giant was not really gaining any ground with English audiences.  John, on the other hand, has said that he was just happy to “have a gig” and was pleased that Hendrix’ popularity ensured some packed houses.  The three Shulman brothers have all recently joked about the tour, Derek saying the band really needed to find somewhere to play and this was all they could find at the time.  Gary remembers it as an odd bill, certainly, but he enjoyed watching Hendrix every night.




UK tour ad - opened for Jimi Hendrix film    Apr. 1972





            Prologue - This THREE FRIENDS song was now used to begin Giant's shows.


            Funny Ways

Nothing at All - The "drum bash" continued during this tune with the new drummer.  During his percussion break, John used to enjoy displaying amusing little tricks to the audience.  He would sometimes change the pitch of his floor tom by blowing air into it through a plastic tube.  Other times, he was spotted bouncing the sticks off the floor and catching them again.  Another trick was to tap the snare drum vertically with a stick, then slide his hands one after another down the length of the stick to create a continuous rolling sound.  There is also at least one photo confirming that he sometimes wore an actual rubber mask of the infamous “giant head” during his solo.

Schooldays - another song from their new album, added to the regular set for this tour only

Plain Truth

The Queen


This may be the time after which the song Giant was no longer played on a regular basis.  However, it is possible that the song did turn up now and again as late as early 1973.



Apr. 1            Blackburn, England                      Windsor Hall                             opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  There were unspecified problems with the film at this opening night of the tour.

Apr. 3            Folkestone, England                     Leas Cliff Hall                           opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley



Folkestone flyer - supported Jimi Hendrix film    Apr. 3, 1972



Apr. 4            Croydon, England                        Fox at Greyhound                     opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 5            Stafford, England                         Stychfield Hall                           opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 7            Epsom, England                           Ebbisham Hall                          opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 8            Barry, Wales                                Memorial Hall                            opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  A spectator at the show remarked, while visiting with the band backstage after the show, that he preferred their two previous drummers over John Weathers.  This angered John who rose to retaliate.  Fortunately, Kerry and Ray intervened.

Apr. 9            Oaken Gates, England                 Town Hall                                 opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 11          Bradford, England                        St. George's Hall                       opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  In the band's early years, a roadie would either kneel near or lie under the vibraphone with a microphone during Kerry's solo in Funny Ways.  At this particular show, an eyewitness recalls the roadie having a lot of trouble keeping up with Kerry's hands.

Apr. 13          Cambridge, England                     Guildhall                                   opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  The sound in the hall may have been a bit inferior during Giant’s set.  An audience member recalls that when the "drum bash" began, the participants started in the middle, playing on John's kit, then moved away, hitting on stands and other objects around the stage.  Finally, they reconvened in the center for the conclusion.  At one point, John is said to have bounced his sticks off the floor, caught them, and continued without missing a beat.

Apr. 14          Corby, England                            Civic Hall                                  opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley


Apr. 14          Although at one time planned for March, it’s believed that this is when the group released THREE FRIENDS in England, though one report claims that the album didn’t see its UK release until June.  Apparently, it was rush released in Italy as much as two months earlier, possibly to capitalize on their recent live successes there.  It’s been said that some of the later GG albums were also released first in Italy.


Apr. 15          Norwich, England                         St. Andrew's Hall                       opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 16          Kenilworth, England                     Chesford Grange                      opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley

Apr. 17          High Wycombe, England              Town Hall                                 opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Though not absolutely certain, one attendee believes Kerry played the final selection, The Queen, on the Town Hall’s own pipe organ which, since this had not been cleared through proper channels, somewhat annoyed the management at the venue.

Apr. 18          Southport, England                      Floral Hall                                 opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  An unconfirmed report has the band playing Wreck at this show, but no other evidence indicates them ever playing this particular song live.  In fact, Gary says the band rehearsed it at one time but came to the conclusion it wouldn’t work as a concert number.

Apr. 19          Liverpool, England                       Liverpool Stadium                     opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Although not in the original advertisements, quite a number of sources recall Giant and the Hendrix film appearing in Liverpool on this tour, with the Liverpool Echo advertising Apr. 19 as the date.  The promoter at the Liverpool Stadium, who worked under the name Dragonfly Promotions, also confirmed this concert but, interestingly, recalls it as being on April 27.  The Stadium was not actually a huge outdoor sports facility, as the name may imply, but rather an indoor boxing arena which also hosted a fair number of concerts.



Liverpool ad    Apr. 19, 1972



Apr. 20          East Kilbride, Scotland                 Olympia Ballroom                      opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley, although not on the originally advertised tour schedule.  Only a modest number of people attended this show.  There was a dance floor in front of the stage and the small number of people in attendance were asked to move their chairs onto that floor, so as to consolidate them into some semblance of a crowd.

Apr. 21          Sunderland, England                    Top Rank Suite                         opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  A fan in attendance remembers an exceptionally long wait between Giant’s set and the Hendrix film.  The picture and sound for the film were also subpar due to the use of makeshift projection and screen equipment.

Apr. 22          Northwich, England                      Memorial Hall                            opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Advertising for this event also promised a “spectacular disco”.

Apr. 23          Edinburgh, Scotland                     Caley Cinema                           opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley



Edinburgh ticket    Apr. 23, 1972



Apr. 24          Glasgow, Scotland                       City Hall                                    opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  It was a relatively small venue with chairs set up on wooden flooring before a free-standing projection screen.  This points out the rather low key production values of this particular tour.  Additionally, the hall was only about a quarter full, possibly because it was raining heavily on that night.  There was at one time a rumor that a live tape of this gig existed.

Apr. 25          Sheffield, England                        City Hall                                    opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Giant’s transport broke down on the way to this gig, so the Hendrix film was shown first, with Giant playing second.  Unfortunately, by the time the band hit the stage, many in the audience had left.

Apr. 26          Lincoln, England                          Drill Hall                                    opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  This concert was canceled at the last minute, possibly due to transportation problems.

Apr. 27          Northampton, England                  Guildhall                                   opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  The band’s original schedule listed this Northampton gig but, as stated above, the promotor of this tour’s Liverpool appearance remembers Giant being in that city on Apr. 27.  There is no confirmation one way or the other, but dates did sometimes get switched around on short notice.

Apr. 28          Cheltenham, England                   Town Hall                                 This show did not appear on the group’s original tour itinerary, but this date is probably correct.  The band is assumed to have again opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Due to electrical problems, they were late starting their set, a situation Derek blamed on the tour manager.  A tape exists which includes the only known live recording of Schooldays.  It is generally believed this tape is from Cheltenham, but that cannot be verified.  As can be heard on that tape, Phil got caught up in a microphone stand early in the show and ripped the back of his pants.  Derek took the opportunity to tease him on stage over this unfortunate mishap.  In 2003, Schooldays was included on an official live Gentle Giant release called PROLOGUE on the European Glass House label.  It was a direct copy from an earlier commercial bootleg.  Between 2000 and 2005, Glass House released ten titles, mostly exact copies of previous bootlegs of audience recordings, soundboard recordings, or radio broadcasts, with no attempt to clean up any sound defects.  The band members do not endorse the sub-par sound quality of these releases, but they do receive some small royalties from them.

Apr. 29          St. Albans, England                      City Hall                                    opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley, although not on the original tour schedule



St. Albans ad    Apr. 29, 1972



Apr. 30          London, England                          Greyhound                                The band played alone at this particular gig, which was a free admission show.



Ad for London’s Greyhound    Apr. 30, 1972



???                Esher, England                                                                            Gary specifically remembers a date on this tour in Esher.  As the band arrived at the gig, Malcolm was there to greet them.  It turns out the band still had his drums in their van and he wanted them back.



While with Jethro Tull earlier in the year, Giant was particularly well-received in Germany.  Because of this, they made it a point to return there on their own as soon as possible, therefore scheduling a German headlining tour with the bands Chicken Shack and Man, the latter being the band that John Weathers became a member of in the 1980's.  This tour was, on some posters and tickets, billed and promoted as the "London Rock Scene '72".  It's believed that Chicken Shack played first, with Man taking the stage second.  Also, Phil recalls a gig Giant played with T Rex sometime in mid 1972, but where or when this was is not known.

On stage, most of the group's live repertoire remained in rotation, though Schooldays was permanently dropped and Peel the Paint was added.  






            Funny Ways

            Nothing at All

Plain Truth

The Queen - A portion of the host country’s National Anthem was again added to the tail end of this song.

Peel the Paint - The second half of this song, featuring Gary on guitar, was played for the first time on this tour and was done separately, instead of combined with other songs, as would be done in later years.  It appeared only when an encore was needed.



May 9            Germany                                                                                     New Musical Express stated that the band’s German tour may have started on this date but, if so, the exact city is unknown.  Variety had previously printed a notice that the German tour would start on May 11.

May 11          Oldenburg, Germany                    Weser-Ems-Halle                     This show definitely took place and may have been the beginning of the tour.  The band shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man.

May 12          Offenbach, Germany                    Stadthalle                                 A tape exists of this concert which includes the encore Peel the Paint.  The West German National Anthem was again played during The Queen but the excerpt was a bit longer than that played at the January German concerts.  Once more, they were scheduled to share the stage with Chicken Shack and Man.  However, one report has Deep Purple brought in at the last minute to headline, even though they were at the time without guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who was recovering from hepatitis.  While some evidence does suggest this as an outside possibility, a knowledgeable Deep Purple source refutes the claim.  It does seem unlikely that Giant and their manager would allow another band to take over their headlining slot at the last minute.



Offenbach poster    May 12, 1972



May 13          Kronau, Germany                         Grosse Mehrzweckhalle            A tape exists of this gig at which they shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man.  The longer portion of the West German National Anthem again appears on that tape.

May 14          Ludenscheid, Germany                IKA-Traglufthalle                       shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man

May 15          Munich, Germany                         Circus Krone Building                shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man 

May 16          Nurnberg, Germany                     Messehaus                               shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man



Nurnberg ticket    May 16, 1972



May 17          Dusseldorf, Germany                   Rheinhalle                                shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man

May 18          Munster, Germany                       Halle Munsterland                     shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man

May 19          Hamburg, Germany                      Musikhalle                                shared the bill with Chicken Shack and Man.  However, a notice in Melody Maker mentioned they were at one point slated to appear at Polytech in Huddersfield, England on the same date.  At this event, they were supposedly to perform with Michael Chapman and an act called Help Yourself.  A dance and the showing of various films were also planned to round out the evening's entertainment.  Nevertheless, this did not happen and they ended up playing in Hamburg.

May 21          Berlin, Germany                           Waldbuhne                               This Berlin venue hosted the "Super Pop Festival" from May 19 to May 22.  Early advertisements for the event listed many other bands, but did not list Gentle Giant.  Nonetheless, Giant was eventually booked and their name did indeed appear in the printed program, showing they were scheduled for a May 21 slot.  However, it’s recently been reported that they did not appear, after all, although Chicken Shack and Man did.  It’s been said that only about 7,000 fans were in attendance for this festival, but that seems remarkably low.  On the other hand, it is known that two other open-air festivals were taking place in Germany during the same few days.  One fan seems to remember Giant appearing at one of these other festivals, the “2nd British Rock Meeting” at Insel Grun in Germersheim.  This may not be true, but it still remains a possibility.





Berlin - posters and program schedule for canceled appearance at “Super Pop Festival”    May 21, 1972



June 13         The band did their fourth BBC studio session at London's Transcription Service Studio T1, recording Mister Class and Quality?, Prologue and Schooldays.  It seems that the song Three Friends segued out of Mister Class and Quality?, according to one fan who recorded the original broadcast.  This is similar to the way the two songs were connected on the THREE FRIENDS album.  On the BBC session, the title track was heavy on bass and mellotron, but did not include vocals.  Prologue had some additional bass parts and an extra saxophone part in the middle, not found on the album version.  Sadly, the tape made by this fan is now lost, as is the BBC's master recording of the session.



Band itineraries and plans seemed to be unsettled for a while in mid 1972, with press reports conflicting.  New Musical Express next placed the band in Italy for 16 days starting in early June, then five weeks in America beginning at the end of June.  However, Melody Maker didn’t seem to corroborate this, instead reporting on a planned short tour of Eastern Europe starting on June 20 with five dates in Poland, followed by two dates in Czechoslovakia, and concluding with two dates in Yugoslavia.  The June American tour definitely did not occur, while Gary Green claims the Eastern European tour also never took place.  Melody Maker said this was to be followed in July by ten more days in Germany and then, at last, the sixteen days in Italy.  Italy was another country that had embraced the band during their appearances with Jethro Tull, so they were itching to return there and capitalize on that.  While in Italy, they were to include some club dates, but specific information about these alleged summer German and Italian dates has proven elusive.  Nothing whatsoever has been found to confirm summer dates in Germany.  A late July issue of the Italian newspaper l’Unita implied the band was currently on tour in that country but, again, it was not clear.  On the other hand, a contemporary issue of Ciao 2001 indicated the group intended to play live dates in Italy in September, but that definitely did not happen, as they were in America that entire month.  There is a very real possibility that Giant played no live Italian dates at all in the summer of 1972.



July 10          This is believed to be the date that THREE FRIENDS was released in America.  Less likely is the possibility of a release in August, although it has been suggested.  As stated earlier, Gentle Giant’s exact album release dates are often difficult to trace, with projected dates frequently changing and contradictory information often appearing in print. 


July 14          Giant's fourth BBC session, recorded June 13, was broadcast on Friday Night Is Boogie Night, hosted by John Peel.  Others with sessions on the program were Ashman Reynolds, Slade and Tir Na Nog.


July ?            Venice, Italy                                                                                 Supposedly, GG was scheduled to play at an Arts Festival in Venice during the month of July but, as explained above, no confirmation has been located.


July - Aug.    Between July 24 and Aug. 5, the band recorded their fourth album, OCTOPUS, at London's Advision Studios.  It would prove to be the first album to draw significant attention to the band and many consider this album to be Giant's strongest effort.


Aug. 8           They recorded their fifth BBC studio session at Maida Vale Studio 4 in London.  The songs at this session, broadcast on Sept. 5, were Plain Truth, Funny Ways and The Advent of Panurge, a song from OCTOPUS, which was still unreleased at the time.  A tape of this session exists, recorded by a fan from the radio broadcast, but the BBC's master tape is missing.  For that reason, this session does not appear on OUT OF THE WOODS or even TOTALLY OUT OF THE WOODS, purportedly the complete compilation of Giant's extant BBC studio sessions.


???                Lido de Jesolo, Italy                                                                     The band performed on an outside terrace in this seaside town near Venice.  Rather than be part of an actual tour, this may simply have been some sort of summer promotional appearance. as a small segment was filmed by the Italian RAI TV network.  The date of Aug. 9 appears in one source, but this is totally unconfirmed.




Lido de Jesolo    Summer 1972



Although no live Italian gigs have been verified for the middle of 1972, it becomes clear, between press reports and band recollections, that Giant was filmed several times in Italy during that summer.  The July 1972 issue of Musica e Dischi reported that Giant had recently spent a little time in Italy to film “a series of TV programmes” and that this trip was intended for filming only and did not include any live gigs.  One of these films was made in Milan and it’s believed that, when broadcast, this was the first time the band appeared on television anywhere.  It was a ”45 minute special” during which the band ran through several live songs, and it supposedly aired on television in mid to late July.  John Weathers specifically recalls filming in Milan shortly after joining the group.  Things did not go well, as the band and the film crew kept missing each other throughout the day.  Frustrated, the band spent much of their time in the local pub.  Gary freely admits he had too much to drink and, finally back in the hotel after filming, he got himself into some trouble with the hotel management, due to his accidentally slipping in the bathroom and damaging a window and sink.  John, who was Gary's roommate at the time, swears it was unintentional.  John also believes the film of this Milan performance probably no longer exists.

            As stated above, a portion of the Lido de Jesolo performance was filmed by Italy’s RAI TV network.  Captured was a few minutes of the band performing on stage and a brief interview with Phil Shulman, during which he mentions that John had been with the band a “couple months". About three minutes of the concert footage, without the interview, appeared on the Permette Questo Ballo? program on Nov. 14, while about four minutes of film appeared on the Adesso Musica program on an unknown date.  The interview segment may have been included on the Adesso Musica broadcast, but it may have been shown on a different program.

Additional television and film projects were apparently undertaken in Italy, although only sketchy details are known.  Melody Maker stated at the time that GG planned to record some music they had written for an Italian film.  Possibly referring to the same project, a 1976 article in Trouser Press referred to some point in Giant’s earlier years when they were considering providing a soundtrack for an animated Italian film, but the production company went out of business before the project could get off the ground.  The July 1, 1972 issue of Billboard provided information on yet another film.  Apparently, an Italian disc jockey named Nico Metta was currently touring discotheques in that country with his 90-minute “Pop Show”, during which he would play the latest records and show a 20-minute film of various bands and musicians.  Giant was one of the bands included in his film, although Metta himself has recently stated that he believes his film to be lost now.  The band also is rumored to have filmed a segment for possible inclusion on the September 1972 broadcast finale of the Festivalbar program.  This was a long running annual competition based on radio play around the country and, although Giant did supposedly film a segment, they were not finalists and were not included in the televised finale.

A couple members of the popular Italian progressive band Formula 3 have confirmed that they were filmed with Giant sometime in the summer of 1972 for a television appearance, but it is not known when it aired.  John and Gary both recall the two bands working together, as well.  The two bands each played sets of their own material.  A proposal was made for the groups to unite for one improvised jam at the end and, while Formula 3 was more than willing to do this, Giant was more reluctant, due to their habit of generally playing only written, arranged music.  The Formula 3 band members remember differently as to whether this improvised number was ultimately included or not.

Most of this footage, if it still exists at all, is not available to the public, so the exact contents are sheer speculation.




Ad for U.S. tour dates with Black Sabbath    Aug. - Sep. 1972



            By the latter part of 1972, they had made it, at last, to North America.  At one time, they had planned to open for Yes on the West Coast from Aug. 15 through Aug. 20, but it turned out their very first North American gigs were on a U.S. tour with Black Sabbath later in the month, an odd mismatch to be sure.  They had shared a stage with this band on occasion before but, on this tour, the band did not always go over well with the Sabbath crowd, giving Giant some unpleasant early experiences in America.  Out of necessity, they had to sometimes play in a heavier style and "rock out" more, in order to get through the gigs.  Even though the band members do recall having audience trouble at times on this tour, Gary Green also remembers Giant being treated well by Sabbath's lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne.  It’s well documented that Sabbath was having internal problems at this time and was not always able to perform as scheduled.  Early on, it was reported in the press that Ozzy was having “throat problems”, so a few of the early shows of this tour were canceled, although attempts were made to reschedule at least some of them.  Evidence is coming to light as to exactly what happened in some cases, but there are possibly more schedule changes that remain undocumented.  Gary Green does recall spending early portions of this tour with nothing to do.

At their North American shows, they continued to play most of the same songs they had been playing for a while.  However, The Queen was apparently dropped at this time, probably due to its unique British flavor not translating well for North American audiences.  There are rumors, possibly true, that they did perform rare material from THREE FRIENDS, as well as material that would appear on OCTOPUS, which was still unreleased in America at that time.  Gary remembers A Cry for Everyone being played one time, before being dropped, but it's not known where that was or even which year. 





Alucard - This was apparently included in the set less and less as the year went on.

Funny Ways

Nothing at All

Plain Truth  - Ray's violin solo was, by now, getting a bit longer and wilder.



Aug. 24          Charleston, South Carolina           County Hall                               opened for Black Sabbath in a somewhat run down old building.  There had been conjecture that this gig was held in Charleston, West Virginia.  However, a surviving ticket clearly proves the show was in South Carolina.  Three separate fans have vivid memories of the event, one even possessing a photo of Sabbath on stage.  It seems Sabbath only played two songs.  Partway into the third, Ozzy threw his microphone stand over the amplifiers and stormed off, never to return.  The crowd was told that his voice was shot and the rest of the show was canceled.  On this night, the Sabbath crowd was relatively supportive during Giant’s opening set, but they were not as understanding when the headliner canceled.  Riots ensued in the parking lot after the show.




Press notices about Black Sabbath concert cancellations    Aug. - Sep. 1972



Aug. 25          Nashville, Tennessee                   Municipal Auditorium                 Although scheduled, Sabbath canceled at the last minute their appearance at this general admission concert, no doubt angering many in the sold-out 20,000 seat venue.  The show went on, however, with the other two scheduled bands, Giant opening for Black Oak Arkansas.  One eyewitness thinks GG may have played Working All Day, but this is unconfirmed.  However, this same eyewitness does clearly remember them playing The Advent of Panurge, not yet released in America.  This is also not confirmed, but is certainly possible.  More than one fan at the concert has claimed the band went over fairly well, considering they were relatively unknown in the States.  However, a contemporary press review reported the audience greeted them with “unsympathetic ears” and “dumb stares”.  Ray and Kerry have both recounted staying in Nashville for several days with very little to do on this tour, due to Sabbath’s canceling some gigs.  Various other press reports have corroborated problems within the Sabbath camp leading to a few cancellations on this tour.  Ozzy Osbourne’s throat problems were usually given as a cause, although other factors probably came into play.



Nashville - ad for first canceled gig with Black Sabbath    Aug. 25, 1972



Aug 25          John Peel’s BBC program Friday Night is Boogie Night rebroadcast the Giant session recorded on June 13, along with sessions by Medicine Head and Miller Anderson.


Aug. 26          Louisville, Kentucky                     Louisville Gardens                     planned as part of the Kentucky State Fair festivities but canceled and eventually rescheduled for Louisville’s Freedom Hall on Sep. 6

Aug. 27          Detroit, Michigan                          Cobo Hall                                 This time GG was supposed to open for Edgar Winter and headliners Black Sabbath but, again, it was canceled at the last minute and rescheduled for Aug. 31.

Aug. 28          Minneapolis, Minnesota                Minneapolis Armory                  canceled and rescheduled for the same venue on Sep. 5

Aug. 29          St. Paul, Minnesota                      St. Paul Civic Center Theater     There was at one time a rumor that Giant, finding themselves with free time due to Black Sabbath cancellations, booked themselves a last minute gig in St. Paul on this evening, but no evidence whatsoever has surfaced to support this.

Aug. 30          Knoxville, Tennessee                   Civic Coliseum                          supposedly opened for Black Sabbath, but not confirmed.  Argent was also on the bill, probably set to open the show.  Surviving ticket stubs from this concert prove that it did take place at some point, but do not confirm when.  Standard practice was to honor the original tickets if a gig was rescheduled for a different date. That may very well have been the case in Knoxville.



Knoxville - unconfirmed show    Aug. 30, 1972



Aug. 31          Detroit, Michigan                          Cobo Hall                                 Originally, the band was scheduled to open for Black Sabbath at the Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia, but that was changed for some unknown reason.  Instead, press reports confirm that the canceled Aug. 27 Detroit concert took place on this date instead.  The lineup was Giant, Edgar Winter and Sabbath, in that order,

Sep. 1           Savannah, Georgia                      Civic Center Arena                    Like what happened in Charleston and Nashville already on this tour, it seems that GG played its opening set but Sabbath backed out, once more supposedly because of Ozzy’s throat problems.

Sep. ?           Chandler, Indiana                         Bull Island                                 Giant did participate at this three-day Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival, but the exact date that they played is still unsure, with the original tour itinerary and two fans in attendance stating the band appeared in the early afternoon of the first day of festivities, Sep. 2, while two other fans claim they actually appeared in the early afternoon of the second day, Sep. 3.  It is believed that they flew into nearby Evansville on Sep. 2.  This may hint at that date as being the day they performed, but it hardly proves it.  Whichever day it was, GG endured a difficult hour and a half bus ride to the site and took to the stage immediately upon arrival.  However, they did not really get a chance to play for very long.  John has confirmed what a couple fans at the event also recall, that problems with an electrical generator made it impossible for Kerry’s Hammond organ to function in tune.  The band was reportedly quite distressed about this, but had no choice but to leave the stage early and forfeit the remainder of their slot.  Nearby Chandler, Indiana was listed as the original location on posters of the festival and on the band’s own tour itinerary, but everything was actually relocated at some late date to Bull Island, a 900-acre strip of land on the border between Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.  This event was poorly organized, so many acts pulled out, including Black Sabbath, the Faces, the Allman Brothers and Joe Cocker.  In fact, by the time Giant arrived, the audience had already sat through a long period of inactivity, so they were excited to finally have somebody to play for them, followed by further disappointment when it went wrong.  Other bands who did manage to appear at the festival included Black Oak Arkansas, Canned Heat, Ravi Shankar and Nazareth.  A couple hundred thousand people were in attendance for this show, but the entire event ended up plagued by rioting, looting and general chaos.  Oddly, though, Phil Shulman recalls this festival as being one of the highlights of his time in America, perhaps referring to the thrill of getting to play at all before such a large crowd, or perhaps simply enjoying the general atmosphere of the festival.  It is rumored that at least part of the festival was filmed, but no film has yet surfaced.




Chandler - “Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival”    Sep. 1972



Sep. 3           Miami, Florida                              Hollywood Sportatorium             The Aug. 9 issue of Billboard announced a Sep. 3 Black Sabbath concert scheduled for the Sportatorium, which would presumably include Giant in support.  However, no other evidence at all has ever surfaced to corroborate this.  In fact, in that same magazine’s Sep. 9 issue, they announced the Miami Sabbath concert as now planned for Nov. 25, a time when Giant would certainly not be involved.


Sep. 5           The group's fifth BBC session from Aug. 8 was broadcast on Top Gear hosted by John Peel.  Other sessions on the program were by the Sutherland Brothers Band and the Albion Country Band.


Sep. 5           Minneapolis, Minnesota                Minneapolis Armory                  Along with JoJo Gunne, Giant opened for Black Sabbath.  This was one of the rescheduled dates, originally planned for Aug. 28.

Sep. 6           Louisville, Kentucky                     Freedom Hall                            opened for Black Sabbath before a mostly well behaved audience.  This concert was originally scheduled for Aug. 26 at Louisville Gardens during the Kentucky State Fair.  An attempt was made to reschedule the show for Aug. 31 in Freedom Hall, but that didn’t happen either.  Instead, the rescheduled concert finally took place on Sep. 6.  Giant took the stage just after 8:00 but, due to their equipment not arriving on time, Sabbath had to scramble and rent a lot of replacement gear locally.  This caused them to not start their own set until nearly 10:30.  The crowd was estimated by the promoter to be about 5,000, small for a hall that seated 18,000.  Because of this, a special smaller stage area was set up in the center facing one long side of the building only.  The Courier-Journal reported that quite a few people left before the show ended, possibly because of the lateness of the hour.

Sep. 7           Jackson, Mississippi                    Memorial Coliseum                   opened for Black Sabbath.  A brief silent 8mm film clip of this performance is known to exist.  Argent again was on the bill, as well, probably in the middle position.  Rod Argent recalls his band sharing the bill with GG a number of times, so there are probably additional GG/Sabbath shows from this tour on which they appeared.

Sep. 8           New Orleans, Louisiana                Municipal Auditorium                 opened for Black Sabbath.  The exact location of this concert had been up in the air as some conflicting information pointed to another major New Orleans rock venue called Warehouse.  However, it now seems all but certain that the show did take place at the Municipal Auditorium.  A soundboard recording has recently turned up of this entire performance, the only known live soundboard recording of a Gentle Giant concert with Phil Shulman still in the band.  While the entire recording is in the possession of the band, Prologue from this recording now is included on the 2011 CD remaster of THREE FRIENDS.



New Orleans ad    Sep. 8, 1972



Sep. 9           Mobile, Alabama                          Municipal Auditorium                 opened for Black Sabbath.  Early on, Sabbath had planned to play to play in Shreveport, Louisiana on this evening.

Sep. 10          San Diego, California                   Sports Arena                             opened for Black Sabbath



San Diego ad    Sep. 10, 1972



Sep. 11          Salt Lake City, Utah                      Salt Palace                               At this sold out general admission show, Giant hit the stage first, followed by a Latino rock band from Los Angeles called Malo, run by George Santana, brother of Carlos Santana.  Last appeared headliners Black Sabbath.  Giant was fairly well received and reportedly even got to perform an encore.

Sep. 13          Portland, Oregon                          Memorial Coliseum                   opened for Black Sabbath in front of 5,700 fans.  The reviewer in the local Oregonian gave Sabbath a truly horrific write-up but failed to mention Giant at all.

Sep. 15          West Hollywood, California            Hollywood Bowl                         Captain Beyond started this show, with Giant in the middle, then headliners Black Sabbath.  It has sometimes been assumed that Iron Butterfly was on this bill, but that is incorrect.  Iron Butterfly had broken up the previous May, but two of their members were in Captain Beyond.  A large billboard with the Giant's head was erected in town prior to the show to publicize GG's upcoming appearance, but much of the crowd was particularly unkind to the band, throwing beer bottles and the like.  Firecrackers were set off during the introduction to Funny Ways, causing Derek and Phil to yell at the crowd, Phil in a most crude manner.  Still, a reviewer writing in the L.A. Free Press claimed GG’s set to be one of the most powerful performances he’d seen in quite some time.  A tape exists of this concert, at which 20,000 to 25,000 fans were present.  Unfortunately, Sabbath's Tony Iommi collapsed while on stage at this show, near the end of Sabbath’s set.  It’s possible that some 8mm film footage of the show may have been shot but, if so, it is now believed lost.






West Hollywood - infamous Hollywood Bowl show    Sep. 15, 1972



Sep. 16          Sacramento, California                 Civic Auditorium                        This gig with Black Sabbath was canceled, due to Tony Iommi's collapse the night before.

Sep. 17          Honolulu, Hawaii                          HIC Arena                                 Black Sabbath originally had a gig scheduled in Hawaii on this date, which also ended up being canceled.  However, it is unknown if Giant was even slated to appear with them.  Giant's name did not appear on the promotional poster of the concert.



After finishing their dates with Sabbath, Giant managed to take a few days off before continuing.  They spent them in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Next, they did a small number of dates opening for several other acts, including Yes.  This led to more bookings and Phil recalls them even headlining the odd gig here and there.  One early report had them planning some gigs opening for Chicago, though it’s not known if they ever came about.  Phil also recalls sharing the stage with Johnny Winter, a musician he professed great admiration for, but dates the two would have shared are unknown.  Interestingly, Derek stated in a press report at the time that he did not share his brother’s respect for Winter.

Rolling Stone magazine reported at the time that Columbia, Giant’s American label, had arranged a promotional stunt of having a real life giant appear on stage during the band’s first North American concert tour.  The gentleman in question was 36-year old Ed Carmel, an incredible nine-foot, one-inch tall New York City resident who had once worked with the Ringling Brothers Circus.  He was to introduce the band and carry them to their spots on stage.  Record World added that this was to come at a cost to Columbia of $18,000.  However, the Rolling Stone article went on to state that Mr. Carmel died of a heart attack before the tour even began, causing Columbia to struggle to find a replacement.  Derek himself mentioned this in an interview with Record Mirror shortly after the tour.  He added that someone had even suggested replacing the deceased giant with dwarves, but the band didn’t like the idea.  However, other band members have no memory of these events and have said that Derek was known to "stretch the truth" a bit in interviews.  A press report from 1977 also refers to Columbia’s plan, saying a giant actually did appear at some of the band’s early American gigs.  Other unsubstantiated rumors have since popped up, seeming to lend credence to the idea that, for at least some shows, some sort of long-haired, costumed giant did indeed introduce the band, after carrying them to the stage.  Much of this may not seem likely, but it has not yet been definitely ruled out.  On many early live recordings, including before and after the Fall 1972 U.S. tour, a voice can be heard introducing the start of the show with the words, "the sweet sound of Gentle Giant", but the identity behind the voice remains a mystery.  It may have been a pre-recorded voice, or possibly a roadie came out to do the intro.  This same phrase was also known to be used in radio ads, adding further to the mystery.  More information is needed on this whole matter.  Related to this story is the Sept. 16, 1972 issue of Record World which stated that anyone over nine feet tall would be admitted free of charge to any Gentle Giant concert.




Record World article about real-life giant    late 1972



Sep. 19          Cincinnati, Ohio                            Cincinnati Gardens                    The Eagles opened this concert, followed by Giant, then headliners Yes.  Although the Eagles opened for Yes at quite a few shows around this time, it’s not known at how many of these shows Giant was also on the bill.  Phil has recollected that it was only a small number and GG’s name was not always present on posters or ticket stubs, even when they did appear.  Additionally, it’s believed that the running order of these concerts with Yes was not always consistent, with the Eagles sometimes playing before Giant, instead of the other way around.  On this evening, the original bill had Malo and Eggs Over Easy opening the show instead of the Eagles and Giant.




Cincinnati ads    Sep. 19, 1972



Sep. 20          Indianapolis, Indiana                     Fairgrounds Coliseum               opened for the Eagles and headliners Yes in front of an overly rambunctious crowd.  GG performed in their street clothes, possibly because their stage clothes did not arrive in time.  As Yes started their second song, the police, fearing riots, actually stopped the show temporarily until things got back under control.  At the time, Yes was reportedly a bit wary of Giant, concerned that they played too well for a support act.  Gary has also said that Yes treated Giant poorly whenever they played together through the years and was not overly generous when it came to allowing space on stage.  Kerry also has mixed feelings about his time paired with Yes.  He recalls that more gigs together were planned at one time, but Yes canceled some of these.



Indianapolis ad    Sep. 20, 1972



Sep. 21          Detroit, Michigan                          Cobo Hall                                 played first before the Eagles and headliners Yes.  One newspaper review gave Giant a lukewarm reception at best, while referring to them as “Humble Giant”. 



Detroit    Sep. 21, 1972



While in America in the Fall of 1972, Gentle Giant was filmed for its very first North American television appearance, a fact further verified by a 1973 Melody Maker article.  The film was produced by a St. Louis, Missouri television station for broadcast on that city’s new late night rock program called Tube Trip.  However, since Giant did not actually play a gig in St. Louis at this time, specifics as to the exact date and location of filming have been difficult to nail down.  The band may have performed in some sort of studio setting, although that has not been verified.  An article in an October issue of Record World indicated a Gentle Giant segment had already been broadcast on this St Louis program by that time but, again, the exact date of the broadcast is not known, although it was simulcast over local St. Louis radio, as well.  Tube Trip  was inspired by earlier free-form rock programs, particularly Detroit Tube Works which had been shown in 1970 and 1971 in Detroit, Michigan.  When that show ended, its reruns were syndicated and shown in several other Midwest cities, including St. Louis, until mid 1972.  At that time, a St. Louis television station tried out its own similarly formatted show, using the simpler name of Tube Trip, broadcasting only sporadically in 1972.  In 1973, Giant appeared on three more episodes of Tube Trip, by which time it was also being shown on a Kansas City, Missouri TV station. 



Sep. 23          Minneapolis, Minnesota                Minneapolis Armory                  Although some Yes sources have conflicting information, it’s been confirmed that GG, the Eagles and headliners Yes played this evening in Minneapolis.  It was a general admission concert.  On this occasion, the Eagles played first as people were filing into the hall, with Giant taking the stage second.

Sep. 24          Milwaukee, Wisconsin                  Mecca Arena                            Again, the Eagles went on first, followed by Giant and finally Yes.  The arena, also known simply as the Milwaukee Arena, seated about 13,000, though only about 3000 attended this gig.  Originally, the date was believed to have been Sep. 25.  However, Yes and the Eagles, without Gentle Giant, were in Hartford, Connecticut on that date playing a rescheduled show after being rained out there in August.  One fan at the Milwaukee show recalls most of the band dressing rather casually, as if they had just gotten off a plane, with Gary in his satiny green pants being the exception.  Although Gentle Giant and Yes may have been a good concert match, the addition of the Eagles in the middle of the bill on this tour raised some eyebrows, due to their vastly different musical style.  Onstage at this particular show, one member of the Eagles insulted Yes’ use of pretentious stage costumes instead of regular clothing as they themselves wore.  Other such disparaging remarks by that band about Yes have also been documented.  Derek has hinted that Giant may also have had its share of tension with the Eagles, although he offers no details.  On the other hand, Phil remembers enjoying sharing bills with the Eagles.

Sep. 29          Houston, Texas                           University of Houston - Houston Room   The band put on a free concert at this University, arranged by the school’s Program Council.  Originally, this was arranged as an outdoor performance on Thursday, Sep. 28 at 2:00 P.M. but that was canceled on the day of the event as negotiations fell apart between the University, Columbia Records and the promotors of the Oct. 1 Houston Music Hall gig already scheduled.  Concerns were raised that the free show on Sep. 29 would hurt ticket sales for the Oct. 1 show.  The free show was quickly rescheduled for noon in the school’s Houston Room on Friday, Sep. 29 while negotiations continued, but was canceled yet again by Thursday night.  The school’s daily newspaper followed the story closely as talks continued with things not resolving until the last minute.  Finally, at noon on Friday, the band did manage to perform at the University, although it was not an easy gig.  A later published review pointed out the “horribly distorting sound system” and claimed the show was saved by Phil Shulman’s clowning around during the various equipment hassles, thereby lightening the mood in the room.  The several hundred people in the crowd did respond with a standing ovation at the end but Phil told the reviewer, when describing the PA system, that “it was positively bloody useless for a professional band!”  It is presumed this concert was moved up to noon to allow the group time to get to San Antonio for their evening gig, as listed below.




Houston - free concert with scheduling problems    Sep. 29, 1972



Sep. 29          San Antonio, Texas                      Trinity University - Laurie Auditorium                                                opened for Frampton’s Camel.  This would have made for a busy day as the band had just finished a free concert in Houston that very afternoon, as described in the above listing.



San Antonio ad    Sep. 29, 1972



Sep. 30          Arlington, Texas                           University of Texas - Texas Hall Steve Miller headlined here, supported by Frampton’s Camel and Giant, who probably opened the show.

Oct. 1            Houston, Texas                           Music Hall                                 opened the show, followed by Frampton’s Camel and headliner Steve Miller.  Giant played Houston several times through the years, but Gary recalls one particularly tough gig there that they played after engaging in too much sunbathing in the nearby city of Galveston.  John got the worst of it, ending up with the top of his head seriously sunburned, but he didn’t let it affect his playing at the show.  Unfortunately, it’s not known at which concert or in which year this took place.



Houston ad    Oct. 1, 1972



Oct. 2            Columbia, South Carolina             Carolina Coliseum                     opened for the Eagles and headliners Yes.

???                Tampa, Florida                             University of South Florida         There are reports that Giant played in a gymnasium at this college sometime around 1972 or 1973, but there is conflicting information as to the events surrounding this concert.  One fan says GG was extremely popular on campus and public demand led to their being booked for the gig.  Another fan says few on campus had heard of the band and the audience was very small, a situation made worse by the band's being late for the show.  The first fan claims the band's amplifiers were set on the sides of the stage facing inward, allowing the band to hear each other without the need for monitors.  The second fan remembers the acoustics as being terrible, yet Giant seemed to enjoy themselves, talking and bantering with the small crowd.  Verification as to exactly when this gig was held is certainly needed.  Of course, one or both fans may actually be recalling a much later gig held at this University on March 12, 1977.



            Giant went over extremely well when they played their first Canadian dates, as headliners no less.  These appearances garnered the band quite a bit of good publicity.  Peel the Paint is known to have again turned up in their setlist at times, though this may not have been a regular occurrence.



Oct. 6             Rimouski, Quebec                        Centre Civique                          Giant was the last English rock band to play in this particular city until Van der Graaf Generator played there in 1976.  1,000 people were in attendance and they were quite upset when Giant ended their set after only one hour.  The band explained to the audience that they did not feel comfortable playing longer because they were working with a new drummer.  Giant was never a band to play exceptionally long sets and in this time period, just an hour or a bit longer was common.  Still, their explanation on this evening seems an odd excuse as John had, by then, been with the group for half a year.

Oct. 7             Montreal, Quebec                         Centre Sportif de l'Universite de Montreal                                          This was the first concert of the University’s 1972-1973 season.  1800 people were in the audience, rather a low number for this venue, but the local press said the crowd enjoyed themselves.  A local comedy/folk act named Plume and Cassonade opened this show which Phil says was also a very successful gig.  An existing tape of the concert includes Peel the Paint again done as a separate song, as was done in May, but in a slightly modified version from what was done then.  The crowd erupted with cheers and applause during the Nothing at All percussion break.  During this break, the band used their sticks, in sequence, on the drums, the drum stands, the microphone stands, the microphone cables and the floor, before reversing the order, finally returning to the drums.  A very brief silent 8mm film clip of the show is also known to exist.

Oct. 8             Ste-Foy, Quebec                           Pavillon Maurice-Pollack - Universite Laval                                                                                          at one time advertised for Oct. 9, but it did take place on Oct. 8.  Attendance here was greater than in Montreal on the previous night.  The press attributed this to the fact that there was less competition from other venues in this area, than there was in Montreal.  This was a gig that Phil remembers as being very successful.  Ste-Foy is right outside of Quebec City and the venue was in a basement, with the audience sitting on the floor.  Opening the show was a local progressive band called William D. Fisher.  There is an unsubstantiated report that some silent 8mm film footage of this concert exists.



            By mid October, Giant had originally planned to end their North American tour and were at one point considering going on to play in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.  An October 1972 ad in Ciao 2001 confirms that an entire Italian tour had been finalized for October 12 through October 22.  A poster for at least one of these Italian concerts, the October 13 date in Forli, is known to still exist.  However, this tour and all other plans were subsequently canceled.  Instead, they ended up staying another month in North America after securing the support slot for some of the stops on Jethro Tull’s U.S. tour.



Ciao 2001 ad for canceled Italian tour    Oct. 1972



Unlike the Sabbath fans, the Tull audiences tended to accept the band more readily, as they had when the two bands worked together in Europe earlier in the year.  This was a very important time for Gentle Giant, as Tull were on their very successful THICK AS A BRICK tour and played to huge crowds.  Giant were able to pick up quite a few new fans.  However, John Weathers has said that when Tull played two consecutive dates in the same city on this tour, Giant only supported one of them.  This is borne out by the band’s plane and hotel itineraries.  In some cities, Tull's opening act was known to be either Wild Turkey or Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

Very few live recordings from this U.S. tour with Tull have surfaced, so it's difficult to say whether the band performed any different songs on stage from what they had previously been playing.  Ian Anderson seems to remember hearing Giant play Knots and being impressed, lending further credence to the argument that the band played some OCTOPUS material on stage in late 1972.



Oct. 12          America                                                                                       There may have been a U.S. gig somewhere on this date, but the city is not known.

Oct. 13           Buffalo, New York                         Memorial Auditorium                  opened for Jethro Tull.  Derek has said that Buffalo is one of the U.S. cities in which the band most enjoyed playing.  However, on this evening, the concert was marred by unruly Tull fans and violence, resulting in $30,000 in damage to the venue.

Oct. 14           Rochester, New York                    War Memorial                           opened for Jethro Tull.  A tape of this show exists.  One fan in the crowd remembers that, during the Nothing At All percussion break, band members were even hitting their drumsticks on the floor.  Other fans have recalled this same activity at other shows, but Gary has no memory of it.



Rochester review    Oct. 14, 1972



Oct. 15          Bangor, Maine                             Bangor Auditorium                    opened for Jethro Tull

Oct. 16          Springfield, Massachusetts           Civic Center                              GG definitely opened for Jethro Tull, although there is a possibility that Captain Beefheart may also have been on the bill.  This show was sold out with 9,500 in attendance, described at the time as one of the largest crowds to date in this fairly new facility.  As was becoming fairly routine at Tull shows, there were problems again on this night with about 300 unruly people without tickets causing trouble outside and in the lobby, resulting in a strong police response, several arrests and a couple minor injuries.  However, the manager of the Civic Center said there were no problems inside

Oct. 17          Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania              Civic Arena                               opened for Jethro Tull before at least 13,000 fans in this sold out gig.  Scalpers did a brisk business outside the venue, so high was the demand for tickets.  One fan in the crowd seems to recall A Cry for Everyone being in this show, which is possible, though unconfirmed.  Even though his wife hails from this area, Ray eventually began to dislike Pittsburgh, claiming the city had a very unadventurous musical climate.



Pittsburgh ad    Oct. 17, 1972



Oct. 18          Charleston, West Virginia             Civic Center                              opened for Jethro Tull.  The Charleston Gazette was rapturous in its praise for Giant, referring to them as “perhaps the year’s sleeper act” and “one to watch”.




Charleston - headline and excerpt from review    Oct. 18, 1972



Oct. 19          Columbia, South Carolina             Carolina Coliseum                     opened for Jethro Tull

Oct. 21          Cleveland, Ohio                           Public Hall                                opened for Jethro Tull before a capacity crowd of 10,500 fans.  However, this show does not appear on Giant’s tour itinerary, which had them going directly from Columbia to Memphis on Oct. 20.  Cleveland was apparently a last minute addition.

Oct. 22          Memphis, Tennessee                   Mid-South Coliseum                  opened for Jethro Tull

Oct. 23          Little Rock, Arkansas                   Barton Coliseum                       opened for Jethro Tull.  Attendance was reported to be around 5,000 which, if true, is surprisingly low for a Tull show at this time, considering the Coliseum held over 10,000.

Oct. 24          Nashville, Tennessee                   Municipal Auditorium                 It’s believed the group was scheduled to again open for Jethro Tull, but confirmation has proven elusive.  Although Tull definitely did play Nashville on this night before 9000 fans, there are just as many clear indications from fan remembrances that Giant did appear as there are that they did not.  Written documentation one way or the other is sadly lacking at this time. 

Oct. 25           Louisville, Kentucky                      Convention Center                    opened for Jethro Tull.  A relatively well-behaved sell-out crowd of 6500 witnessed this show and were impressed enough by GG to bring them back for an encore.  Originally, Captain Beefheart was advertised as the support act, but it was changed to Giant in later ads.



Louisville ad    Oct. 25, 1972



Oct. 26          Bowling Green, Kentucky             Western Kentucky University - Diddle Arena                                          opened for Jethro Tull before an audience of over 6,500.

Oct. 27           Jackson, Mississippi                     Memorial Coliseum                   It appears that GG did not appear here.  Jethro Tull performed but Dr. John served as the opening act.

Oct. 28          Baton Rouge, Louisiana               Louisiana State University - Assembly Center                                                                                opened for Jethro Tull.  Press reports varied in their attendance estimates, placing it anywhere from 10,000 to over 12,000.  For most of their dates with Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, GG had an English roadie by the name of Sam Simpson.  During their headlining set, Tull would recruit Sam and have him dress as a gorilla or as a deep sea diver, as part of their legendary stage theatrics.  during this particular show, Sam was visited by his American girlfriend whom he had met earlier in the tour and added her into the festivities by carrying her across Tull’s stage when he was in costume.  A few nights later, when the two bands reached Florida, Sam left Giant’s employ and decided to stay in the US with his girlfriend, the two of them later to be married.

Oct. 29          Macon, Georgia                           Macon Coliseum                       opened for Jethro Tull



It's long been assumed that Giant opened for Tull at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Oct. 30 and 31, but this is incorrect.  Their tour itinerary lists them as staying in Boston between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.   Possibly, they played some other unknown gigs while there, or they may have simply taken a couple days off.



Nov. 1           Boston, Massachusetts        Boston Garden                          opened for Jethro Tull before a crowd of 15,000.  A review in The Morning Record conceded that Giant was “well received” but otherwise gave short shrift to their performance.  Likewise, the Randolph Herald was kind to Giant, but commented that they seemed “noticeably insecure” on stage.  The worst review appeared in the Boston Globe which liked nothing about the band, heaping its most scorn on John Weathers whom it called “consistently terrible”.  Tull played a second show here on Nov. 2 but Giant left that morning for St. Petersburg, so they could not have played support again.


Nov. 2           Joh Peel’s Top Gear program on BBC rebroadcast Giant’s Aug. 8 session, along with sessions by Glencoe, Nazareth and the JSD Band.


Nov. 3           St. Petersburg, Florida                  Bayfront Center                         opened for Jethro Tull in a sold out show.  A number of fans remained outside without tickets and caused a fair share of trouble, resulting in a broken front door and 16 arrests.  This led the manager of the Bayfront to speculate on whether he would continue to book rock shows.



St. Petersburg - review in St. Petersburg Independent    Nov. 3, 1972



Nov. 4           Miami, Florida                              Miami Beach Convention Hall                                              opened for Jethro Tull.  This concert totally sold out a week prior to showtime.

Nov. 5           Jacksonville, Florida                     Jacksonville Coliseum               opened for Jethro Tull.  A fan definitely recalls hearing Working All Day but, though it's possible, it's not confirmed.  No live recordings have ever surfaced of this song which was also rumored to have been played at the Aug. 25 Nashville gig.  At this Jacksonville show, Giant was fortunate enough to be called back for an encore.

Nov. 6           Savannah, Georgia                      Civic Center Arena                    opened for Jethro Tull

Nov. 7           Fort Wayne, Indiana                     Allen County Memorial Coliseum                                          opened for Jethro Tull before 8,500 fans



Fort Wayne - curiously understated review    Nov. 7, 1972



Nov. 8           Detroit, Michigan                          Cobo Hall                                          Interestingly, this was the third time the group played at Cobo Hall since they first came to America in August, all as openers for different bands.  This time, in front of 12,000 fans, they opened for Jethro Tull, who were so popular at the time that the gig sold out in three hours, under near riot conditions.  Tull played Cobo Hall again on Nov. 9, but Giant had already left town for Chicago by that morning, proving they had participated only on Nov. 8.

Nov. 11          Chicago, Illinois                           Chicago Stadium                       opened for Jethro Tull.  One unconfirmed report has the band playing Knots at this show from the still unreleased OCTOPUS album.  Tull also played at this venue on Nov. 10, but GG definitely only opened on Nov. 11, Wild Turkey filling the support slot the previous night.  The band always enjoyed Chicago's rich musical traditions and Ray once remarked that the city was filled with "progressive, forward-thinking people".  Derek once commented that Gentle Giant was always well-received by Chicago audiences.  This gig was sold out.

Nov. 12          Baltimore, Maryland                     Civic Center                              opened for Jethro Tull.  The show was sold out with an attendance of 12,000.  An additional 20 people outside were arrested trying to break into the building.

Nov. 13          New York, New York                    Madison Square Garden            opened for Jethro Tull.  Phil and Derek both fondly recall this gig, the only time the band ever performed in this prestigious New York City venue.  A tape exists of Giant’s set.  The nearly 20,000 seat venue was sold out, prompting Tull to schedule another Garden performance on Dec. 8.  Giant did not play support for the second show, that job going to Roxy Music.



Nov. 14         An excerpt from the Lido de Jesolo performance filmed in August was broadcast by the Italian RAI TV network on the Permette Questo Ballo? program.  This show dealt with music popular at the time in Italy’s dance halls.  Giant’s segment was a three minute live clip performing before the audience.  However, it’s difficult to determine which song they were actually playing because the studio version of Peel the Paint was dubbed over the top.          



In November of 1972, Giant returned to the U.K. to join a short tour with the British blues band, the Groundhogs, with whom they had already worked many times.  Stray was actually the Groundhogs’ opening act on this tour, but GG joined the bill on most of the dates, playing first.  On other nights, the Groundhogs were supported by Badger and, on at least one known occasion, by Fusion Orchestra.  Representatives of the bands involved insisted in the press that tickets for this tour would always cost between 50p and 90p at the most, claiming it to be “surely the best value for money concert tour to have hit the road this year”.  The program sold at the gigs included a page on Gentle Giant but, oddly, it also included a picture of the band taken while Malcolm Mortimore was still with them.  It's possible that Alucard was less commonly included in the set during this UK tour but, with very little recorded evidence in existence, it's hard to say for certain.  Songs from the new OCTOPUS album were not always included at every stop, either, if at all.



Ad for UK tour with Groundhogs    Late 1972



Nov. 17          Birmingham, England                   Town Hall                                 opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Nov. 18          Edinburgh, Scotland                     Empire Theatre                         Although this gig was advertised as being at the Empire Theatre, one fan claims it was really at the Edinburgh Odeon.  Although GG was scheduled to open for Stray and the Groundhogs, other sources claim Stray played in Canterbury, England on this evening. 

Nov. 19          Dundee, Scotland                        Caird Hall                                 opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Nov. 20          Glasgow, Scotland                       Green's Playhouse                    opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Nov. 23          Oxford, England                           New Theatre                             GG was scheduled to open for Stray and the Groundhogs but another source indicates Badger may have replaced Giant.

Nov. 25          Hitchin, England                           Hitchin College                         For this college show, they were scheduled to headline, preceded by Medicine Head and Mike Absalom.  However, Giant canceled their appearance, instead spending the evening in London.  This greatly frustrated officials at the college who claim to have been not informed of this until the show was set to begin and, even then, in a rather patronizing manner by the band’s agent.  The audience, expecting to see Gentle Giant, was also frustrated when told they would not perform, but was overjoyed to find out that Absalom, a favorite at this college, would now play a double set.



Ad for canceled Hitchin show    Nov. 25, 1972



Nov. 26          Newcastle, England                      City Hall                                    opened for Stray and the Groundhogs



Newcastle ad    Nov. 26, 1972



Nov. 30          Hanley, England                           Victoria Hall                              opened for Stray and the Groundhogs


Dec. 1           The OCTOPUS album had its official release in England in the first week of December, possibly on Dec. 1.  There are indications, however, that it may have actually hit the shops as early as Nov. 16 or thereabouts.  Interestingly, it was first released in Italy in mid October and was already high in the Italian charts by mid November.


Dec. 1           Manchester, England                    Free Trade Hall                         Giant was supposed to open for Stray and the Groundhogs again but, due to someone having a case of laryngitis, they canceled their appearance.  The other two bands played extra-long sets to make up the time. 

Dec. 3           Bristol, England                            Colston Hall                              The band was scheduled to open for Stray and the Groundhogs but did not perform, as several of the members were ill with stomach problems.  Instead, an acoustic guitar/harmonica player substituted for them.  Kerry's girlfriend, Leslie, also attended this show, not knowing the band was not going to perform.

Dec. 5           Bradford, England                        St. George's Hall                       opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Dec. 8           Bournemouth, England                 Winter Gardens                         opened for Stray and the Groundhogs


Dec. 8           On this date, Gentle Giant was one of the acts whose music was featured on a locally produced Houston, Texas television program called Sensatiation.  It was a short-lived series, only lasting six episodes, and this was the fifth broadcast.  It appeared at midnight on KVRL-TV and was simulcast on Houston’s KLOL-FM Radio, as well as being aired on TV and radio in Lubbock, Texas too.  The show did not feature any live music or film of the band, but instead showcased the album version of Working All Day, accompanied by a psychedelic light show timed to coordinate well with the music.  Obviously, the radio simulcast was just music, but featuring Giant’s music on TV and radio in this way helped cement the band’s growing name recognition in the important city of Houston, a city where they had just recently performed twice on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.  Other acts included in this half hour program were Shawn Phillips, Uriah Heep, Simon and Garfunkle, and Jade Warrior.




Houston - TV listing and opening titles for “Sensatiation” broadcast    Dec. 8, 2972



Dec. 9           Leeds, England                            Leeds University                       not on the original tour schedule, but it’s believed they opened for Stray and the Groundhogs.  Apparently, Badger was also on the bill on the same night.

Dec. 10          Paignton, England                        Festival Hall                              Again, this was not on the original tour schedule, but they definitely did open for Stray and the Groundhogs.  A tape exists of not only Giant's set, but of all three bands.  There had been an indication that Badger played there, as well, but they do not appear on the otherwise complete recording of the evening's music.  GG was very well received at this gig but Stray, quite popular in England at the time, had some sort of on-stage argument, causing them to get quite a poor reception.



Paignton poster    Dec. 10, 1972



Dec. 11          Wolverhampton, England              Town Hall                                 This date did not appear on the Groundhogs’ tour itinerary, but it did appear on Giant’s.  The implication is that they lined up a separate gig outside of the Groundhogs tour.  Complicating the issue, though, BBC records indicate they may have recorded a studio session for them in London on this same date.  They could have theoretically fulfilled both commitments, but what actually transpired is far from settled.  Actually, some evidence indicates that, if they did play the show in Wolverhampton, they did it without a support act.


Dec. 11         According to BBC records, the band did their sixth BBC studio session on this date, the last one to include Phil.  It was recorded at London's Langham Studio 1 and was made up of Prologue, The Advent of Panurge and A Cry for Everyone.  The session is missing.


Dec. 12          Hull, England                               City Hall                                    Giant was scheduled to open for Stray and the Groundhogs, although one personal account has Badger being a last minute substitute for Stray.  There was also talk, at one point, that this gig may have been canceled completely, but two separate fans have confirmed the show went on as planned.


Dec. 14         The group's sixth BBC session was broadcast on Top Gear, hosted by John Peel, along with sessions by Babe Ruth, Holy Mackeral and Ten Years After.


Dec. 14          Chatham, England                       Central Hall                               The Groundhogs were originally scheduled to play this show by themselves, but it does seem fairly certain now that Giant did indeed end up appearing in support.  Neither Stray nor Badger performed.

Dec. 15          Sheffield, England                        City Hall                                    opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Dec. 16          Liverpool, England                       Liverpool Stadium                     opened for Stray and the Groundhogs

Dec. 22          London, England                          Rainbow Theatre                       Giant opened for the Groundhogs at this 2500 seat theatre, but the remainder of the bill is uncertain, due to conflicting advertisements.  Separate ads for this show differed as to whether Stray was scheduled to perform, while one ad mentioned an act called Mister Crisp preceding Giant.  Compounding the uncertainty, one fan at the show still retains his written notes from the concert and they do not mention either Stray or Mister Crisp, nor did a review in a London college newspaper.  The Rainbow advertised this concert as a "Christmas Special" and, indeed, the character of “Father Christmas” made an appearance to kick off the festivities.  The show may have been originally scheduled for Dec. 20, although tickets did have the correct Dec. 22 date.



Ad - London’s Rainbow Theatre    Dec. 22, 1972



            In the second half of December, Giant reserved studio time to record their fifth album, only four months after recording OCTOPUS.  The exact schedule was for them to be recording between Dec. 18, 1972 and Jan. 3, 1973.  Although an article in Melody Maker hints that some small amount of recording may have indeed taken place, it seems that no serious recording was done.  Instead, at the tail end of December 1972, Giant embarked on a tour of Italy.  This end of year tour was announced in Melody Maker as running from Dec. 28 through Jan. 15.  However, Musica e Dischi reported in their January 1973 issue that the dates of this tour were Dec. 29 through Jan. 7.  Italy was a country they had wanted to play in for a long time.  It’s unclear if they managed many gigs there at all over the summer, as they had originally intended.  Then there were hints of appearing there in September and, of course, there was the canceled tour in October described above, so they must have been relieved when a scheduled tour finally looked set to go ahead without a hitch.  Unfortunately, a giant hitch was about to appear, as this would be Phil's last tour with the band. 


TYPICAL SETLIST  (Dec. 1972 - Jan. 1973)




Funny Ways

Nothing at All

The Advent of Panurge - This song, which included a recorder quartet in the middle, was known to be added to the set, making this the only tour on which Phil’s participation in live OCTOPUS material can be verified.     

Plain Truth - It was around this time that Ray's violin solos started to become longer and a bit wilder.

Mister Class and Quality?/Peel the Paint - This combination of two songs from THREE FRIENDS was the band’s first attempt to connect songs into mini-medleys.  On future tours, this became a common occurrence.



Dec. 29          Pordenone, Italy                          Salone della Fiera                     The Italian band Area opened this and all the following Italian gigs of this tour.

Dec. 30          Bologna, Italy                               Palazzo dello Sport                   Area was the opening band.  A tape exists of this gig.






Jan. 2            Genova, Italy                                 Teatro Alcione                          There was an afternoon and an evening set.  An existing tape of one of these performances shows Phil playing OCTOPUS material, though it’s not known which set was recorded.  Area was the opening band.



Genova poster    Jan. 2, 1973



Jan. 3            Rome, Italy                                    Palazzo dello Sport                   A rumor has it that a tape may exist of this concert, but it is probably false.  Area was the opening band and L’Unita reported 10,000 in attendance.



Rome    Jan. 3, 1973



Jan. 4            Milan, Italy                                   Palalido                                    Area was the opening band.  The local Milan newspaper reported that about 1,000 fans battled police outside the venue in an attempt to gain admittance to the concert for free.  This type of civil unrest at Italian rock concerts became quite common as the 1970’s progressed.  John’s recollection is that this was the gig at which Phil announced he was leaving.  Derek and Ray considered disbanding the group but were talked out of it.

Jan. 5            Vicenza, Italy                               Palazzo dello Sport                   A tape exists for this gig, at which Area opened.  A fan at the show recalls Giant being enthusiastically received but Phil had a small bit of trouble with his trumpet part on The Advent of Panurge.

Jan. 6            Cavallermaggio, Italy          Le Cupole                                 Area was the opening band.  Several minutes of silent color 8mm film of this concert have recently been unearthed.



Cavallermaggio ad    Jan. 6, 1972



Jan. 8            Varese, Italy                                Palazzo dello Sport                   Area was the opening band.  If Melody Maker is to be believed, there may have been additional Italian concerts after this one.  On the other hand, Phil’s departure could have curtailed the tour.

Jan. 17          Frankfurt, Germany                      Jahrhunderthalle                       A poster exists which advertised GG's scheduled inclusion in this Frankfurt rock festival entitled "The Sound of Britain in Concert".  Others on the bill at this sold out show included Steeleye Span, Amazing Blondel and Alexis Korner.  However, GG did not appear and was replaced by Genesis, a band not originally scheduled.  It was said at the time that a member of Giant was ill but, since Phil Shulman left the band after the Italian tour, that most likely explained Giant’s cancellation.



Frankfurt poster - canceled festival gig    Jan. 17, 1973



Feb. ?           OCTOPUS was released in America with a slightly different mix than was used on the British release.  The exact date is difficult to ascertain but it may have been either Feb. 19 or Feb. 26.


Go on to   Part Three


Return home to   Gentle Giant Tour History