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Gentle Giant Tour History

*** Part Two ***

*** Hitting the Road ***

 

(1972 - early 1973)

 

new information will be in RED

 

            1972

 

 

            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 was 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.  No real evidence of this has turned up.  For instance, Malcolm has stated that he has no memory of ever playing the title song, Three Friends, live on stage. 

 

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Early 1972)

 

Giant

Funny Ways

Alucard

Nothing at All - This still included Kerry and Ray joining Malcolm 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.  Why Not? was apparently played on occasion only at the very beginning of the tour with Tull before being permanently dropped.

 

 

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                          

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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 before a packed crowd.  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.  However, an Aftenposten newspaper review called out the crowd for poor behavior, such as throwing bottles and blocking other fans’ view.  The newspaper also strongly criticized the venue’s management for poor security, uncomfortable seating and allowing large numbers of people to sneak in for free.

 

         

 

Oslo article and ad    Jan. 10, 1972

 

 

Jan. 11          Stockholm, Sweden                     Grottan                                   

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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                       

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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.  A tape of this gig has recently turned up.  Plain Truth with Ray’s violin solo, a mainstay of the set, was not played on this night.  In its place, the group played Why Not?, a rare occurrence by 1972.  Once again, Ray did play a bit of the West German National Anthem during The Queen, this time repeated by Kerry on organ.  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 has recently been included in the 2019 UNBURIED TREASURE boxset.  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, of course including Ray's nod to the West German National Anthem during The Queen.  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                  

                              CANCELED

Jan. 24          Vienna, Austria                            Konserthaus                           

                              opened for Jethro Tull at 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.  Sadly, someone close to the Gentle Giant camp had passed away shortly before this gig, so the band announced from the stage that they were dedicating their set to that person’s memory.

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                                                                                  

                              UNCONFIRMED.  As stated above, a Torino concert with Tull was canceled for this evening, and it was rumored that a Milan concert was scheduled in the vacated slot.  Some Tull sources have claimed this to be the case.  One or two uncertain fan recollections of a Milan Tull/GG concert appearance have come to light, as well as a couple vague references in the local Milan newspaper from a year later, but absolutely no definitive written evidence of either band appearing in Milan on this or any other date in early 1972 has been found.  Therefore, this gig remains very suspect.

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 through the gates.

 

 

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                                Bocciodromo Ovest               

                              opened for Jethro Tull.  Tull apparently had some trouble narrowing down a venue for this gig.  Early ads listed it at the Bocciodromo Ovest while later ads were revised to list it at the Palazzo dello Sport, but it ended up being held back at the first location.  This is unfortunate as the Bocciodromo Ovest was actually built as a bowling alley and was a long, narrow building with quite poor acoustics.  Some Tull sources claim that this was actually the night of the Bologna show, but that is false.

 

                  

 

      

 

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

 

 

Feb. 4            Varese, Italy                                Palazzo dello Sport                 

                              Tour schedules listed GG as opening for Jethro Tull here.  This has been a contested date for some time, mainly because Varese is quite near to Novara where the two bands played the following two nights.  However, one eyewitness account and three printed sources, including a concert flyer and an issue of Musica e Dischi, lend credibility to the claim that this gig did take place.  Some feel that Varese is too small of a city to have hosted such an event, but their Palazzo dello Sport is actually twice the size of the one in Novara.

 

 

Varese flyer    Feb. 4, 1972

 

 

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 dates, 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. 

 

 

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 appeared in Pop Music Magazine and Rock and Folk Magazine which indicate some French dates were scheduled in early March.  These ads were 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 could have 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 it seems extremely unlikely.  A more plausible 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

 

 

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Apr. 1972)

 

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

            Alucard

            Funny Ways

Nothing at All - During this tune, the "drum bash" continued 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 hand 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

Peel the Paint - It’s believed this was played as an encore, though it’s not known how often.  It’s also not known if the same arrangement was used as was done at the German gigs the following month.

 

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                        

                              UNCONFIRMED.  scheduled to open for Jimi Plays Berkeley but this show may have been canceled at the last minute.

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.  One fan recalls the band playing Wreck at this show, but another fan refutes this claim.  In fact, no evidence indicates them ever playing this particular song live.  Gary says the band rehearsed it at one time but came to the conclusion it wouldn’t work as a concert number.  Attendance was not strong on this night and, of the people who were there, a good number left before the film.

Apr. 19          Liverpool, England                     Liverpool Stadium                  

                              opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Although not in the original advertisements, Giant and the Hendrix film did appear 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.  The acoustics were reported to be quite horrible for GG’s performance.

 

 

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 Picture House

                              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.

 

 

Sheffield poster    Apr. 25, 1972

 

 

Apr. 26          Lincoln, England                        Drill Hall                                 

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  The band was scheduled to open for Jimi Plays Berkeley. but canceled at the last minute, possibly due to transportation problems.  It’s not known if the film was still shown.

Apr. 27          Northampton, England               Guildhall                                 

                              UNCONFIRMED.  The band’s original schedule listed this Northampton gig opening for Jimi Plays Berkeley 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 of this gig exists which includes the only known live recording of Schooldays.  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 trousers.  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 bootleg traded among collectors.  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 did not endorse the sub-par sound quality of these releases, but they did 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 Giant played first, Chicken Shack second, and Man taking the stage third, although printed materials seemed to give each group equal billing.

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

 

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Mid 1972)

 

            Prologue

            Alucard

            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                                                                                    

                              UNCONFIRMED.  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 earlier published 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 opened for 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 open for Chicken Shack and Man.  However, one report has Deep Purple brought in at the last minute to headline in place of Giant.  This is extremely implausible, especially considering that Purple were at the time without guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who was recovering from hepatitis. 

 

 

Offenbach poster    May 12, 1972

 

 

May 13          Kronau, Germany                       Grosse Mehrzweckhalle         

                              A tape exists of this gig at which they opened for Chicken Shack and Man.  The longer portion of the West German National Anthem again appears on that tape during The Queen.

May 14          Ludenscheid, Germany              IKA-Traglufthalle                    

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man

May 15          Munich, Germany                       Circus Krone Building            

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man 

May 16          Nurnberg, Germany                    Messehaus                             

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man

 

 

Nurnberg ticket    May 16, 1972

 

 

May 17          Dusseldorf, Germany                 Rheinhalle                              

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man

May 18          Munster, Germany                      Halle Munsterland                  

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man

May 19          Hamburg, Germany                    Musikhalle                              

                              opened for Chicken Shack and Man.  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.

 

 

Hamburg ad    May 19, 1972

 

 

May 21          Berlin, Germany                         Waldbuhne                             

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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. 

 

       

 

 

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 placed the band in Italy for sixteen 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 two dates in Yugoslavia.  Next was to be ten more days in Germany in July and then, at last, two weeks in Italy.  The June American tour definitely did not occur, while Gary Green claims the Eastern European tour also never took place.  Nothing whatsoever has been found in any source to confirm summer dates in Germany. 

As for Italy, this 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.  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” on a trip that was intended for filming only and did not include any live gigs.  This trip to Italy was corroborated by a June 29 issue of the British newspaper Runcorn Weekly News which mentioned the band having just returned from Germany and Italy where they were “working in” their new drummer.  The German visit referred to was no doubt the May dates, as outlined above, while Italy would logically have been into June.  Piecing all available press notices and band recollections together, a possible timeframe emerges that has Giant in Italy for filming purposes in the late Spring or early summer, probably in June, while planning to return for live work afterwards, perhaps in July or August. 

 

 

June ?          Although the exact date cannot be determined, Gentle Giant was definitely filmed in Milan, Italy by the Italian RAI TV Network and it’s believed that, when broadcast, this was the first time the band appeared on television anywhere.  In a September 1972 issue of Ciao 2001, a reporter described watching this filming taking place at some point earlier in the year.  It was between 45 minutes and an hour in length and was set to air on TV in either mid-July or late July, although the exact date of broadcast is not known.  The band ran through several live songs with Prologue and Peel the Paint being singled out by the magazine reporter who was also quite impressed by the progress the band had made since their early 1972 Italian tour with Jethro Tull.  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.     

 

June ?          Film does still exist of Giant performing in Italy on what appears to be an outside terrace or courtyard.  The existing film clip, made by the RAI TV Network, is brief and may originally have been part of a longer film.  It’s been said this took place in Lido de Jesolo, a seaside town near Venice, though that has not been confirmed.  It’s also not known if this filming took place during an actual concert performance or if it was simply some sort of summer promotional appearance.  Captured were just a couple 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".  According to the July 1972 issue of Musica e Dischi, this was first broadcast on the Adesso Musica program in early July.  A brief excerpt of this footage, without the interview, also appeared on the Permette Questo Ballo? program on Nov. 14.

 

 

       

 

Italian TV Film - possibly Lido de Jesolo    Summer 1972

 

 

Additional television and film projects may have been 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.  A notice in Musica e Dischi even reported that the band was to film a segment for the Italian Festivalbar contest.  This was a long running annual competition based on radio play around the country.  There is no further corroboration to back up this claim but, whatever the case, Giant were not finalists and were certainly not included in the September 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.  Many of these filmed Italian performances are lacking confirmation and, if they ever existed at all, they may not any longer.  At times, their exact contents are barely more than conjecture and educated guesswork.

 

 

June ?          The June 29 issue of the Runcorn Weekly News that was referenced above also stated that GG was “now engaged” on a short British tour after returning from Italy.  The article went on to say they were using these dates to break in a new act for their upcoming visit to America.  Of course, initial plans to tour the States starting as early as June did not materialize, the group not arriving on those shores until the end of August.  Since no other information has been found about British dates in this time period, this newspaper claim must be viewed as suspect. 

 

July ?           An excerpt of the Italian film, possibly made in June in Lido de Jesolo, as described above, was first broadcast by the Italian RAI TV Network on the Adesso Musica program.  It’s believed only a couple minutes of footage were shown.  Most of it was a live performance before an 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.  A brief interview with Phil was also shown.        

 

 

Adesso Musica” Italian TV opening titles    July 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.  While still remaining with Vertigo in England, Giant was now signed to Columbia in the US and it was Columbia who issued this album there.  However, instead of using the same cover artwork as had been used in the UK, Columbia chose instead to reuse the George Underwood cover painting of the iconic “giant head” that appeared on the very first album, itself not released in America.

 

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 ?           The Milan television film described above was announced as being shown in either mid-July or late July over the RAI TV Network.  An exact date is unknown.

 

 

As stated above, once GG’s Italian filming commitments were over, the band intended on doing some live gigs there.  A late July issue of the Italian newspaper l’Unita implied the band may have been currently on tour there but details were vague.  A Melody Maker report stated that a trip to Italy, possibly in July or August, was to include some “concerts and club dates” but, again, specific information has proven elusive.  Some gigs may have been planned with the Italian band Gli Alluminogeni.  Online biographies of that band state they opened for GG on an Italian tour in 1971, but that makes little sense.  However, it is possible the two bands did manage to play a few dates together during the summer of 1972.  Gli Alluminogeni broke up by the end of 1972, so this summer would be the only logical time the two bands could have worked together.  One issue of Ciao 2001 indicated Giant intended to play live dates in Italy in September, but that definitely did not happen, as they were in America that entire month.

There remains a distinct possibility that, all good intentions aside, Gentle Giant played no live concerts at all in Italy in mid-1972.  So many of the band’s activities over the summer remain murky.  Hard evidence and real confirmation are sorely needed.

 

 

???               Venice, Italy                                                                               

                              UNCONFIRMED.  A notice in the July 15, 1972 issue of Melody Maker indicated that GG was scheduled to play at an Arts Festival in Venice during the month of July but no confirmation whatsoever that it went ahead as planned 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 recorded were Plain Truth, The Advent of Panurge and Funny Ways and they were broadcast on Sep. 5 in that order.   However, due to the BBC’s penchant for erasing or reusing so many of their tapes, the master tape of this session is missing.  For that reason, the 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.  A high quality tape of this session fortunately does exist, however, recorded by a fan from the radio broadcast and that recording now has its own official release as part of the UNBURIED TREASURE boxset in 2019.  Interestingly, these are the only existing BBC recordings of Plain Truth and Funny Ways, while this version of The Advent of Panurge was broadcast nearly three months before the OCTOPUS album on which it appeared was even released.

 

 

 

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.  The question has often been asked how a group like Giant could be paired with a heavy metal behemoth like Sabbath.  Apart from the routine 1970’s tradition of mixing and matching acts with no regard to style or genre, there is also a much more pragmatic explanation.  Sabbath and Giant both were signed with WWA for management, so touring together at the time was viewed by WWA as a good way to get Giant on the road in America.  Promoters were told that if they wanted Black Sabbath, they had to take Gentle Giant, as well.  Giant had shared a stage with Sabbath on occasion before but, on this tour, they 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.  On the other hand, they did manage to garner new fans and Gary Green remembers Giant being treated well by Sabbath's lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne.  It’s well documented that Sabbath, plagued by lifestyle choices and personal excesses, was having internal problems at the time and was not always able to perform as scheduled.  Early on, it was reported in multiple press reports 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. 

 

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Fall 1972)

 

Prologue

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 continued to get 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.  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.  Fortunately, the Sabbath crowd was relatively supportive during Giant’s opening set, but they were not as understanding when the headliner canceled.  About 600-800 angry fans pelted band members with whatever they had handy.  Police had to come in and disperse the crowd but some rioting continued in the parking lot after the show.

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. 

 

 

Nashville - a gig played without 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                 

                              POSTPONED.  planned as part of the Kentucky State Fair festivities but eventually rescheduled for Louisville’s Freedom Hall on Sep. 6.  GG was supposed to open for Black Sabbath.

Aug. 27         Detroit, Michigan                        Cobo Hall                               

                              POSTPONED.  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               

                              POSTPONED.  rescheduled for the same venue on Sep. 5.  GG was supposed to open for Black Sabbath.

 

              

 

Press notices about Black Sabbath concert cancellations    Aug. 1972

 

 

Aug. 29         St. Paul, Minnesota                    St. Paul Civic Center Theater 

                              UNCONFIRMED.  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                       

                              opened for Argent, then headliners Black Sabbath.

 

 

Knoxville ad    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.  Winter and Giant appeared together several times and Phil professed great admiration for him.  Interestingly, Derek stated in a press report at the time that he did not share his brother’s respect for Winter.

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. 3           Chandler, Indiana                       Bull Island                              

                              Giant did participate at this three-day Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival, held between Sep. 2 and Sep. 4.  The exact date that they played had long been a matter of debate with fan recollections alternating between the first and second day.  It is believed that they flew into nearby Evansville on Sep. 2, and written evidence does now indicate they finally performed on the afternoon of the second day, Sep. 3.  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.  A racetrack in Chandler was listed as the original location on posters of the festival and on the band’s own tour itinerary, but municipal restrictions caused a late move outside of town to a place called 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.  Organizers planned for a crowd of 60,000 but a couple hundred thousand people were in attendance and 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. 3, 1972

 

 

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, 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 at this gig, the only time GG ever played in New Orleans.  The Municipal Auditorium was one of the two major rock venues in this city, the other being known simply as Warehouse.  A couple inaccurate newspaper notices advertised this show as being booked at Warehouse but it truly was held at the Municipal Auditorium.  Beaver Productions, the premier rock promotors in the area and the company responsible for this gig, actually owned Warehouse but they also promoted shows at the Auditorium, as was the case with this show.  A soundboard recording has turned up of Giant’s opening set, the only known live soundboard recording of a Gentle Giant concert with Phil Shulman still in the band.  It clearly shows that Phil had little patience for the antics of an unruly crowd.  During the vibraphone portion of Funny Ways, he called the rowdy members of the audience an unpleasant name and told them to “shut up”.  Prologue from this recording first appeared on the 2011 CD remaster of THREE FRIENDS, but in 2019, the entire recording was included in the UNBURIED TREASURE boxset.  Sadly, it is short and incomplete but is still a historically significant recording.

 

 

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          Los Angeles, California              Hollywood Bowl                     

                              Captain Beyond started this show, with Giant in the middle, then headliners Black Sabbath, all before 20,000 to 25,000 fans.  It has sometimes been said that Iron Butterfly was on the bill, but that is incorrect.  Iron Butterfly had broken up the previous May, but two of their members were in Captain Beyond.  Because of the importance of Giant’s first major market appearance in the Los Angeles area, a large billboard with the Giant's head was erected in town prior to the show to publicize GG's upcoming concert and to advertise the recently released THREE FRIENDS album.  This concert has indeed become one of Giant’s most talked-about and notorious gigs, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  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 with language even cruder than that used in New Orleans a week earlier.  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.  That recording has been released as part of the 2019 UNBURIED TREASURE boxset, officially documenting GG’s difficulties on this night.  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 also have been shot but, if so, it is now believed lost.

 

        

 

          

 

Los Angeles - infamous Hollywood Bowl show    Sep. 15, 1972

 

 

Sep. 16         Sacramento, California              Civic Auditorium                    

                              CANCELED.  This gig with Black Sabbath did not take place, due to Tony Iommi's collapse the night before.

 

 

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. 

Rolling Stone magazine reported at the time that Columbia Records 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.  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. 

Additionally, on some 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            

                              Played first, before the Eagles and headliners Yes in front of about 3,500 fans.  GG started their set about 15 minutes early for some reason, when just a third of the audience were even in their seats.  The crowd was quiet and respectful, even while filing in, a fact appreciated by the band.  The group performed in their street clothes, possibly because their stage clothes did not arrive in time.  John actually performed with no shirt at all for most or all of the concert.  Derek began the evening wearing a short sleeve shirt but then followed John’s lead, removing his shirt for the rest of the set.  Photographic evidence shows that bare-chested John came down onto the floor in front of the stage at one point with a tambourine to try to whip up more enthusiasm from the crowd.  After Yes took the stage and started their second song, the police over-reacted with force to a small group of rambunctious fans in the very front.  The show actually came to a stop 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 a regularly scheduled show.  By then, 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, with no chairs and the audience sitting on the floor.  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 stated that Giant also had its share of tension with the Eagles, going so far as to claim they were very unfriendly and downright rude.  However, in complete contrast, Phil remembers enjoying his time 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          University of South Carolina - Carolina Coliseum                          

                              opened for the Eagles and headliners Yes.

???               Tampa, Florida                           University of South Florida    

                              UNCONFIRMED.  There are unverified 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. 

 

 

            Around this time, Giant had originally planned to end their North American tour with a concert supporting Mahavishnu Orchestra at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, but this did not occur, the two bands not coming together in New York until March 16, 1973.  After this, they were considering going on to play in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, but this did not take place either.  Instead, they lined up their first Canadian dates.  Giant went over extremely well when they played in Canada, 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 did not play an encore but they 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 and was another gig that Phil says was very successful, even though it was a rainy night.  Reviews placed between 1,800 and 2,000 people in the audience, rather low numbers for this venue, but these same reviews said the crowd really enjoyed themselves.  One reviewer even remarked this was the best concert he himself had ever seen.  A local comedy/folk duet of Plume Latraverse and Pierre Landry opened this show.  It had been assumed the openers were Plume and Cassonade, but that particular lineup came into being a bit later.  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. The crowd was again cheering wildly by the end of the show but, like what happened the night before, Giant did not return for an encore.  An existing tape of the concert does show they ended their set with 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.  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 another 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.

 

 

            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                                                                                     

                              UNCONFIRMED.  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.  As had happened before, one fan in the crowd remembered that, during the Nothing At All percussion break, band members were even hitting their drumsticks on the floor.  Even though other fans have recalled this same activity at other shows, Gary has no memory of it.  The show was sold out, with the University of Rochester’s Campus Times describing it as “standing room only”.  The same newspaper commented that the War Memorial’s bad acoustics gave GG an inferior sound but the audience still enjoyed their performance.  Oddly, the house lights in the War Memorial were not turned down until halfway through Giant’s opening set.

 

 

Rochester review    Oct. 14, 1972

 

 

Oct. 15          Bangor, Maine                            Bangor Auditorium                

                              opened for Jethro Tull.  In its review, the Bangor Daily News gave an attendance of 7,000 which was clearly a sell-out.  In fact, the newspaper made note of those without tickets who managed to listen and catch the occasional glimpse of the musicians from vantage points in the parking lot.

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          University of South Carolina - Carolina Coliseum                          

                              opened for Jethro Tull as part of the University’s Homecoming Week festivities.  The concert was sold out.

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 original transportation 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.  A Memphis college newspaper commented on the heavy-handed yet ineffective methods employed by the reserve police officers working security at the Coliseum, but failed to mention anything at all about the music.

Oct. 23          Little Rock, Arkansas                 Barton Coliseum                    

                              opened for Jethro Tull.  This concert was sold out but, although official capacity was a bit over 7,000, a press report estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 fans were crammed in.  It was a general admission concert and the doors did not open until a half hour before showtime, resulting in a dangerous stampede of eager fans hoping for good seats.  Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries.

Oct. 24          Nashville, Tennessee                 Municipal Auditorium             

                              UNCONFIRMED.  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 9,000 fans, there are just as many clear indications from fan remembrances that Giant did not appear as there are that they did.  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 6,500 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                

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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 and the audience rapturously received both groups.  Giant received a standing ovation and calls for an encore, but it’s not known if they obliged.  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.  There was a near capacity crowd in this 9,000 seat facility.  One published report stated that, even though this crowd was mostly well-behaved , the police patrolling the floor were too strict and heavy-handed.

 

 

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.  Tull did play there, but GG’s transportation 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.

 

 

Boston - review in Boston Globe    Nov. 1, 1972

 

 

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 at a massive venue that was, at the time, America’s largest indoor arena.  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 with a good 20,000 fans present.

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 of the Italian film, possibly made in June in Lido de Jesolo, as described above, was again broadcast by the Italian RAI TV Network, this time 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 brief live clip performing before an audience.  It’s believed the Phil Shulman interview was not included this time.

 

 

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.  It is again not known if songs from the new OCTOPUS album were ever included in the setlist, although one newspaper account from a week prior to the tour claimed that was the band’s intention.

 

 

Ad for UK tour with Groundhogs    Late 1972

 

 

Nov. 17         Birmingham, England                 Town Hall                               

                              opened for Stray and the Groundhogs.  The show was sold out.  Some sections of seating were behind the stage, so the band frequently turned around to face fans sitting there.

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 Stray was scheduled to be part of the bill, some 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                           

                              UNCONFIRMED.  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                       

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  For this college show, GG was 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 DID NOT PLAY.  The band 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                           

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  Again, the band was scheduled to open for Stray and the Groundhogs but, this time, 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 also being aired on TV and radio in Lubbock, Texas.  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 Giant's set.  GG was very well received at this gig but Stray, quite popular in England at the time, got quite a poor reception with one local newspaper review describing their performance as “dismal”.  Their set was shortened by some sort of on-stage argument centered around the drummer and his kit.  There were also rumors of some sort of upsetting phone call beforehand, as well as possible amplifier trouble.  This same review also claimed Giant, who did not do an encore, was the only band on the bill who should have.  Paignton is a smaller English town and is a bit off the beaten path for big name concert tours.  Because of this, representatives of Deep Purple’s management attended this gig to see if it would be worthwhile to schedule a gig of their own the following year in the adjoining, equally small town of Torquay.  It appears that they did not.

 

 

 

Paignton poster    Dec. 10, 1972

 

 

Dec. 11         Wolverhampton, England           Town Hall                               

                              UNCONFORMED.  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 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         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 disputed 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 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 2,500 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, two separate fans at the show remember no one else on the bill other than Giant.  Both still retain their written notes from the concert and neither mention 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 with the band Area as support..  This end of year tour was originally announced in a couple printed sources as beginning on Dec. 28.  However, the Italian magazines Ciao 2001, Musica e Dischi and Super Sound all reported a start date of Dec. 29.  Curiously, the Super Sound ad mistakenly listed the first two December dates as being planned for November.  Italy was a country they had wanted to play in for a long time.  They may have managed a few gigs there over the summer but, as explained earlier, documentation of this lacking.  Then there were hints of appearing 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. 

 

 

 

Italian tour ad with incorrect month for first two dates    late 1972 - early 1973

 

 

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Dec. 1972 - Jan. 1973)

 

Prologue

Alucard

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

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                   

                              Area was the opening band.  This date has been confirmed by the show’s promotor, a gentleman responsible for bringing many name acts to Pordenone.

Dec. 30         Bologna, Italy                             Palazzo dello Sport                

                              Area was the opening band.  Several fan recollections and an extant poster serve to confirm this gig.  Additionally, a tape of Giant’s set exists.

 

Dec. 31         The band had a couple days off before continuing the tour.  They ended up celebrating New Year’s Eve in Milan with the Italian band PFM.

 

 

                     1973

 

 

Jan. 2            Genova, Italy                                Teatro Alcione                        

                              There was an afternoon and an evening set.  A tape exists of one of these sets, 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.  It’s believed that GG was interviewed on the Italian radio program Per Voi Giovani earlier in the day.  During the interview, members of the band revealed that during their February 1972 Italian tour with Jethro Tull, the Tull camp sometimes lowered the volume during Giant’s opening set in a supposed attempt to stop them from stealing the show.  The two bands generally got along very well and GG has always acknowledged the help Tull gave them in 1972, so this was a rare display of professional jealousy.  Per Voi Giovani is one of the radio programs most responsible for championing British progressive rock in Italy.

 

 

Rome    Jan. 3, 1973

 

 

Jan. 4            Milan, Italy                                  Palalido                                  

                              Area was the opening band and during their set, segments of the audience continually interrupted quiet moments by yelling out the name of Demetrio Stratos, their lead singer.  According to a local newspaper review, GG’s sold out performance was musically a great success before a paid attendance of about 5,000, and was met with “thunderous applause”.  However, things were not at all well outside the venue once Giant’s set began.  Up to 1,000 more determined fans battled with police in an attempt to gain admittance to the concert for free.  This type of anti-capitalist civil unrest at Italian rock concerts became quite common as the 1970’s progressed and this evening’s melee was a particularly had example.  John’s recollection is that this was also the gig at which Phil announced he was leaving, although a roadie thinks it may have been back in Portsmouth several days later, when the tour ended.  Whenever it happened, it was very upsetting to the rest of the band and led to quite an emotional argument.  Derek and Ray actually considered disbanding the group but were talked out of it.

Jan. 5            Vicenza, Italy                              Palazzo dello Sport                

                              Area was the opening band.  A recording of this gig, the last known audio record of the six-man Gentle Giant lineup, has been included in the UNBURIED TREASURE boxset.  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.  Sadly, neither of the two known recordings from Phil’s last Italian tour include the encore of Mister Class and Quality?/Peel the Paint.

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.  Melody Maker originally announced this Italian tour was expected to run through Jan. 15.  However, the itinerary eventually changed and Varese does appear to be Phil Shulman’s last appearance with the band.

Jan. 17          Frankfurt, Germany                    Jahrhunderthalle                    

                              GIANT DID NOT PLAY.  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, THE SECOND FOR Columbia Records.  The exact date is difficult to ascertain but it may have been either Feb. 19 or Feb. 26.  Once again, Columbia decided against using the record cover artwork used elsewhere, a painting by famed artist Roger Dean.  Instead, they used a totally different painting of an octopus in a jar.

 

Go on to   Part Three

 

Return home to   Gentle Giant Tour History