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Gentle Giant Tour History
*** Part Two ***
*** Hitting the Road ***
(1972 - early 1973)
new information will be in RED
Finally, at the beginning of 1972, Gentle Giant dropped its previous piecemeal approach and jumped headlong into extensive European touring. For the first couple months of the year, they supported Jethro Tull on that band's tour of the continent. This was their first lengthy organized tour experience and could be considered their first "big break". It was a grueling tour, with very few nights off built in. The two bands got along quite well but Ian Anderson of Tull claims that Giant frequently argued bitterly among themselves after the concerts. Supposedly, Anderson was invited occasionally to sit in with Giant on stage, but always declined, modestly claiming to not be a good enough musician for the job. It's believed that, generally, Giant kept the same setlist they had been using in the latter half of 1971. It 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.
New Musical Express, which had already published several erroneous reports on Gentle Giant television appearances in Europe, did so again in its Dec. 18, 1971 issue. There, a notice stated that GG was lined up to star in a series of six half-hour shows for Belgian TV, all set to be filmed early in 1972. Although Belgium had been singled out in every false report, it doesn’t look like any of these film projects ever took place, in Belgium or anywhere else. Mid-1972 is believed to be when GG finally debuted on TV.
TYPICAL SETLIST (Early 1972)
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 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 before 1,300 spectators. The Hostelbro Dagblad newspaper gave GG a lukewarm review and claimed the audience did the same with evening definitely belonging to Tull.
Jan. 7 Odense, Denmark Fyens Forum
opened for Jethro Tull. A review in the Morgenposten newspaper again downplayed Giant’s set, claiming the audience did not relate well to the band’s music which was very loud and heavy.
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
opened for Jethro Tull. It had been believed that there were two sets, an early and a late show, on this evening, but it now seems more likely there was just one, with a review in the Politiken newspaper putting attendance at 3,000. There was, however, a second Tull-Giant show scheduled in Copenhagen on Jan 15 at Tivoli Konsertsal. An earlier Politiken story explained the reason for the two concerts being scheduled at different venues. Apparently, KB-Hallen was chosen on Jan. 8 because it could provide a more relaxed atmosphere, where spectators may find it “possible to dance.” The Tivoli Konsertsal on Jan. 15 was then planned as a “pure concert”. It turns out there was indeed some dancing at this first show but, ironically, it caused some unrest with “small riots” being reported. Back in early December 1971, the Reading Evening Post advertised a double bill of Gentle Giant and support act Jude 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.
Poster for two shows in Copenhagen Jan. 1972
The band had three dates in Sweden lined up next but Malcolm says that, for some reason, they were not allowed into that country. Instead, they stayed in Copenhagen for a few days. As it turned out, jazz musician Stan Kenton was also in Copenhagen, staying at the same hotel. Kenton was playing a gig in that city and Giant attended the show.
Jan. 9 Gothenburg, Sweden Konserthuset
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. scheduled to open for Jethro Tull but they were not allowed into Sweden, as explained above. Tull went on without them.
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. After this gig, GG returned to Copenhagen.
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 still not being allowed into Sweden.
Jan. 15 Copenhagen, Denmark Tivoli Konsertsal
Their banishment over, Giant rejoined the Jethro Tull tour as the opening act. Still in Copenhagen, the venue this time 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.
Press notice for German tour dates Jan. 1972
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. A notice in Sounds revealed that this concert broke a house attendance record previously held by the Rolling Stones.
Berlin ticket Jan. 18, 1972
Jan. 19 Hamburg, Germany Musikhalle
opened for Jethro Tull
Hamburg ad and ticket Jan. 19, 1972
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. This audience reaction was not really a surprise. Ray revealed in an interview shortly afterwards that Giant’s first couple albums, particularly ACQUIRING THE TASTE, had received a lot of radio airplay in Frankfurt even before this European tour began. 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. Sounds reported that this concert broke a house attendance record previously held by Led Zeppelin.
Frankfurt ticket and review Jan. 22, 1972
Jan. 23 Nuremberg, Germany Meistersingerhalle
POSTPONED. Giant intended to open for Jethro Tull, but both bands ended up playing in Nuremberg two days later instead.
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. Malcolm recalls an indoor concert hall gig in Vienna during which he had to play his drum set with just his right arm. He had hurt his left arm after actually being knocked down by a car. Fortunately, he recovered quickly and was back to full strength the next night. He actually recalled the gig in question as being held in a hall usually used for classical music, and that was indeed the case with Konserthaus. However, a fan at the show does not have any memory of anything unusual going on with the drummer, so this is still unconfirmed.
Jan. 25 Nuremberg, 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
Ludwigshafen poster and ticket Jan. 26, 1972
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 narrow rectangular hall but the stage was set up in the middle of one of the long sides, rather than on one of the shorter ends. This was actually an ingenious innovation, as it allowed more people to be closer to the stage. 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
Italian tour dates - Ciao 2001 ads with original and revised schedules
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 other reports claim a more modest crowd of 17,000 or 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. The Italian newspaper L’Avanti gave a longer review to Giant’s performance than it did to Tull’s. They particularly singled out the Italian National Anthem snippet at the end of the set, with the audience’s fists raised high in solidarity, as the high point of the entire evening.
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 facility for the Italian sport of bocce 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 nights 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.
Feb. 28 Cleethorpes, England Winter Gardens
The band opened for Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come at a dance sponsored by the Students’ Union of the nearby Grimsby College of Technology. At the time, many areas of England were dealing with imposed restrictions on electrical use, resulting in a number of events being canceled. However, ads for this gig promised no danger of that happening on this night.
Cleethorpes ad Feb. 28, 1972
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.
Rotterdam and Amsterdam ads - Giant did not appear at these shows Feb. 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
Mar. 1 Paris, France Gibus Club
Mar. 4 Dourges, France Piblokto Club
Mar. 5 Dourges, France Piblokto Club
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
UNCONFIRMED. One notable website places Giant at this University on this date, but a concert listing in New Musical Express has Focus scheduled to play there instead. A search of the University’s school newspaper confirms neither appearance.
Mar. ? Chippenham, England Neeld Hall
UNCONFIRMED. In mid-February, the Evening Post in nearby Bristol announced that The Chippenham College of Further Education had scheduled a dance and disco event featuring Vinegar Joe and Gentle Giant as part of their Student Union’s Charity Week. Charity Week began on Mar. 11, but the exact date of the planned dance has not been determined. It is also not confirmed the dance even went ahead at all since no follow-up announcements have been located. Additionally, the Bristol area was one of the areas experiencing numerous cancelations due to restrictions on electrical use, as described above
Mar. 13 Gravesend, England New Lord’s Club - Civic Centre
The band Writing On the Wall served as the support act.
Gravesend ads 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
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 and a number of new dates were booked 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 and for that reason, not all the dates listed below can be confirmed. 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.
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. 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
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
UNCONFIRMED. scheduled to open for Jimi Plays Berkeley but Ray believes this may have been the gig when the film never arrived.
Folkestone flyer Apr. 3, 1972
Apr. 4 Croydon, England Fox at Greyhound
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley
Apr. 5 Stafford, England Stychfield Hall
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley
Apr. 7 Epsom, England Ebbisham Hall
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley. Gary has a very specific memory about a gig in early April in this general area of England where Malcolm Mortimore made a surprise appearance. 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. Although not confirmed, it may very well have been this Epsom gig.
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 Oakengates, England Town Hall
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley
Apr. 11 Bradford, England St. George's Hall
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley. Venue personnel sometimes set up seats for scheduled events but on this night, they did not, so the crowd either stood or sat on the floor for the entire evening. 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. Since St. George’s Hall was not generally used for showing movies, it did not have its own built-in screen, so a large portable screen was erected for the Hendrix film. This may have been quite common during this tour.
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.
Cambridge ad Apr. 13, 1972
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
CANCELED. Although GG’s published tour schedule included this stop opening again for Jimi Plays Berkeley, local newspaper notices confirm that it did not take place, the band Skid Row playing at the Chesford Grange on Apr. 16 instead. The Hendrix film was shown at this venue on Apr. 30 but, on that occasion, the band Nazareth was in support. There are also indications that the film may have been shown here one earlier time but, again, without Giant.
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.
High Wycombe ad - Apr. 17, 1972
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 mistakenly 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”.
Northwich ad Apr. 22, 1972
Apr. 23 Edinburgh, Scotland Caley Picture House
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley
Edinburgh ticket Apr. 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. Once again, a free-standing projection screen was erected for the Hendrix film. 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.
Glasgow ad Apr. 24, 1972
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.
Lincoln - Disc Magazine notice for canceled gig Apr. 26, 1972
Apr. 27 Northampton, England Guildhall
opened for Jimi Plays Berkeley. As stated above, the promotor of this tour’s Liverpool appearance remembers Giant being in that city on Apr. 27. However, it seems he was mistaken.
Apr. 28 Cheltenham, England Town Hall
This show did not appear on the group’s original tour itinerary, but this date was added afterwards, the band again opening 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 this one was not on the original tour schedule either
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
May 5 Burton-on-Trent, England 76 Club
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. New Musical Express erroneously advertised this and the following gig in Chichester, both with GG opening for Jimi Plays Berkeley, but the Hendrix tour seems to have ended by April 29. Besides, a local newspaper advertised the Mick Abrahams band as playing the 76 Club on May 5.
May 6 Chichester, England Bishop Otter College
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. Like happened with the May 5 listing, New Musical Express advertised Giant as opening for Jimi Plays Berkeley again, but that was apparently in error as there is no credible evidence that such a gig took place. The Hendrix tour ended on April 29.
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". Although printed materials seemed to give each group equal billing, John has confirmed that Man opened, GG played second and Chicken Shack topped the bill.
On stage, most of the group's live repertoire remained in rotation, though Peel the Paint was added and Schooldays seems to have been dropped.
TYPICAL SETLIST (Mid 1972)
Nothing at All
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 order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack. One fan at the show believes Giant played Schooldays, but there is no corroborating evidence that song was played live after the April UK tour. It does not appear on complete tapes of the band’s performances on May 12 or 13.
Oldenburg ad May 11, 1972
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 play second, after Man and before Chicken Shack. 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 ticket May 12, 1972
May 13 Kronau, Germany Grosse Mehrzweckhalle
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack. A tape exists of Giant’s set. The longer portion of the West German National Anthem again appears on that tape during The Queen.
Kronau poster May 13, 1972
May 14 Ludenscheid, Germany IKA-Traglufthalle
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack.
May 15 Munich, Germany Circus Krone Building
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack.
May 16 Nurnberg, Germany Messehaus
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack.
Nurnberg ticket May 16, 1972
May 17 Dusseldorf, Germany Rheinhalle
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack.
May 18 Munster, Germany Halle Munsterland
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack.
May 19 Hamburg, Germany Musikhalle
The order of bands was Man, Giant and headliners Chicken Shack. Notices in Melody Maker and the local press mentioned GG had been slated to appear in the Great Hall at Polytechnic in Huddersfield, England on the same date. In Huddersfield, they were to perform along with Michael Chapman and the band Help Yourself at the school’s annual Architect’s Ball. However, Giant did not participate and they ended up playing in Hamburg. BBC presenter Stuart Maconie has written about an unusual event that took place during this visit to Hamburg when all three bands were staying in the same hotel in the Reeperbahn, the redlight section of the city. After the concert, all the musicians were partaking of some heavy drug use with the exception of Giant, who chose to get only mildly involved, sharing just one joint between them. In walked British R&B legend Graham Bond who was staying at the same hotel. Bond, known for his larger-than-life personality, walked right up to Derek who had his alto sax around his neck. He grabbed the sax, breaking the strap in the process, and started playing Charlie Parker tunes before turning and leaving again. Derek was quite surprised and more than a little upset, especially considering Bond had also taken Giant’s only joint and smoked it.
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. Giant was booked and their name did 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. Some of the other scheduled bands also did not show up although, interestingly, Man and Chicken Shack did.
Berlin - canceled appearance at “Super Pop Festival” May 21, 1972
June 2 Widnes, England Queens Hall
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. It has been confirmed that this gig was booked early on, but GG canceled in favor of the German tour listed above and Italian appearances, as described below. Replacing them in Widnes on short notice was the Mick Abrahams Band.
Band itineraries and plans seemed to be unsettled for a while in mid-1972, with press reports conflicting and mostly incorrect. New Musical Express provided the most confusing information. One report placed the band in Italy for sixteen days starting in early June, then five weeks in America beginning at the end of June, while another issue of the same magazine gave detailed information about concerts in Czechoslovakia, then concerts and TV in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, then twelve days in Germany and at last, an American tour commencing in early August. As if this was not bewildering enough, a May 1972 issue of Melody Maker reported 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. It seems likely that, no matter how many plans were made, the band actually spent minimal time in Europe over this summer. Gary Green claims that no Eastern European gigs ever took place. Nothing whatsoever has been found in any source to confirm summer dates in Germany, a country in which they had just toured in May. The long discussed American tour did not finally begin until late August.
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. Unlike the other countries mentioned, it is certain that they did spend a bit of time in Italy, either before or immediately after the June 13 BBC session listed below, but what exactly transpired while there is tougher to pin down. The May issue of Melody Maker mentioned above, while reporting on the upcoming trip to Italy, stated that it was to include some “concerts and club dates”. However, the July 1972 issue of Musica e Dischi, while confirming that Giant had recently spent a little time in Italy, reported that it was for filming “a series of TV programmes” and did not include any live gigs. Nonetheless, further corroboration of live work in Italy came from 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 here was no doubt the May dates, as outlined above, while Italy would logically have been into June. At least two band members make the argument that the group probably did play at least some live dates there in June, as they would not have driven all the way to Italy just for a small number of television projects. Unfortunately, written confirmation of specific live appearances has not been found. If the band was able to secure some live appearances while in Italy, it was apparently not a well-organized national tour and it seems to have not garnered national press coverage.
On the other hand, at least two Italian television film projects have been confirmed for June of 1972, one in Milan and one in Jesolo.
June ? Although the exact date cannot be determined, Gentle Giant was definitely filmed in Milan, Italy by the Italian RAI TV Network for broadcast in either mid-July or late July. It’s believed that, when broadcast, this was the first time the band appeared on television anywhere. Also filmed for this same program was the popular Italian progressive band Formula 3, as confirmed by John Weathers and a couple members of Formula 3. The two bands each played sets of their own material. A proposal was made for the groups to unite for one improvised jam to air during the final credits 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. In a September 1972 issue of Ciao 2001, a reporter described watching this filming taking place. Giant 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. Gary and John specifically recall making this film in Milan. 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. Sadly, all indications point to this Milan film as no longer existing.
June ? Giant was also definitely filmed at some point in June at an event in Jesolo, Italy, a seaside town near Venice. It took place at the Kings River Club, one of the largest and best-known beach-side nightclubs in the area, offering many indoor and outdoor facilities. This event, at which the band appeared on an outdoor terrace or courtyard, was actually a private party hosted by Patrick Meehan, their manager at WWA. Meehan owned a residence nearby and had many business connections in the area. In fact, this entire event may have been promotional in nature. Some members of the press were present, as was the Italian RAI TV Network. In the course of the day, RAI filmed some sort of promotional “music video”, the band miming to the album version of Peel the Paint, with no audience present. John recalls how difficult it was for him to mime to Malcolm’s original drum part on the song. It is worth noting that this mimed promotional film is still believed to reside in RAI’s archives, where they describe it as a “soundcheck”. The mimed film was originally broadcast at least once, on the Permette Questo Ballo? program on Nov. 14 but, being promotional in nature, it may very well have appeared on other programs, too. Interestingly, a second RAI film clip from this day in Jesolo has also been located which includes both live material and a brief interview with Phil. Gary has revealed that the band played possibly a full live set, this time for a sizable assembled crowd, though only a small amount appears on this second clip. RAI may not have been set up that day to record live concert audio, as the live portion of this second clip is coincidentally also overdubbed with the album version of Peel the Paint. During Phil’s interview, he states that John had been with the band for a “couple months”, again pointing to June as the proper timeframe for this day on the beach. RAI’s records show that some portions of film made in Jesolo were also shown on the Adesso Musica program one or more times during 1972. This may very well have included the second clip with the live appearance and Phil’s interview, as well as possibly the mimed clip or other yet unseen segments of film. Regardless of what was broadcast, the live set performed that day is the only live Italian concert in the summer of 1972 to be confirmed so far. This second RAI film clip described here was released online in 2021 by the band themselves.
Jesolo June 1972
Hints of additional Italian television and film projects in mid-1972 have surfaced now and again but, at this point, they all remain barely more than conjecture and educated guesswork. 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 another possible 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.
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.
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 and July 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.
It is very unlikely that Giant played any live concerts at all in July. After returning from Italy, the band’s attention would have shifted to preparing for their next album. John estimates Ray and Kerry would have needed a couple weeks to finish writing the material, after which they would have gone into rehearsals in Portsmouth. Following that was the actual recording sessions in London beginning on July 24, as described below.
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 in the July issue of the Italian magazine Musica e Dischi as being shown in either mid-July or late July over the RAI TV Network. It was between 45 minutes and an hour in length and featured both Gentle Giant and the Italian band Formula 3. An exact date of broadcast is unknown.
July ? As described above, RAI-TV’s records confirm that portions of the film made in Jesolo in June appeared on the Adesso Musica program, possibly more than once, although the records are incomplete and do not reveal the exact contents of the episodes or give exact broadcast dates. Referring to Giant’s appearance on this program, one Italian press notice gives a broadcast date of late July, although the dates of possible additional episodes are still unknown.
Opening titles for Italian TV “Adesso Musica” program July 1972
An article about Giant appeared in the July 15, 1972 issue of Melody Maker. It included an interview with Phil who, while discussing the band’s future plans, announced they were going to be playing at the upcoming Arts Festival in Venice, Italy, an event he believed would be good for the band. The festival ran from June to October but no other details are known about a GG appearance and, more than likely, there was none. July and August would have been highly unlikely due to the group’s other activities and commitments. One press report had Italian dates planned for September, but they ended up in America that entire month. Italian dates were finally officially scheduled for October, as explained below, but a date in Venice was not on that schedule and, as it turned out, that entire tour was canceled.
July - Aug. Between July 24 and Aug. 5, the band
recorded their fourth album, OCTOPUS, at
Aug. 8 They recorded their fifth BBC studio
session at Maida Vale Studio 4 in
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
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)
Alucard - This was apparently included in the set less and less as the year went on.
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.
Charleston ticket Aug. 24, 1972
Aug. 25 Nashville, Tennessee Municipal Auditorium
Although scheduled, Sabbath canceled at the very last minute their appearance at this general admission concert. The show went on, however, with the other two scheduled bands, Gentle Giant and Black Oak Arkansas. In fact, Giant had already finished their opening set before the promoter took the stage to announce that Sabbath would not appear and that BOA would play a double set for those who wished to stay and watch. Audience members were, of course, given the option of a refund but, reportedly, only 570 did so of the 5,553 in attendance. 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 and at least one press review have indicated the band went over fairly well, considering they were relatively unknown in the States. However, a second review reported the audience greeted them with “unsympathetic ears” and “dumb stares”. Several band members have recounted staying in Nashville for several days with very little to do on this tour, due to Sabbath’s canceling the next few gigs. Fortunately, they were staying at Nashville’s King of the Road Motor Inn, known as an exciting vacation spot.
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.
Press notices about Black Sabbath concert cancelations Aug. 1972
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.
Ad for original postponed Minneapolis show Aug. 28, 1972
Aug. 30 Knoxville, Tennessee Civic Coliseum
opened for Argent, then headliners Black Sabbath, who were finally able to appear again after missing several dates.
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, with GG opening for Edgar Winter and headliners Black Sabbath. Winter appeared with Giant together several times over the 1972-73 period, 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
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
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 promoter estimated the size of the crowd at about 5,000, while one press report gave a number of only 3,000. Either way, this was quite small for a hall that seated 18,000. One possible reason given for the meager crowd was that the school year had started by this rescheduled date and many students were away at college or otherwise occupied. Because of the small audience, 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. This was probably a general admission show. 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 may be additional GG/Sabbath shows from this tour on which they appeared.
Jackson ad Sep. 7, 1972
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 the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana on this evening.
Mobile press notice Sep. 9, 1972
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 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. Official attendance figures list about 9,500 tickets sold.
Salt Lake City press notice Sep. 11, 1972
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.
Portland - press notice with incorrect Black Sabbath information Sep. 13, 1972
Sep. 15 Los Angeles, California Hollywood Bowl
Captain Beyond started this show, with Giant in the middle, then headliners Black Sabbath. A few reports claim the venue was packed with attendance between 20,000 and 25,000, while Amusement Business magazine more modestly claimed the Bowl was “slightly over two-thirds” full. 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, ending Sabbath’s set a bit prematurely. Even so, one press review curiously stated that Sabbath “got excellent notices and put on a fine show”, while mentioning nothing about Iommi’s collapse or the shortened 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.
Ad for canceled Sacramento gig Sep. 16, 1972
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 doesn’t appear that happened.
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. 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
It appears that Giant played first before the Eagles, both headlining for Yes before a disappointingly small crowd of 3,801. Acoustics were reportedly quite awful, not uncommon in this large venue. For all three bands, the drums were too loud in the mix, while the bass was too low. Although the Eagles opened for Yes at quite a few shows around this time, Giant only appeared on a few of the bills and their 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
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.
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
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. The order of bands is not clear with one fan remembering the Eagles playing first as people were filing into the hall, and another fan definitely recalling Giant going first.
Sep. 24 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mecca Arena
This is another show where the order of the program is
unclear. Both the Eagles and Giant
preceded headliners Yes, but there are conflicting reports as to who played
first and who played second. 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
An article in an October issue of Record World indicated that Giant was one of the musical acts that had performed for a new late-night music TV program called Tube Trip that was being produced in St. Louis, Missouri. This program aired twice in July 1972 and twice more in October, and it’s very possible film of Giant was included in one of those episodes, with further corroboration coming from a 1973 Melody Maker article that stated that a 1972 St. Louis program was Giant’s very first US television appearance. Unfortunately, no hard evidence has been found to prove the band’s inclusion in a 1972 episode, although it’s known that their film clip was shown during three episodes in the first months of 1973. All that can be ascertained so far is that Giant’s filmed segment had already been prepared by the time of the 1972 Record World article, even though there is no firm evidence of broadcast before the 1973 episodes.
Determining the exact content of the band’s Tube Trip film has also proven difficult, since none of the program’s episodes seem to have survived. The producers of the program sometimes filmed acts while they were passing through town, but it’s believed that Giant did not actually play a gig in the St. Louis area during their 1972 US tour. However, newly surfaced evidence indicates the band may have been in St Louis immediately prior to the Sep. 29 Houston gig listed below. There are several days unaccounted for after the Sep. 24 Milwaukee gig and this could have provided a perfect opportunity for the group to film a television segment in a St. Louis studio setting. On the other hand, it’s also possible the producers secured the rights to broadcast an already existing film such as one of the Italian films from June, perhaps the mimed promotional film of Peel the Paint that was filmed in Jesolo. This all remains pure speculation at this point but whatever was shown and whenever it was first broadcast, Gentle Giant’s Tube Trip film was indeed their first US television appearance.
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 before 2,000 fans, 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!” One press report erroneously stated that the original date was changed because the airline lost the band’s equipment coming out of St. Louis. This was definitely not the reason although, with several days unaccounted for after the above Milwaukee gig, the band may very well have been in St. Louis prior to coming to Houston.
Houston - free concert with scheduling problems Sep. 29, 1972
Sep. 29 San Antonio, Texas Trinity University - Laurie Auditorium
UNCONFIRMED. Considerable advertising prior to Sep. 29 shows that Giant was booked to open for Frampton’s Camel. However, this would have made for a busy day as Giant had just finished a rescheduled free concert in Houston that very afternoon, as described in the above listing. Curiously, Trinity University’s own student newspaper made absolutely no mention of this concert before or after Sep. 29 and no evidence has been found confirming either act’s appearance.
Ad for unconfirmed San Antonio show 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. 3,500 were in the audience, making the concert a sellout.
Arlington ad Sep. 30, 1972
Oct. 1 Houston, Texas Music Hall
opened the show, followed by Frampton’s Camel and headliner Steve Miller. One report called this a Standing Room Only show, while another claimed 2,800 out of a possible 3,000 seats were filled. A tape of GG’s set is known to exist. On it can be heard a remarkably respectful audience. 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 Oct. 1, 1972
Oct. 2 Columbia, South Carolina University of South Carolina - Carolina Coliseum
opened for the Eagles and headliners Yes. John recounts an amusing story involving this show. At the end of the evening, Eddie Offord, Yes’ sound man, having apparently had too much to drink, announced from the stage that there was to be an after-concert party at the Holiday Inn, the hotel across the street where GG happened to be staying. The members of Giant did not hear his announcement and were quite surprised to have to fight their way through massive crowds when they returned to the hotel.
??? 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 originally hoped to play some more shows in the UK and were also considering going on to play in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, but none of this took 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 while in Canada, though this may not have been a regular occurrence.
Ad for first Canadian tour Oct. 1972
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 supposedly erupted in a mini-riot and were quite angry when Giant ended their set after slightly under one hour. The band did not play an encore but it was 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, rarely going much over an hour, even when headlining. 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. Le Petit Journal, in its review, did point out how remarkably short Giant’s set was, but blamed that on the fact that the band had a long bus trip from the previous night’s show and were facing another long bus trip to the next show. 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.
Montreal Oct. 7, 1972
Oct. 8 Ste-Foy, Quebec Pavillon Maurice-Pollack - Universite Laval
Although Ste-Foy is today incorporated as part of Quebec City, in 1972 it was technically a separate, more residential city adjacent to Quebec City. Nonetheless, tickets and ads in several publications all advertised this gig as taking place in Quebec City. 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. This show was at one time advertised for Oct. 9, but it did take place on Oct. 8. There is an unsubstantiated report that some silent 8mm film footage of the concert exists.
Ste-Foy ad and ticket Oct. 8, 1972
An October 1972 ad in Ciao 2001 confirms that an entire Italian tour had been finalized for October 12 through October 22. However, this tour and all other plans were subsequently canceled. Instead, they accepted another offer from Jethro Tull to play support at some of the stops on their U.S. tour and ended up staying another month in North America.
Printed material for canceled Italian tour Oct. 1972
the Sabbath fans, the Tull audiences tended to accept the band more readily, as
they had when the two bands worked together in
live recordings from this
Oct. 13 Buffalo, New York Memorial Auditorium
opened for Jethro Tull. The concert was sold out which would prove to be quite commonplace on this particular Tull tour. In fact, Tull sold out this concert weeks in advance, the first act to do so at this venue since Elvis Presley. 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 box office.
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 seen 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 over a week in advance, with the University of Rochester’s Campus Times describing it as “standing room only” and the Times Union giving an attendance figure of 9,300. The same newspaper commented that the War Memorial’s bad acoustics gave GG an inferior sound but the audience still enjoyed their performance. A review in another newspaper went a step further, stating that Giant “received an ovation that rocked the house”. 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. A reviewer for the Daily Collegian was a bit disappointed with Tull’s performance but was far more dismissive of GG, claiming they offered “little of interest”.
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 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 with an attendance of nearly 10,000. A review in The State gave GG high marks, but heaped evn higher praise on Tull. This same review incorrectly claimed that Giant had a “bassman that has played with the London Symphony.” Ray was indeed a classically trained violinist, but his career never included a stint with the LSO.
Oct. 21 Cleveland, Ohio Public Hall
opened for Jethro Tull before a capacity crowd of 10,500 fans. This show actually sold out a month in advance. Curiously, though, this show does not appear on Giant’s original transportation itinerary, which had them going directly from Columbia to Memphis on Oct. 20.
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. Another local paper, while correctly identifying Tull as a British band, curiously described Giant as American, calling them “domestic rockers”. Coliseum records indicate that 8,264 tickets were sold.
Memphis press notice Oct. 22, 1972
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 enjoyed the reportedly excellent acoustics in the venue. The crowd was impressed enough to give GG a standing ovation after their four-song set but, unfortunately, time constraints did not allow them to come out 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
During homecoming festivities, GG opened for Jethro Tull before an audience of over 6,500, which was near capacity. Nonetheless, the university’s yearbook made a mention of this concert, describing it as a “major financial loss”.
Oct. 27 Jackson, Mississippi Memorial Coliseum
There had been some confusion regarding this date with some early evidence indicating Dr. John served as the opener for headliners Jethro Tull. However, enough fan recollections and written sources have since surfaced to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Giant indeed opened.
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.
Baton Rouge Oct. 28, 1972
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. Early on, the Virginia Gazette advertised Tull playing at William and Mary Hall at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia on this evening, but that did not occur.
It had 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 Captain Beefheart was the support act both nights. GG’s own transportation itinerary lists them as staying in Boston between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.
Nov. 1 Boston, Massachusetts Boston Garden
opened for Jethro Tull before a sellout crowd of 15,000. Strangely, all the newspaper reviews that have surfaced so far were negative towards Giant, ranging from merely dismissive to downright hostile. The Morning Record conceded that Giant was “well received” but otherwise gave short shrift to their performance. Likewise, the Randolph Herald was somewhat kind to Giant, but commented that they seemed “noticeably insecure” on stage. Writing in the Suffolk Journal, a reviewer commented that GG opened the show but “I wish they hadn’t”. 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 Wild Turkey was in support. Giant had left that morning for St. Petersburg.
Boston - harsh review and Gary with Tull’s Martin Barre Nov. 1, 1972
Nov. 2 John 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. This concert sold out two weeks in advance, with an attendance of around 8,000, even though advertising was limited. On the night of the 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 Nov. 3, 1972
Nov. 4 Miami, Florida Miami Beach Convention Hall
UNCONFIRMED. This concert totally sold out a week prior to showtime. GG was advertised to again open for Jethro Tull. However, a review of the show in the Miami Herald raises some doubt. The reviewer admitted he did not actually watch the support act, but wrote that it was the Tampa-based heavy band White Witch. Since no other reviews have yet been located, the possibility of GG backing out at the last minute cannot be ruled out.
Miami press notice Nov. 4, 1972
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
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
Nov. 11 Chicago, Illinois Chicago Stadium
opened for Jethro Tull at a massive venue that was, at the time, America’s largest indoor arena. The gig was sold out with a good 20,000 fans present. According to a fan seated behind the stage, a small fire broke out at one point behind the drummer but it was, presumably, not serious. He also remembers Ray running around the stage shirtless. 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.
Nov. 12 Baltimore, Maryland Civic Center
opened for Jethro Tull. The show was sold out with an attendance of over 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. Apparently, they were well received, as Ian Anderson joked during the Tull set that he wished his band sounded as good. The nearly 20,000 seat venue was not only sold out, but was actually oversold, one newspaper report putting the total attendance at 23,000. This prompted Tull to schedule another Garden performance on Dec. 8. At least one area newspaper advertised GG as opening at this second date, as well, but that is false, the job going to Roxy Music.
New York - sold out Madison Square Garden show Nov. 13, 1972
Nov. 14 Some of the footage filmed in June in Jesolo, as described above, was broadcast by the Italian RAI TV Network on the Permette Questo Ballo? program. This show was broadcast in two episodes a week apart with Giant appearing on the first one on Nov. 14. It’s believed that shown on this program was the promotional “music video” of the band miming to the studio version of Peel the Paint. Permette Questo Ballo? dealt with music popular at the time in Italy’s dance halls. Many of the acts featured were geared towards older audiences, but these performers were balanced with the inclusion of some newer rock groups more popular among younger viewers. Besides Giant, other rock bands featured over the two episodes included Colosseum, Le Orme, Formula Three and a group from Spain called the Pop Tops.
“Permette Questo Ballo?” Italian TV broadcast Nov. 14, 1972
In November of 1972, Giant returned to the U.K. to join a tour with the British blues band, the Groundhogs, with whom they had already worked many times. They did not appear on every date of the tour but when they did, they played first before Stray and then the headliners. On additional dates not listed below, the Groundhogs were supported by Badger. 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. A tape exists of GG’s set.
Nov. 23 Oxford, England New Theatre
UNCONFIRMED. The Groundhogs did play this concert, but Giant’s participation is not at all clear. Several sources indicate GG and Stray opened, but several others show Badger in support. Definitive evidence one way or the other has not been found.
Oxford - ad for unconfirmed appearance with the Groundhogs Nov. 23, 1972
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. GG’s set ran a bit long, causing a time crunch for the rest of the evening. Apparently, quite a few Groundhogs fans were upset by this.
Newcastle ad Nov. 26, 1972
Nov. 30 Hanley, England Victoria Hall
opened for Stray and the Groundhogs
Hanley ad Nov. 30, 1972
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.
Bristol ad - GG did not appear Dec. 3, 1972
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 Giant’s records, including the newly-released THREE FRIENDS, were selling surprisingly well in Texas, so on this date, they were 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. 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
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. At least one ad mentioned Giant appearing at this gig opening for the Groundhogs, but most press notices did not. The student newspaper at Leeds University clearly stated Badger was to be the only support act.
Dec. 10 Paignton, England Festival Hall
Giant’s inclusion in this show was not mentioned in all advertising, 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 Civic Hall
UNCONFIRMED. This date has caused a bit of confusion. Most Groundhogs advertising and press notices at the time did not mention this gig, but it did appear in one of Giant’s. If the Groundhogs did indeed appear, it would be reasonable to assume that GG opened for them, although Stray’s involvement would be sheer speculation. Complicating the issue further, BBC records indicate Giant recorded a studio session for them in London on this same date. They could have theoretically fulfilled both commitments, but what actually transpired is not yet settled.
Dec. 11 The band did their sixth BBC studio
session on this date, the last one to include Phil. It was recorded at
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 three separate fans have confirmed the show went on as planned. The exact attendance is unknown, but the hall is said to have been mostly full.
Hull ads Dec. 12, 1972
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
Once again, advertising paints an unclear picture of this show. The Groundhogs may have been originally scheduled to play this show by themselves, or possibly with Badger in support. However, it seems fairly certain now that Giant did end up opening the show. Badger did not perform and Stray’s involvement is unknown.
Dec. 15 Sheffield, England City Hall
opened for Stray and the Groundhogs
Dec. 16 Liverpool, England Liverpool Stadium
opened for Stray and the Groundhogs. Although all advertising found so far includes the correct date of Dec. 16, a poster has recently surfaced which indicates this gig was at one time planned for Dec. 23.
Liverpool ad Dec. 16, 1972
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. A published Groundhogs source indicated this actually referred to singer/guitarist Rod Crisp, although no one at the show has yet to surface who actually recalls seeing him perform. In fact, two separate fans at the show remember no one else on the bill at all other than Giant. Both still retain their written notes from the concert and neither mention Stray or 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 and review for London 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)
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.
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. On this night, the hall was full with between 2,000 and 2,500 fans.
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.
Bologna poster Dec. 30, 1972
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.
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. Attendance figures are unclear, as L’Unita gave a number of 10,000 while L’Avanti reported only 6,000. 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 bad 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, despite Phil having 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. A gentleman named Luigi Vianini was also in the audience with his camera and took some excellent photos, two of which appear here.
Vicenza Jan. 5, 1973
Jan. 6 Cavallermaggiore, Italy Le Cupole
Area was the opening band. Several minutes of silent color 8mm film of this concert have recently been unearthed.
Cavallermaggiore ad Jan. 6, 1973
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 cancelation.
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
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