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Gentle Giant Tour History
*** Part Three ***
*** Going On After Phil ***
(early 1973 - mid 1974)
new information will be in RED
Immediately after the Italian tour of early 1973, Phil Shulman left Gentle Giant, due to some serious personal differences and his concern over the strain that life on the road was putting on his family. He was also considerably older than the others. The group decided to continue as a five-piece outfit. Their first tour as a five-piece was also their second North American tour. It seems to have run between March and May of 1973, although there are indications that it may have been originally planned to have started as early as Feb. 8 or 9. If so, Phil's departure may have been responsible for the delay.
before leaving the band, Phil stated in the press that they had had some offers
from promoters to do some headlining in
TYPICAL SETLIST (Spring - Mid 1973)
Alucard - may have been played more often earlier in the tour
The Advent of Panurge - The recorder quartet began to include a rendition of Yankee Doodle, an addition which was commonplace during many future tours.
Nothing at All
Plain Truth - This may have only appeared in the band's longer headlining gigs and more often later in the tour.
Mister Class and Quality?/Peel the Paint - This THREE FRIENDS mini-medley may also have only appeared in the band's longer gigs and earlier in the tour.
Even though they had to rearrange their songs for one less member, their shows were still musically satisfying and generally well-accepted. Besides Knots and The Advent of Panurge, it seems no other OCTOPUS songs were played.
Feb. 11 On this date, Giant made its very first confirmed appearance on American television on the St. Louis, Missouri late-night music program Tube Trip. It’s possible their filmed contribution to the program had already been aired on an earlier episode in 1972, but that is not certain, while this Feb. 11, 1973 episode has been verified. Tube Trip was inspired by earlier free-form rock programs, particularly Detroit Tube Works which had been shown in 1970 and 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. When that show ended, its reruns were syndicated and shown in several other Midwest cities, including St. Louis, until the middle of 1972. At that time, KDNL-TV, an independent St. Louis television station tried out its own similarly formatted show, using the simpler name of Tube Trip, broadcasting only sporadically in 1972. It was also simulcast over St. Louis radio on KSHE-FM. A more regular schedule of broadcasts began at the start of 1973, by which time it was also being aired on TV and radio in Kansas City, Missouri. Technically, this episode was shown first in Kansas City in the early morning hours, with the actual St louis broadcast occurring later that night. None of the show’s episodes still exist today, but it’s thought the program typically included a free-form mix of big name acts and local talent, films of live performances, album tracks, interviews and electronic imagery. The content of Giant’s contribution is not clear. It could have been something filmed specifically for the program, or it could have been some of the footage filmed in Italy in June 1972. On this Feb. 11 episode, the other acts featured were Osibisa and a band named Julia. Giant’s segment also appeared on two more episodes in the Spring of 1973, where it was combined with different acts. The original broadcasts concluded in May but in that month, a number of the episodes were syndicated to a television and radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. There, the episodes ran until August at which time the Tube Trip program came to an end.
St. Louis - ad for first confirmed Tube Trip TV broadcast and opening titles Feb. 11, 1973
Feb. 23 Devizes, England Corn Exchange
UNCONFIRMED. Evidence is mounting that this may have been Giant’s first outing as a five-piece band. However, this is not confirmed and conflicting evidence pinpoints the following Winchester listing as the first post-Phil Shulman gig. What is definitely confirmed from multiple sources is that Thin Lizzy did play in Devizes on Feb. 23, where their set was marred by violence between the audience and some members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. One fan in that audience kept meticulous notes on his concert experiences at the time and his still extant notes list Gentle Giant as the opening act. Gary himself, in a recent interview, recounted how the band opened once for Thin Lizzy in 1973 or 1974 in what he described as an unannounced “warmup gig”. That could certainly be an accurate description of this concert, as it did not appear on any publicized itinerary or as part of an organized tour. The only contrary information in Gary’s recollection is that he seems to remember the show in question being in the north of England, whereas Devizes is in the south. He also revealed that Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott was actually a fan of Giant.
Mar. 4 Winchester, England King Alfred's College - John Stripe Theatre
This show definitely did take place and it may, in fact, have been their first gig without Phil. During the band’s introduction, it was actually announced as such from the stage, as was the fact that Phil had gone back to teaching. Since King Alfred’s was a teacher education college, this comment elicited a few chuckles from the crowd. The show was held on a Sunday and could have been on Feb. 25, but it was probably on Mar. 4. They rehearsed for several hours in the theatre on the afternoon of the gig in order to work out the bugs in their new stage show. This was intended more or less as another warmup gig before the start of their upcoming North American tour. The band did not even use their normal lighting personnel, instead hiring a student at the college to handle the lights. According to this person, the only lighting demand made was that no flashing lights at all were to be used. He also claims that all the lights went well, except for one small glitch at the beginning. The band entered the stage in darkness and the lights were supposed to snap on at the opening downbeat. Unfortunately, the lights came on early, spoiling the effect. Two fans recall tickets being quite inexpensive, one stating they only went on sale the day before, while a close associate of the band remembers this being a totally free concert. There are also conflicting reports as to whether the theatre was full. Giant are said to have been pleased with the results of the show, as were the record company representatives in the audience. Two separate tapes of this concert once existed but sadly, both are now believed lost. This concert was arranged by Rick Fudge, the same student friend of the Shulmans who arranged their Feb. 12, 1971 King Alfred’s show.
Mar. 8 Hershey, Pennsylvania Hersheypark Arena
The J. Geils Band headlined this show, preceded by Edgar Winter. Giant served as the support act. The concert was sold out.
Mar. 9 Chicago, Illinois Kinetic Playground
UNCONFIRMED. The Tennessean published an ad on Mar. 4 indicating GG was to open for Edgar Winter on Mar. 9 at the Memorial Gymnasium of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Meanwhile, on the same date of Mar. 4, the Chicago Tribune advertised a bill of Jo Jo Gunne with opening act Malo at that city’s Kinetic Playground. However, on Mar. 8, this Chicago paper printed a brief announcement that Jo Jo Gunne had canceled their appearance and was being replaced by a brand new bill of headliners Gentle Giant and openers Tranquility and Wildflower. Right on the concert date of Mar. 9, the Chicago Tribune ran one more advertisement for this revised lineup. The promoter of the Nashville show later confirmed that Edgar Winter did indeed play that gig, but made no reference to any opener. Strangely, there was no press whatsoever about that gig in Vanderbilt University’s own student newspaper. Best evidence, therefore, indicates Giant probably played on Mar. 9 in Chicago, although definitive proof has still yet to be found.
Early Nashville and later Chicago press notices Mar. 9, 1973
Mar. 10 Louisville, Kentucky Convention Center
Giant opened the show, followed by Jo Jo Gunne and headliner Edgar Winter. A tape of the show exists. A local newspaper reviewer enjoyed all three acts but arrived late to the venue and saw very little of Giant’s set. All he could report was that the crowd seemed to enjoy the band and they ended with Plain Truth. The crowd was also a bit noisy on this evening, so GG at times reverted back to the “rock out” style of presentation they used when opening for Black Sabbath in 1972.
Louisville ad Mar. 10, 1973
Mar. 11 Cleveland, Ohio Music Hall
Even though some advertising for this triple bill was unclear, it’s now confirmed that Focus opened the show, GG played second, and Mark-Almond headlined. One local review complained about boring violin and drum solos ruining Giant’s otherwise fine set.
Cleveland ads Mar. 11, 1973
Mar. 11 Giant appeared on another episode of the Tube Trip television show, this time sharing air time with other featured acts Mama Lion and Ship. What GG’s segment entailed is not clear, but it was probably the same performance as featured on the earlier Feb. 11 episode. This March episode was first aired in Kansas City where it was advertised as taking place on Mar. 10, but it actually aired after midnight in the early hours of Mar. 11. The St Louis broadcast followed in the late evening. It was also simulcast over the radio in both cities.
Kansas City - ad for second confirmed Tube Trip TV broadcast Mar. 11, 1973
Mar. 13 Wilmington, North Carolina University of North Carolina - Hanover Hall
opened for Tranquility and headliners Jo Jo Gunne. Although not mentioned in all advertising, the venue was Hanover Hall, mainly a gymnasium and sports facility for the University. In the student newspaper, The Seahawk, a review was kind to Giant but heaped the most praise on Tranquility.
Wilmington Mar. 13, 1973
Mar. 14 Chattanooga, Tennessee Memorial Auditorium
opened for Black Oak Arkansas
Mar. 15 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia University - Coliseum
The band was scheduled to open this triple bill, to be followed by Jo Jo Gunne and headliner Edgar Winter in the university's gymnasium, After the audience had arrived, it was announced that the full bill would not appear. Unfortunately, it’s not known whether it was Winter or Jo Jo Gunne who canceled. Whatever the case, it appears that Giant agreed to play and even extend their performance. The majority of the crowd left, but those who stayed witnessed a full length Giant set. Although not confirmed, a fan at the show specifically recalls the band doing a fine job on River. One person in attendance recalls that that both bigger acts canceled while only the opener actually performed, but that seems unlikely. More information is needed about this concert.
Morgantown ad Mar. 15, 1973
Mar. 16 New York, New York Felt Forum
Box reported that there was a standing room only crowd in attendance on
this night to see Giant open for the Mahavishnu
Orchestra. As fans of the headliners,
the members of Giant were very much looking forward to this gig, but were
disappointed in Mahavishnu's performance. Ray, who was jumping around a lot and even
rolling on the stage, supposedly split his pants during Giant's set. A partial tape exists of Giant’s performance,
while a complete tape recorded by a different person in the crowd is now
missing. Originally, Giant was booked on
this date to play a gig with Grin, Foghat and Edgar
Winter in the gym at
New York - Felt Forum review Mar. 16, 1973
Mar. 17 Passaic, New Jersey Capitol Theater
opened for Edgar Winter. The show was sold out in advance. Curiously, a review in the Herald-News stated that the members of Gentle Giant were all classical musicians who, upon realizing they were unable to make a living playing the classics, had just recently switched to rock music.
Passaic ad Mar. 17, 1973
Mar. 18 Allentown, Pennsylvania Allentown Fairgrounds - Agricultural Hall
At this show, the first of the year sponsored by the Allentown Council of Youth, GG played before Foghat and headliner Edgar Winter. The show was sold out with 5,500 fans present. For much of the year, concerts at these Fairgrounds were held outdoors in the grandstand but, being scheduled at the tail end of winter, this one was held at the indoor Agricultural Hall facility. The Hall was cramped and more than one critic complained about the heat, smoke, poor ventilation, and uncomfortable seating on the concrete floor. An existing tape shows that portions of the crowd were quite rambunctious throughout the evening. At one point, many fans were unable to see and were yelling loudly, prompting Derek to ask, from the stage, for a return to order.
Allentown Mar. 18, 1973
Mar. 19 Lewiston, New York Niagara University - Student Center
Giant played second, after Foghat and before Focus. The concert was held in the upstairs gymnasium portion of the Student Center which was normally used for the University’s basketball and volleyball games. Originally, the bill for this concert was planned as Focus opening for the Canadian band Lighthouse, but the headliner canceled. The university then brought in both Giant and Foghat as replacements, while Focus was moved to the headliner slot. Unfortunately, tickets were already printed with the original bill, as evidenced by the example shown here, provided by A. D. Ligammari II.
Lewiston ad with hand-written corrections Mar. 19, 1973
They again were afforded headlining status in Canada, with their appearances there once again extremely well-received. In fact, Giant continued to be a major draw in Canada throughout their career. The credit for initially breaking the band there goes to Kosmos Productions and promoter Alain Simard, who booked the original 1972-1973 GG concerts in eastern Canada, mainly in cities all over Quebec Province. Simard was also a journalist who wrote many articles in Pop-Rock Magazine at the time touting the band’s virtues. The band also received extensive coverage in a number of other newspapers and magazines. Interestingly, though, the French language papers were often more enthusiastic than the English language papers, particularly in Montreal.
Melody Maker mentioned there were at one time nine 1973 concerts scheduled for Canada, while a schedule printed in Billboard only listed six. As it turned out, there were seven, as listed below, five of them in Quebec Province alone.
Canadian dates with Necessite March 1973
Mar. 21 Ottawa, Ontario High School of Commerce - Auditorium
The Quebec area prog act Necessite was the opening act. According to two newspaper accounts, the attendance was 600. This is not to be interpreted as poor attendance as it was a relatively small auditorium. The reviewer for the Ottawa Citizen was impressed with the band’s music and noted they were very well received, but criticized the “overacting” on stage and the overly loud volume in such a small venue. A couple other interesting occurrences were pointed out in this same review. At one point, John’s drum solo was panned rapidly back and forth between the stacks of speakers on the left and right sides of the stage. More significantly, the group came out for a brief encore, most likely The Queen, during which they played a snippet of the Canadian National Anthem. This is the only confirmed occasion after mid 1972 when they played a country’s National Anthem at the end of a gig. It may have happened at other times but appears on no other recordings from this time period. It seems that the band was interviewed on this day, as an interview was broadcast over an Ottawa college radio station just five days later, on March 26.
Ottawa Mar. 21, 1973
Mar. 22 Quebec City, Quebec Palais Montcalm
Tapes exist of what are believed to be both of the scheduled Quebec City shows. A humorous moment happened on one of the tapes when, towards the beginning of Knots, Kerry's keyboard broke down, forcing one of the band members to whistle the missing part. However, it is not clear which tape is which, so it's unknown which night this happened. Also, neither tape is complete, although GG headlined the shows. Necessite was the opening act both nights. John has said that, when first taking the stage in Quebec City, he had no idea the group was as popular as it was there. Upon hearing the applause, he turned around to see if the crowd was clapping for someone behind him. Le Soleil gave the band a nice review but was critical of the conditions in the venue.
Mar. 23 Quebec City, Quebec Palais Montcalm
As stated above, a partial tape of this gig exists and Necessite opened the show. It’s known that at least one of the two Quebec City shows was sold out, but which one is not known.
Quebec City Mar. 1973
Mar. 24 Montreal, Quebec Centre Sportif de l'Universite de Montreal
Necessite was again the opening act. Local press reports differ as to attendance, ranging from a full house of around 5,000 down to only 2,000. There has been considerable speculation and debate concerning fan memories of this particular gig. Several in attendance swear that a real-life giant was used to introduce GG at this show, with more attendees coming forth to support this claim all the time. Other fans adamantly deny such an odd thing ever happened. Fortunately, promoter Alain Simard has recently confirmed what actually happened. There was indeed a bearded Gentle Giant look-alike who came on stage to introduce the band. His name was Jean Sarault, a gentleman who sometimes worked with openers Necessite, a group managed by Simard. Although not technically a giant, he was tall and weighed close to 300 pounds. He was dressed in medieval clothing borrowed from the 1973 theatrical production of The Castle of Light which was produced by Simard and used Necessite’s music. During his introduction, Sarault had a dove perched on his finger, again borrowed from Necessite who were known to occasionally use a live dove during their set. This unusual introduction was a one-time event, as members of GG have repeatedly denied such a gimmick was a regular part of their concerts. A review of this show in the Montreal Star mentioned nothing unusual. This same review did, however, give GG a scathing review, calling their music “pure trash” and offering up the high quality of the sound system as the only positive aspect of the performance. A complete tape exists of Giant's set on this night, the only known complete tape from the band's Canadian headlining gigs from March 1973. During his vibraphone solo in Funny Ways, Kerry quotes a bit of the folk song, Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho. This was a general admission concert with no assigned seating and, prior to the show, venue employees had to board up the window near the front entrance with plywood so as to stop fans from breaking through the glass. Paper flyers were handed out at the doors and, once inside the hall, huge numbers of impatient fans made paper airplanes out of these flyers while waiting for the show to begin.
Montreal poster and press notice Mar. 24, 1973
Mar. 25 Sherbrooke, Quebec Centre Culturel - Grande Salle
Necessite was once again the opening act.
Sherbrooke ad Mar. 25, 1973
Mar. 26 In Ottawa, Canada, Carleton University’s CKCU-FM radio station broadcast a pre-recorded half hour interview with members of Gentle Giant. Chances are it was recorded when the band visited that city on March 21.
Ottawa - ad for college radio interview program Mar. 26. 1973
Mar. 29 Toronto, Ontario Massey Hall
Headliners Wishbone Ash had sound problems on this, the opening day of their North American tour. Two bands opened the show with Vinegar Joe playing first, followed by GG. Of the three bands, Giant was the only one to receive a favorable write-up in both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, an opinion apparently shared by the audience. In fact, Giant received standing ovations after the Nothing At All drum bash, after the Plain Truth violin solo, and after the final song. This third ovation turned to booing when it became clear the band would not be returning for an encore. Attendance at this sold-out four-hour show was at least 1,600. Toronto was another city that Ray thought had a very open, adventurous musical heritage. Early on, it was advertised that GG would be opening for Edgar Winter at the Masonic Auditorium in Detroit on this evening, the first of two consecutive Detroit gigs for Winter, but Giant did not play.
Toronto ads Mar. 29, 1973
Mar. 30 Detroit, Michigan Masonic Auditorium
Although GG did not appear in Detroit with Edgar Winter on the previous night, they did open for Winter on this night.
Detroit ad Mar. 30, 1973
Mar. 31 Waterloo, Ontario Waterloo Lutheran University
Posters and newspaper ads show that two sets were planned originally on this date, starting at 7:00 and 10:00 P.M. However, although not confirmed, it seems likely that only one performance took place. It was held in the University's gym which had a proper stage set up on one end and could hold around 1,200. The concert was general admission and was sold out. Giant opened for Wishbone Ash and was preceded by Vinegar Joe. Billboard stated the band was scheduled to play in Buffalo, New York on this night, while other early published ads had GG opening for two sets with Quicksilver at New York City’s Academy of Music on this very same night, but Giant did indeed end up in Waterloo instead. In fact, Giant received a standing ovation from the crowd, rare indeed for an opening act. The audience seemed particularly enthralled by Ray’s violin solo, during which he plucked quite hard on his strings, no doubt a bit of planned theatrics. One report had him actually breaking all four strings, one at a time, although this seems very unlikely and is disputed by another fan report. Although Giant did well this evening, Wishbone Ash had to endure equipment difficulties at the beginning of their set. To top it off, after the show, the crowd had to drive home in freezing rain. Unfortunately, University officials were quite unhappy with the mess left behind by the crowd and by their general behavior which, on this night, required a police presence to restore order at one point. The large percentage of younger, rowdy high school students was blamed for this overall poor behavior.
Waterloo poster Mar. 31, 1973
??? Buffalo, New York New Century Theatre
UNCONFIRMED. Although erroneously listed in Billboard as taking place on March 31, sources indicate the band may have played in Buffalo somewhere around this time period. These sources also recall no one else being on the bill. They did play in nearby Niagara Falls on Mar. 19, but there were others on that bill, so this may be a totally different show.
Apr. 3 Fort Wayne, Indiana Lantern
gig which may have been added at the last minute. A tape exists of this show at which
Fort Wayne ad Apr. 3, 1973
Apr. 5 Macomb, Illinois Western Illinois University - Western Hall
opened for Humble Pie before a near capacity crowd. The university’s two student newspapers had slightly different takes on the concert. The Catalyst used phrases like “extremely monotonous and uninteresting” and “little organization, imagination, or intelligence”. In contrast, the Western Courier gave both acts high marks, stating that GG provided the listening portion of the evening while Humble Pie provided the boogying portion. The Western Courier also criticized the university’s concert board for failing to advertise Giant at all, and for giving in to outrageous, expensive demands from the headliner, causing the university to make very little money.
Apr. 6 Knoxville, Tennessee Civic Coliseum
Humble Pie, after backing out of a gig in Bloomington, Illinois, booked this gig in Knoxville instead with Foghat playing support and Giant opening the evening.
Knoxville ad Apr. 6, 1973
Apr. 7 Roanoke, Virginia Roanoke Civic Center
opened for Foghat and headliners Humble Pie. Many in the crowd were unaware that GG was on the bill, so some audience members loudly voiced their disappointment at having an unexpected band delay the appearance of the other bands. One fan seems to recall another date in Roanoke around 1973 or 1974 when Giant opened for southern rockers, the Marshall Tucker Band but this is not confirmed. Likewise, there is also an unsubstantiated report that Giant played a gig in the mid-1970’s opening for Jo Jo Gunne, somewhere in the Roanoke or Salem, Virginia area, but this too is unconfirmed.
Roanoke ad Apr. 7, 1973
Apr. 8 Hampton, Virginia Hampton Roads Coliseum
GG opened for Foghat and headliners Humble Pie before about 5,000 fans. Once again, Giant’s name did not appear in much of the pre-concert advertising, nor was it on the tickets, so the audience drawn to this show for the other two boogie/hard rock acts was understandably perplexed when Giant started their set. One fan reported that the crowd eventually came around and, by the end, they were quite appreciative. In its review, the Newport News Daily Press mentioned nothing about the music, but pointed out that 30 people were arrested for marijuana possession. A reviewer in the Virginian-Pilot did write about the music but was somewhat unimpressed with Giant’s performance, oddly describing one song as a “poor imitation of distorted Led Zeppelin”. A recording of GG’s brief half hour set is rumored to exist.
Hampton ad Apr. 8, 1973
Apr. 8 Giant appeared on yet another episode of the Tube Trip television program in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, simulcast over local radio in both cities. The Kansas City broadcast came first, in the early morning hours, while in St. Louis, it was shown in the late evening. The other featured acts on this episode were Black Oak Arkansas, White Bird and Peter Allen. Although it’s not known with certainty, GG’s segment was probably the same as had appeared on the earlier episodes on Feb. 11 and Mar. 11.
St. Louis - ad for third confirmed Tube Trip TV broadcast Apr. 8, 1973
Apr. 10 Mt. Pleasant, Michigan Central Michigan University - Finch Fieldhouse
It’s been confirmed by three fans at the show, a University official, an existing poster, a pre-concert newspaper ad and a published review that GG opened for the J. Geils Band here on April 10 in front of an audience of 4,000. However, this audience’s reaction to Giant is not as easy to pin down. One fan claims much of the crowd ignored Giant’s set, only coming around at the end, while a published review of the show states that the crowd was quite appreciative and gave GG a standing ovation. It turned out to be quite a dramatic evening. Just as the concert was beginning, a fire broke out in a locker room and Finch Fieldhouse, an old basketball facility, had to be completely evacuated. Unfortunately, the crowd’s reentry was somewhat chaotic making it easy for those without tickets to walk in with the throng, leaving some paid ticketholders without seats.
Mt. Pleasant poster Apr. 10, 1973
Apr. 11 Johnstown, Pennsylvania Cambria County War Memorial
GG opened for Humble Pie. Foghat was again supposed to precede Humble Pie, but they bowed out and did not appear, Giant being an unadvertised, last-minute substitute. Many in the crowd were not aware Giant was added the bill and, expecting Foghat, were slow to accept them. However, the recorder quartet in The Advent of Panurge is said to have brought the audience around. The War Memorial was basically a minor league hockey facility seating about 5,000, though there’s no information on the size of the crowd this night. Other sources pointed to GG opening for the J. Geils Band on this date at the Masonic Auditorium in Detroit, but that did not come to pass. Of course, GG had already played Detroit on March 30.
Apr. 12 Akron, Ohio Civic Theater
UNCONFIRMED. Although a gig in Akron opening for Procol Harum certainly seems the most reasonable assumption at this time, questions remain. Press clippings have surfaced which advertised Giant in three different concerts in three different cities, all on the same night. One fan recollection and multiple ads and articles in several newspapers indicated they were to indeed open for Procol Harum at the Akron Civic Theatre, while another newspaper indicated early on that this same bill was to play at the National Guard Armory in Rockford, Illinois. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, the Apr. 12 issue of The Oklahoman printed an article claiming GG would be opening this very evening for Yes at the State Fair Arena. This is the only story that can be definitively discounted. Yes did play in Oklahoma City but the openers were the band Trapeze. There is even one online story which hints that Giant opened for Procol Harum on Apr. 12 at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago, as they did the following night of Apr. 13. This rumor is extremely unlikely. Further compounding the confusion, a reliable online Procol website lists no concert at all on Apr. 12. Clarification on this whole matter is still needed.
Akron - conflicting press materials Apr. 12, 1973
Apr. 13 Chicago, Illinois Kinetic Playground
Only about 200 people were in the crowd on this night to see Giant play in support of Procol Harum. GG supposedly put on a problem-free show, but Procol's set was bogged down by a myriad of technical problems. One person in attendance seems to recall Giant playing a new song that they introduced as "not being on an album yet." He says they then played Proclamation. This claim makes little sense as song is not believed to have been played regularly on stage for another nineteen months. Ray later recalled this concert with great fondness.
Chicago press notice Apr. 13, 1973
Apr. 14 Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Gardens
Billboard printed a number of erroneous tour dates for this GG tour, including one early mention that they were to play at the Holheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas on this night. However, multiple ads in a number of other newspapers, right up to the day of the concert, placed the group in Cincinnati, where they were to open for Edgar Winter and, in the headliner slot, Humble Pie. Unfortunately, a local review implied that only Edgar Winter and Humble Pie played, with Winter taking the stage first, but a notice in Amusement Business magazine has finally confirmed Giant’s participation, while listing an official attendance figure of 12,608.
Cincinnati ad Apr. 14, 1973
Apr. 15 Baltimore, Maryland Civic Center
Ads originally announced Spooky Tooth as the band scheduled to play first on this evening, followed by Edgar Winter and headliners Humble Pie. However, it has been confirmed by both a fan recollection and a review in Loyola University’s Greyhound student newspaper that GG played as a substitute for Spooky Tooth, a band known to have backed out of other Humble Pie gigs around this time. This review proclaimed GG as the best act of the evening, while acknowledging they were mismatched with the other two traditional rock and roll acts.
Apr. 18 Warren, Ohio Packard Music Hall
is the first known date of a mini-tour that Giant did in the Midwest playing
support for King Crimson. On this
particular occasion, a local Warren band named MF Rattlesnake performed first,
before Giant and Crimson. Gary's
schedule lists a show in Cleveland, Ohio on this date but it may simply refer
to this gig, since Warren is near to Cleveland.
The band's airline itinerary saw them flying into Cleveland on Apr. 16,
but staying right in
Warren ad Apr. 18, 1973
Apr. 20 San Francisco, California Winterland
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. Giant was scheduled to play second on this bill, after Colin Blunstone and before Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen and headliners Sha-Na-Na. However, promoter Bill Graham announced that “transportation difficulties” necessitated them dropping out of this and the following night’s Winterland shows.
Apr. 21 San Francisco, California Winterland
GIANT DID NOT PLAY. Giant’s participation in this gig was also canceled, like the night before, because of transportation difficulties. The order of the bill was again supposed to be Colin Blunstone, Gentle Giant, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen and headliners Sha-Na-Na. Gary's schedule lists the band as originally intending to play San Francisco on Apr. 19, but this may have been changed. There is an unconfirmed report that Giant was replaced on the bill by Steeleye Span on this evening.
canceled San Francisco appearances Apr. 1973
Apr. 22 Kansas City, Missouri Cowtown Ballroom
night opening for King Crimson, with jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd taking the
stage first. It’s been hypothesized that
Lloyd’s guitar player may have been having problems on this night. According to an audience report, this
guitarist, after a solo, “sat on his amp, put his head in his hands and cried
like a baby.” The Cowtown Ballroom was a
small, intimate venue which only held about 800 people. There were no seats, just an old hardwood
floor from when the place was previously a roller skating rink. Still, the hall had excellent acoustics. As was the case at the Mar. 15
Kansas City Apr. 22, 1973
Giant’s original plans at the beginning of the year had April 22 being the last date of their North American tour, but they did manage to cobble out additional dates and were able to extend the tour into May. However, as can be seen below, some of the newly added dates have proven harder to confirm than those earlier in the tour. Some information comes from schedules published in Melody Maker, Rolling Stone and Billboard, but these magazines were often not in complete agreement. Most of the dates after the Canadian leg of the tour come from a printed schedule in Gary Green's possession but there seem to have been some changes made to that schedule as well. Not all of the following extended tour information should be viewed as definitive.
Apr. 23 Wichita, Kansas Henry Levitt Arena
opened for King Crimson. An ad in Billboard listed the venue as the Century II Arena, but most sources say the show was held at the Henry Levitt Arena.
Apr. 24 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds - International Building
again opened for King Crimson. Ads in Billboard and Rolling Stone listed a show planned on this date at the Red Dog Inn in Lawrence, Kansas, but it was changed eventually to Oklahoma City. The gig was definitely not sold out.
Oklahoma City ad Apr. 24, 1973
Apr. 25 Salt Lake City, Utah Terrace Ballroom
Giant opened for the J. Geils Band.
Apr. 26 Portland, Oregon Paramount Theatre
opened for Sha-Na-Na.
Portland ad Apr. 26, 1973
Apr. 27 Seattle, Washington Paramount Northwest Theatre
again opened for Sha-Na-Na. Supposedly, portions of the crowd were pretty receptive towards Giant, while others were quite rude, yelling out for Sha-Na-Na during some of the songs. Being an opening act, GG played no encore on this night, ending with Plain Truth, even though many in attendance gave them a standing ovation after the song. One person at the show has said that many Giant fans left before Sha-Na-Na even took the stage, but another recalls the theatre remaining quite full during the headliners’ set.
Seattle press notice Apr. 27, 1973
Apr. 28 Long Beach, California Long Beach Arena
CANCELED. A show at the Long Beach Arena was
advertised at the time, but no corroboration has been found and Gary claims it
did not take place. There was also a
rumor that the group played in Ontario, California on Apr. 28, but that stems
from a misreading of the plane schedule which had them actually flying into the
city of Ontario on Apr. 28 before checking into their hotel in
Apr. 29 San Bernardino, California Swing Auditorium
UNCONFIRMED. Although Billboard advertised early on that GG would be playing here on this night, it’s unlikely that they did. More credible evidence on the day of the show had War and the Elvin Bishop Band appearing in this venue instead.
??? San Antonio, Texas Municipal Auditorium
UNCONFIRMED. It is not clear if a 1973 GG gig in San Antonio ever took place. Billboard originally advertised a date of April 13 at the Municipal Auditorium, but it’s certain Giant was in Chicago on that night. A gig in San Antonio may or may not have been scheduled on a different date.
May 1 Dallas, Texas Majestic Theater
Steeleye Span, a band that professed great admiration for Gentle Giant, was the opening act at this old style movie theater. John was not feeling well on this night, suffering from a bad case of sunburn on the top of his head. The stage lights caused him great discomfort, so the band had to shorten their set a bit. He is said to have played well, nonetheless. Attendance at this show was startlingly low, with a couple fans reporting no more than 200 people there and possibly quite a bit less. An earlier date of March 15 at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas had at one time been advertised.
Dallas poster and ad May 1, 1973
May 2 Springfield, Missouri Shrine Mosque
opened for Black Oak Arkansas. During BOA’s set, someone began flicking the house lights on and off. A large fight broke out with audience members and even road crew involved. Fire Marshals had to be brought in to clear the aisles and restore order before the concert could continue.
Springfield May 2, 1973
May 3 Little Rock, Arkansas Barton Coliseum
opened for the Strawbs and headliners Ten Years After. Actor Billy Bob Thornton, a big rock music fan at the time, was at this show. At least five gunshots were heard outside a nearby building during the show. Fortunately, the concert was not disrupted, but a large contingent of State and City Police remained in the area until all had left. GG were reportedly not terribly popular in Little Rock and it appears they never played there again after this.
May 4 Austin, Texas Armadillo World Headquarters
Steeleye Span opened. There is also a report that a Los Angeles show may have been originally planned for May 4.
Austin poster May 4, 1973
May 5 San Francisco, California Winterland
UNCONFIRMED. Steely Dan, Humble Pie and Slade all played the Winterland here this evening. GG is said to have also been on the bill, but there is no corroborating evidence.
May 6 Houston, Texas Santa Rosa Theater
Steeleye Span was the opening band.
Houston press notice May 6, 1973
The French magazine Pop 2000 ran a notice in its May 1973 issue that Giant was going to be appearing in France during the month of May. No other details were provided and no corroborating evidence of any French concerts, tour, or any other type of appearance has been found.
June 9 Many of the episodes of the Tube Trip television program produced in St. Louis on which Giant had already appeared at least three times was eventually syndicated to radio and television in Atlanta, Georgia. On this date, Atlanta audiences got to see Giant for the first time as the episode originally shown on Feb. 11 was shown there on TV station WTCG and simulcast on WZGC-FM radio. The episode also featured Osibisa and the band Julia.
Atlanta - Tube Trip syndicated broadcast June 9, 1973
Mid 1973 was a difficult time for Gentle Giant as they struggled to make their first album without Phil Shulman. His creative contribution to the earlier albums was immense but the band's musical style did continue to evolve even after his leaving. John Weathers began to contribute more of what would become his trademark straight ahead drumming style. This made for a more concise, solid sound.
June ? Berlin, Germany Waldbuhne
Giant was booked to participate in this, the first of Germany’s 1973 "Summer Rock Festivals". This was a three day-day rock event split between the cities of Berlin and Frankfurt that also included, among others performers, the Strawbs, Family, Ekseption, Beck-Bogart-Appice, and Uriah Heep. Attendance in Berlin was a disappointing 6,500, much lower than the size of the crowd in Frankfurt. The portion in Berlin was on June 9 and June 10, although it's not known which day Giant was scheduled to perform. There was some doubt as to whether Giant actually played as scheduled in Berlin, but a review in the European Stars and Stripes newspaper does mention them as having appeared in both Berlin and Frankfurt. Unfortunately, several eyewitness accounts have surfaced which cast doubt on whether Giant appeared at all.
Berlin - first “Summer Rock Festival” June 1973
June ? Frankfurt, Germany Radstadion
UNCONFIRMED. another stop on Germany's first "Summer Rock Festival" with the same basic lineup as at the Berlin show. The festival stopped in Frankfurt on June 10 and June 11, overlapping the Berlin show. Again, it's not known on which night GG was scheduled to play. Even though the European Stars and Stripes newspaper reported that GG did perform, there have been a couple believable reports that they actually did not, so this Frankfurt appearance cannot be definitively confirmed. Whatever the case, a much better crowd, totaling 24,000, showed up in Frankfurt, than went to Berlin. The German press reported as many as 10,000 attendees lined up for up to three hours before the festivities even began. In both cities, organizers tried to cut eliminate wasted down time by showing Marx Brothers films between each act. At the end of the final evening in Frankfurt, a large fireworks display celebrated the conclusion of the Festival.
Frankfurt - unconfirmed appearance at first “Summer Rock Festival” June 1973
July 21 Frankfurt, Germany Radstadion
This was Germany's second 1973 "Summer Rock Festival" held on the weekend of July 21 and 22. Unlike the first such Festival held the month before, this one was only staged in Frankfurt, possibly due to the low attendance figures in Berlin back in June. Giant again participated, along with such bands as the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Spencer Davis Group, with evidence indicating GG’s set took place on the first day, July 21. The promoters for this event unwisely advertised some acts as participating before contracts were finalized, so the program was a bit chaotic. At one time, Paul McCartney and Wings were being advertised as the main headliner, closing the festival on July 22, but that did not happen. Black Sabbath and Canned Heat also backed out, while Sly and the Family Stone only played one song. On the other hand, Chuck Berry made a surprise appearance, even though he was not actually on the scheduled bill. The U.S. Armed Forces, with a heavy presence in Germany at the time, is said to have been very unhappy with all the rock festivals held in that country, as they believed they drew too many soldiers away from their regular duties.
Frankfurt - second “Summer Rock festival” July 21, 1973
July ? After the aborted attempt at
recording during the previous December and January, IN A GLASS HOUSE,
Gentle Giant's fifth album, was finally recorded at Advision
Aug. 28 At London's Langham Studio 1, the band did their seventh BBC studio session, broadcast on Sept. 28. The songs recorded were Way of Life, The Advent of Panurge and The Runaway. This was GG's third BBC session in a row to include The Advent of Panurge, which would appear yet again in the next one, as part of Excerpts from Octopus. This entire session appears on TOTALLY OUT OF THE WOODS, but not on the earlier OUT OF THE WOODS album.
the fall of 1973, the band's live shows began to take on a more visual aspect with
the use of projection screens placed behind the stage. At first, one screen was used but that
evolved, by later tours, into the use of multiple screens. The group's popularity had been steadily
rising for a while and they now found themselves headliners for many of their
concerts in Europe. Before swinging
through Europe, they were also able to headline a
New Musical Express UK tour ad Fall 1973
One visual idea they had planned on using at this time was
a film of John Weathers, in Gentle Giant costume, walking slowly through a
village seemingly made of doll houses, this miniature village located in
TYPICAL SETLIST (Fall 1973)
The Runaway - The "breaking glass" tape loop at the beginning of this song, played amidst flashing strobe lights, served as an intro to the shows.
Way of Life
Excerpts from Octopus - This new arrangement was to become their most famous medley. It combined portions of Knots and The Advent of Panurge and also included the recorder quartet, a Kerry Minnear organ bridge and an acoustic guitar duet. This duet, played by Gary and Ray, contained a theme taken from the song The Boys in the Band.
Nothing at All - The percussion section began to include several toy glockenspiels on which were played a variation of the folk song Shortnin' Bread. These were played by John, Gary and Kerry.
In a Glass House - This title song to the new album took over the encore slot and provided a vehicle for an extended Gary Green guitar solo. Only the heavier second half of the tune was performed. At the end, the "breaking glass" tape loop returned as an outro, gradually fading out.
now, the only songs remaining in their live set from the early days were
Sep. 17 Plymouth, England Guildhall
Wild Turkey opened the show, with singer/guitarist Rod Crisp also on the bill. A tape exists of this first night of the tour, which includes the band’s very first performance of Excerpts from Octopus. During this medley, Kerry included a three and a half minute keyboard solo just before the band segued into The Advent of Panurge. The solo contained snippets and variations based on the songs Raconteur, Troubadour, Acquiring the Taste and even a small bit of A Cry For Everyone. This keyboard solo was apparently dropped right away, as it appears on no other known GG recording. However, much of this keyboard material was later infused into the medley’s acoustic guitar duet beginning in late 1975. The entire recording of Excerpts from Octopus has been included in the SCRAPING THE BARREL boxset, while the keyboard solo portion is also included as a separate track entitled Keyboard Concerto.
Plymouth flyer Sep. 17, 1973
Sep. 19 Doncaster, England Top Rank
Wild Turkey opened the show.
Sep. 21 IN A GLASS HOUSE was heavily advertised to be released in England on this date, although some indications place the actual date one week earlier on Sep. 14. For its English album releases, the band had by now left Vertigo and had signed with WWA Records, the brand new recording branch of their management company. In America, Columbia had dropped the band completely after deeming this new album to be too uncommercial. For its part, WWA failed to secure another US label in its place, so IN A GLASS HOUSE was not released at all in America. This understandably upset the band and marked the beginning of a deterioration in relations between Gentle Giant and Worldwide Artiste Management.
Sep. 22 Manchester, England Stoneground
Wild Turkey opened the show. Although not always evident on a tape that exists of this show, a couple fans remember an annoying buzz or hum coming from the PA throughout the entire show. Derek’s vocals, in particular, were at times inaudible. During an instrumental portion of the set, crew members tried in vain to correct the problem.
Manchester ad Sep. 22, 1973
Sep. 23 Oxford, England New Theatre
Wild Turkey opened the show and was reported to be well received. Rod Crisp appeared on this bill, as well. A review in Melody Maker stated the audience had some trouble warming up to material from Giant’s new album.
Oxford ad Sep. 23, 1973
Sep. 24 Chatham, England Central Hall
Wild Turkey opened the show. At one point during this show, Derek threw his tambourine into the air, as he often did. However, on this night, it’s been reported that it hit Kerry on the way down. To his credit, Kerry continued to play.
Sep. 26 Southampton, England Top Rank Suite
Wild Turkey opened the show.
Sep. 28 Birmingham, England Town Hall
Wild Turkey opened the show, with Rod Crisp also sharing the stage.
Birmingham ticket Sep. 28, 1973
Sep. 28 Giant's seventh BBC session from Aug. 28 was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by Pete Drummond. Sessions by Mike Maran and the group Sassafras were also on the program.
In September, Record Mirror reported that Kerry Minnear had previously been contracted by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to compose an original piece for performance at a music festival in that city in February 1974. Kerry was said to be hard at work on the piece, a 45 minute orchestral and choral composition which the band’s management said was to be recorded live at the festival. However, even if such a project was discussed at some point, Kerry himself has confirmed that no such piece was ever written or performed. Sounds published a similar claim a month later, also false, this time writing that Kerry was scoring several of the band’s songs for the orchestra.
Record Mirror article about Kerry’s orchestral composition Sep. 1973
Sep. 29 Glasgow, Scotland City Hall
Wild Turkey opened the show.
Sep. 30 Edinburgh, Scotland Caley Picture House
Electrical limitations at the venue made it necessary for GG to forgo use of their own lighting effects, relying instead only on the house lights already in place. A fan who attended this show claims the band played for two hours, but this would be unusual and is not likely. The same fan also claims the setlist included Think of Me With Kindness, a song not generally thought to be performed live. Rod Crisp and Wild Turkey opened the show. Gentle Giant’s name is included in a list of “notable past performers” on a commemorative plaque near the front door of this venue.
Edinburgh - includes commemorative plaque Sep. 30, 1973
Oct. 2 Leicester, England Palais de Dance
Wild Turkey opened the show. The Average White Band, a fairly new group at the time, may have also been on the bill but they did not play. This gig was organized by Leicester University as a “Freshers Ball”. This was an event held to welcome the first-year students but was also open to the public. Instead of being held right on campus, it was held at this popular nightclub in town, for some unknown reason. The Palais de Dance was, as its name implies, mostly known as a dance hall, but they did host popular rock bands, as well. According to one student at the show, the place was “crowded and cramped”, although the exact attendance is not known.
Oct. 3 Bristol, England Top Rank
Wild Turkey opened the show.
Oct. 4 Llanelli, Wales Glen Ballroom
Wild Turkey opened the show. This gig was not on the band's original schedule, which called for them to be in Neath, Wales on this night and Aylesbury, England on Oct. 5. Both performances were pushed back one night.
Oct. 5 Neath, Wales Gwyn Hall
originally scheduled for Oct. 4 but changed to make room for the Llanelli concert. Wild Turkey opened the show.
Neath ad Oct. 5, 1973
Oct. 6 Aylesbury, England Friar's Club
originally scheduled for Oct. 5 but changed to make room for the re-scheduled Neath gig. Wild Turkey opened the show.
The band next embarked on a European tour which was supposed to bring them first to Italy, then to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Unfortunately, the Italian dates proved very difficult to schedule as many cities placed restrictions on their venues being used for musical events they thought to be disruptive, such as rock concerts. Giant was also supposed to play seven German and Austrian gigs opening for Procol Harum between Oct. 19 and Oct. 27, but problems getting an approved Italian schedule disrupted the band’s plans for those countries, as well as the plans for Switzerland and Belgium. As can be seen below, after leaving Italy, details are very sketchy as to exact dates, cities and venues of a number of the concerts.
Early evidence suggests that Tir Na Nog was supposed to play support at the Italian shows, but the progressive band Acqua Fragile took over the support slot. Around this time period, Acqua Fragile opened for a number of the British progressive groups but, according to their bass player, they considered Giant to be the finest, most talented band they had the pleasure to support. It seemed to be common policy in Italy that two sets per day were played when performing in smaller theaters, while the larger halls hosted just one set.
Italian tour with Acqua Fragile Oct. 1973
Oct. ? Padova, Italy
UNCONFIRMED. According to a detailed fan report, a concert may have been added in Padova on this tour, possibly on a weekday. Although not advertised in published tour schedules, the fan claims it was held in a local theatre, since demolished, before an audience that was a bit colder in response toward the newer material than they were toward OCTOPUS and earlier material. This gig was supposedly even recorded by a different audience member, but the tape is presumed lost. Unfortunately, no further evidence has turned up to confirm this gig. A member of regular tour openers Acqua Fragile is certain that, if Giant did play in Padova, his band did not participate.
Oct. 9 Catania, Italy Teatro Ambasciatori
There were two shows on this date in a theater that was small and cramped. Acqua Fragile opened both shows. A fan recalls the late show being as much as four hours late. In a 1975 interview, Derek boasted about the fact that Giant had once been able to play a date in Sicily, implying it to be a rare occurrence. Actually, the band played at least twice in Sicily, the two known dates being this one and the next night in Palermo.
Oct. 10 Palermo, Italy Teatro Biondo
There were again two shows with Acqua Fragile opening both. There had been some evidence that the band actually played in Frankfurt, Germany on this date, but these two Palermo shows have since been confirmed. Teatro Biondo seated around 900 and a fan in attendance estimates 700-800 were at the afternoon show.
Oct. 12 Bari, Italy Teatro Petruzzelli
Acqua Fragile opened the show. During the afternoon soundcheck, the opening band ran through the GG song Giant. They believed they were alone but were surprised when, at the end, GG band members started applauding from backstage. The theater was full with 3,500 in attendance.
Bari - poster on wall Oct. 12, 1973
Oct. 13 Rome, Italy Palazzo dello Sport
Acqua Fragile opened the show. A tape of this concert once existed, but its whereabouts are now unclear.
Rome Oct. 13, 1973
Oct. 15 Reggio Emilia, Italy Palazzo dello Sport
UNCONFIRMED. Acqua Fragile was scheduled to open the show. While GG was fighting to put together a viable Italian tour, Reggio Emilia was the first city to actually grant approval for them to appear. Yet, one fan seems to recall that GG may have ended up canceling this gig, after all. Other Italian dates did eventually materialize, as seen here, but attempts to play in Bologna, Vercelli, Varese, Brescia and Bergamo all fell through.
Oct. 16 Ancona, Italy Teatro Metropolitan
two shows with Acqua Fragile opening both. A fan at the afternoon show remembers the venue being not at all full. This same fan confirms that, during his drum solo, John still employed the gimmick of blowing air through a plastic tube into one of his drums to change its pitch, a trick first identified in the band’s April 1972 UK tour.
Oct. 17 Treviso, Italy Teatro Garibaldi
There were two shows and a tape exists of one of them, but it’s not known which. At the recorded show, during the guitar solo to In a Glass House, Gary threw in a brief theme from Peel the Paint. Acqua Fragile opened both sets.
Oct. 18 Milan, Italy Palalido
CANCELED. Some tour advertising in the Italian press included this date, while other ads did not, but this concert seems to have been canceled. At the time, the municipal authorities in Milan heavily restricted the staging of “pop music” concerts at Palalido. This was possibly because of the rioting that took place at other recent rock concerts in Milan, including the Gentle Giant gig on Jan. 4, 1973 at this very venue.
Oct. 19 Torino, Italy Palazzo dello Sport
Acqua Fragile opened before an audience of over 5,000. A soundboard recording of this show, originally owned by a band member, was first released on the 2001 Glass House CD IN A PALASPORT HOUSE and again, in mp3 form, on the band's SCRAPING THE BARREL boxset. In 2019, it was remastered and included, in the best quality yet available, as part of the UNBURIED TREASURE boxset. A roadie at the show incorrectly remembers this recording as being made in January 1974, but GG did not play in Italy at that time.
Torino Oct. 19, 1973
Oct. 20 Genova, Italy Teatro Alcione
Two shows were played on this date, in the afternoon and evening, both of them before sold-out capacity crowds of 1,500. Yet another tape exists, possibly of the afternoon show, this one showing that Gary again played the Peel the Paint theme during his guitar solo. Before Plain Truth, Derek thanks the crowd while giving a polite mention to the city’s two football clubs, Genoa and Sampdoria. Acqua Fragile opened both shows.
Oct. 21 Travagliato, Italy Supertivoli
A tape exists of this show, as well. Acqua Fragile opened. The sound at the venue was said to be poor, as noted by several fans at the show, one blaming the inadequate sound system. A press review cited the band’s performance as “magnificent” while complaining about traffic and local government restrictions adversely affecting the event. One fan said the venue was small and crowded, making sitting on the floor uncomfortable.
Oct. 22 Genova, Italy Teatro Alcione
A fan report surfaced long ago that Giant had returned to Genova for one more show after playing two sold-out shows there on Oct. 20. The report claimed this third gig was scheduled by popular demand and took place on a Monday, two days after the previous gigs. This would place this last-minute show on Oct. 22 which was indeed a Monday, but it seemed no further confirmation could be found. Now, at last, a member of Acqua Fragile has confirmed that this encore Genova performance on Oct. 22 did actually take place, his band again opening for Giant. The band member claims the venue was full, while the original fan report oddly had a tiny audience of only 20-30 people. This seems incredibly unlikely, so it can be assumed the fan may have witnessed a rehearsal or a soundcheck, or he is mixing up two totally different concerts. Originally, some tour advertisements had GG scheduled to play the Palazzo dello Sport in Novara on this date. However, Novara is also another city where municipal authorities were not keen on allowing rock concerts, so the date there must have been canceled. Additionally, Record Mirror advertised a Basel, Switzerland gig on Oct. 22, but it seems that took place the following night, as listed below.
Oct. 23 Basel, Switzerland Festsaal Mustermesse
The band did intend to play a concert in Switzerland on this date and one fan report has it occurring at this Basel venue. The report states that GG headlined with an unknown local keyboard/synthesizer player opening. Amazingly, however, Record Mirror advertised Oct. 23 as the scheduled date for GG’s very first concert behind the iron curtain, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. This certainly did not take place, nor did a couple dates in Russia the group was trying to book for late October.
Record Mirror listing for erroneous Belgrade gig Oct. 23, 1973
Oct. 24 Switzerland
UNCONFIRMED. City and venue are unknown.
New Musical Express eventually published an updated German itinerary, now placing the band in that country between October 25 and October 31. It is not certain this exact schedule was followed either, as not all of the dates are known. It also seems very few were with Procol Harum, as originally intended. The same newspaper article stated the band was now to be in Belgium between Nov. 1 and Nov. 4, but nothing at all is known about these planned concerts.
Oct. 26 Berlin, Germany Deutschland Halle
Folk guitarist Leo Kottke went first, then Giant, both opening for Procol Harum.
Oct. 27 Hamburg, Germany Congress Centrum
Procol Harum headlined this show also. A local Hamburg musician named Vince Weber played first, followed by Leo Kottke. Giant was third to play, right before the headliners. Oddly, some of these acts were originally scheduled at separate concerts, both on earlier dates, but low ticket sales led to all the performers being combined into this one bill on Oct. 27.
Hamburg ad and ticket Oct. 27, 1973
Oct. ? Dortmund, Germany Market Hall
The exact date of this concert is not known although, as stated above, it was probably sometime between Oct. 25 and Oct. 31. Giant had no support act for this gig. The small venue literally served as a marketplace, described by an attendee as a place “where in the morning, pigs might have been sold”. He said it still smelled that way in the evening.
Oct. ? Heidelberg, Germany
UNCONFIRMED. There are indications the group may have played in Heidelberg during this tour though the exact date is unknown. However, a live tape of this Heidelberg show is even rumored to exist.
Oct. 29 Frankfurt, Germany Jahrhunderthalle
Giant may have played without an opening act at this gig, for which a tape exists. An earlier report that this gig was held earlier in the month on Oct. 10 is untrue.
Frankfurt poster Oct. 29, 1973
Oct. 30 Munich, Germany Theater an der Brienner Strasse
Munich ticket Oct. 30, 1973
Apparently, a rumor was circulating at the time that Giant would be appearing at the Oberrheinhalle in Offenburg, Germany on a Saturday evening in 1973. One group of GG fans who had previously seen and enjoyed the group’s visit to that city in January 1972 were so convinced by this rumor that they drove to the venue that night to see the show. Much to their dismay, there was no concert, only some sort of annual state rabbit show.
Nov. 16 The
BBC recorded a short live set in Golder's Green,
Dec. 4 At London's Langham Studio 1, the band did their eighth BBC studio session, broadcast on Jan. 8, 1974. This entire session, consisting of Excerpts from Octopus and Way of Life, appears on the OUT OF THE WOODS and TOTALLY OUT OF THE WOODS albums.
Dec. 8 The BBC broadcast the Nov. 16 Hippodrome show on its In Concert radio show, narrated by Mike Harding. Guitarist Dave Ellis also performed on the program. It is interesting to note that, for some unknown reason, a small section of The Advent of Panurge from Excerpts from Octopus was edited out of this broadcast and did not appear on the official CD either. However, some of this concert was included in an episode of the American Rock Around the World radio show, broadcast on July 20, 1975, and there it does include the missing section of music.
Ad for BBC In Concert radio broadcast Dec. 8, 1973
Dec. ? Recording began on GG's sixth album, THE
POWER AND THE GLORY at London's Advision Studios,
concluding in January 1974. It's a concept
album about the abuse of political power, an idea which, according to John, was
first proposed by Phil while he was still in the band. Interestingly, it was recorded during
a number of fan recollections of Giant playing with other bands in North
America in late 1973 or early 1974.
These include supposed gigs in
Jan. 8 The band's eighth BBC session from Dec. 4, 1973 was broadcast on Top Gear hosted by John Peel. It’s not known who else may have had sessions appearing on this episode.
Jan. ? A claim has been made that sometime in January 1974, GG recorded a live-in-the-studio session at Studio Tempo in Montreal, Canada, probably for broadcast over local radio. They are said to have shared studio time on that day with a Quebec area band called Contraction who was recording their own session for eventual broadcast over CKVL radio. In 2009, Contraction released their own session officially on a CD titled Contraction - Live in 1974. In that CD’s liner notes, they described how they immediately followed Gentle Giant in the studio on the day of recording. Due to unspecified technical difficulties during Giant’s session, Contraction was not able to begin their own session until 1:00 A.M. A great deal of mystery surrounds this entire incident, as Giant is known to have not toured in North America between May 1973 and October 1974. Of course, it is possible that the band flew to Canada for purely promotional reasons which could have included this session. An argument could be made that since the band had previously made great headway in eastern Canada, they were keen to keep that momentum going there, even if an actual tour wasn’t possible. However, this is pure conjecture. It’s just as possible that Contraction’s CD is mis-dated, with the sessions actually occurring in January 1975, a time when Giant did indeed visit Montreal. In fact, Billboard did report that while in Montreal in Jan. 1975, Giant did actually record a live-in-the-studio session for broadcast over CHOM radio. It’s possible this article refers to the exact same session as alluded to here. Whether there were actually two separate sessions a year apart, or just one session in 1975 is, again, all conjecture at this point. Whatever the case, dates of broadcast are not known and the whereabouts of the session or sessions are also unknown. Much more information is needed about these events.
Alleged Montreal studio session Jan. 1974
Several publications had early on announced a second try at a tour of America, this time starting in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan. 27, or possibly Feb. 1, and running for five or six weeks, but this tour was also canceled, like the one the previous November and December. In March of 1974, Gentle Giant did hit the road again, but it was another tour of Great Britain, supported by String Driven Thing. Unfortunately, the band continued to feel that they were not always well accepted in their homeland, compared to the rest of the world, even though Derek incorrectly claimed a few months later that this UK tour was sold out. Following this, they scheduled another swing through Europe with String Driven Thing still in tow as support.
TYPICAL SETLIST (Spring 1974)
The Runaway/Experience - During this intro tape, a huge glittery sign spelling out “GIANT” was lowered down above the stage. These two songs were combined by use a of a prerecorded keyboard bridge. The Runaway was shortened, due to Kerry's discomfort with singing in a live setting.
Prologue - This song made a brief return to the setlist.
Excerpts from Octopus
Nothing at All
In a Glass House
Melody Maker ad for UK Spring tour March 1974
Mar. 8 Chatham, England Central Hall
It had been advertised that the UK tour was to begin on March 4 but it apparently was pushed back to March 8. String Driven Thing opened at this show. Starting with this tour, a new stage prop was added to the presentation. Suspended above and behind the band could be seen the word “GIANT”, hung in large, shimmering letters. A fan at the concert reports that at one point, a spotlight was shone on this sign from the back of the hall, reflecting countless shafts of light into the room. The effect was said to be quite magical. Ray claims to have had his Hagstrom guitar stolen at this venue, though exactly when is not clear.
Chatham ticket Mar. 8, 1974
Mar. 9 Norwich, England University of East Anglia - Main Hall
played at this University several times and a fan who attended all of them
clearly recalls one from the early 1970’s at which a student film crew of at
least two cameras in different locations was present. It’s not known whether it was this gig or a
different one, nor is it known if the University actually possesses the film in
its archives. In the 1970’s the
University had its own student TV station called Nexus which often filmed
portions of musical events on campus and broadcast them on its “In Concert”
program. It is just conjecture at this
point but, if it was a Nexus crew that was spotted at a gig, it’s unlikely that
the film still survives today. Of
course, it cannot be ruled out either.
This same fan was also fortunate enough to be present for another
interesting scene at one of these
Norwich ad Mar. 9, 1974
In March, notices began appearing in the British music press about Giant’s involvement with an upcoming feature film. New Musical Express was first with a report that Kerry was working on the musical score for an upcoming Hemdale production starring Suzannah York, with a planned release later in the year. By August, more reports appeared in both New Musical Express and Sounds that provided additional details. The movie was to be about the adventures of Robin Hood, with British actors Stanley Baker and Peter Finch among the stars. Giant was to be involved not only in the writing, but also in the performing of the music. It is true that Kerry, along with Ray, did begin composing demos for this soundtrack, but their involvement with the film was short-lived. Gary believes the film in question eventually became Robin and Marian which was produced and filmed in 1975 and released in 1976. In the end, this film was not produced by Hemdale, and it did not feature York, Baker, or Finch. It also did not end up using any of Kerry’s or Ray’s music. Fortunately, one of the pieces originally written for the film was later refashioned for Giant and appeared as the song Talybont on their FREE HAND album in 1975. Another unused demo eventually surfaced on UNDER CONSTRUCTION with the simple title of Robin Hood.
Mar. 11 Manchester, England Free Trade Hall
String Driven Thing opened.
Manchester ticket Mar. 11, 1974
Mar. 13 Guildford, England Civic Hall
String Driven Thing opened. This was a late addition to the tour schedule. After opening the show, the members of String Driven Thing were spotted in the balcony watching Giant’s set. At the time, some sort of glittery ball hung over the stage, serving as one of GG’s stage props After this show, an acquaintance of Giant’s revealed to an audience member that the band did not like the ball and used to “kick it around”, hoping to break it.
Mar. 14 Plymouth, England Guildhall
String Driven Thing opened. A tape exists from this show. During Gary’s In a Glass House guitar solo, he gives a nod to Cream by playing a fragment of Spoonful.
Plymouth flyer Mar. 14, 1974
Mar. 15 Swansea, Wales Guildhall - Brangwyn Hall
String Driven Thing opened. Brangwyn Hall is actually one of the rooms inside the larger Guildhall.
Swansea ad Mar. 15, 1974
Mar. 16 London, England Drury Lane - Theatre Royal
originally scheduled for Mar. 10. String
Driven Thing again opened, this time before a sold-out crowd, according to the London
Evening Standard. A professional
film crew filmed a portion of Giant's set on this night. New Musical Express stated that the
film crew was from Germany and that they were filming as part of a planned TV
documentary. Some of this footage was
shown on German television on April 26, 1974 and possibly again on June 28,
1974. A small portion of this film, the
ending of In a Glass House taken from German TV, now appears, in color,
on the official 2004 DVD release, GIANT ON THE BOX. Excerpts from Octopus taken from this
film was also broadcast on Italian TV on June 2, 1976. This Italian broadcast, shown in black and
white, also appears on GIANT ON THE BOX.
Additionally, the last few minutes of the same medley were broadcast,
again in color, on the BBC Old Grey Whistle Test television program on
Nov. 26, 1974 and this now appears, in both audio and video format, on the 2006
GG AT THE GG DVD. New Musical
Express also claimed that "several surprises" were planned for
the Mar. 16 concert, specifically mentioning a 7’4” giant being used to greet
concertgoers in the lobby. To
corroborate, Kerry and John also recall the band inviting one of the tallest
London - Drury Lane Mar. 16, 1974
In a Sounds interview given and published in March, during this UK tour, Derek again brought up Kerry’s alleged commission to compose some music for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as had earlier been reported back in Sep. and Oct. of 1973. Kerry has confirmed that no such music was ever composed, but how such a rumor circulated in the first place is still unclear, as is the fact that the story changed as it went along. Originally, the live premiere of an original Kerry piece was to have taken place in February, then it was to be arrangements of a few of the band’s songs, but now Derek claimed it was actually an orchestration of one piece from ACQUIRING THE TASTE and it was to be performed soon during the orchestra’s American Midwest tour.
Sounds interview with Derek about Kerry’s orchestral piece Mar. 1974
Mar. 17 Chelmsford, England Chancellor Hall
UNCONFIRMED. Although this concert, with String Driven Thing set to open, does not appear on the original tour schedule, it was advertised in the March 16 issue of Sounds. However, no additional corroboration has yet come to light and some evidence indicates String Driven Thing could even have played this gig by themselves.
Mar. 18 Birmingham, England Town Hall
String Driven Thing opened. After the show, John Weathers noticed smoke in the balcony and the fire department was summoned. The Birmingham Post the next day credited him with saving the building, although they mistakenly identified him as John Knight.
Birmingham article about fire in venue Mar. 18, 1974
Mar. 19 Watford, England Town Hall
A tape exists of this concert for which String Driven Thing opened. The show was sold out with a crowd of around 1,500 but there were no chairs in the hall, so all in attendance had to stand. The acoustics were also far from ideal.
Mar. 20 Bedworth, England Civic Hall
This concert was not originally on the band’s itinerary but has been confirmed by multiple sources, including records provided by the Civic Hall itself. The Civic Hall was a small town venue that rarely staged concerts by name rock bands and this particular event was billed as a “pop dance” and included String Driven Thing as support. Wryly commenting on the band’s struggles for acceptance in England, Derek introduced Excerpts From Octopus as a “massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic, except here in the UK”. The Coventry Evening Telegraph was impressed but bemoaned the fact that a paltry 250 people even bothered to attend. A tape of this show once existed but is now believed lost.
Bedworth diary listing and ad Mar. 20, 1974
Mar. 21 Derby, England King's Hall
String Driven Thing opened.
Mar. 22 Sutton in Ashfield, England Golden Diamond
This concert was originally scheduled for Mar. 24, but ads printed closer to the event listed the date as Mar. 22. String Driven Thing may not have opened as their own publicized itinerary did not include this gig.
??? Torquay, England Pavilion Theatre
Three separate fans remember seeing Giant at this venue in the mid 1970’s. None of these eyewitnesses can recall an exact date, but it seems to have been narrowed down to Spring 1974. Melody Maker had at one time announced additional tour dates pending between March 20 and March 28, not all of which are known. Although not certain, this Torquay concert could very well have taken place in this timeframe. Interestingly, one of the three fans at this show also seems to recall seeing the band at a second Torquay gig, this time at the Torquay Town Hall. Not even the year can be pinned down this time, but he believes a tape of one of the two shows may exist.
Mar. 28 Portsmouth, England Guildhall
String Driven Thing opened. During John’s drum solo, someone in the back of the hall was talking and yelling too loudly. John stopped and deadpanned to the overly exuberant fan, ”Excuse me, old bean, am I interrupting your conversation?”
Portsmouth ticket Mar. 28, 1974
Mar. 29 Bournemouth, England Winter Gardens
String Driven Thing opened.
Bournemouth ticket Mar. 29, 1974
Apr. 4 Frankfurt, Germany Jahrhunderthalle
String Driven Thing opened.
Apr. 5 Munster, Germany Munsterlandhalle
String Driven Thing opened. Two distinct recordings, taped by different people in the crowd, exist of this show. The first recording appears, in its entirety, on the PROLOGUE CD on the Glass House label. The song In a Glass House from this first recording has also been released officially as a bonus track on the 2000 Alucard CD reissue of the IN A GLASS HOUSE album. A few minutes of The Runaway, Experience and Funny Ways from the second recording are included in the GG AT THE GG DVD, where they are synchronized with several minutes of private 8mm film from this same show, filmed by yet another member of the audience. The entire second recording finally saw official release in 2019 with its inclusion in the UNBURIED TREASURE boxset.
Munster Apr. 5, 1974
Apr. 6 Stuttgart, Germany Gustav-Siegle-Haus
On this evening, Alan Knight, a gentleman who roadied for GG in the spring of 1974, took over 30 photos of the band, but his camera was unfortunately stolen. The road crew had their hands full during the show as the hydraulics controlling GG’s left loudspeaker stand were not functioning, causing the stand to continually slip down. String Driven Thing probably opened but their presence on the bill has not been verified.
Apr. 7 Kehl, Germany Stadthalle
String Driven Thing opened.
Kehl ticket Apr. 7, 1974
Apr. 8 St. Gallen, Switzerland Kongresshaus Schutzengarten
String Driven Thing opened. The German version of Sounds magazine advertised the venue as Volkshaus Burgvogtei but that is probably untrue. A tape of this gig exists, as well.
Apr. 9 Munich, Germany Theater an der Brienner Strasse
String Driven Thing opened.
Munich press notice Apr. 9, 1974
Apr. 10 Hamburg, Germany Musikhalle
A ticket stub from this show announced the bill simply as "Gentle Giant and Guests". However, it has been confirmed that String Driven Thing did indeed open. Only about 200 fans are reported to have attended this gig, in a hall built for just over 2,000.
Hamburg Apr. 10, 1974
Originally, the band had set their mind on yet another try at an American tour after the initial European dates, starting in mid-April somewhere in Florida and running for four weeks. This was to be their third attempt but, again, it did not work out. Instead, after playing in Germany, GG scheduled a significant number of dates in France. This French tour was mentioned in New Musical Express and advertised in more detail in the French music press at the time. It is the only known time the band ever planned an extensive stay in that country but, unfortunately, the entire tour was canceled. The entire original French tour itinerary can be found below. Giant never earned extensive press coverage in France and did not have the same impact there early on that they enjoyed in some other European nations.
Somewhere around this time, they also intended another swing into Italy to play some dates there. However, there was much political upheaval and rioting in Italy at the time. Rock concerts by non-Italian bands were not common, Gentle Giant being one of the few bands able to play there with any regularity. Some municipal authorities in that country viewed Gentle Giant as performers of “serious music”, not simply as a rock band. Still, the group was forced to abandon their Spring 1974 plans there. It’s possible they went ahead with a small number of concerts, but they very well may have canceled all appearances. One fan seems to remember an April show in Rome, but it is not confirmed. A rumor of GG being filmed in April for Italian television is also unconfirmed.
Ad for canceled French tour Apr. 1974
Apr. 17 Nantes, France Salle Paul-Fort
CANCELED. On this evening, the French band Magma was brought in as a replacement for Giant. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open, but it’s unknown if they remained on the bill.
Apr. 18 Le Mans, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 19 Toulouse, France Palais des Sports
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 20 Menton, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 21 Marseille, France Salle St-Georges
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 22 Rodez, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 23 Lyon, France Salle Rameau
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 24 Grenoble, France Grenoble Theatre
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 26 Clermont-Ferrand, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 26 The German TV network Bayrischer Rundfunk broadcast some footage from Giant's spring 1974 tour on a program called Szene 74, the footage being from the band's London gig of Mar. 16. A small portion of this has been included in the official DVD, GIANT ON THE BOX. Seen on the DVD is the guitar and drums ending portion of the song In a Glass House. Film of Renaissance was shown on the same broadcast, the theme of which was “Youth and Sexuality”.
Ad for “Szene 74” German TV broadcast Apr. 26, 1974
Apr. 27 Uckange, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 29 Colmar, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
Apr. 30 Lille, France
CANCELED. String Driven Thing had been scheduled to open.
May 5 Breda, Holland Turfschip
GG headlined this one day festival, sharing the stage with several other acts, including Kayak and Dizzy Man’s Band. A fan recalls the band jumping off the ground just before the opening lights came on, giving the impression of the band "falling from the sky" to start the show. It's unknown whether this was a regularly used gimmick. Another fan in the crowd recorded Giant’s set, but the tape is now believed to be lost. Kerry admits to having fond memories of the times the band played in Holland through the years.
Breda ad May 5, 1974
May ? Articles in Sounds and New Musical Express stated that the band was to do six college gigs in England in early May. No details are known.
Tentative plan for six UK college gigs May 1974
Once again, evidence indicates that the band unsuccessfully attempted, for the fourth time, to schedule an American tour, this time beginning on either May 14, May 17, or May 18. According to Melody Maker, it was to last until the end of June, while Sounds reported that it was to be an eight-week tour. New Musical Express described it as the group’s “first U.S. headlining tour”. However, keeping the band's losing streak going, it was canceled, like all the previous attempts.
May 29 The band recorded So Sincere, Aspirations,
Playing the Game, and The Face, all songs from their new album,
at their ninth BBC studio session in
June 11 Toledo, Ohio Agora Ballroom
CANCELED. This is the only specific date that has been identified so far from the aborted May - June U.S. tour, as evidenced by a newspaper advertisement.
Toledo - ad for canceled gig June 11, 1974
June ? After the recording sessions for THE POWER AND THE GLORY were completed, WWA requested the band record a single to coincide with the album’s release. The band was not keen on the idea but they wrote three songs for this purpose. In 1975, Ray said, tongue in cheek, that after recording these three songs, they "released the worst one". It is not known with certainty when they returned to the studio to record these songs, but June 1974 has been suggested. The song that was ultimately selected they also titled The Power and the Glory but, despite using the same name, it was only released as a single and did not appear on the album itself. One of the unused songs now appears on the SCRAPING THE BARREL boxset with the name The Power and the Glory Second Song. Remaining audio fragments of this and the other unused song can be found on the same boxset, where they are titled The FBI File #1 and The FBI File #2.
June 15 Sheffield, England Sheffield University - Student Union
This was a one-off concert, between regular tours, although a longer UK tour was at one time considered for the month of June. The stage was very small, creating a very intimate setting.
Sheffield article June 15, 1974
June 28 It's not certain, but possibly the German TV network Bayrischer Rundfunk once again broadcast footage from Giant's spring 1974 tour, filmed at the band's London gig of Mar. 16. This time, it’s rumored that as much as 45 minutes of music was shown. The network had already broadcast at least some of this footage on Apr. 26.
July 1 Giant's ninth BBC session from May 29 was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by Bob Harris, as were sessions by Ducks De Luxe and 10cc.
Sounds and New Musical Express both published articles in their Aug. 3 issues stating that GG were planning to make some sort of promotional film around September in support of their upcoming new album, THE POWER AND THE GLORY. This probably referred to the concert film the band eventually made in Brussels in January 1975. Although plans were delayed, that concert film did help introduce THE POWER AND THE GLORY to a wider European audience but by the time it finally aired on Aug. 10, 1975, the band were already in the process of releasing the next album, FREE HAND.
Sep. 6 Penzance, England The Garden
UNCONFIRMED. A poster exists advertising a Sep. 6 show in this modestly sized town at the southwestern tip of England. The poster mentions no other act on the bill. The authenticity of this poster is still in question, as no other information is known as to concerts the group may have played during this time period, either in England or elsewhere.
Penzance - poster for unconfirmed show Sep. 6, 1974
Sep. 22 THE POWER AND THE GLORY album was released in America sometime in September, with Sep. 22 being a good possibility. After failing to secure a label to release their previous album in the US, Giant was now signed to Capitol Records there. They were still with WWA in the UK.
Oct. ? The non-LP single The Power and the Glory, probably recorded the previous June, was released in England during the first week of October, apparently around the same time as the new album. An ad in Sounds indicated that the single came out first, although it may have been just a matter of days. Eventually, The Power and the Glory was also included on the 1975 compilation album, GIANT STEPS, as well as being added as a bonus track on later CD reissues of their THE POWER AND THE GLORY album. It ended up being the group’s only non-LP single, although it was never released as a single in America.
Ad for The Power and the Glory UK single release Oct. 1974
Oct. 4 Pinning down exactly when THE POWER AND THE GLORY album was released in England has proven very difficult, but this seems to be the most reliable date. Back in February 1974, New Musical Express announced the album would be out in May, but this certainly did not happen. Next, a number of UK press reports pointed to a date of June 21. Later still, this date of October 4 popped up in the press, making the June date unreliable. However, even if the “official” release date was pushed back to October, British copies of the album had certainly appeared in the marketplace, unofficially, as early as late June. Derek himself has recalled that a large number of copies leaked into the shops prematurely.
Go on to Part Four
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