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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 is believed 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. One March press notice had the tour ending by Apr. 22, but it was eventually extended beyond that.
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 attempt at a THREE FRIENDS mini-medley may also have only appeared in the band's longer gigs and earlier in the tour. Still, this foreshadowed their later habit of combining songs, often from the same album, into medleys.
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 This is the date that live film of Gentle Giant is believed to have appeared on North American television for the first time. They had been filmed on an unknown date and location in late 1972 and that film was broadcast in St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri on a late night rock music show called Tube Trip on Feb. 11. Clips of the band playing live in a studio were shown. Also appearing on this broadcast date were Osibisa and a band named Julia. Tube Trip was inspired by earlier free-form rock programs, particularly Detroit Tube Works which had been shown in 1970 and 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. When that show ended, its reruns were syndicated and shown in several other Midwest cities, including St. Louis, until mid 1972. At that time, a St. Louis television station tried out its own similarly formatted show, using the simpler name of Tube Trip. By the end of that year, this newer show was being aired in both St. Louis and Kansas City, eventually adding a station in Atlanta, Georgia in 1973, before coming to an end in the middle of that year. In St. Louis, the TV broadcast was also simulcast over the radio but it’s not known if this happened in the other cities. Film of Gentle Giant appeared on at least two other episodes of the show in the Spring of 1973, where it was combined with different acts. These dates were Mar. 11 and Apr. 8.
St. Louis - Tube Trip - first North American TV broadcast Feb. 11, 1973
Feb. 23 Devizes, England Corn Exchange 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 in late February, 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 a tune-up 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. The tickets, which went on sale the day before, were quite cheap, but there are conflicting reports as to whether the show sold out. 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 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 and Edgar Winter both played here, although which band headlined is not clear. Giant served as the support act.
Mar. 9 Nashville, Tennessee Vanderbilt University - Memorial Gymnasium opened for Edgar Winter. There was at one time a mention in the Chicago Tribune that Giant was scheduled on a bill at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago on this date, along with Jo Jo Gunne, Tranquility and Wildflower. The newspaper went on to report that Jo Jo Gunne backed out. Apparently, so did Giant. They did end up appearing at the Kinetic Playground on April 13, as listed below, where they supported Procol Harum.
Mar. 10 Louisville, Kentucky Convention Center Giant and Jo Jo Gunne both opened for Edgar Winter. A tape of the show exists.
Louisville ad Mar. 10, 1973
Mar. 11 Cleveland, Ohio Music Hall shared the bill with Mark-Almond and Focus, although the order of the concert is not at all clear. Printed ads even disagree as to who headlined, although it definitely was not Giant.
Cleveland ad Mar. 11, 1973
Mar. 11 Giant appeared on another episode of the Tube Trip television show, this time sharing air time with Mama Lion and Ship. It was also simulcast over St. Louis radio.
Mar. 12 Youngstown, Ohio State Theater There are said to have been four acts on the bill this evening, beginning with a male dancer, then a gospel group and finally Giant and headliners Focus. It’s fairly certain this older venue was named the State Theater at the time of this gig, but it was also known as the Tomorrow Club or the Agora at other times in its existence. This was supposedly the first rock concert held there.
Mar. 13 Wilmington, North Carolina University of North Carolina opened for Tranquility and headliners Jo Jo Gunne. In the Univ. of North Carolina college newspaper The Seahawk, a review was kind to Giant but heaped the most praise on Tranquility.
Mar. 14 Chattanooga, Tennessee Memorial Auditorium shared the stage, presumably as openers, with 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 or both 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 an unusually long Giant set. Although not confirmed, a fan at the show is sure they played all the songs from OCTOPUS during the course of the evening and specifically recalls the band doing a fine job on River. It seems unlikely that both bigger acts canceled while only the opener actually performed, but one person in attendance remembers it that way. More information is needed about this concert.
Morgantown ad Mar. 15, 1973
Mar. 16 New York,
New York Felt Forum Cash 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
Mar. 17 Passaic, New Jersey Capitol Theater opened for Edgar Winter. The show was sold out in advance.
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 5500 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.
again were afforded headlining status in
has been very much confusion as to the exact dates and venues of the Canadian
shows. Melody Maker mentioned there
were nine concerts scheduled for
Canadian dates with Necessite March 1973
Mar. 21 Ottawa, Ontario High School of Commerce - Auditorium The Quebec area prog act named Necessite was the opening act. One 1975 newspaper account, reflecting back on this show, described the audience as consisting of “a fortunate few hundred people”, while another newspaper review, also from 1975, gave a more specific count of 600. This is not to be interpreted as poor attendance as it was a relatively small auditorium.
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, though one of them is often mistakenly attributed to Montreal. 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.
Mar. 23 Quebec City, Quebec Palais Montcalm As stated above, a partial tape of this gig exists and Necessite opened the show. Le Soleil gave the band a nice review but was critical of the conditions in the venue.
Quebec City Mar. 1973
Mar. 24 Montreal, Quebec Centre Sportif de l'Universite de Montreal Necessite was again the opening act, this time in front of a full house of about 5000. There has been considerable speculation and debate concerning fan memories of this particular gig. Several fans 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. These eyewitnesses say he appeared on stage in medieval clothing, a dove resting on his finger. Other fans adamantly deny such an odd thing ever happened. For their part, members of GG have repeatedly denied that a giant ever appeared on stage with them as a regular part of their act. It is, of course, possible that something happened at this particular gig that the band members were not aware of or have since forgotten. Necessite, was known to use a live dove during their set, so arrangements could have been made to utilize this dove during a makeshift introduction for Giant. However, it's equally possible that nothing at all out of the ordinary took place in Montreal or anywhere on this tour. A review of this show in the Montreal Herald 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 Mar. 24, 1973
Mar. 25 Sherbrooke, Quebec Centre Culturel - Grande Salle Necessite was once again the opening act.
Mar. 29 Toronto, Ontario Massey Hall Headliners Wishbone Ash had sound problems on this, the opening day of their North American tour. As openers, Vinegar Joe played first, followed by GG. Of the three bands, Giant was the only one to receive a favorable write-up in a Toronto Star review bearing the headline "Patience of Audience Tested at Rock Show." Attendance was 1600 or more for this four hour show. 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.
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. Confusingly, one fan recalls the band actually playing another Toronto show, supposedly a general admission show at a local university, on the night after the above listed Massey Hall concert which would place it on Mar. 30. However, confirmation about this alleged second Toronto gig has never been found. Detroit on March 30 seems definite.
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 that only one performance may have taken place. It was held in the University's gym which had
a proper stage set up on one end and could hold around 1200. 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
another early published ad had GG opening for Quicksilver Messenger Service at
New York City’s Academy of Music on this very same night, but Giant did indeed
end up in Waterloo instead. but they
actually played in
Waterloo poster Mar. 31, 1973
??? Buffalo, New York New Century Theatre Although erroneously listed in Billboard as taking place on March 31, sources indicate the band did indeed play in Buffalo somewhere around this time period. This is not confirmed, but 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 another 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. 6 Knoxville, Tennessee Civic Coliseum The band was scheduled to follow Foghat and precede Humble Pie, though a fan at the gig doesn't recall Giant actually appearing. Confusingly, another report has this same three band bill appearing on this very same night at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Apr. 7 Roanoke, Virginia Roanoke Civic Center opened for Foghat and headliners Humble Pie. Giant’s name did not appear in all the pre-concert advertising, nor was it on the tickets, so some in the audience 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 Giant appeared on yet another episode of the Tube Trip television program, simulcast over St. Louis radio. Also appearing on this episode were Black Oak Arkansas, White Bird and Peter Allen.
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 4000. 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
??? Johnstown, Pennsylvania Cambria County War Memorial Available information seemed to point to a date of April 10 for this concert, but that date has been ruled out by the Mt. Pleasant evidence in the above listing. Whenever this show actually was held, GG opened for Humble Pie. Foghat was again supposed to precede Humble Pie, but they bowed out and did not appear. Giant was either an unadvertised first act on the bill, or a last minute substitute. Either way, many in the crowd were not aware Giant was on 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 5000, though there’s no information on the size of the crowd this night.
Apr. 11 Detroit, Michigan Masonic Auditorium There is some confusion about this date, but it seems Giant probably opened for the J. Geils Band. Of course, GG had already played Detroit on March 30.
Apr. 12 Akron, Ohio Civic Theater opened for Procol Harum
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 cannot be verified, but that song is not believed to have been played regularly on stage for another nineteen months. Ray later recalled this concert with great fondness.
Apr. 14 Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Gardens It had been advertised that the band was to play at the Holheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas on this night, but they actually played in Cincinnati, where they opened for Edgar Winter and, in the headliner slot, Humble Pie.
Cincinnati ad Apr. 14, 1973
Apr. 15 Baltimore, Maryland Civic Center GG played a 30-minute set opening for Edgar Winter and headliners Humble Pie. It is possible, though unconfirmed, that Frampton’s Camel may have also been on the bill. This would have resulted in Peter Frampton playing support for his old band Humble Pie, something he did in fact do at some shows in 1972.
Apr. 18 Warren, Ohio Packard Music
Hall This 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
Warren ad Apr. 18, 1973
Apr. 20 San Francisco, California Winterland first of two consecutive nights at the Winterland. Giant played second on the bill, after Colin Blunstone and before Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen and headliners Sha-Na-Na.
Apr. 22 Kansas
City, Missouri Cowtown
Ballroom another 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
Oklahoma City ad Apr. 24, 1973
Apr. 25 Salt Lake City, Utah Terrace Ballroom Giant opened for the J. Geils Band.
Apr. 26 Seattle, Washington Paramount Theatre The exact date has not been definitively verified.
Apr. 27 Portland, Oregon Paramount Northwest Theatre opened for Sha-Na-Na. it’s believed this date is correct but some evidence indicates the show may have actually been on Apr. 26, meaning the above listed Seattle show would not have taken place as scheduled. 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, after which many in attendance did give them a standing ovation. 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.
Apr. 28 California Previously,
it was thought GG played in either Ontario, California or Long Beach, California
on this night, but it seems likely that there ended up being no gig at
all. A show at the Long Beach Arena was
advertised at the time, but Gary claims it did not take place. The rumor about Ontario 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 The group headlined this show.
Antonio, Texas Municipal
Auditorium It is not clear
if this show ever took place. Billboard
originally advertised the date as April 13, but it’s certain they played
??? Miami, Florida Hollywood Sportatorium Clearly, pinning down Giant’s exact activities in early 1973 continues to be problematic. One uncorroborated online source claimed GG played a 1973 Miami gig opening for the band Chicago.
May 2 Springfield, Missouri Shrine Mosque opened for Black Oak Arkansas
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 Steely Dan, Humble Pie and Slade all played the Winterland here this evening. GG is said to have also been on the bill, but that is unconfirmed.
May 6 Houston, Texas Santa Rosa Theater Steeleye Span was the opening band.
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. 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 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. 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. Again, it's not known on which night GG was scheduled to play, but one recent report indicates the band may have canceled their appearance, as was also the case at the Berlin stop listed above.
Frankfurt - possible appearance at first “Summer Rock Festival” June 1973
July ? Frankfurt, Germany Radstadion This was Germany's second 1973 "Summer Rock Festival". Unlike the first such Festival held the month before, this one was only staged in Frankfurt, probably due to the low attendance figures in Berlin back in June. Giant again participated, along with a number of other bands, including Black Sabbath, the Faces, Sly and the Family Stone, Rory Gallagher and Canned Heat. At one time, Paul McCartney and Wings were being advertised as the headliner, but that did not happen. The show took place on the weekend of July 21 and 22, but it is not known on which date Giant played. 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 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 Studios in
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 again in the next one, as well, 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
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
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. It was not originally released in America.
Manchester ad Sep. 22, 1973
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. After the show, John Weathers noticed smoke in the balcony and the fire department was summoned. The press the next day credited him with saving the building.
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. It’s believed that a session by the group Sassafras was also broadcast, although Record Mirror had announced earlier that Mike Moran would be sharing the bill with Giant.
Sep. 29 Glasgow, Scotland City Hall Wild Turkey opened the show.
Sep. 30 Edinburgh, Scotland Caley Cinema 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 fan also claims the setlist included Think of Me With Kindness, a song not generally thought to be performed live. This is unconfirmed. Rod Crisp and Wild Turkey opened the show.
Edinburgh poster Sep. 30, 1973
Oct. 2 Leicester, England Polytechnic Wild Turkey opened the show.
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,
The band next embarked on a European tour which brought
Italian tour with Acqua Fragile Oct. 1973
Oct. ? Padova, Italy It appears likely that, although not advertised on published tour schedules, a concert was added in Padova, possibly on a weekday. It was held in a local theatre, since demolished, and it’s been reported that the audience was a bit colder in response toward the newer material than they were toward OCTOPUS and earlier material. This gig was recorded by a female audience member, but the tape is presumed lost . Acqua Fragile may have opened at this show, as they did for the rest of this Italian tour, but one fan in attendance says there may not have been any opener.
Oct. 9 Catania, Italy Teatro Ambasciatori There were two shows on this date in a theater that was small and cramped. Italian progressive band Acqua Fragile opened the shows on this and all the remaining Italian dates of this tour. 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 the Palermo show has since been confirmed.
Oct. 12 Bari, Italy Teatro Petruzzelli Acqua Fragile opened the show.
Rome Oct. 13, 1973
Oct. 15 Reggio Emilia, Italy Palazzo dello Sport Acqua Fragile opened the show.
Oct. 16 Ancona, Italy Teatro Metropolitan two shows with Acqua Fragile opening both
Oct. 17 Treviso, Italy Teatro Garabaldi 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 Milano, Italy Palalido It’s not certain, but Acqua Fragile probably opened this show.
Oct. 19 Torino, Italy Palazzo dello Sport Acqua Fragile opened. A soundboard recording of this show, originally owned by a band member, has been officially released on the 2001 Glass House CD IN A PALASPORT HOUSE and again, in mp3 form, on the band's SCRAPING THE BARREL box set. 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 ad Oct. 19, 1973
Oct. 20 Genova, Italy Teatro Alcione Two shows were played on this date, in the afternoon and evening, both of them sold out. 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, by one report. A press review cited the band’s performance as “magnificent” while complaining about traffic and local government restrictions adversely affecting the event.
Oct. ? Genova, Italy Teatro Alcione There is an unconfirmed report that, after selling out their two Genova shows on October 20, the band agreed to play one more night there. This third Genova show was some unusual, special performance with a report of as few as 20 or 30 people in the audience. While introducing the band, an announcer described the show as being some sort of family style performance, although the exact meaning of that is unclear. It is not certain on which night this may have occurred, but the best information so far indicates Oct. 22 to be the most likely date. Therefore, for this to be true, there would have had to have been some cancellations or shuffling in the following few scheduled Italian or Swiss dates, but exactly what transpired is unknown. It’s believed that, if there was a Genova concert on this evening, there was no support act.
Oct. 22 Novara, Italy Pallazzo dello Sport Acqua Fragile was scheduled to open for GG on this date in Novara. However, Oct. 22 also seems to be the most likely date for the third Genova concert listed above. For this to be true, this Novara date would have had to have been canceled or rescheduled somehow.
Oct. 23 Switzerland The band did intend to play a concert in Switzerland on this date, but the location has not been definitively ascertained. One report has them headlining in Basel at Festsaal Mustermesse with an unknown local keyboard/synthesizer player opening.
Oct. 24 Switzerland City and venue are unknown.
Oct. 25 Germany This may have been the first scheduled German date of GG’s European tour, but it is not confirmed. The exact city on this night is unknown, as well, although it could have been Dortmund or Heidelberg, as mentioned below.
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, these four acts were originally scheduled into two separate concerts, both on earlier dates, but low ticket sales led to all the performers being combined into this one bill on Oct. 27.
Frankfurt ticket Oct. 29, 1973
Oct. ? Dortmund, Germany Market Hall The exact date of this concert is not known although, as stated above, it would have been 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 There are indications the group played in Heidelberg sometime in 1973. It could have been either during this tour or earlier in June or July when they did a few German festival dates. A live tape of this Heidelberg show was even rumored to exist.
Oct. 31 Germany This may possibly have been the final scheduled German date of the tour. The city is unknown although, again, it could have been Dortmund or Heidelberg.
Nov. 1 Belgium The first Belgian show was originally scheduled for this date.
Nov. 4 Belgium If the original itinerary was adhered to, the final date of the European tour was held on this date, again somewhere in Belgium.
Nov. 16 The BBC recorded a short live set in
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. A portion of Giant’s concert was also included on the Rock Around the World broadcast in the U.S. on July 20, 1975.
Ad for BBC In Concert radio broadcast Dec. 8, 1973
Dec. 1973 - Jan. 1974 GG's sixth album, THE POWER AND THE
GLORY, was recorded at
addition to the unverified rumors of more dates with Jethro Tull,
there are a number of other fan recollections of Giant playing with other bands
Jan. 8 The band's eighth BBC session from Dec. 4, 1973 was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by John Peel.
Musical Express had early on announced another tour of America starting in
Memphis, Tennessee on Jan. 27 and running for five 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, staging another tour of
New Musical Express notice about UK tour and ill-fated American tours March 1974
TYPICAL SETLIST (Spring 1974)
The Runaway/Experience - 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
Mar. 8 Chatham, England Central Hall String Driven Thing opened. Ray claims to have had his Hagstrom guitar stolen at this venue, though exactly when is not clear. Original plans called for this UK tour to start four days earlier, but it did not.
Mar. 9 Norwich,
of East Anglia - Main Hall Giant
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 vast archives. These archives still
contain many unmarked films from this time period so, if a film of one of the
band’s gigs is indeed there, it may still turn up in the future. This same fan was also fortunate enough to be
present for another interesting scene at one of these
Norwich ad Mar. 9, 1974
Mar. 11 Manchester, England Free Trade Hall String Driven Thing opened.
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.
Mar. 16 London,
Lane - Theatre Royal was
originally scheduled for Mar. 10. String
Driven Thing again opened. 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 German
broadcast 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 men in
London’s Drury Lane poster Mar. 16, 1974
In a Sounds interview given and published during this UK tour, Derek indicated that Kerry had previously been contracted by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to score some Gentle Giant music for them. He is said to have orchestrated one piece from ACQUIRING THE TASTE to be performed soon during an American Midwest tour. Additional information concerning this claim has not been found, so it remains unconfirmed at this time.
Sounds interview excerpt with Derek Shulman Mar. 1974
Mar. 18 Birmingham, England Town Hall String Driven Thing opened.
Mar. 19 Watford, England Town Hall A tape exists of this concert for which String Driven Thing opened. There were no seats 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 both a fan recollection and records provided by the Civic Hall itself, a small town venue that rarely staged concerts by name rock bands. This particular event was billed as a “pop dance” and included String Driven Thing as support and a disco dance preceding the evening’s live music. 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”. A tape of this show is rumored to exist.
Bedworth - note in Civic Hall datebook 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.
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?”
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. 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. 9 Munich, Germany Theater an der Brienner Strasse String Driven Thing opened.
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.
the band had set their mind on another try at an American tour after the
initial European dates, starting in mid April somewhere in Florida and running
for four weeks. Again, this did not come
about. Instead, after playing in Germany,
GG scheduled a significant number of dates in
around this time, they also took another swing into
Apr. ? Rome, Italy It’s unknown whether this Italian concert took place, but one fan seems to remember it.
Apr. ? While in
Apr. 20 Menton, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 21 Marseille, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 22 Rodez, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 23 Lyon, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 24 Grenoble, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 26 Clermont-Ferrand, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was 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 may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 29 Colmar, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open
Apr. 30 Lille, France may have been canceled, but String Driven Thing was 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 ? An article in Sounds stated that the band was to
do six college gigs in
Once again, evidence indicates that the band unsuccessfully attempted to schedule an American tour, this time beginning on either May 14 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. Either way, 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 ? There are indications that, sometime in June, Giant may have spent a little more time in a studio in London, possibly doing some last-minute touchups for THE POWER AND THE GLORY album. It's likely that this was also when they recorded their non-LP single, Power and the Glory.
June 11 Toledo, Ohio Agora did not take place. 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 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.
June 28 It's believed that the German TV network Bayrischer Rundfunk once again broadcast footage from Giant's spring 1974 tour on the program Szene 74, filmed at the band's London gig of Mar. 16. This time, about 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.
Sep. 6 Penzance, England The Garden A poster exists showing that Giant apparently played a show on this date in this modestly sized town at the southwestern tip of England. The poster mentions no other act on the bill. No information is known as to other shows the group may have played during this time period, either in England or elsewhere.
Penzance poster 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.
Oct. 4 Pinning down exactly when THE POWER AND THE GLORY was released in England has proven very difficult. 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, regardless of exactly what transpired, British copies of the album had certainly appeared in the marketplace, either officially or unofficially, as early as late June.
Oct. ? The non-LP single, Power and the Glory, may have been 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. Specifics on where and when the single was recorded are also unclear, though it was probably in London in June. Ray said in 1975 that the band actually recorded three songs in an attempt to come up with a single and he joked that they "released the worst one". More recently, Kerry has also confirmed that three songs were written. However, it's possible that they may not have all been recorded. On the other hand, the SCRAPING THE BARREL box set does include a few outtakes from around this time period that theoretically could have been part of this search for a single. Eventually, Power and the Glory was included on the 1975 compilation album, GIANT STEPS, and was added as a bonus track on a later CD reissue of their THE POWER AND THE GLORY album. It was never released as a single in America.
??? There are reports that the group appeared on a Portuguese television program sometime in 1974, but this is totally unconfirmed.
Go on to Part Four
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