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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. 

Shortly before leaving the band, Phil stated in the press that they had had some offers from promoters to do some headlining in America.  However, the band was unsure of their footing there, so they decided to play it safe and continued to play mostly support for a while longer.  On many of the dates on this tour, GG opened for Edgar Winter, Humble Pie, or the J. Geils Band.  However, they appeared with other bands as well, in some cities.  Confirmation is unfortunately lacking for many of these dates in both America and Canada.  Some information comes from schedules published in Melody Maker and Billboard, but these two magazines were not in complete agreement.  It would be reasonable to assume that dates were changed and shuffled around somewhat after the band made up their original schedule.  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 and, again, some of the dates are unconfirmed.  Hard information is still definitely lacking on some of Gentle Giant's activities in the spring of 1973.

                    

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Spring - Mid 1973)

 

Prologue

Alucard - may have been played more often earlier in the tour

Funny Ways

Knots

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 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 an earlier free-form rock program called 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.

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.

 

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 cancelled.  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 cancelled 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 gym at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  However, they cancelled out of that show and ended up playing at the Felt Forum, instead.  A touch of class was brought into the festivities as a row of white carnations lined the front row of the orchestra seats.  Singer/songwriter James Taylor was in the crowd and, since it was Mahavishnu violinist Jerry Goodman’s birthday, Taylor brought a birthday cake on stage during the headliners’ set.  There is one vague report, not corroborated elsewhere, that Giant was slated to open for Mahavishnu at one other unknown time, but cancelled their appearance.

Mar. 17          Passaic, New Jersey                   Capitol Theater                                                                                           opened for Edgar Winter.  The show was sold out in advance.

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.

Mar. 19          Niagara Falls, New York              Niagara University - Student Center      Giant played second, after Foghat and before Focus.  the Student Center may actually have been a gymnasium.  Giant’s appearance at this gig was as a last minute replacement for another band who cancelled.

 

 

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 promoter deserving the credit for initially breaking the band there was Alain Simard, who booked the original 1972-1973 GG concerts in eastern Canada, mainly in cities all over Quebec Province.

There 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 Canada, but a schedule printed in Billboard only listed six.  Personal recollections from fans in attendance at the shows at times differ from the information in either of these sources.  However, the dates listed below, particularly those in Quebec Province, seem to be fairly reliable.

 

 

Ad 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.

 

        

 

 

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.  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.

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, but they actually played in Waterloo.  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.  An 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. 

 

 

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’s very own prog band, Ethos Ardour, was the opening act.  During Plain Truth, the power went out four separate times.  At first, the band was not thrown too badly by this with John managing to keep an exciting beat and Derek even singing some of the instrumental parts.  However, after the fourth time, the band began to leave the stage in frustration, only to be coerced back by their manager.  About 1100 people were estimated to be in attendance.

Apr. 5            Macomb, Illinois                           Western Illinois University         opened for Humble Pie

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            Hampton, Virginia                        Hampton Roads Coliseum         followed Foghat and preceded Humble Pie.  The audience drawn to this show for the other two boogie/hard rock acts was understandably perplexed when Giant started their set.  However, they reportedly came around and, by the end, they were quite appreciative.  There had been a rumor that Uriah Heep was also on the bill, but this was not the case.  A recording of GG’s half hour set is rumored to exist.

 

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 right in Warren until Apr. 18.   Some band members recall their rather long layover in Warren as being quite boring, as they had little to do there.  They finally returned to stay in Cleveland for one night on Apr. 19.

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. 21          San Francisco, California             Winterland                                second consecutive night in San Francisco.  the order was again Colin Blunstone, Gentle Giant, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen and headliners Sha-Na-Na.  Gary's schedule lists the band as playing San Francisco on Apr. 19 but this may have been changed.  To add to the confusion, there is a report that Giant was actually replaced on the bill by Steeleye Span on this evening.

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 Morgantown show, a fan in attendance at this show clearly remembers the band playing River.  However, no recorded evidence that this song was ever performed live has turned up and, for his part, John Weathers has claimed that the band never did play it live.  At this gig, John and Gary watched a little of Crimson’s set but were not all that impressed, thinking it a bit pretentious at times.  On the other hand, the members of GG felt their music had won over the crowd and, several years later, commented about this successful gig at the Cowtown and the fond memories associated with it.  Giant’s original plans at the beginning of the year had April 22 being the last date of their North American tour, though that obviously changed.  Surprisingly, Richard and Karen Carpenter of the American pop sensation, the Carpenters, were spotted in the audience during Crimson’s set, although it’s not known if they were there earlier in the evening.

 

           

 

Kansas City    Apr. 22, 1973

 

 

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 apparently 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          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 San Bernardino, where they did perform the next night.  All three cities are very near each other.

Apr. 29          San Bernardino, California            Swing Auditorium                      The group headlined this show.

???                San 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 Chicago on that night.  A gig in San Antonio may or may not have been rescheduled.

???                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 1            Dallas, Texas                              Majestic Theater                       Steeleye Span was the opening act at this old style movie theater.  John was apparently not feeling well on this night but is said to have played well, nonetheless.  This was a poorly attended show, with one report claiming only 32 people to be in attendance.  An earlier date of March 15 at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas had at one time been advertised.

May 2            Springfield, Missouri                    Shrine Mosque                         opened for Black Oak Arkansas

May 3            Little Rock, Arkansas                   Barton Coliseum                       opened for Ten Years After.  Actor Billy Bob Thornton was at this show, and he recollects GG playing first, with the Strawbs taking the stage second and, finally, Ten Years After.  An alternate rumor has Patto appearing on the bill.  It's not known if GG ever played Little Rock again after this, as they were reportedly not terribly popular there.

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 one was a traveling national rock show that also included, among others, the Strawbs, Family, Ekseption, Beck-Bogart-Appice, and Uriah Heep, possibly in the headlining slot.  Only this Berlin engagement and the following one in Frankfurt are confirmed, though there may have been more cities involved.  The portion in Berlin was on June 9 and June 10, although it's not known which day Giant performed.

 

           

 

Berlin - first “Summer Rock Festival”    June 1973        

 

 

June ?           Frankfurt, Germany                      Radstadion                               another stop on Germany's first "Summer Rock Festival" with the same final lineup as at the Berlin show.  The festival stopped in Frankfurt on June 10 and June 11, overlapping the Berlin show.  The German press reported about 10,000 attendees waited about three hours for the festivities to begin at the Frankfurt stop.  Again, it's not known on which night GG was scheduled to play.  Regardless, one recent report indicates the band may have cancelled their appearance.

 

           

 

Frankfurt - possible appearance at first “Summer Rock Festival”    June 1973       

 

 

July ?            Frankfurt, Germany                      Radstadion                               This was Germany's second 1973 "Summer Rock Festival".  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.  Like the June festival, this was probably a traveling roadshow.  More than likely, Giant and the other bands played in other German cities, as well, although only this Frankfurt date has been confirmed so far.  The show stopped in Frankfurt on the weekend of July 21 and 22, but it is not known on which date Giant played.  Originally, this festival was erroneously thought to have taken place in 1974.  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 London.  Before leaving the group, Phil had stated that initial talks centered around making this album either a live release, or some sort of a concept album.  As it turned out, it was neither.  Derek claimed that very little music had actually  been written beforehand, forcing the band to come up with their ideas quickly while in the studio.  The album was recorded during a time of stress for the band, being the first one not to include the elder Shulman.  The band had mixed feelings concerning the music on the album but, on an emotional level, they have very poor memories of the recording sessions. 

 

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.

 

           

            By 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 UK tour, supported by Wild Turkey, but their English concerts were not always as well received as the band would have liked.

            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 Southsea, England.  The film, shot by Ray Shulman with the help of a roadie, was intended to be projected onto smoke from a smoke machine, but the idea failed and was never used.

 

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

Funny Ways

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.

Plain Truth

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.

 

            By now, the only songs remaining in their live set from the early days were Funny Ways, Nothing at All and Plain Truth.  Gentle Giant was definitely gaining a reputation as a band not afraid to rearrange its own music in unusual, creative ways and to show off its ensemble skills when in a live setting.  Yet, at the same time, the last three songs of the set were more loosely structured and gave breathing room for individual members to act as soloists.

           

 

Sep. ?           IN A GLASS HOUSE was released in England, either on Sep 14 or Sep. 21.  However, it was not originally released in America.

 

Sep. 17          Plymouth, England                       Guildhall                                   Wild Turkey opened the show, with singer/guitarist Rod Crisp also on the bill.  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.  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 on the 2004 SCRAPING THE BARREL box set, with this keyboard solo portion entitled Keyboard Concerto.

 

 

Plymouth flyer    Sep. 17, 1973

 

 

Sep. 19          Doncaster, England                     Top Rank                                 Wild Turkey opened the show.

Sep. 22          Manchester, England                   Stoneground                             Wild Turkey opened the show.  Giant played this hall a number of times in their career and a fan at one of those concerts remembers a loud, annoying hum coming from the PA throughout the entire concert.  It’s not known yet at which Manchester gig this happened.  This hum is not evident on a tape that exists of this particular show.

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 the new album.

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.  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.

 

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, Wales                               Gwyn Hall                                 originally scheduled for Oct. 4 but changed to make room for the Llaney concert.  Wild Turkey opened the show.

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 brought them to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.  The scheduled dates in Italy, as found below, were published in the Italian music magazine Ciao 2001 but, after leaving Italy, details are sketchy as to exact dates, cities and venues of the remaining concerts.  There are also indications that there was at least some switching around of dates from the way they appeared in the band’s original itinerary, including the possibility that they actually ended the tour back in Italy.  Early evidence suggests that Tir Na Nog was supposed to play support at the Italian shows, but Acqua Fragile took over the support slot.

 

 

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.

Oct. 13          Rome, Italy                                  Palazzo dello Sport                   Acqua Fragile opened the show.  A tape of this concert once existed, but its whereabouts is now unclear.

 

        

 

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 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 cancelled or rescheduled somehow.

Oct. 23          Switzerland                                                                                  City and venue are unknown.

Oct. 24          Switzerland                                                                                  City and venue are again unknown.

Oct. 25          Germany                                                                                     This was the first scheduled German date of GG’s European tour, this swing through Germany set to conclude on Oct. 31.  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.

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 moved up earlier in the month to Oct. 10 is untrue. 

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                                                                                     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 Golder's Green, England at the Golder's Green Hippodrome.  The band performed Way of Life, Funny Ways, Nothing at All and Excerpts from Octopus and the show is included on the 1998 OUT OF THE FIRE album.  Folk guitarist Dave Ellis preceded Giant on the bill.  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 the original broadcast and did not appear on the official CD either.  However, it did surface on an American Rock Around the World broadcast on July 20, 1975.

 

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 London's Advision Studios.  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 America's devastating Watergate scandal, but the band has claimed this was merely coincidence.  Although the recording sessions were basically completed at this time, there is evidence the band may have done some studio touchups in June 1974.  In a late 1974 radio interview, Derek said that it took six months from the time writing for the album began to the time recording was completed.  Work in the studio proved to be difficult.  England was experiencing a power crisis at the time and the band usually worked on a cycle of two days on and three days off.  The temperature in the studio was kept on the chilly side, causing Derek to joke about how cold his fingers would get.

 

 

In 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 in North America in late 1973 or early 1974.  These include supposed gigs in Long Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Chicago, Minneapolis and Toronto.  There is no hard evidence to confirm any of these shows.  Record Mirror, New Musical Express and Sounds had all announced a U.S. tour commencing in Boston on Nov. 9 and running until Dec. 23, but this tour was cancelled.  It is currently a safe assumption that Giant spent no time whatsoever in North America between May, 1973 and October, 1974.  Ray later said that their record label’s refusal to release their new album in America was a big contributing factor to this situation.  He also blamed the band’s manager, calling him a “crook”.

 

 

                     1974

 

 

Jan. 8            The band's eighth BBC session from Dec. 4, 1973 was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by John Peel.

 

 

            New 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 cancelled, like the one the previous November and December.  In March of 1974, Gentle Giant did hit the road again, staging another tour of Great Britain, supported by String Driven Thing.  They followed this with another swing through Europe with String Driven Thing still in tow as support.  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 claimed a few months later that this UK tour was sold out.

 

 

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.

Funny Ways

Excerpts from Octopus

Nothing at All

Plain Truth

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, England                         University 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 University of East Anglia gigs.  In the dressing room, he witnessed Derek, Ray and Gary jamming to a blues version of a song from an English soap opera called Coronation Street.  Again, it’s not certain at which Norwich gig this took place.  String Driven Thing was not scheduled to play at this particular gig, the opening act instead being Flying Hat Band.  It's possible this show was originally scheduled for Mar. 7, at which time String Driven Thing may very well have been intended as support.

 

 

Norwich ad    Mar. 9, 1974

 

 

Mar. 11          Manchester, England                   Free Trade Hall                         String Driven Thing opened.

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.

Mar. 15          Swansea, Wales                          Guildhall - Brangwyn Hall          String Driven Thing opened.  Brangwyn Hall is actually one of the rooms inside the larger Guildhall.

Mar. 16          London, England                          Drury 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 England to attend the show at Drury Lane.  Reviewers writing in both Sounds and Melody Maker made special mention of the silver “GIANT” sign lighting up over the stage during the “breaking glass” tape loop, both before the opening number and after the encore.

 

 

London’s Drury Lane poster    Mar. 16, 1973

 

 

            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.

Apr. 4            Frankfurt, Germany                      Jahrhunderthalle                       String Driven Thing opened.

Apr. 5            Munster, Germany                       Munsterlandhalle                       String Driven Thing opened.  Two distinct audience tapes, recorded by different people in the crowd, exist of this show.  The song In a Glass House from the first tape has been released officially as a bonus track on a 2000 CD reissue of the IN A GLASS HOUSE album.  A few minutes of The Runaway, Experience and Funny Ways from the second tape 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.

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. 

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.

 

 

Originally, 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 France.  This is the only known time the band ever planned an extensive stay in that country but, other than a passing reference to French dates in Sounds magazine, no other information about those dates has come to light, so it’s difficult to ascertain if the tour even took place.  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 took another swing into Italy to play some dates there.  However, there was rioting and political unrest in Italy at the time, so the group abandoned their time there prematurely.  It's not known how many Italian concerts actually went on as planned.  In the 1970's, Italy was going through much political upheaval.  Rock concerts by non-Italian bands were not common at the time, Gentle Giant being one of the few bands able to play there with any regularity.  Authorities in that country viewed Gentle Giant as performers of “serious music”, not simply as a rock band. 

 

 

Apr. ?            Rome, Italy                                                                                  It’s unknown whether this Italian concert took place, but one fan seems to remember it.

 

Apr. ?           While in Italy in April, Giant is again reported to have been filmed for Italian television.  The exact date and venue are unknown, as is the date of broadcast.

 

Apr. 20          Menton, France                                                                            may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 21          Marseille, France                                                                         may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 22          Rodez, France                                                                             may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 23          Lyon, France                                                                               may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 24          Grenoble, France                                                                         may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 26          Clermont-Ferrand, France                                                            may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

 

Apr. 26          The German TV network Bayrischer Rundfunk is believed to have 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 cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 29          Colmar, France                                                                            may have been cancelled, but String Driven Thing was scheduled to open

Apr. 30          Lille, France                                                                                 may have been cancelled, 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, Snafu and Dizzy Man’s Band.  A 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 England in early May.  No details are known.

 

 

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 cancelled, 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 London.  The studio used for the recording, broadcast on July 1, is not known.  The entire session is missing.

 

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 cancelled 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. 20         On this date, the band may have officially released THE POWER AND THE GLORY in England.  However, a UK release date of June 21 was originally advertised in Sounds, while another press report stated it would not be out until October.  Exactly when the official release actually  happened is unclear, although copies of the album had certainly appeared in the marketplace, either officially or unofficially, as early as late June. 

 

Sep. 22         This is believed to be the date that THE POWER AND THE GLORY was released in America.

 

Oct. ?           The non-LP single, Power and the Glory, may have been released during the first week of October, though some believe it actually came out prior to the new album.  In fact, an ad in Sounds indicated that the single did indeed come out first.  Specifics on where and when the single was recorded are also unknown, though it was possibly 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.

 

???               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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