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Gentle Giant Tour History

*** Part Five ***

*** The Peak of Success ***

 

(mid - late 1975)

 

new information will be in RED

 

July ?           FREE HAND was released in America.  The date was either July 21 or July 28.

 

Aug. 10         ZDF-TV in Germany broadcast the Belgian film on its Sonntagkonzert program.  It was also broadcast on VARA, the Dutch TV network, on the same day.  It's possible that it was also broadcast at some time in other parts of Europe, as well, including a Dutch re-broadcast in December and French and Belgian broadcasts in 1976.  This entire performance has been officially released, in both audio and video form, on the GIANT ON THE BOX DVD, while the song Proclamation has also been included in the 35th anniversary CD reissue of THE POWER AND THE GLORY.  Coincidentally, this same song from the same performance also appears as an enhanced bonus video track on the 35th anniversary CD reissue of PLAYING THE FOOL.

 

 

The band originally had hoped to start their next North American tour in June, but that was pushed back some.  Finally, in August, the group put on a series of concerts, mostly in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.  This tour is not yet thoroughly documented, some questions still remaining.  It may have been somewhat promotional in nature, prior to the main North American tour beginning in October, as it seems they were also doing a number of interviews at this time.  The band headlined most of the shows but played as an opening act at others.  A number of changes were made in their live setlist, including the addition of three songs from the new album and the deletion of Gary Green's guitar solo. 

           

TYPICAL SETLIST  (Mid - Late 1975)

 

Intro/Cogs in Cogs - A new prerecorded original instrumental was now used as the intro.  This new recording can be found on UNDER CONSTRUCTION, mistakenly titled Intro 74.

Proclamation/Funny Ways

The Runaway/Experience - The prerecorded bridge section was now no longer used to connect these two songs.

On Reflection

Excerpts from Octopus - This popular medley was rearranged, making it a bit longer.  It now began with a full band arrangement of The Boys in the Band, complete with the "coin toss" recording, before going into the other material.  The acoustic guitar duet was rewritten and included themes from the songs Raconteur, Troubadour and Acquiring the Taste.

So Sincere

Plain Truth - In this time period, most or all of the vocals were omitted.  The song still spun off into Ray's violin solo.

Free Hand

Just the Same - The outro used after this song was a tape loop fashioned from the song's saxophone riff.  It would gradually fade out.

 

 

Backstage pass used on FREE HAND tour    mid to late 1975

 

 

Aug. 16         Boston, Massachusetts                Boston Garden                          This was an open seating gig, the last of the so-called “dance concerts” held at this venue.  A tape exists of the show, at which Giant played first, before Peter Frampton and headliners Steppenwolf.  Giant’s set had poor attendance with crowd estimates ranging from 250 to 1000.  A review in Billboard was kinder to Giant than it was to Steppenwolf, although it mentions that both acts had sound problems and it oddly did not mention Frampton at all.  This review also stated that GG’s set was rather short and that they were “not allowed an encore”.  Before Excerpts from Octopus, a member of Giant's crew made a mistake by playing, instead of the "coin toss" tape, a snippet of the pre-recorded tape loop used as an outro to the song Just the Same.  A very unusual arrangement of Plain Truth was played on this evening.  It consisted only of a brief instrumental portion of the song used as an intro to Free Hand, with the guitar taking over some of the melody line from the violin.  There was a large contingent in the audience from the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels, the notorious motorcycle gang that was somewhat associated with Steppenwolf.  One false report had these bikers running security and riding their bikes through the crowd in order to introduce the headliners from the stage.  Although an entertaining notion, this did not actually happen.  It is true, however, that a political group called the Coalition Against Macho-Sexist Music picketed and distributed pamphlets outside the venue, claiming Steppenwolf’s songs promoted sexist views against women.

Aug. 17         Toronto, Ontario                          Varsity Stadium                        A show was scheduled here on this date, but it was cancelled and rescheduled for Sep. 1.  The reasons for this change have not been confirmed, but it may have had something to do with trouble at a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert held earlier in the summer at this same venue.

Aug. 18         Trois-Rivieres, Quebec                Stade de Trois-Rivieres            The stage was set up on two flatbed trucks on second base at the local baseball stadium and the band began quite late.  About 2500 were in attendance on a fairly cold night, making the place about half full.  Two Quebec area acts, prog group Pollen and prog/folk singer Raoul Duguay, were the opening acts.  The tickets for the concert listed Triumvirat as being on the bill, as well, but they did not play.  Duguay, who was not listed on the tickets, may have been a substitute act.

Aug. 21         Quebec City, Quebec                   Colisee                                     Pollen was the opening act at this Quebec City hockey arena.

 

 

Quebec City ticket    Aug. 21, 1975

 

 

Aug. 22         FREE HAND was released in England.  It went on to become the most commercially successful album Gentle Giant ever made, with songs that were musically challenging, yet accessible.  The album sold very well in most parts of the world and the band began to think their future would be very bright indeed.

 

Aug. 23         Hempstead, New York                 Calderone Concert Hall             This is the band's first performance at this Long Island venue, an old refurbished movie theater, but they returned there several times more in later years.  Ray remembers a very odd bill with Giant actually playing with heavy metal favorites Kiss.  Actually, he is incorrect.  Both bands did play there on Aug. 23 but in two completely separate gigs.  Kiss played at 8:00 P.M. while Giant was scheduled to perform at 11:30 P.M.  It ended up taking longer than expected to tear down Kiss' equipment, so Giant's show started quite late, actually closer to 1:30.  A tape of GG's performance does exist, however. 

Aug. 24         Northampton, Pennsylvania          Roxy Theater                            GG headlined at this show and there may, in fact, not have been any support act.  In an interview held on Aug. 22, Derek confirmed that this show was indeed planned for two days later.  However, one fan claims that, after hearing about the concert, he drove to the theater and found no concert.  Other indications implied the show had actually taken place on Aug. 12, but Derek’s statements at the Aug. 22 interview seem to refute that.

Aug. ?           Rochester, New York                                                                   In a different interview held at the time, Derek indicated there may have been a gig scheduled in Rochester, but he seems to have been mistaken.  No contemporary Rochester press coverage has come to light to confirm such a concert.

Aug. 30         Montreal, Quebec                        Autostade                                 This was an outdoor gig that Giant headlined but it was plagued by bad luck.  It was actually scheduled for Aug. 29 but that was a rainy day, so the concert was moved to the planned rain date of the following night.  Unfortunately, it also rained on Aug. 30.  More significantly, most of Quebec Province suffered a power blackout that day, the power not returning until shortly before showtime.  The concert began an hour and a half late and there ended up being no time for proper soundchecks though, fortunately, the crowd was well-behaved during this delay.  The opening act, Weather Report, had to endure very poor sound, while Giant’s set at least sounded somewhat better.  One unsubstantiated report had the power going completely out again briefly during Giant’s set, at which time the band is said to have continued playing some acoustic music while awaiting the return of the electricity.  Another fan at the show disputes this claim and offers the possibility that the first fan was misremembering or misinterpreting one of the naturally quiet portions of the show.  Regardless, it was not one of Montreal’s best concert events.  The venue held 45,000 but only 12,000 tickets were reported to have been sold.  Compounding the problem, there was also a transportation strike in progress at the time and the result was that only about 7,000 people showed up at all.  Pollen was also supposed to have been on the bill, but they did not play.  A tape of this show existed at one time, but it is now believed lost.

 

 

Montreal - rain date noted in ad    Aug. 30, 1975

 

 

Sep. 1           Toronto, Ontario                          Maple Leaf Gardens                  This was the rescheduled concert from Aug. 17, and was a festival seating gig.  Existing backstage passes and posters from this rescheduled date indicate it was supposed to take place as an outdoor gig at Varsity Stadium, but it was changed right on the day of the concert to nearby Maple Leaf Gardens, allegedly because of inclement weather.  However, there may have been other reasons.  Festival seating had recently caused problems at Varsity Stadium, so the original plan called for only 25,000 tickets to be made available, a number intended to make the audience more “comfortable”.  Total sales must have been well below that, as Maple Leaf Gardens only held about 16,000.  Radio announcements were used in an attempt to notify fans of the last-minute change in venue, while personnel were assigned to Varsity Stadium to inform all who showed up there of what was happening.  The show itself ended up starting a little late, also due to the venue change.  At the concert, Giant was followed by the J. Geils Band with Jefferson Starship as the headliners.  During the J. Geils set, Gary was seen jumping around and playing wild air guitar backstage.  One fan believes PFM also played support at this show, but no further evidence has been found to back up that claim.

Sep. 12          Los Angeles, CA                          Shrine Auditorium                     Giant headlined a show here, though the rest of the bill is unknown.  It can be presumed that other gigs occurred between the above listed Sep. 1 show and this one, but where they might have been is also unknown.

 

 

There are personal reminiscences from fans who claim the band played at least one gig with Greenslade, probably sometime in 1975.  No other information is known so this is, of course, unconfirmed.

 

 

Sep. 16         On this date, in London, the band recorded their eleventh and BBC studio session, consisting of Just the Same, Free Hand and On Reflection, all songs from the newly-recorded FREE HAND album.  It was recorded at Maida Vale Studio 4 and broadcast on Oct. 13.  After this, the band ttok a break from recording sessions for the BBC, as their record label no longer considered the BBC helpful in the band's promotion.  This entire session appears on the OUT OF THE WOODS  and TOTALLY OUT OF THE WOODS albums.

 

 

            In the fall of 1975, Giant began another round of full-scale worldwide touring to support their new album.  Their stage set was, by now, even more visually elaborate, utilizing slide presentations synchronized to the music.  The group seemed to be operating at the peak of their commercial and creative abilities.  As a whole, the band was a force with which to be reckoned.  Their live shows were tight, brilliantly arranged and performed, and usually very well received.  However, in North America, they still at times found themselves serving as an opening act, notably for the Strawbs and Rick Wakeman.

           

 

Sep. 21        London, England                            New Victoria Theatre                This was supposedly a very long concert and has also been described as a "comeback gig", since the band had not played England in quite a while.  The sound in the hall, packed with about 2000 fans, was reported in the press to be less than ideal.  Nevertheless, the group's excitement at being back in their homeland was apparent to the audience, a fact which did not stop Derek from complaining a bit onstage about the band’s poor reputation in England up to that point.  Michael Moore played in support of Giant, as he would on many occasions during the band's full English tour coming up in December.  At one point early on, this show was erroneously reported in the music press as being scheduled for Victoria Palace, later corrected to New Victoria Hall.  However, tickets for the show listed the venue as New Victoria Theatre.

 

       

 

London - marquee and ticket    Sep. 21, 1975

 

 

Sep. 22          Amsterdam, Holland                                                                     It was once thought a gig may have taken place here, but it seems that was not the case.  A month earlier, Derek said in an interview that the band had three European gigs lined up in December before heading back to the States.  Amsterdam would have actually made four.

Sep. 23          Rotterdam, Holland                      De Doelen                                This was in a venue described as having excellent acoustics.  The concert was late beginning, but the crowd of 1500 - 2000 fans was quiet and respectful.  It’s been stated that members of the band Kayak were among these attendees.  An advertisement in the Dutch music magazine Oor mentioned the addition of a support act but did not name the act.  Several fans in attendance actually recall there being no opener at all.  One critic in attendance absolutely hated the performance and gave it a scathing negative review in the Dutch press.

 

 

Rotterdam ad    Sep. 23, 1975

 

 

Sep. 24          Frankfurt, Germany                      Jahrhunderthalle                       A tape exists of this gig.  After the encore, the crowd continued to applaud wildly.  Derek eventually came back out and thanked them but the band did not play again.  Some evidence suggested the possibility that the venue was changed at the last minute to Festhalle Messgelande, but the fan who originally taped the performance confirms it was indeed held at Jahrhunderthalle.  There may not have been an opening act at this show.

 

 

Frankfurt poster    Sep. 24, 1975

 

 

Sep. 28         A small amount of music recorded in New York City on Jan. 18 was broadcast by King Biscuit Radio.  The band played two shows on that January night and it had been believed the broadcast was taken from the second one but this is no longer certain.  Only Intro/Cogs In Cogs and The Runaway/Experience were aired.  The Runaway/Experience from this same show was also included on the official KING BISCUIT PRESENTS GENTLE GIANT album.  Aerosmith was also featured on this particular broadcast.  Some believe this broadcast to have actually taken place on Sep. 25, but that is unlikely.

 

Oct. 1            Largo, Maryland                           Capitol Center                           Once again, Giant opened for old friends Jethro Tull at this large 18,000 seat arena.  Originally, this date caused much confusion as it does not appear in a GG ad run in Billboard at the time.  However, they definitely were there.  There is written documentation, plus a number of eyewitnesses have come forward with clear recollections of them opening the show, even remembering watching them on a large projection screen.  In fact, a few reports through the years have hinted at the possibility of additional pairings of Tull and Giant around this same time period, though that is not confirmed at all.  There is also a rumor, based on an old bootleg record, that Giant played the Hollywood Palace in nearby Ellicott City, Maryland around this time but that is unlikely.  At this Largo show, although most of the crowd was kind to Giant, there was apparently a small portion of the crowd who were quite vocal in their displeasure with having to sit through the opening set.  A partial tape of Tull’s set exists and there is a rumor that Giant’s set may also have been recorded but, if so, it has not surfaced. 

Oct. 3            White Plains, New York                White Plains Music Hall            Giant was the first act to perform at this brand new concert venue, along with their support act, Gary Wright.  During the clavinet introduction to Experience, Kerry is reported to have found his instrument to be out of tune.  Using a tuning wrench, he quickly opened the lid and tuned it, then went on as if nothing had happened.  A tape exists, allegedly recorded at this concert, although questions have arisen as to whether this tape may actually have been made at a different show.  On the recording, the intro tape leading into Cogs in Cogs at the beginning of the show didn't work, nor did the "breaking glass" tape normally used to lead into The Runaway.  However, at least three fans in attendance recall both tapes working fine.  Additionally, the recording includes the instrumental Plain Truth intro before Ray's violin solo, but one of these same fans remembers Ray jokingly trying to start to play without his instrument, then retrieving it and beginning his solo without the rest of the band.  Regardless of the tape’s origin, On Reflection and Proclamation from it have been included in the 2013 compilation album MEMORIES OF OLD DAYS.

Oct. 4            Boston, Massachusetts                Orpheum Theater                      Opening this show was a blues act from the Boston area, the James Montgomery Band.  Harmonica player James Cotton supposedly sat in on a few songs with the opening band.  A tape of Giant's performance exists.  The crowd was so supportive on this night, that they continued to yell and cheer for quite a while after the show was over, even after the house lights had been turned up and half the band’s gear had been torn down.  A woman with a British accent, possibly someone associated with the band, finally had to take the stage and politely ask the audience to go home.

Oct. 5            Buffalo, New York                        New Century Theatre                Brian Augur's Oblivion Express went first, followed by Gary Wright, both opening for Giant.  One fan in the front row recalls Wright having a lot of glitter in his hair, lit by bright white lights.  After frequently shaking his head during his set, the front row ended up covered in glitter.  Then, during GG’s set, one lucky fan was rewarded with a vibraphone mallet that Kerry threw into the crowd after his Funny Ways solo.   This was reportedly a long gig, ending after 1:00 A.M.  One fan claims it ran long because it was late getting started but this is not clear.

 

Oct. 6            With a night off before their Hempstead, NY radio broadcast described below, the band took the opportunity to see a concert of their own, all five attending a Weather Report show at the famous New York City nightclub, the Bottom Line.  Miles Davis was also in the audience.

 

 

 

Buffalo ad    Oct. 5, 1975

 

 

Oct. 7            In Hempstead, New York at Ultrasonic Recording Studio, Giant performed in front of a studio audience of less than 100 people.  The room was the size of a small gymnasium with the band set up on one end with no stage and no special lighting effects.  The fans sat on the floor.  The concert was broadcast live over New York City's WLIR radio, as part of that station's regular series of broadcasts from Ultrasonic Studio.  On July 14, 1976, a portion of this concert was broadcast in England on the BBC Rock Hour radio program. 

 

 

It had been previously assumed that Giant made another promotional appearance around this same time at an unknown New York City radio station.  This appearance was said to include a live performance by the band.  However, this has been disproved.  A tape alleged to be of this radio broadcast was actually a combination of a portion of the Sep. 28 King Biscuit broadcast and a small portion of the narration from the Oct. 7 Ultrasonic Studio session.

 

 

Oct. 9            Waterbury, Connecticut                Palace Theater                         opened for Rick Wakeman.  A tape of this concert exists.  Oddly, although the band did play the song Experience at this gig, they did not play The Runaway which usually led into it.  It appears that Wakeman and Giant were originally scheduled to play on this evening at the Allen P. Kirby Field House at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.  Why the gig was changed to Waterbury is unknown.

Oct. 10          Philadelphia, Pennsylvania           Spectrum                                  preceded by Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House and followed by Rick Wakeman.  A tape exists of this show.  Surprisingly, this was the very first time the group ever played in Philadelphia, a fact Derek confirmed from the stage.  Two fans described the concert as being “not well attended”.  Another two reports have a good number of Giant fans leaving before Wakeman’s set.  In its review, the Villanova University newspaper The Villanovan ran the headline “Giant Outshines Wakeman at Spectrum”.  A 1976 Philadelphia Inquirer article referred back to this show, stating that the boomy acoustics of the large Spectrum were not favorable for GG’s delicate interplay of instruments.  The bill for this show was not firm until close to the day of the show.  GG’s participation was initially listed as “tentative” while Italian band PFM was at one point advertised as being involved instead of Larry Coryell.

Oct. 11          New York, New York                    Academy of Music                    White Lightnin’ was the opening act and had to endure quite a bit of booing from the audience.  There were some technical difficulties at this show with some of the slides being shown at wrong times.  Two separate audience tapes of this show are known to exist.  One of them is mostly complete and the other, while incomplete, does include a few bits and pieces not found on the first tape.  During an interview held the following day, band members were complimented on the quality of this particular performance.  When asked for an explanation, Ray joked that it must have been because Gary was wearing “new shoelaces”.

 

 

New York’s Academy of Music ad    Oct. 11, 1975

 

 

Oct. 13          Gentle Giant's eleventh BBC session, recorded on Sept. 16, was broadcast on Sounds of the Seventies, hosted by John Peel.  It was re-broadcast on Dec. 9, 1975.

 

Oct. 14          Kalamazoo, Michigan                   Old Central High School - Chenery Auditorium                                          This gig was cancelled one day before showtime, due to only 250 tickets being sold.  Premier Talent, the talent agency handling this tour for Giant, apparently did not deliver a signed contract to the show’s promoter until one week before the show.  This simply did not allow the rightfully angry promoter enough time to advertise sufficiently.  Interestingly, the band’s record label provided copies of the Power and the Glory single to be given away to all who purchased a ticket, but even this promotional gimmick came too late to save the show.  Originally, Gary Wright was planned as the opening act but at the last minute, Premier Talent substituted White Lightnin’.

 

 

Kalamazoo - concert cancelled at last minute    Oct. 14, 1975

 

 

Oct. 16          Chicago, Illinois                           Auditorium Theater                   This was a poorly attended show with the hall only half full, a fact that Derek commented on from the stage, thanking those that did attend.  Nonetheless, Gary does recall the band playing fairly well this night.  Gary Wright opened and Giant headlined.  In addition to this date, an unsubstantiated report also has GG opening for Rare Earth at a relatively small Chicago venue while touring in support of their FREE HAND album in the second half of 1975.  Two separate Chicago gigs on this tour seems unlikely. 

 

         

 

Chicago    Oct. 16, 1975

 

 

Oct. 17          Detroit, Michigan                         Cobo Hall                                 preceded by Gary Wright with Rick Wakeman the headliner.  One report has GG being poorly treated by the Wakeman audience, no doubt reinforcing the reservations Kerry expressed in an interview the previous November about the band’s misfortunes when playing in Detroit.  It's rumored Giant played River at this gig.  Similar rumors concerning this song have circulated around a few gigs from earlier years, as well, though all remain unconfirmed.

Oct. 18          Cincinnati, Ohio                           Riverfront Coliseum                  This was a brand new facility and this was the first major concert attraction held there.  The venue seats over 17,000 but on this night was arranged in “theater setup” with only 7500 tickets put on sale.  On this night, Giant opened for Rick Wakeman.  Procol Harum was supposed to appear second on the bill but was unable to, due to their equipment truck breaking down in West Virginia.  Giant agreed to let Procol use their equipment, but Wakeman vetoed the idea.  Procol may have also asked to play last to give their equipment time to arrive, but Wakeman was not keen on that idea, either.   Whatever the case, this all led to a nasty scene backstage between Wakeman’s road crew and members of Procol Harum.  After Giant’s set, Procol band member Keith Reid tried to take the stage and announce to the crowd why they weren’t playing, but Wakeman’s crew stopped him.  In fact, no announcement at all about Procol was made until the end of the evening.  After the show, the battle went public as Procol’s Reid and Gary Brooker took to the airwaves over Cincinnati's WEBN radio to complain about the situation.  Wakeman himself heard this broadcast and phoned in to rebut against what he called “lies”.  A local newspaper, in its review of the show, described GG’s performance as “lackluster”, an assessment shared by at least some of the crowd who were heard booing during their set.  A fan reports that Ray broke a string or two during his violin solo.  However, this is not apparent on a tape that exists of the show.  Possibly, the fan actually witnessed the unraveling of some of the horsehair on Ray’s bow.  An early ad listed Peter Frampton as being second on the bill, but that was quickly changed in later advertising to Procol Harum. 

Oct. 19          Indiana, Pennsylvania                  Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Fieldhouse                                          opened for Procol Harum.  One report has Alex Harvey possibly appearing, but two other reports refute this, making it unlikely.  It had been previously assumed that this show was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, possibly at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.  However, the concert map on the inside cover of Giant's 1977 live album, PLAYING THE FOOL, shows the band leaving Cincinnati after Oct. 18 and heading east, away from the state of Indiana.  Whereas this album cover lists all other concerts by city, the Oct. 19 concert east of Cincinnati is listed as being held in "Indiana", not "Indianapolis", and geographically, it is positioned in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  There is a small college town near Pittsburgh called Indiana and it has been confirmed that it was there that the band performed.  The show was late starting, possibly due to Giant’s arriving late to the venue.  Because of this, their set may have been truncated.

???                Dallas, Texas                              Electric Ballroom                      Although also unconfirmed, a fan who saw the band at the Chicago Auditorium with Gary Wright specifically recalls seeing them again at this Dallas venue shortly afterward.  This fan may be confusing this with a different Electric Ballroom show, but fan does remember a largely uninterested audience with only about ten rows of enthusiastic listeners and the rest of the crowd not paying attention or milling about in back.

 

 

In an interview on Oct. 12, members of the band said they were considering taping an appearance for the American television show, Don Kirschner's Rock Concert a week later, but they had not yet committed to the idea, as they were concerned over retaining control over the final mix.  It is unknown if this ever took place.

 

 

Oct. 21          Milwaukee, Wisconsin                  Riverside Theatre                     Gary Wright began the proceedings on this occasion, with Giant playing second and Peter Frampton finishing as headliner.  An early report, apparently erroneous, had Giant opening for Golden Earring and Aerosmith.  The Riverside was an ornate 1920’s movie house that seated in the neighborhood of 4000 people.

Oct. 22          St. Louis, Missouri                       Kiel Opera House                      opened for Rick Wakeman.  During the Excerpts from Octopus medley, the band had some brief technical difficulties right before breaking into The Advent of Panurge.  Derek subsequently missed his vocal entrance, leaving Kerry to sing the opening line of the song alone.  A tape of the gig exists. 

Oct. 23          Vancouver, British Columbia        Commodore Cabaret Ballroom   Here, GG was supposed to open for Status Quo but, due to illness, Status Quo cancelled about a week before the scheduled date.  REO Speedwagon was brought in as a last minute replacement as headliners.  This dancehall venue held approximately 1000 people.  It had a low stage and was set up in such a way that the front of the audience could be right up next to the performers.  The crowd at this gig cheered for quite a while after GG played, hoping they would be rewarded with an encore, but to no avail.  According to a review in the Vancouver Sun, half the crowd then proceeded to leave before REO even took the stage.  One fan at the show actually thinks the percentage of people who left after Giant’s set was as high as 80 percent.

Oct. 24          Portland, Oregon                         Paramount Theatre                   opened for the Strawbs.  A tour ad in Billboard originally listed this date as Oct. 26.

Oct. 25          Seattle, Washington                     Moore Egyptian Theater            opened for the Strawbs in this quite intimate theater setting.  Many in the audience were apparently there to see Giant, as two thirds of the crowd were reported to have left by the Strawbs' third song.  Even the Strawbs' Dave Cousins, when recently recalling this particular gig, commented that Giant blew his own band away.  In fact, Cousins has also claimed that Giant was the only band he ever shared a stage with that intimidated him.  Billboard originally listed this show as taking place on Oct. 24. 

 

           

 

Seattle    Oct. 25, 1975

 

 

Oct. 28          Berkeley, California                      Community Theater                  Starting the show was a folk singer named Bette White.  GG played second, both opening for the Strawbs.  A tape of this gig exists and Free Hand from it appears on the MEMORIES OF OLD DAYS compilation.

Oct. 30          Phoenix, Arizona                          Celebrity Theatre                      opened for the Strawbs.  This was an in-the-round theater with a rotating stage.  The farthest seats from the stage were only 75 feet away.

Nov. 1           Los Angeles, California                Shrine Auditorium                     Gary remembers there being problems with the lights at this show.  There is a strong possibility that the Strawbs were again scheduled to headline before canceling.  As it turned out, Giant headlined while a singer/keyboard player by the name of Tom Snow had the bad fortune of opening the show and being heavily booed.

Nov. 2           San Diego, California                   Golden Hall                               Some evidence indicated this show was held at the Civic Center, right across the street from Golden Hall, but that has been discounted.  GG opened for the Strawbs.  Although Giant reportedly had no trouble during their set, the Strawbs had a bus breakdown and had to begin without a proper soundcheck.  This caused a number of technical problems for them during their set.  On an existing tape of this show, Derek tells the audience that this is the last gig of the band's present North American tour, making the next two dates suspicious.

Nov. 5           New York, New York                    Academy of Music                    This is a totally unsubstantiated date that has been postulated for a long while but has always been questionable.  More recently, a couple different eyewitnesses have recalled a date at the Academy of Music from around this time when Giant shared a bill with the Strawbs, the Pretty Things and Spooky Tooth though, again, no hard evidence has surfaced.

Nov. 7           Detroit, Michigan                         Cobo Hall                                 It is very unlikely that Giant played Detroit on this date, although such a gig is listed in the inside gatefold of the 1977 PLAYING THE FOOL live album.  It certainly did not appear on any advertised tour schedule.  Reliable sources actually place Dave Mason and Little Feat at Cobo Hall on Nov. 7.

 

 

It has not been confirmed, but one fan has vivid recollections of Giant playing at the “Arcosanti Arts Festival” at some point.  Arcosanti is an experimental town under construction since 1970 in the Arizona desert 65 miles north of Phoenix.  Between 1975 and 1978, they staged their Arts Festival as a fundraising project, often drawing name acts such as Jackson Browne, Stephen Stills and Richie Havens.  The fan remembers the band putting on a "raw" show with no special lighting and being initially booed by "rednecks" in the crowd who eventually wandered off.  This left GG to play a fine set in front of a very small audience of only 50 people or less.  If Giant did appear, it would have had to have been in either 1975 or 1976, as the group was not in the USA during the other Festivals.  The 1975 event was in early November while the 1976 event was in late October, both times when they could theoretically have participated.  Unfortunately, no contemporary press coverage has been found that mentioned Giant, and archivists at Arcosanti have been unable to find any record of the band's participation in any concerts in their town's history.  Barring any other evidence coming to light, the fan's recollections may very well be incorrect.

 

 

???                Dallas, Texas                              Electric Ballroom                      A fan who saw the band at the Chicago Auditorium with Gary Wright specifically recalls seeing them again at this Dallas venue a few weeks later.  The Chicago gig in question was most likely the Oct. 16 date listed above, placing this Dallas appearance in this approximate time frame.  On the other hand, a case could also be made that this Electric Ballroom show took place in the Spring of 1975, after the Chicago gig of Feb. 17.  The possibility of one of these Dallas shows having taken place gains further legitimacy when considering a rumor that’s surfaced that Giant did in fact play that city five times in their career while, so far, only four have been confirmed.  Although no irrefutable proof of either date has yet surfaced, the fan does remember a largely uninterested audience with only about ten rows of enthusiastic listeners and the rest of the crowd not paying attention or milling about in back.

Nov. 10         Oslo, Norway                               Chateau Neuf                            A full house of around 1500 fans attended this show.

Nov. 12         Stockholm, Sweden                     Karen                                       Karen, or Karhuset, as it was sometimes referred to, was not technically part of Stockholm University but was operated by the faculty of that University as a Student Union.  For this concert, it was privately rented by one of the University's students who then booked Giant.  On occasions like this, the hall was renamed “Club Karen”, as it was whenever a concert or dance night took place.  The show, attended by approximately 2000 fans, was recorded by Sweden's Radio 3 and then broadcast in edited form at a later date, possibly a week later.  This edited broadcast version had been heavily bootlegged through the years, but now has been officially released on the LIVE IN STOCKHOLM ’75 CD, produced from Swedish Radio’s master tape.  A slightly different edit of this show was also re-broadcast in January of 1976 as part of the Tonkraft series.  The original producer at Radio 3 attempted to locate any remaining portions of the concert that were not broadcast and therefore not released, but was unsuccessful and now believes they no longer exist.

Nov. 13         Copenhagen, Denmark                 Hard Rock Cafe                        This concert was scheduled and advertised, but ultimately cancelled.  Supposedly, the stage at the venue was too small, so the band pulled out at the last minute.  A notice was pinned to the door of the venue informing the arriving fans of the sudden cancellation.  One rumor floating at the time was that, upon cancelling the show, the band drove off to somewhere in Scandanavia.  Perhaps another gig was scheduled there for the next night, but this is pure conjecture.

 

Nov. 14         It is believed that this is the date the band released its first compilation album, entitled GIANT STEPS, though it could possibly have been on Nov. 1.  It included songs from their first six studio albums.  It also included the song Power and the Glory, previously only available as a single.  It was released in England and at least part of Europe, but not in the United States.

 

Nov. 15         Hannover, Germany                     Niedersachsenhalle

 

 

Hannover ticket    Nov. 15, 1975

 

 

Nov. 16         Berlin, Germany                           HDK Concerthall                       This concert took place in a venue normally used for more "serious" concerts.  Therefore, the atmosphere was more sophisticated than that of a typical rock concert.  A contributing factor to this could have been the stage's neat, clean appearance since, at the time, all of Giant's amplifiers and equipment were hidden behind wooden frames covered in fabric.  These frames also held the twinkling white lights which flashed during the 5-man drum bash.

Nov. 17         Dusseldorf, Germany                   Philipshalle                               A tape of this show exists.

Nov. 18         Hamburg, Germany                     Musikhalle                                There may have been no support act at this show.  In fact, very few support acts are known from this time period, so Giant may have frequently played alone.

 

               

 

Hamburg    Nov. 18, 1975

 

 

Nov. 20         Gutersloh, Germany                     Sporthalle

Nov. 21         Wiesbaden, Germany                   Singen Scheffelhalle

Nov. 22         Munich, Germany                        Circus Krone Building

 

Nov. 23         KMET Radio in Los Angeles, California broadcast a live Gentle Giant set at 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, Nov. 23.  Cash Box announced that the set had been recorded a month earlier in “Gotham”, a common nickname for New York City.  The band could have recorded something specifically for KMET while they were in the New York area on or around Oct. 11, similar to what they had done on Feb. 13 in West Hollywood.  Alternatively, the radio station could have simply arranged to re-broadcast the Oct. 7 studio session from Hempstead, New York.  More specifics are unknown at this time.

                    

Nov. 24         Basel, Switzerland                       Mustermesse Reihenring          A tape of this concert exists.                   

Nov. 25         Karlsruhe, Germany                     Stadthalle

Nov. 26         Mannheim, Germany                    Rosengarten Mozartsall           

Nov. 27         Zurich, Switzerland                      Volkshaus                                There is an existing tape of this gig.

 

 

Zurich poster    Nov. 27, 1975

 

 

Nov. 28         Metz, France                              

Nov. 29         Paris, France                               Olympia                                    A portion of this concert was broadcast over AM radio in Paris, but it is uncertain whether it was broadcast live or at some point after the concert took place.  During the broadcast, a French announcer translated all of Derek’s English introductions.

Nov. 30         Brussels, Belgium                        Ancienne Belgique                                                                                     

Dec. 1           Amsterdam, Holland                     Carre Theatre                           Mike McClintock opened for GG at this show.  This venue has been described as an intimate "circus theatre", with very steep seating.  It’s been reported that there was a loud, irritating buzz in at least one audience speaker during Ray’s quadrophonic violin solo, possibly caused by bad grounding.  Still, about 2000 fans enjoyed this sold out show, but influential Dutch pop critic Elly de Waard hated it.

 

       

 

Amsterdam    Dec. 1, 1975

 

 

Dec. 2           Rotterdam, Holland                      De Doelen                                This is an unconfirmed date.

 

Dec. ?           A rumor has been floated that the band was filmed around this time for Dutch VARA TV.  Specifically, it’s been suggested this filming may have taken place on Dec. 2, possibly at the above listed Rotterdam concert, but this is far from clear.  So far, no evidence to confirm any filming at all has surfaced.

 

 

            In December, Giant finally brought a tour to England, making up for the cancelled tour from the previous December.  It was their first regular British tour since spring 1974.  Unfortunately, even though they were at the height of their success in most countries, the band still did not receive the fan support at home that they felt they deserved.  It is also not known if they made any changes to their setlist at this time, since no recordings from this tour have surfaced.  Scheduled to open on this tour was the guitarist and singer/songwriter Michael Moore who, by that time, was starting to make a name for himself in English folk music circles.

 

 

UK tour ad    Dec. 1975

 

 

Dec. 5           Norwich, England                         University of East Anglia                       One fan who managed to meet the band backstage saw them playing a word game which Ray told him they sometimes did to alleviate the boredom of being on the road.  For instance, Ray presented the phrase “an abundance of prehensile extremities lessens the onerous burden” while his bandmates had to guess the simpler translation of “many hands make light work”.  It’s believed that Michael Moore was scheduled to open.

Dec. 6           Leeds, England                            Leeds University - Student Union           Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 7           London, England                          Hemel Hempstead Pavillion                   Michael Moore was the opening act.  The Pavillion was a somewhat small, modern hall and although, by one account, GG was well received, one fan does remember them as being too loud for such a small venue.  However, a reviewer in Sounds said the sound quality was excellent.  Incidentally, this review was one of very few reviews the UK press even bothered to publish about this particular homeland tour.

Dec. 8           Birmingham, England                   Town Hall                                 Michael Moore was the opening act.

 

 

Birmingham poster    Dec. 8, 1975

 

 

Dec. 9           The BBC re-broadcast the band’s Sep. 16 session as part of the John Peel Show.  After playing the final song, Free Hand, Peel mistakenly introduced the band as Supertramp, before quickly correcting himself.  Shortly after this, Peel lost interest in many of the progressive bands of the day.  He soon became a champion of the emerging punk scene.

 

Dec. 9           Manchester, England                   Free Trade Hall                         Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 11         Bristol, England                           Colston Hall                              Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 12         Cambridge, England                    Corn Exchange                         Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 13         Liverpool, England                       Liverpool Stadium                     The crowd was large and appreciative.  Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 15         Derby, England                            King's Hall                                This gig was a late addition to the tour and was originally scheduled for Dec. 18, but it was moved up to Dec. 15 for unknown reasons.  Michael Moore was the opening act.

 

 

Derby poster    Dec. 15, 1975

 

 

Dec. 16         Newcastle, England                     City Hall                                   There was an opening act and it may indeed have been Michael Moore again, but one report has folk singer Richard Digance opening.  This concert was not terribly well attended.

Dec. 17         Sheffield, England                        City Hall                                   Michael Moore was the opening act.

Dec. 19         Portsmouth, England                    Guildhall                                   Michael Moore was the opening act.

 

       

 

Portsmouth    Dec. 19, 1975

 

 

Dec. 22         Plymouth, England                       Guildhall                                   Michael Moore was the opening act.  Melody Maker reported that, on this date, the group played again in their hometown of Portsmouth, just three days after already playing there.  However, they most likely appeared on Dec. 22 in Plymouth, the Melody Maker report probably being just a misprint.  A flyer exists advertising the Plymouth engagement, describing it as a “Christmas Concert”.

Dec. ?           Chatham, England                       Central Hall                              Although unconfirmed, there is some evidence that Giant played a gig in Chatham during this tour, again possibly with Michael Moore.

Dec. ?           Wales                                                                                          It is rumored that the group also played one show somewhere in Wales at this time.  No details are known.

 

Go on to   Part Six

 

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