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Gentle Giant Tour History
*** Part Five ***
*** The Peak of Success ***
(mid - late 1975)
new information will be in RED
??? The American release date for FREE HAND is not yet pinned down. Dates of July 21 and July 28 have been mooted but this is far from confirmed. In England, it was the first GG album released by Chrysalis and, according to notices in the British press, it was “rush released” in that country in late August. This calls the US release, a full month earlier, into question. The first portion of August seems more likely for the American release but more information is needed.
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 Dutch re-broadcasts in December and perhaps again the following year, as well as French and Belgian broadcasts in 1976. It's possible that it was also broadcast at some time in other parts of Europe, as well, including Dutch re-broadcasts in December and perhaps again the following year, as well as 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.
ZDF-TV “Sonntagkonzert” broadcast notice Aug. 10, 1975
The band originally had hoped to start their next North American tour in June, but that was pushed back some. A couple vague press reports indicate this may have been somehow due to the “English tax situation”. In August, the group was able to put on only a short series of concerts in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. Others may indeed have been planned and then scrapped. This time period is not yet thoroughly documented, with noticeable gaps between some of the shows and some questions still remaining. They did manage to do a number of interviews, so some of their activities may have been promotional in nature. As for the few concerts that have been confirmed, the band headlined some of the shows and played as an opening act at others. A number of changes were also made in their live setlist, including the addition of three songs from the new album and the deletion of Gary Green's guitar solo. A full North American tour didn’t finally begin until the beginning of October.
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.
The Runaway/Experience - The prerecorded bridge section was now no longer used to connect these two songs.
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.
Plain Truth - In this time period, most or all of the vocals were omitted. The song still spun off into Ray's violin solo.
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 1,000. 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 canceled 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 2,500 were in attendance on a fairly cold night, making the place about half full. Local Quebec-area band Pollen was one of the opening acts. Triumvirat was also listed on the tickets and posters, but did not play. Prog/folk singer Raoul Duguay, himself a Quebec-area musician, did play and may have been a substitute act.
Trois-Rivieres poster Aug. 18, 1975
Aug. 21 Quebec City, Quebec Colisee Pollen was the opening act at this Quebec City hockey arena and were well received.
Quebec City ad and ticket Aug. 21, 1975
Aug. 22 Chrysalis definitely rush released FREE HAND in England in late August, probably on Aug. 22. 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.
Hempstead - late show after Kiss concert Aug. 23, 1975
Aug. 25 Northampton, Pennsylvania Roxy Theater One report has P.F. and the Flyers as the opening act, but another report has Giant performing alone. In an interview held on Aug. 22, Derek stated that this show was planned for two days later, namely Aug. 24. That may have been the original plan but, more recently, printed documentation indicates the concert actually took place on Aug. 25.
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 was also cold and rainy on
Aug. 30. More significantly, most of
Montreal ad and backstage pass Aug. 30, 1975
Sep. 1 Toronto,
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
Toronto flyer Sep. 1, 1975
Sep. 12 Los Angeles, California Shrine Auditorium Giant was set to headline a show here, but it was postponed. The band subsequently didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until November 1. It can be assumed other dates in the western US were planned at one time, as well, with another couple press reports indicating one or two more in southern California being scrapped, again due to the alleged “English tax situation”. However, these dates are not known, nor is anything about the band’s intentions during the eleven days since their last confirmed concert on Sep. 1 in Toronto.
There are personal reminiscences from fans who claim the band played at least one gig with Greenslade, probably sometime in 1975. There is also a press report that a Cleveland-based band called Course of the Electric Messenger opened for Giant at some point in the 1975 time period. Unfortunately, no other information is known about either of these gigs, so they remain unconfirmed.
Sep. 16 On this date, in London, the band recorded their eleventh 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, most 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 1,500 - 2,000 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 ads 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
“King Biscuit” radio broadcast notice Sep. 28, 1975
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. Local ads eventually surfaced, 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, mislabeled 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.
Largo ad Oct. 1, 1975
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, the complete performance was released on the Glass House ENDLESS LIFE CD in 2002. On Reflection and Proclamation from it have also been included in the 2013 compilation album MEMORIES OF OLD DAYS.
White Plains Oct. 3, 1975
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.
Boston ad and backstage pass Oct. 4, 1975
Buffalo ad Oct. 5, 1975
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.
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. Approximately two thirds of the broadcast saw official release in 2005 on LIVE IN NEW YORK 1975 on the Glass House label. On July 14, 1976, a portion of this concert was also broadcast in England on the BBC Rock Hour radio program.
been previously assumed that Giant made another promotional appearance around
this same time at an unknown
Oct. 8 Lowell, Massachusetts University of Lowell On this night, Giant was scheduled to open, for the first time, for Rick Wakeman and they did indeed arrive in town. However, according to a review in the Connector, the college newspaper, the ever extravagant Wakeman’s equipment took up so much space on the stage that Giant had no room for their own gear and decided not to play. There may have been more to the story but, whatever the case, Wakeman played alone to a sparse audience and lost the University over $2,000 in the process. The Connector stated that, had Giant performed, the event would’ve lost an additional $1,500. Derek and Kerry did manage to record an interview for the college radio station which was broadcast on November 18.
Lowell - Wakeman lost money and Giant was unable to perform Oct. 8, 1975
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 and was officially released by Glass House on their PROLOGUE CD. 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.
Philadelphia - backstage pass Oct. 10, 1975
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 canceled 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 canceled 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
Detroit ad Oct. 17, 1975
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.
Cincinnati - ads for original lineup and final lineup Oct. 18, 1975
Oct. 19 Indiana, Pennsylvania Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Fisher Auditorium opened
for Procol Harum before a near-capacity crowd during the university’s
Homecoming Weekend festivities. 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
Indiana ad Oct. 19, 1975
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.
St. Louis ad Oct. 22, 1975
Oct. 23 Vancouver, British Columbia Commodore Cabaret Ballroom Here, GG was supposed to open for Status Quo but, due to illness, Status Quo canceled about a week before the scheduled date. REO Speedwagon was brought in as a last minute replacement as headliners. This dancehall venue held approximately 1,000 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 Starting the show was a piano player/folk singer named Bette White, followed by Giant and the Strawbs as headliners 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 This show took place in front of what the San Francisco Examiner described as a small crowd of about 1,000, many of them noisy and a bit unruly. This was not helped by the excessive number of delays throughout the evening, as stage crews worked to fix repeated technical equipment glitches. As had happened the previous night in Seattle, folk singer Bette White played first and GG played a 50 minute set second, both opening for the Strawbs. Of the three acts, the review was actually kindest to Bette White, although it was noted the crowd paid little attention to her. A tape of this gig exists and has been released on the Glass House ENDLESS LIFE CD while.Free Hand from it appears on the MEMORIES OF OLD DAYS compilation.
Oct. 31 A Canadian radio station in Regina, Saskatchewan broadcast a phone interview with Gentle Giant on a late night program called Major Progression. It is not known if it was a live interview or if it was pre-recorded.
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.
Los Angeles ad and backstage pass Nov. 1, 1975
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.
San Diego ad and backstage pass Nov. 2, 1975
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.
??? Dallas, Texas Electric Ballroom A fan who saw the band at the Oct. 16 Chicago Auditorium gig with Gary Wright specifically recalls seeing them again at this Dallas venue a few weeks later. The claim 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 confirmation of this concert 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.
It is extremely unlikely, but there has been speculation about an unusual gig taking place sometime in the second half of the 1970’s. 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 Giant 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 seem to be incorrect.
Nov. 10 Oslo, Norway Chateau Neuf A full house of around 1500 fans attended this show.
Oslo Nov. 10, 1975
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 2,000 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 canceled. 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 canceling 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.
Copenhagen - ad for canceled show Nov. 13, 1975
Nov. 14 It is believed that this was the
official release date for the band’s first compilation album, entitled GIANT
STEPS, although there are indications that some record shops had the album
by 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
Hannover ticket Nov. 15, 1975
Nov. 16 Berlin, Germany Hochschule der Kunste 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. 18 WLTI-FM, the college radio station of Lowell University in Lowell, Massachusetts, broadcast their interview with Derek and Kerry that had been recorded while the band was in town on October 8.
Lowell - band member interview broadcast over college radio Nov. 18, 1975
Nov. 21 Wiesbaden, Germany an existing ad lists the venue as Scheffelhalle, while a recently located poster lists it as Rhein-Main-Halle.
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.
Cash Box notice about Los Angeles radio broadcast Nov. 23, 1975
Nov. 24 Basel, Switzerland Festsaal Mustermesse A tape of this concert exists.
Nov. 27 Zurich, Switzerland Volkshaus There is an existing tape of this gig.
Zurich poster Nov. 27, 1975
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. A gig had been previously advertised at Turfschip in Breda, Holland on this date.
Brussels ticket Nov. 30, 1975
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 alleged Rotterdam concert, but this is far from clear. So far, no evidence to confirm any new filming has surfaced. December could very well have simply been when VARA re-broadcast the German ZDF-TV Sonntagkonzert first aired on Aug. 10. On the other hand, Dutch TV did broadcast some sort of Gentle Giant concert on June 26, 1976. More information is needed.
December, Giant finally brought a tour to
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.
Manchester ticket Dec. 9, 1975
Dec. 11 Bristol, England Colston Hall Michael Moore was the opening act.
Dec. 12 Cambridge, England Corn Exchange Michael Moore was the opening act.
Cambridge ad Dec. 12, 1975
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”.
Plymouth flyer Dec. 22, 1975
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.
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