Memory:Michael Clay

From The Gentle Giant Home Page
This fan memory was written by Michael Clay.

I saw GG a total of six times. The first time I saw them was in 1973 with Steeleye Span as the opener. I was 15. They played at the Majestic Theater (Dallas) and there were a total of 32 people in the audience. The Giant came out and played as if it wereTexas Stadium. We had our choice of seats so naturally my friends and I were on the first row not ten feet from Derek. The theater was an old style movie theater. Very baroque and acoustically superb. I remember their sound being small but very intense. The volume seemed perfect but I was only hearing their amps as I was so close. They simply blew us away. Particularly The Advent Of Panurge which none of us were familiar with yet as the album was released but not yet available to us. Later, after the show was over, my friends and I (really,we comprised most of the audience) went around to the back of the theater. Suprisingly Ray opened the back door and stood there and actually spoke with us. Later Kerry came down and stood there and very patiently answered all our questions. He offered us slices of pineapple and explained the weird transition in [Mister Class And Quality]. He said he simply didn't know what else to do. The whole evening was absolutely incredible!

The second most memorable gig was the one in which my own band, Prism, opened for GG at a place called The Electric Ballroom. This was a huge barn with a stage and a 100 ft. bar running the length of the room. The day of the show at the soundcheck the GG were VERY friendly to us and actually remembered the concert back in 1973 and remembered talking to us. They even let us have ann extra 30 minutes to check which cut into their own time. I'm a pianist and let me tell you it was a bit daunting at the age of 19 to play my originals wih Kerry watching back behind the soundboard. He just stood there drank something from a styrofoam cup and occasionally turned and spoke to Ray standing next to him. Later, when thew Giant did their check they ripped through a scorching, but way too fast, version of For Nobody. They were a bit too loud at the check but later at the concert, with the place packed, the volume was just right. Very punchy but not irritating.(mostly) I remember Memories Of Old Days the best. The audience just sat in stunned silence through the tune, mesmorized by the delicacy of Ray and Gary's acoustic playing. Then they proceeded to rip our heads off with a blistering, almost metal, version of Timing. If you've only heard the studio cut of this song then you simply can't imagine the difference. And yes it was a bit loud.