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Prog Rock Tour Stories

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Crimsonsnowdog View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 13 2019 at 14:11

There's a few stories of live performances that I'd like to share that I thought are funny or at least amusing anecdotes from different progressive rock bands. Though the incidents may not have been funny to the bands at the time.

 

A couple of months ago, there was a Kansas documentary I was watching on TV, with interviews from the band members. It was actually a little boring, then the drummer Phil Ehart starting telling a story about opening for Aerosmith in the 70's. Kansas talked with other bands that opened for Aerosmith before, and these bands said not to outperform Aerosmith on stage or Steven Tyler would become upset, and unplug all your instruments because he wanted the moment to be all about him. Knowing this, Kansas wanted to go all out for their home state, they decided to hook up their instruments to extra extension cords. So they played an extended opening set, and Steven Tyler tried to unplug their instruments, but he couldn't find the right cord to any of Kansas's instruments, and then gave up and left the stage out of frustration. Then one of the Kansas band members went backstage, confronted Steven Tyler and told him not to try that again.

 

Back in the Early 70’s, ELP was performing a concert in London, and they hired a stage production guy named Francesco. It’s one hour before the concert is scheduled to start, and Francesco hasn’t shown up. Greg Lake asks one of the band members where Francesco might me, and a band members says,” he’s probably knocking down a few drinks at a bar”. Greg Lake tells the band members to search London and see if they can find him. The band members search London and sure enough they find Francesco drinking in one of the bars. One of the band members asks Francesco,” What are you doing, the concert is starting in half an hour. Francesco replies, “OH, I’m sorry, I thought it was tomorrow night”. The band members return to the concert with Francesco. Greg Lake said,” You almost missed the concert, I’m very upset with you”. Francesco responds, “Just wait to see what I have in store for you”.

Emerson, lake, and Palmer, play the concert, and during the encore, a rocket shoots out from behind the stage, in between the legs of Greg Lake, out into the audience and ignites a fire. Mayhem ensues as fans start running and screaming everywhere, abruptly ending the concert. Backstage, Greg Lake says to Francesco,” You know I’m very upset with you right now, but to make it up to us, you can buy the rest of the band drinks, but I’m not going hang out with you, I’m too upset right now.”

 

The last story, some of you may have heard, is one of the more infamous live stories. Back in September 1972, Gentle Giant was schedule to open for Black Sabbath for about 10 shows in the United States. As you can probably guess, fans of metal music were not too thrilled a progressive rock band, who occasionally played orchestral instruments, were opening for Black Sabbath, as Gentle Giant was booed at most of these concert venues. During the middle of the tour, Gentle Giant arrived at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and were not only immediately booed, but Black Sabbath fans were throwing things on the stage. At first, Gentle Giant thought they could play through all the booing and immaturity of the crowd. However, when Gentle Giant, brought out the xylophone and trumpet on “Funny Ways”, fans became even more rowdy and unruly, throwing beer bottles and cherry bombs at band member’s feet. Phil Shulman, who was about 35, and 10 years older than the rest of the band, said to the rest of the band, “We have to get off the stage.” Before he gets off the stage, Phil walks up to the microphone and says, “You all are bunch of F_cking C_nts!

 

Years later, Derek Shulman said in an interview, “it was the most ridiculous pairing of two bands in Rock and Roll History.”

 

 

Please feel free to share any funny or interesting Live Prog Rock stories that you know.

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richardh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2019 at 00:20
Thanks for sharing!
As an aside to the ELP one , when they toured in the 90's and played in Italy guess who was the concert promoter and organiser? Yes it was of course the same Francesco! Greg Lake told that story on a DVD interview and standing right next to the man himself who was smiling away. Obviously kindred spirits although of course ELP were not averse to setting stuff off themselves on occasion!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2019 at 13:04
By far, some of my favorite prog tour stories as told by Sir Richard Wakeman! 


Rick recounts the famous "TFTO Curry" episode: 

There was a mad percussion section where everybody banged things. It lasted about ten minutes, though it felt like a year and a half when playing it - and probably when listening to it. It was a bit dull. 

In those days, I used to have my roadie actually lying underneath the Hammond organ throughout the set. If anything went wrong he could try to fix it. Also, he could continually hand me my alcoholic drinks. 

We'd often have a little chat and on this particular evening in Manchester, I thought he said: 'What are you doing after the show?' 

'I'm going to have a curry,' I replied. 'What would you order?' It seemed a strangely specific question but I didn't have much else to do so I told him. 'Chicken vindaloo, pilau rice, half a dozen poppadums, bhindi bhaji, Bombay aloo and a stuffed paratha.' 

About 30 minutes later, I started to get this distinct waft of curry. I looked down and my roadie was lying there holding up an Indian takeaway. 'What's that?' I asked. 

'You said you wanted a curry.' 'No. I said I wanted a curry after the show...' However, it smelled really good so he passed up the little foil trays and I laid this lovely spread out on top of the keyboard and ate it. 

The rest of the band weren't best pleased - after all, there was a certain mystique surrounding Yes.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2019 at 23:49
yep the Prog Curry.

I saw Rick play Journey a few years ago and he of course recounted a few stories. Back about 1975 when he was touring solo and his band they were flying Lufthansa and heading into Munich, they started humming 'the dambusters march' and all put their arms out plane style. When they got into the airport they goose-stepped their way through customs and were promptly arrested!
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