Jun 122012

You say you’ve been meaning to check out Gentle Giant? Well, here’s your chance: an entire concert from 1978!

Watching this entire concert is daunting, but I encourage you to click on any point in the video, spend a minute or two, and and see if your highly developed Rock Town Hall sensibilities do not kick in. This performance, by a band dressed in the gamut of Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas, is ripe with odd rock details that our Townspeople have made their specialty. For each RTH quirk you spot (eg, fashion/hair oddities, rock stances, specific soloing faces, instrumentation, RTH Glossary-defined behaviors) list it in the Comments section with an indication of the time in the clip—one detail per post—in Last Man Standing fashion!

Right off the bat, for instance, the clip features a guitarist in overalls. Another example: I clicked on the concert at the 14:35 mark to witness a man in an Oakland A’s jersey and hat playing vibes. Then I clicked again, around the 28-minute mark, to hear a guitarist playing a Dr. Q solo! Normal people don’t readily identify Dr. Q solos. We’re not normal.

Make sense? In short, click on this concert video at any point and I bet within 1 minute you’ll see something that delights your RTH sensibilities. Please share your discoveries so that others might see through your eyes. Thank you.


  47 Responses to “Last Man Standing: You Say You’ve Been Meaning to Check Out Gentle Giant?”

  1. Alright. I clicked in at 8:00 even and heard the only song I know by the band, “Free Hand”! RTH notes: The keyboard player has six separate layers of keys. And a sleeveless T-shirt with pretty respectable armhole drop.

  2. BigSteve

    I checked in at around 38:15 and found them doing some kind of three-chord slumming. There was much guitar posturing, almost as if they were playing Rock Music. But then their gnomish logo started being superimposed on the proceedings, and I had to bow out. This is perhaps my least favorite band in music history.

  3. 2000 Man

    Check out 48:00 or so. I’ve only seen marimba or xylophone solo’s at high school functions, and this guy actually did one in front of an audience that paid to get in. When he was done no one clapped. He just sheepishly ducks back into his keyboard shelter.

  4. cherguevara

    I think I watched around 36:00 last night. Nothing remarkable, just contrapuntal acoustic guitars noodling about.

  5. meanstom

    I officially entered at 43:37 and lasted the requisite minute. The first thing that struck me was Multi-instrumentalism. I didn’t recall seeing people playing classical string section instruments earlier in the concert. And did the singer play bass prior to this song?

    I’d also like a grooming ruling on the singer’s beard. He’s got a little extra meat beneath his jawline, but his beard cuts off exactly at the jawline, if not a little above it. With or without the neck fat, is that the appropriate point for a man to shave his beard? Shouldn’t the beard come down over the jawline a little bit while shaved at a reasonable point above the collar?

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    At 19:28, I found myself wondering how English funny man Kenny Everett got recruited into this prog-pop conjunto.


  7. Nice finds so far with so many treasures yet to uncover. I just clicked on at the lucky 13:13 mark to see the overall-wearing guy playing flute followed quickly by band members switching instruments in mid-song then some kind of medieval barbershop harmony nonsense.

    All I ask is that you spend a random minute with this concert and share, thereby saving us the time of watching that minute. Thank you.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    A MUST-SEE moment: 23:48 — lead singer guy goes for a combo kung-fu stance with tambourine toss. I *think* he might have intended to catch it — but his drunken-tiger style pose covers the miss. Now that’s stage-craft!

    I’m now realizing why these guys suck so much: they sound like Phish!

  9. I had the sound off but at 21:21 there were some very awkward stage moves by the guitar player, a guy who appears very comfortable in his own skin which is a trait that I usually admire, but in this case, he could stand to be a little more self conscious. This was followed by a tight shot of the singer’s face. He seemed very invested in the lyrics, which I assumed were about elves and woodland sprites and such.

    Speaking of tight, the singer’s coveralls are a bit snug and coveralls in general are a bad idea. Townsend looked great in coveralls and work boots, Clapton slightly less so in his 70’s Esso get up but the Gentle Giant singer completely misses the mark.

  10. And where is Tonyola for all this? How can we tell if this is good prog or bad?

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    I agree! I was reminded less of Townshend and Clapton, and more of this guy:


  12. While the picture made me laugh, Lalanne could whup ass on that doughy marshmallow of a lead singer, his kung fu skills notwithstanding.

  13. I think tonyola and Happiness Stan may be one and the same person – or perhaps they’re both on holiday. I don’t know, but both of them would bring tremendous perspective to this topic.

  14. 2000 Man

    I watched the first minute. After eight seconds of the cartoony Sight and Sound In Concert logo, they show the band essentially just hanging out on the stage while keyboard player plays a note. Again, no one is clapping. I htink their fans hate them.

    After the first eight seconds, the band throws a giant bucket of suck out into the audience. I’m sure at least half of the people left at that point.

  15. cherguevara

    Oh, some great moves between 8:30 and 9:40-ish. Bass player with a big knee thrust move and a little while later, singer puts his fists in the air and make an angry face like the Incredible Hulk.

  16. hrrundivbakshi

    I enjoyed that Hulk moment as well! For those too lazy to search and find it, here it is, freeze-framed for all posterity:


  17. machinery

    I’ve now watched this concert 3 times. Can’t find anything wrong with it.

  18. The reason Clapton and Townshend could pull off the coveralls look is that they were skinny enough to do so. This singer seems to have gained weight during the course of the show. I randomly chose spots and here’s my proof: 2:08 vs. 38:04.

    At 38:04 it clearly shows that he hit the pre-show/intermission kraft services fish & chips/shepard’s pie a little too hard. Perhaps it’s just the angle, but … I see serious increased chubbiness.

  19. hrrundivbakshi


  20. “This singer seems to have gained weight during the course of the show.”


  21. One of the all-time observations in the history of RTH!

  22. 2000 Man

    I can’t wait for that to start peering out at me in the banner above.

  23. 2000 Man

    Maybe the show lasted like two or three weeks. I wouldn’t think someone was lying if they told me it did.

  24. hrrundivbakshi

    If only!

  25. When I saw the drummer with Oakland A’s hat on my immediate thought was hat = bald and of course I was right! When the hard working man takes off the hat at 16:56 — there is the chrome dome! The Mike Love “look” for that dude could only last so long!

  26. Make it so.
    I’s like to hear the story behind some of these banners. I think Skip Spense and Oar are up there now but I could be way off.

  27. Funny, k., I guess there are more stories behind those rotating images than we sometimes remember. Many of them are from past threads. Some are private jokes between me and sammymaudlin, such as the Hooker image (although we know there are at least 2 other TJ Hooker fans in the Hall) or what I’m currently seeing, the cast of Johnny Quest. sammy and I have an ongoing feud over Johnny Quest vs Speed Racer. I’m a Speed Racer guy. I’d never even heard of Johnny Quest until I got to college. Was that cartoon shown in Philadelphia in the early-to-mid-’70s?

  28. Count me in on Team Speed Racer. I’ve still never seen Johnny Quest. Also, anticipating the next showdown, I’ll take Marine Boy over Astro Boy any day.

  29. trigmogigmo

    Jumped in at 44:30.
    Mr. Mod, you gave a difficult assignment. I struggled to stay focused for a whole minute on this. I felt like a kid in the back of the station wagon … “are we there yet?”

    Cello! Violin! Bare shoulders! Drummer with mallets!
    Moody Blues meets ELO but without the, um, charisma, power, and excitement?
    Music pauses at 45:28, bassist flashes grin that breaks the spell of the very serious performance. Then they run around and launch into another “movement”. As Harry Shearer says about the Olympic Movement, yeah it’s a movement, everyone needs one, every day.

    Since we can only watch one minute (thank you for that), is this one long 45-minute oeuvre, or several songs? Now that I ask, I realize, why am I asking? I don’t care!

  30. trigmogigmo

    RTH human resources comment of the month.

  31. Nice work, trigmo! We’re nearly halfway to collectively watching the entire concert. Let’s keep those 1-minutes reviews coming then hope tonyola and Happiness Stan come back to fill in any gaps.

  32. Since Tonyola and Stan are MIA, I asked my older brother, an unapologetic prog fan, to weigh in on whether this was good prog or bad. (His credentials as a subject matter expert include the fact that he once emailed me with the exciting news that he had created the ultimate cd mix. There was only room for three songs on it: Supper’s Ready by Genesis, Close to the Edge by Yes, and Dogs by Pink Floyd).

    He said that this was bad prog.

  33. Banner pictures – for starters, what’s with:

    1. the guy holding the Zwol album

    2. the Turtle

    3. the Dylan + some other guy = poop

    4. Warren Beaty

  34. ladymisskirroyale

    Maybe Johnny Quest was only shown in AZ as an attempt to include more diversity.

    I will admit to having a total crush on Speed Racer, but loved Johnny Quest for it’s adventure (plus in an emergency, I’m putting my money on Bandit over Chim-Chim).

  35. ladymisskirroyale

    How rude of them to take vacations and not warn us ahead of time.

  36. hrrundivbakshi

    The banner picture you describe is an illustration I put together to accompany a Thrifty Music post, in which I discussed — and rejected as unbelievably bad — a single by Booker T Jones. That single featured Bob Dylan on harmonica. Hence the equation: Booker T + Dylan = dog shit.

  37. hrrundivbakshi

    The guy holding the Zwol album has on occasion been identified as me. I am neither confirming nor denying that assertion. What I want to know is: what’s with the picture of the guy in the tuxedo, sitting forlornly in somebody’s rec room?

  38. I know we’ve never met but the Zwol guy doesn’t look like any other picture that I’ve seen of you. Are you sure that’s you? Maybe you’re thinking of someone else.

    Tuxedo Rec Room guy is a good call. Also, who’s the chipper guy in the subway with the plastic looking face?

  39. The Zwol image is from WFMU’s site. I actually bought that album in high school and sold it too soon. He’s probably holding my old copy.

  40. misterioso

    Yes, henceforth no prog unless tonyola is available to translate.

  41. misterioso

    I gotta say, this is something of an eye opener. I couldn’t even swear I’ve heard of these clowns, and I am almost positive I’ve never heard them. I have no framework for even talking about them. They exist in some alternate mental construct where human beings could possibly derive enjoyment from this sort of crap. Unfortunately, they aren’t even funny-bad. They seem to be conglomeration of so many things I find irritating and unappealing that it takes my breath away.

  42. bostonhistorian

    Jumped in at 2:30 and would have sworn they were doing a cover version of the “Main Street Electrical Parade” from Disneyworld…

  43. Hey, thanks. I actually knew about Ronstadt’s panties and TJ Hooker. And the sad tuxedo guy is Scott Walker, maybe? I’m sort of afraid to hear the story behind the turtle.

  44. At 46:14, trumpet dude starts playing and synth dude deliberately doubles his notes so you can’t actually hear the trumpet part at all. I assume just to be a dick.

  45. This is followed immediately by the start of the aforementioned xylophone solo, prior to which you see keyboard dude stand there and think “Now what…oh, shit, now I’ve got to go play the fucking xylophone solo. Why did I join this band?”

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