Check out this Pink Floyd poster from 3rd December 1967 featuring Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Move, The Nice, Eire Apparent, Outer Limits, Amen Corner, Pete Drummond, at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, UK.
It was (for sure) a mass of talent crammed onto one bill. For 3 weeks in December 1967, aboard a fleet of buses which cries-crossed the country leaving no major town unturned, the artists listed on this poster set out to bring a taste of London to the provinces.
Through the sixties, package tours were very popular. The Move's manager Tony Secunda explained, "The idea was to cram as many bands on to the bill as possible, not simply because it made financial sense, also because it gave massive exposure to bands who might never get out there."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience closed each show with a forty minute set; The Move received an hour; Pink Floyd had seventeen minutes; Amen Corner got fifteen minutes; The Nice had twelve minutes. Eire Apparent and The Outer Limits, eight-minutes apiece. "But eight minutes was enough," Secunda shrugged. "If you were a new band, and you couldn't prove yourselves in eight minutes, you might as well give up there and then."
With sixteen cities and thirty-one shows; all but the opening London gig with both an afternoon matinee and an evening performance, the tour represented a staggering task:
November 14 (Royal Albert Hall, London)
November 15 (Winter Gardens, Bournemouth)
November 17 (City Hall, Sheffield)
November 18 (Empire Theatre, Liverpool)
November 19 (Coventry Theatre, Liverpool)
November 22 (Guildhall, Portsmouth)
November 23 (Sophia Gardens, Cardiff)
November 24 (Colston Hall, Bristol)
November 25 (Blackpool Opera House, Blackpool)
November 26 (Palace Theatre, Manchester)
November 27 (Queens College, Belfast)
December 1 (Central Hall, Chatham)
December 2 (The Dome, Brighton)
December 3 (Theatre Royal, Nottingham)
December 4 (City Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
December 5 (Green's Playhouse, Glasgow)
Nice guitarist Davy O'List says, "Immediately you were done your set, you could leave, which was great; we used to be on third; sometimes I'd stay back to watch the Floyd play, but it was off to the nearest pub or wherever, and wait to be hauled out again." Or not, as it sometimes transpired.
"Everyone used to hang out with everybody else," stated Noel Redding. "Us lot (The Experience) were really close with The Move. Trevor Burton, the rhythm guitar player with The Move, used to travel with us, and if I was running late, I'd travel with The Move. So after the show, we'd all go to pubs, get pissed, then attempt to get on the coach at the time; we'd miss the coach and have to get buses and..."
Pink Floyd were probably the most surprising addition to the lineup. With Two Top Thirty hits in 1967, a Top Ten LP and tours in their own right, had already established the group amongst the country's top-flight psychedelic attractions, and there was little doubt that they could comfortably have taken billing alongside any band in the country.
According to Tony Secunda, however, Floyd's managers had a reason for taking the package tour. "Basically, they were worried about Syd Barrett, but needed to keep the band's name out there, but nobody knew if Barrett was up to it. The general feeling was that he wasn't."
Pink Floyd's set was made up of one song, a full on version of "Interstellar Overdrive." According to Davy O'List, "Syd was an amazing guitarist," O'List continues. "He really was, as much as Hendrix was in his own right." And in later, with both Jimi and Barrett long since absent from the scene, British journalists slavered at the thought of how these geniuses of the guitar might have related to one another. In a 1974 edition of the English New Musical Express, journalist Kent asked Peter Jenner, "Surely the two uncrowned kings of rock, Hendrix and Barrett, must have socialized in some?
"Not really," replied Jenner. "Syd didn't talk to anyone."
Move bassist Ace Kefford agrees. "Syd never spoke to anyone. He hardly moved sometimes. He was on another planet."
Sometimes Syd didn't show for a gig and Pink Floyd got Davy O'List to fill in, "It was a fairly straight forward guitar thing, so I was able to pick it up quite quickly," recalls O'List. "At first I kept my back to the audience while we were playing, and the audience was really impatient, shouting 'turn round, Syd,' and things like that. So I turned round, and they all shut up immediately. Then turned back and carried on playing." After Barrett's departure the Floyd was confirmed, O'List admits, he entertained hopes he might be invited to replace him full time. "But of, they'd already decided on Dave Gilmour by then."
Labels: Pink Floyd Poster