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The Crystal Palace Garden Parties.

September 15th 1973.


Golden Earring


Tony Joe White ( solo set)

Lou Reed

Beck Bogert and Appice.

The Section

James Taylor

Beck Bogert and Appice onstage © Raoul Seeman

James Taylor and the Section finish off the proceedings © Larry Killip


    A warm Autumn day, perfect weather ( for most of the show at least ), apart from some humidity. This was the only Garden Party I attended. This show was notable for me ,as it was the first one that I went to with my wife to be , we were very much in love and spent most of the day snogging and generally being amorous , much to the amusement of Mick Ryan and Lynn who were our companions ( where are you now folks - still breathing ? ).

   One of the big problems with the Crystal Palace Garden Parties was the presence of the small lake in front of the stage. This distanced the audience from the bands and made it harder for a rapport to be established between performers and artists. Basically the only people who could get close were the berserkers who were prepared to wade fully clothed through the water and get near the stage . This was ok on a warm day, but was not to be recommended in a British September as normally it gets pretty cold in the evenings once the sun goes down. However, this day was something of an exception.

   The musical draws were Lou Reed , The Section and Jeff Beck . I'd seen both Lou and Beck ,Bogert and Appice earlier and was keen to see them both again to see if they were still as good.  The Section  I knew only from their album Fork It Over apart the fact that they were well respected and known musos.

   Lou Reed was a great disappointment. I'd seen him give one of the great concerts of my lifetime at Leicester University in late 72 ( which circulates as a rarely found audience recording) but this time round I did not like the changes in his image or his music. Decked out in his usual cool leather outfit, with his hair punked up. Lou seemed arrogant and contemptuous of his audience and the new band just did not cut it compared to the bunch of hicks he had playing with him in Leicester. The previous band were short on cool  - they basically looked like they were rejects from a low life trailer park, with their cowboy hats and down at heel boots, but that was half the charm- whereas the new lot looked more like they belonged to the Lou Reed scenario. But ultimately how a band looks is immaterial , its their sound and the treatment of the material that matters.

       Unfortunately , from my perspective this had all gone downhill , most of the subtlety that had been displayed a year ago been chucked out the window and instead Lou had gone for a harder , denser,  heavy sound , which just did not allow the material room to breathe. Whereas Lou had been a theatrical powerhouse last time round, with some great moves with his guitar and a display of exemplary showmanship, this time he had gone over the top . Instead of exploiting that controlled menace that I had found so enthralling in 72, he was hamming it up, and had lost all the tension and restraint that had made the last show so great. Basically, I just did not get off on this music, although quite a few in the crowd did , as the picture top right shows .

    A set list from a few nights later features all the old faves such as Sweet Jane , Caroline Says , I'm Waiting For The Man ,Satellite Of Love ,Walk On The Wild Side , Heroin and White Light/White Heat , which sounds great , but was not so hot in reality. Perhaps an indication of Lou's physical state at the time is the anecdote about a gig from the same tour , at the Glasgow Apollo,  where he was carried onstage to begin the show and then carried off at the end .....

    I think most Jeff Beck fans would agree that the sound that Jeff created during his time with Bogart and Appice was not the most productive of his strange career. That said, any Jeff Beck is a lot better than NO Jeff Beck as far as I'm concerned and I enjoyed the B.B.A set . It wasn't as good as the Loughborough show I'd seen earlier that year, but then I wasn't anywhere as near to the stage as I was then , so like with the Lou Reed set, I missed the immediacy of the earlier show. Beck played well, within the limitations of the trio format . Like most three piece bands ,  the emphasis was on solos and a very heavy sound. At the time I liked this a great deal , now I'm not so sure. But it was entertaining at the time and their stage personas were not as obnoxious as Lou's,  so I much preferred their offerings .
    A set list from another 73 show indicates they would have been playing numbers like Black Cat Moan, Superstition, Morning Dew, I'm So Proud, and probably finishing off with a medley of the good old crowd favorite Plynth , flowing into Shotgun. 

Tony Joe White at Crystal Palace .

I'd completely erased his performance from my memory

Jeff Beck at Crystal Palace 1973

Photo© Repfoto

  Jeff's comments about this band " If you could zero in on the energy, , you got the goods, otherwise it was  a cacophonous, nasty horrible noise. I was doing a bottle of Smirnoff a day just to survive it all " Little wonder the band only lasted just over 18 months . 

   David Minnette remembers this incident " I remember BBA coming on stage around midday Jeff Beck said something along the lines of "Hi how are you all ? It seems funny playing a gig at breakfast time"( it would have been about 12am -so Jeff had a pretty late breakfast !)

   He then plugged in his guitar to the Wah-Wah pedal - lots of crackling noise so he unplugged it and chucked it in the pond.

© Raoul Seeman

       It was starting to get dark when The Section hit the stage and they proved to be the best band of the day in terms of the degree of musical skill they displayed. I also liked their music , all instrumental and somewhat fusion based , it lacked the pretension of Lou's set and was a cleaner sound then BBA. The audience was not so sure, I think they were pretty cool in their reception of this band, who really did not fit into the rock orientated sound of the day. Most people had never heard the Section ( I think they were billed as James Taylors backing band )

   James Taylor eventually joined The Section on-stage , but during his set the weather took a distinct turn for the worst. The humid conditions had gotten worse during the evening and had eventually built up to a tremendous thunderstorm . The thunder had been approaching during The Sections set and after a few numbers of Sweet Baby James's laid back output , as James began Fire and Rain ,the heavens split open and a huge bolt of lightening illuminated the entire area, quite spectacular !.

   We decided to leave as we weren't that enthused about James Taylors music . it was good move as a while later just as we got near the car, the sky opened and the entire audience was almost instantly drenched by one of the heaviest downpours I've ever seen .  The sky split open with savage lightning bolts descending in wild abandon , whilst deafening thunderheads accompanied the minstrels on-stage . I've no idea how long it went on as we beat a hasty retreat across the car park and bundled ourselves into Mick's charabang before we became casualties of the mass exodus , or the lightning- or both. We still got wet, just running 20 or so metres, it was a downpour of biblical proportions !

   An audience tape exists of the James Taylor show and its very interesting to listen to , early on, there are some idiots talking loudly near to the taper, he politely requests them to be quiet and they do so a little, but they get loud again so the incensed taper shouts at them to " shut the fuck up as some of us are trying to listen to this show you shits " . Suprisingly they actually do stop talking !.

Up until Fire and Rain , it was a pretty subdued set, then as the lightning lit up the sky you can hear the entire audience gasp and react as one . "Shit" being the most common expression . James Taylor played a mostly acoustic set, with the section joining in on a few numbers at the end.

Also, film of Beck . Bogart and Appice exists - Rare Super 8mm Footage 12 mins.



    I was at Crystal palace, Sept. 15th, 1973 !!!! I was only 15 years old, first time in UK by myself with my friend Luca Lupoli, for studying english. We just had a band in our hometown and the day was terrific. The band who played were: Golden Earring ,Backdoor ,Tony Joe White ( solo set) Beck Bogert & Appice ,Lou Reed ,The Section, James Taylor with a lady as guest ( Carly Simon, Carole King ? I don't recall, we were leaving soon it was getting wet) I have some photos of the event, from the other side of the lake!

The night before we saw Frank Zappa at Wembley. What a great day!!! I recall somebody just naked staring at the bands ( maybe called jesus ? who knows...) somebody OD not far from us....we brought an umbrella, very englishmen.... I am and have been since I was 20 years old a professional music journalist and independent producer.

Love love love to all of those were there. If you wanna know more about me read my bio at my web site

ciao take care

ernesto de pascale

Hi there,

    Yes, this was truly a great day. I remember a great performance from the Dutch band "Golden Earring". And I'll never forget James Taylor singing "Fire and Rain" while the audience were experiencing just that !!! Not forgotten - after 28 years !

Best Wishes


© Raoul Seeman

Great reading your memories of these events. I was at the James taylor gig, yes I got very wet at the end, but what a great light show, Lightening right on cue. I have still got the official programme for this gig. Autographed by Tim Bogert and Tony Jo White. I remember BBA coming on stage around midday Jeff Beck said something along the lines of "Hi how are you all, It seems funny playing a gig at breakfast time" He then plugged in his guitar to the Wah-Wah pedal lots of crackling noise so he unplugged it and chucked it in the pond.

Great site by the way
David Minnette

I was at the Crystal Palace garden party in 1973 ... it was my first date with my wife, now of 25 years! After all this time I thought my memory of the "Fire and Rain" lightening lightshow must have been something I had dreamed, thanks for helping me relive and confirm it. Best special effects I have ever seen. My other vivid memory is of Jeff Beck doing strange things with voice tube effects in an attempt to get the swimmers out of the lake.


I was peeking round at the crystal palace stuff and bizarrely enough I went with my then girlfrend now my wife to the Lou Reed show . I remember that was the first time I'd seen Lou Reed in the daylight not a pretty sight ! I did'nt tape him; which is strange but I did tape James Taylor . The quality is not too bad; he did 45 minutes and I think I have the whole set .There is a slight problem as we had some really nasty talkative types in front of us who would'nt shut up and I got into a shouting/ swearing match with them for the first 3 songs but apart from that its not a bad a- or b++ tape open air aud quality wise .

all the best



My first Garden Party was in September 1973. I went specifically to see Lou Reed having been an avid Bowie/Lou Reed fan since around 1970. I remember distinctly that Lou was off his face and this showed. I wasn't at all disappointed though as this was my first ever 'festival' experience. I was just turned 16. Highlights were undoubtedly Golden Earring (awesome set) and Tony Joe White. I remember that it was Tony Joe White that had written Polk Salad Annie for Elvis. At the tender age of 16 and it being such an impressionable age, I remember thinking how cool it was that I was watching him!

Mind you. I'm not much better nowadays. A note to any festival goers today that may be in their mid-teens - savour every moment, wander off and see as many bands as you can because there's always something that grabs you that you thought never would and, very importantly, try to capture photos and/or recordings of the shows.

Looking back on these wonderful accounts and pictures of the Garden Parties brings many happy memories and a yearning for it all to return to those glory days when festivals still had the right spirit. Oh where did it all go so hopelessly wrong?

Rick Clarke

Tony Joe White Backstage © Raoul Seeman

Weren't platform shoes silly ? © Raoul Seeman

A sunny day…streams of young people are coming from all directions, joining the traffic jam at the roundabout.

After entering the site, and being bumped from all sides, I manage to sit down under a tree.

Around noon, here come the first notes, hurled at us by Golden Earring , a Dutch band.

Barry Hay, voice and flute, starts the set with a quite interesting song, but the best of the group’ members is drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk, his playing going beyond ‘post-Ginger Baker’ British School schemes.
Then it’s up to Back Door, a three pieces combo whom I’ve seen at The Rainbow, opening for Miles Davis. They’re very good musicians, and after an irresolute start they manage to get the right sound mixture… and you can feel Jazz Rock penetrating your bones like damp in a swamp, you can catch the exceptional feeling of Colin Hodginson, who easily can mutate his bass in a fast and fanciful lead guitar. A bass to remember! Also sax player Colin Asprey can contrive sound interlacements and scales, and happily wedge’em into the rhythm track. Notable numbers are "Plantagenet", "Walking Blues" and "One day you’re down".

When Jeff Beck appears, followed by Appice and Bogert, the climate gets on fire and the hot air is suffocating. Jeff gives a half smile and then, with a teasing face, rhythmically stamps his feet on the stage four times, and the band starts. It’s the moment everybody was waiting for.The message comes with the wings of Rock overflowing from his guitar. In a few minutes the small lake gets filled with boys and girls.

"Superstition": the mad and magical chaos takes possession of the soul of the thousands, and everybody seems to jump into the water, turned in a mud colour.

Jeff Beck does conjurer’ numbers playing the Gibson Les Paul behind his back, then enters into " Crystal Palace Boogie": it’s a collective berserk now, with people getting borderline to hysteria. No more Garden party but a general ‘swim-in’.

Then it’s time for Lou Reed and his black dressed court: Richard Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars, Ray Colcord on keyboards, Peter Walsh on bass and "I forgot his name" on drums. As the music machine gets in motion, well, you can imagine the confusion!

Lou’s throwin’ the mic away here and there, in front of him some very sexy girls open their arms as to give him shelter and Lou slides and falls into this pleasant tentacular creature.

Mr.Reed, a little uneasy before, now starts to fly high with "Waiting for the Man", and gets into orbit with "Satellite of Love" and "Walk on the Wild Side".

Meanwhile the sun is obscured by clouds, the sky turns black and menacing and the small lake water becomes like cold pincers. Everybody Out! And after a few encores – and a nice "Vicious"- Lou leaves the stage.

Yes folks thats what we looked like from the stage © Raoul Seeman

© Raoul Seeman

It’s dark and threatening to rain when James Taylor comes, his hair as short as a South Carolina peasant, dressed in a pullover and lumberjack shirt, acoustic guitar in his hands.

He’s all smiles and sweetness… a warm emotional flow which helps to forget the weather. Most of the stuff JT sings comes from his first two albums. He’s as tall as a pole and sits, his face down as ashamed, 'talking' to us with mellow voice…the American Superstar who doesn’t want to be one. And when "Fire and Rain" begins, rain come on ,with more and more menacing lightnings, fantastic fire arrows in the darkest night.

Someone’s anxious for the PA System and James says it’s time to go away. His words get no reply, and with the only sounds of wind and water, people start to leave the immense field.


I was at the 73 garden party. I was 14 and went there to see lou reed. When he came on my friend and I jumped into the pond and made
our way to the stage. The water was stinking and stagnant and had 2 or 3 foot of thick mud at the bottom. I remember thinking I was so glad it rained heavily afterwards as I was muddy and smelly and had to make my way home on public transport. I thought it was a brilliant day and has remained vivid in my memory till now.

Trena Smith

How nice to see this page, I have never forgotten the lightning when James Taylor played “Fire & Rain” in fact I have mentioned it over the years at dinner and conversations. Wonderful to see it mentioned here too, so we were all impressed!! James is playing in Auckland in a couple of weeks and I will be there.

The other great memory I took from the 1973 concert was Jeff Beck (my favourite guitar hero) (I’m a guitar player) using the "talk box", this was the first time I had ever heard it…before Peter Frampton made it popular.

Elizabeth and I were 2 New Zealanders on what we call "our big OE" (Overseas Experience) given we were tucked away at the bottom of the world. We went through the oil crisis, 3 day working week, petrol rationing, saw the band Chicago at the Rainbow theatre – still got that ticket too - ( all dressed in coloured shirts to fit in with the UK scene), plus first heard "I Shot The Sheriff" by Bob Marley & The Wailers on Radio Caroline on a small transistor radio late one night in Dartford and never forgot it. Peter Cook & Dudley Moore were on stage somewhere in London doing "Beyond The Fringe", caught that too.

Great memories,


Band Personnel.

Back Door

Colin Hodgkinson :Bass
Ron Aspery -Sax
Tony Hicks -Drums

Golden Earring

Barrie Hay - Vocals
Cesar Zuiderwijk -Drums
George Kooymans
Rinus Gerritsen

Lou Reed.
Lou Reed, vocals
Steve Hunter, guitar
Dick Wagner, guitar
Ray Colcord, keyboards
Pentti Glan, drums
Peter Walsh, bass

Beck Bogert and Appice.
Jeff Beck- guitar.
Carmine Appice- Drums, vocals.
Tim Bogert-Bass , vocals.

The Section .

Craig Doerge
Danny Kortchmar
Russ Kunkel
Lee Sklar


A review of this concert can be found in the New Musical Express Sept 29th -1973.

Carmine Appice and Friend ? © Raoul Seeman

Garden party features

   We have been endeavouring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.

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