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Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Heads and Hands and Feet .
Humble Pie onstage Hyde Park 1971 © Tony Miles
As a big fan of Steve Marriott ,I would have liked to have seen this one . However I don't think I could have stood listening to Grand Funk, although perhaps they were better live then they sounded on their records. Apparently an audience tape exists of their set. Read on to see what others thought of the show.....
I should mention that that same year I attended the Hyde Park free concert on July 3rd with Grand Funk Railroad , Humble Pie, and Head hands and Feet . Terry Knight was a former DJ from Detroit turned pop star - he briefly led a band called Terry Knight and the Pack (with Mark Farner), who eventually became Grand Funk (mercifully, Terry stopped singing and became the manager and producer.
Imagine my surprise though, when sitting in the crowd, waiting to hear some new Brit Rock, I hear a voice from the stage announce: "My name is Terry Knight, and I want to introduce you to a new American Band!" I practically did a spit take (or a Danny Thomas, as we used to call it). I used to listen to Terry Knight on CKLW radio in Detroit. I think this was one of their first public appearances, certainly outside of the US, anyway. I've since become friends with Albert Maysles, who made the film Gimme Shelter -- Al and his brother David shot a documentary about Grand Funk way back when, but they had a disagreement with Terry Knight, and the film has never been finished....too bad.
How about Grand Funk Railroad? Rained all bloody morning. I stood next to John Peel and The Pig. There was a giant Tepee next to the stage and a somewhat misguided policy of allowing Hells Angels to police the event. During the great set by Humble Pie the throwing of Party Seven cans got out of control and Steve Marriot wove a line into his song about " If you want to throw your bottles, go somewhere else" much applause if not under scrutiny by any aforementioned Angels. They later rode several "Hogs" through the crowd at speed which was a nice gesture. The Grand Funk Railroad were a disappointment even with their drummer playing with his head on occasion. By this time these events were being advertised in the musical press. The Melody Maker had a full page ad advising "Its the waiting that gets ya" which made the events a bit establishment.
Humble Pie onstage Hyde Park 1971 © Tony Miles
C Welch was there and wrote this about the Grand Funk performance.
I saw them for the first time at the Hyde Park concert and, while not overly impressed, was not enraged by Grand Funk's performance. I was, however, heavily influenced by the hostility of fellow critics and didn't want to upset the party line when I reviewed the band. My sympathies were in any case extended towards Humble Pie who played better and looked better, with Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott cutting a more exciting rug than Farner and Schacher. Pie were even louder! I never got to meet Grand Funk because the stars hid in a caravan. But they seemed happy enough on a huge, elaborate stage which dwarfed their tiny drum kit and stacks.
They later reported that they thoroughly enjoyed the show and liked the atmosphere, although curiously one of them complained about the carbon monoxide in the air. I would have thought the middle of Hyde Park was just about the cleanest part of the city.
In my review I said:
"They played an unremarkable selection of stock riffs with a great deal of hammy emotion". But perhaps I was being a bit snooty. Compared to some of the horrors wrought in the name of rock 'n' roll since, they would probably seem like an ace band if we could be transported back to that pleasant summer's day in the sunshine. The drummer- as I recall - played as fast as his limbs would allow, while Mark leapt on to a spare organ. The crowd was large- as well it might for a free show - but there were very few photographers, reporters or liggers in the press area. I seem to recall having the place to myself, thanks mainly to Humble Pie's management who ensured me a good seat.
Grand Funk insisted on tight security, but I arrived in Humble Pie's limo and was assumed to be part of their management structure. Among the VIPs who turned out were Alexis Korner and Andy Fraser of Free. Both were more interested in the Pie. The other support band was Heads, Hand And Feet, with Albert Lee on guitar. They didn't go down too well.
Courteously Terry Knight came out to introduce Humble Pie who were trying hard to make contact with home audiences after long spells abroad. They did well, but the audience were eager and anxious to see the headliners. The theme music from '2001'the space movie welcomed the band on stage and GFR were given a tumultuous reception. From the first few bars they got a good sound-an important point in an age of generally lousy PA systems.
As the group blasted into action I asked a fan behind the barriers what he thought and was chastened by his reaction. "They're the most exciting band I've ever seen." said the 23 year old. "They're almost as exciting as Emerson, lake And Palmer." This was not a view shared by Greg Lake's girlfriend who was standing within earshot. "Listen to that bass riff," bellowed the fan in my ear. "That's what it's all about"
Also in the audience were Hells Angels who began pushing down a fence and spitting on cops while the band played the Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'. These events were filmed by a crew who employed a bunch of extras holding up 'ban the bomb' signs from the props department. The reels must be lying around somewhere with shots of rampaging Angels and me in the front row looking perplexed.
Humble Pie onstage Hyde Park 1971 © Tony Miles
kerrang magazine 1984
I noted at the time: "The brilliance of Albert Lee in “Country Boy"; Magical Marriott and following Frampton; (GFR)..failed to match decibels or style of Pie"
Mind you, I was well into the Pie at that time, so a little biased review is to be expected! They were who I’d gone to see.
Pete the Pick
I remember this concert very well. I went along with a girlfriend mainly to see Heads Hands and Feet and Grand Funk who had been heavily hyped.
However I was blown away by Humble Pie who I thought were awesome a real surprise as all I had heard before was their "Natural Born" single. Pie played before GFR and made them look pallid and unrehearsed by comparison.Like quite a few others I drifted away before the end of GFR's
set having lost interest after their rendition of "Gimme Shelter".
On the strength of this concert I invested in Humble Pie Live at the Fillmore but have never heard or heard of Grand Funk since.
I have very fond memories of this concert. I was 16 years old visiting my friend Eddie who lived in the suburbs, outside of London. I was there on vacation with my family. We lived in the suburbs outside of New York City. I had all ready been playing my guitar for 9 years and I was excited to see any live music I could. My friend told me that there would be a free concert at Hyde Park and that Grand Funk Railroad was going to play. We got there early, it was packed. I think there were definitely over 100,000 people there. The largest concert I've ever been to and I've been to a lot.
Heads Hands and Feet were boring to me a the time. In retrospect, had I been older, I probably would have found them, (Albert Lee) fantastic! Then before Humble Pie came out, my friend asked me if I had ever heard of them. I said no. He commented that he thought their guitarist was pretty good.
Just then Humble Pie hit the stage and Peter Framton started warming up with some riffs before they kicked in to their 1st song. Well, I was an immediate fan. They stole the show from Grand Funk. That was the 1st time I heard Mixolydian Scale in rock. I didn't know what I was hearing at the time but I liked it and I knew it sounded different. The other very memorable thing that happened at this concert, was the skin Heads (Hell's Angels). We were only sitting 20 to 30 rows back from the stage and they started revving their bikes and throwing bottles at the crowd. My friend Eddie is about 6'5" and he got hit in the head with a bottle and passed out for about a minute. This Hyde Park concert will be a memory I will always treasure.
We went to this gig . I remember that we walked down Oxford Street and could hear the PA all the way. GFR supposedly had the loudest PA ever, I think 7000 watts was quoted.
It may be only memory but I remember this as being the best musical day out I ever had. I loved GFR - still do - the critics panned them but they really were just an enjoyable entertaining noise.
I still listen to the first live album and get into the bass lines.
It rained and my mate and I shared a plastic sheet, beer and burgers with 4 American girls. Great times. I try to explain to my kids now how good these gigs were compared to the organised ones like MOR they go to now.
I think John Sebastien was on first, boring. Humble Pie, Stevie never did anything wrong! GFR, great - Chris Welch YOU WERE WRONG!!!
Grand Funk Railroad at Hyde Park was pretty unbeatable too..... possibly the best live act in the world at the time they really shook the place up. Everyone there loved the set - except the critics...... and it is still rare to read anything nice about the band. The drummer did this stunt in the drum solo (they all did one at the time) whereby he pretended after a particurally frenetic bit of stick twiddling to pass out and hit his head on the snare drum. Which he liked the sound of so much he carried on nutting the thing to great cheers from the crowd. He was, of course actually whacking the BASS drum simultaneously which was the loud noise we were hearing but who cares - it was a good bit of theatre.
If you want to hear how good a live band they were check out their 'Live Album (1971)'.... it includes the drum solo with the fraudulent passing out stunt!
This was my first festival as an 18 year old northern lad living on a bedsit in London of £17 per week. A mate came down to stay with me and we went. Heads hands and Feet were great and one of their tracks was 'Dirty heavy weather road' about the experience of touring in the north in winter and going over the old A6 at shap in a van before the motorway was built. Humble Pie were great but GFR didn't impress. After the concert we got a copy of what's on and went out to Dagenham to see Wishbone Ash in a room at the back of a pub before getting the last tube back to Hounslow. All in all a great day of music.
My friends and I went to this concert - it was my first experience of seeing a rock band live and my first time in London.
We travelled down from St.Helens, via Liverpool, on the train on the Friday evening - £7 return !!!!!!!!
Having got to Euston we somehow found our way to Hyde Park (eventualy - none of us had a clue where the park was) on the underground. We were with loads of other "hippies" sitting on the pavement and I can remember gangs of skinheads taunting us as they walked passed. We had heard of GFR but were not really fans - we were here to watch Heads Hands and Feet (loved their single, Warming Up the Band) and were just getting into Humble Pie - plus it was a free show.
After a couple of hours we were bored so we climbed the low fence (about 6 of us) and walked through the park in total darkness looking for the stage. When we found the stage we all could hear voices in the dark - very weird. Then we realised that there were people inside the stage - under the tarpaulin. Se we found an opening and scrambled under the stage.
There were "loads" of people and we trod on a few of them - we were swearing and cussing because we couldn't really see much but someone recognised our voices and shouted to us. We stumbled across and found more people we knew from St.Helens. So this was it then - camping under the stage - smoking dope (for the first time) - it all felt so cool.
We had been there for some time - not really sure how long - getting slowly stoned when all hell broke loose. Police had surrounded the stage and had lifted up the canvas - shining torches in our faces and yelling at us to get out. We could hardly walk (very wobbly legs LOL) but had to leave - the smell of dope was overwelming and they were threatening us with arrest if we didn't leave. And they also had dogs yelping at us, straining at their leashes.
So we all got back to the pavement and had to wait untill next morning before being allowed back into the park.
I cannot remember eating or drinking anything nor what the weather was like. I just remember some of the music.
I thought Heads, Hands and Feet were ok and Grank Funk Railroad were very loud but did not impress me at all.
It was Humble Pie who did it for me - totally stole the show. I can remember fights breaking out between the Hells Angels and Hippies and at one point rubbish being thrown (bottles/cans/etc) and I can remember feeling scared because it was getting very dangerous. I actually felt like the show could be stopped - possibly canceled. BUT Steve Marriot shouted at the dick-heads who were causing the trouble - I don't know how he did it. He just connected with the audience and managed to stop the fighting. From then on in they could do no wrong - one of the best live bands ever.
After the show was over we found our way back to Euston and caught the train home - I was dissappointed to be home (I think it was around 5pm when it finished). I couldn't believe I was back in St.Helens on Saturday night.
By the autumn of 71 all the major bands did tours and I saw loads including Ten Years After/Groundhogs/Led Zeppelin/Jethro Tull - but at this concert I was lucky enough to see one of the greatest live bands ever. I did see Humble Pie twice more before they faded - on the second occassion Frampton had left (he was actually the support act - his set finished with Jumping Jack Flash). After HP had finished their set, they came back on stage for the encore - joined by Frampton they played Honky Tonk Women and I Don't Need No Doctor. Brilliant - on both these shows they did not dissappoint.
Great (partial) Memories - Great Times.
I went to the free concert in Hyde park july 3 71. Aged 11, with my best friends Lawrence Tolhurt and Michael Dempsey. It was quite a day for us, our first concert. Up from Crawley on the train and into the world of rock and Roll and the big city. WOW, The crowd the noise the colourful characters it was all there. Man it was huge.
Humble pie was the draw, we even then were avid readers of The NME, Sounds and The Melody Maker. Each week we would sprawl on the bicycle shed roof to pour over the pages. Sadly I had no musical ability or ambitions, Lawrence and Michael on the other hand started spending lunchtimes in the music room at school after that. Soon a fledgling band was born.
Throughout our formative years at St. Wilfrids, RC School gigs came and went and line-ups changed, names were taken up and dropped. Eventually 'Easy Cure' Became the Cure and within a decade I was again in the crowd at Hyde park, this time to see my former schoolmates on stage.
That long hot summer day so long ago, was utterly brilliant, Three small boys on a mission of ultimate freedom - I felt no threat from anyone and I see now that it was pivotal in so many ways to me and my friends. Without that day I would not be the person I am today, is that true of the others..? Not for me to say, but I do wonder.
Thanks for the memories. I’m a Yank that attended this concert with a childhood Brit friend (I had lived in UK as a child). We came to see Humble Pie and weren’t disappointed. I remember Peter Frampton ripping some incredible licks in his lime green tuxedo. We were nearly run down by the Hell’s Angels and didn’t finish the Grand Funk part of the show choosing instead to catch an early train back home to Rushden, Northants.
1971 was a good year for concerts. I also endured the rain at Reading that year. Wow! What a swamp. Arthur Brown beginning his concert from the lights above the stage and Osibisa bringing a bit of Africa to the UK. I stood in line for a sausage roll behind Spartacus R.
Like others, I too didn’t appreciate Heads, Hands and Feet. They were just an annoyance making me wait for Humble Pie.
Grand Funk Railroad
Are You Ready ,Paranoid ,In Need ,Mark Says Alright ,T.N.U.C ,Inside Looking Out ,Gimme Shelter
53 min. -cuts and drop outs.
Steve Marriott ( left ) - Guitar ,Vocal, Peter Frampton- Guitar ,Vocal,
Heads Hands and Feet
Dirty heavy weather road
pages are a celebration of the Hyde park concerts. The highs , the lows, the
good uns and the bad uns . I'll try to provide whatever info there is available
on each event , recordings availability, photos, reviews, etc. and hopefully
, you will want to add your memories here too Contact
Concert reviews and info -1968-71
(These pages include large photogalleries of the concert, most especially King Crimson and Jack Bruce. )
Concert reviews and info -1974-76( all updated Nov 2018)