Memory:Dave Ward

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This fan memory was written by Dave Ward.

I'm 47 years old now, but when I was 17 I had the pleasure of seeing Gentle Giant live in Ottawa one November 1974 evening. At the time I had "The Power and the Glory" and "Octopus" in my collection and really liked the band, but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced that night! It was incredible to see the band playing this complex, intense music and yet they seemed to be having the time of their life on stage. Ottawa was always very open to progressive rock and many in the audience that night obviously were well aquainted with the band and all of its music. The band seemed to feed off the admiration.

In particular, I remember how Ray Shulman had the audience in the palm of his hand. All evening he was galloping around the stage, playing like only he could, and smiling. When he did his violin solo (I recall some kind of quadraphonic speaker set up in the arena that allowed the sound to be presented from speaker to speaker), his slightest smirk or raised eyebrow projected out to the entire crowd and they responded. Amazing! (My wife said he reminded her of Jim Carrey - they both have such expressive faces). I was walking on air for days afterward - I had experienced true talent and quality and never forgot it.

I think "Giant on the Box" really captures how it felt to see the band and am so grateful it has appeared!

I saw them again in Ottawa in 1975 or 1976 (Free Hand tour) and it was great as well. I have never heard a band or concert since that has measured up...