The Allman Brothers Knebworth 1974

The Allman Brothers, The Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, The Mahavishnu Orhcestra, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Tim Buckley.
Knebworth Park 1974 The Bucolic Frolic
This was the first of the great 1970s one day festivals to be held at Knebworth Park. I went along with my mates John and Gillie, catching a bus to Stevenage and them making our way to the site on the Saturday morning. We arrived just in time for Tim Buckley, who came on early in the day just as the crowds were entering the site. I remember his deep booming voice echoing around the field, but little else about his set. Next up was the Sensational Alex Harvey band, who were already a favourite of ours, and a great festival crowd pleaser. We made our way to the front to get a good view of Alex, Zal and the others who started with Faith Healer, which was still quite a new song at the time. Alex was an amazing front man, had no fear at all and was also a bit of a philosopher: “Don’t pish in the water. Don’t buy any bullets , don’t make any bullets and don’t shoot any bullets”. You couldn’t get more of a contrast than Alex Harvey followed by John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orhcestra, but such a rich mix of music was quite commonplace at 70s events. John was dressed entirely in white and he and his band took us through a wonderful blend of jazz, rock and classical music which swept through the field. The Mahavishnu Orhcestra was a big band, featuring Jean Luc Ponty, who had recently made his name playing with Frank Zappa. Van Morrison was just amazing, and at his peak, in the early 70s, and his set at Knebworth was great. His band on the day was a three piece, which was very small for Van, and a contrast to the Caledonia Soul Orchestra who I saw him with a few weeks later. I was never a big fan of the Doobie Brothers, they were a bit too funky for me, however John recalls them as the highlight of the day. They went down ok with the crowd, but by then everyone was waiting for the headliners. Jessica and Ramblin’ Man were real favourites that summer, played at all the festivals, and The Allman Brothers Band had a reputation for being THE Jamming band, renowned for playing long sets and mega versions of their songs, particularly Whipping Post. They didn’t let the crowd down. Gillie, John and I spent some time wandering around the site that day, and Jessica was constantly playing in the background. The Allmans came on late and played until well after midnight. Greg Alllman said at some point during the set “We are going to play every damn song we know” after continued shouts for Whipping Post. We slept the night on the site and got the bus back home the next morning, running into some of John’s school friends on the bus. Allman Brothers setlist: Wasted Words; Done Somebody Wrong; One Way Out; Stormy Monday; Midnight Rider; Blue Sky; In Memory of Elizabeth Reed; Statesboro Blues; Come and Go Blues; Ramblin’ Man. Encore: Trouble No More; Jessica; You Don’t Love Me / Les Brers In A Minor. Second Encore: Whipping Post. Thanks to John for the scan of the flyer. John comments that is was overall a very exciting day, with a diverse, even eclectic, line up which happened a lot a the time and gave everyone a chance to appreciate lots of different styles of music.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Allan Orrick on April 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    You probably bought your ticket for this from me. I managed HMV Newcastle, and sold the tickets in Newcastle on behalf of Frederick Bannister, the promoter.
    My wife and I went to the gig, sleeping overnight in a Ford Granada, and being constantly woken up by the shouts of “wally”!!!
    The gig was great, although my wife fell asleep during Van’s performance.
    I was, and still am, a huge Doobie Brothers fan, and had the pleasure of seeing them support the Allman Brothers Band again at The Greek in LA in 2009.

    Reply

  2. Posted by vintagerock on April 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Hi I will almost certainly have bought my ticket from you. I remember the Wally chants well, and being fascinated about the folklore relating to their origin. I heard tales of it ll starting at Weeley, or the Isle of Wight. I remember seeing someone with a flag “Wheres Wally from Weeley?”.
    I would love to see the Allmans again. I had a ticket to see Gregg last year in Edinburgh but didn’t go in the end due to work pressures as it was a mid week gig, and sold my ticket, which I regret. I should have made the effort.

    Reply

    • Posted by Nige Barton on January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      I have great memories of this gig.It was around this time that I began to get into the more funky American bands like Little Feat,Steely Dan and of course The Doobies and the Allmans.
      I and a mate Pete,sadly no longer with us,hitched down from Notts on the friday and partied on the campsite friday night,sleeping in the “crash marquee” set up for us freaks who couldnt be bothered to lug a tent!Saturday dawned warm and sunny with an game of American Football going on on the campsite,instigated by guys from the nearby U.S airbase.When the music started I enjoyed Tim Buckley and have since become a big fan,check out his recorded legacy.SAHB were fun and a blast,with the ominous intro to Faith Healer booming over the crystal clear P.A.Mahavishnu,Van the Man and the Doobies all put in great sets as the sun beat down.
      By the time the Allmans came on I had made aquaintance with a bottle of Johnny Walker and was feeling well mellow! A great set ensued,winding up well into the small hours.Happy ,sunburned and hungover,I hitched home to my beautiful hippie chick girlfriend of the time [where are you now Maggie Donnelly!!]and then retired to our local for a much needed hair of the dog.
      If anyone wants to view my photos of the gig,then visit the UK Rock Festival Archive website and go to the Knebworth 1974 page.
      Love,peace and boogie,Nige.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Paul on February 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    NICE POST! I HITCH HIKED FROM BOLTON ON FRIDAY, GETTING TO THE SITE ABOUT 2 A.M. jUST THOUGHT IT WAS A FANTASTIC GIG REALLY, SO DIVERSE AND RELAXED. I REMEMBER IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS BEIBG OVERCOME BY SLEEP AND NEARBY POT SMOKING AND FAINTING INTO THE CAMPFIRE I WAS SITTING AROUND. NO HARM DONE AND I SOMETIMES TELL MY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN COSTA RICA ABOUT ALL THE CONCERTS I WENT TO IN THE SEVENTIES – THE STONES AT KNEBWORTH, THE ANARCHY TOUR AT MANCHESTER ELECTRIC CIRCUS, ELVIS COSTELLO AT RAFTERS THE DAY HIS FIRST ALBUM CAME OUT, TODD RUNDGREN 3 TIMES, THE WHO AT HAMMERSMITH PALAIS AND CHARLTON, SANTANA AT MANCHESTER PALACE WITH EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE, PINK FLOYD ALSO THERE ON THE DSOTM TOUR, LED ZEPELLIN AT EARL’S COURT AND MANY MANY MORE, GREAT TIMES

    Reply

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