Getting to San Francisco was a hassle
Pink Floyd performed their first tour of the USA with a show in San Francisco at the Winterland. They missed their performance at the Fillmore (capacity: 1500) due to delays with acquiring the right travel visa permits. Billy Graham, owner of the Fillmore, was less than happy. Nick Mason, in his book, does not dive too deep into specifics.
When the band did eventually arrive in San Francisco on November 4, 1967, the recorded temperature registered a low of 53 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 82 degrees. There was no rainfall. Wind was 20 miles per hour.
Overall, it was an excellent night for progressive and psychedelic rock fanatics needing or having to wait in line for a concert featuring a young group of emerging UK musicians trying to visit the United States for the first time. No doubt their tour was to promote their first album The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, released 5 August 1967. The tour would also give them a chance to work on some of their other material live.
Pink Floyd’s albums were released in the United Kingdom under the EMI label, and Tower Records in the United States.
Pink Floyd’s discography up to that point, included the 11 March, 1967 release of “Arnold Layne“, the 16 June 1967 release of “See Emily Play” and their Piper album.
Later, the band would release another single called “Apples and Oranges” on 18 December 1967; a single they would play at various locations during their visit to California.
Winterland set list from 4 November 1967
Pink Floyd’s playlist at Winterland (capacity: 4500) on opening night, 4 November, included:
- See Emily Play
- Lucifer Sam
- Matilda Mother
- Pow R. Toc H.
- Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk
- Interstellar Overdrive
- The Gnome
- Chapter 24
- The Scarecrow
You can listen to a recreation of Pink Floyd’s play list from the Winterland via Seany D’s shared list.
Below is a compiled list of dates and events, taking from existing sources. The timeline below also contains some gaps filled by research conducted by the Seany D show in its effort to gather a complete itinerary of the band during this critical moment in the band’s life.
Pink Floyd Timeline – latter part of 1967
- Saturday 30 September – Billboard article of Pink Floyd’s upcoming US tour
- Saturday 21 October – Piper at the Gates of Dawn released in the United States.
- Thursday 26 October – due to open at Bill Graham’s Fillmore (Mason), but this was cancelled due to travel issues. Band in studios to record the single “Apples and Oranges” (Wikipedia).
- Friday 27 October – due at the Fillmore, but their gig was cancelled. Band continues in the studio to record “Apples and Oranges”, of which “Paintbox” is to be B-side to the singles release later in the year (Wikipedia).
- Saturday 28 October – due at the Fillmore, but their gig was cancelled. They did play at Dunelm House, University of Durham, Durham, England on this day.
- Sunday 29 October – no specific musical event scheduled or this day. The band members allegedly signed a 3 by 5 card in red ink (Pop Culture Signatures).
- Monday 30 October – KPFA (now 94.1 FM) Benefit, Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA, but this was cancelled. The band was also scheduled at the Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Like airlines, I guess their managers overbook, just in case?
- Tuesday 31 October – Scheduled for the Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA. The event was cancelled.
- Wednesday 1 November – SF Chronicle article “The Name Is Pink Floyd”. Scheduled for the Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA
It reads: “Pink Floyd, one of the hottest English groups to emerge in recent months, will make its American debut tomorrow night at the Fillmore Auditorium. Floyd – Rick Wright, from left, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Roger Waters – records for Tower. The group will return next weekend, joined by Procol Harum and H. P. Lovecraft. This weekend’s bill, which moves to Winterland Friday and Saturday features singer Richie Havens and Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Janis Joplin.”
Fans will know the band members in the article as (from left to right, respectively) drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Richard Wright, bassist and vocalist Roger Waters and vocalist and guitarist Syd Barrett.
- Thursday 2 November – Pink Floyd scheduled to arrive in the United States to perform at Winterland. Red tape kept the band from leaving London, UK. The band did not perform at Winterland on this day. According to San Francisco Chronicle article, they were supposed to play at the Fillmore that night. Pink Floyd still in UK.
- Friday 3 November – The band did not perform at Winterland on this day. Ike and Tina Turner took their place. Pink Floyd still in UK. Weird that they were to play Caves Club, Chislehurst Caves, Chislehurst, England on this same day. Caves Club gig was cancelled.
- Saturday 4 November – Pink Floyd reported to have arrived at the Winterland at 5:30 a.m that morning for their performance that night. They had trouble with US Customs and Immigration. A newspaper report, mentioning that “Saturday night Pink Floyd finally played” , called them an “interesting group”.
- Sunday 5 November – Cheetah Club, Santa Monica. Taping of a show called Groovy for KHJ Channel 9. The band was scheduled for the Cheetah Club, Chicago, IL, USA, but this was cancelled. It is also possible that Pink Floyd may have been an influence on Alice Cooper’s “Sound of A” track, while Pink Floyd stayed at the Alice Cooper House in Los Angeles. Cooper is to have said that “I don’t know if it might’ve had something to do with a brownie…but we wrote this song.” (AZ Central) Who knows what Cooper meant by “brownie”? I have an idea, but that’s for another blog. Referencing Alice’s exact same light show instruments and configuration as Floyd’s, Cooper alluded to having a “kindred spirit” with Pink Floyd, leading to their invite to the Cooper house.
Barrett had an influence on Alice Cooper’s guitarist – “he’s Stockhausen”
- Monday 6 November – KHJ Channel 9 TV Studios, Los Angeles. Pat Boone Show. “The Gnome” and “Chapter 24”. Band allegedly stayed at the Hollywood Hawaiian Motel (Mason). Not sure if it was on the 6th, 7th or 8th that Syd said, “It’s nice here in Las Vegas”. On this day, Pink Floyd released a US-only single, Flaming (B-side: The Gnome).
- Tuesday 7 November – ABC Studios, Los Angeles. “Apples and Oranges”, “See Emily Play”. Possible stay continued at the Hollywood Hawaiian Motel. American Bandstand appearance and Dick Clark interview, who referred to the band as having a “very interesting sound”. The band was also scheduled for Cafe Au Go Go, Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA, which was obviously cancelled.
- Wednesday 8 November – Boss City show on KHJ Channel 9, Los Angeles. “Apples and Oranges” played. Perhaps “Matilda Mother” was played, mimed by Nick Mason? Other bands on the show were the Stone Poneys and the Standells. Continued alleged stay at the Hollywood Hawaiian Motel.
- Thursday 9 November – Fillmore Auditorium, where we know they played Interstellar Overdrive. At this event, Syd Barrett de-tuned his guitar. Cancelled Cafe Au Go Go, Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA. Coincidentally, the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine is published.
- Friday 10 November – Winterland. Los Angeles Free Press article entitled “Pink Floyd Hurricane at Cheetah”. Floyd was quoted as saying “There are no barriers, there can be no predictions.” Cancelled Cafe Au Go Go, Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA
The Los Angeles Free Press article above reads as follows: “Pink Floyd, another mind-bending group from England, made its only local appearance last weekend at Santa Monica’s cheerful Cheetah. Even the seaweed was swinging at the end of their first set.
The unbelievable sound of Pink Floyd was first heard through a hurricane of colour, bringing total sensual involvement of audience and performers, each absorbed in the creation of aural/visual experience. The creation belonged to Pink Floyd, but there was ample room for all of us to share their visions, their feelings. At the end, the audience might have been another creation of the facile, collective mind of Pink Floyd.”
Pink Floyd originated in London, and has been playing under different names and with different members for nearly three years. Syd Barrett (Guitar), Rick Wright (organ), Roger Waters (bass), and Nick Mason (drums and tympani, when he can find them) have remained both within and yet distinct from the pop scene. To quote their press release, “There are no barriers, there can be no predictions.”
- Saturday 11 November – Winterland. Cancelled Cafe Au Go Go, Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA. Small Post in the New York Daily news mentioned Pink Floyd playing at the Cheetah (NY) before they headed for England (Hoffman)
- Sunday 12 November – Pink Floyd departs for New York, before flying back to London to continue with the Netherlands leg of their tour. Gig at Public Hall, Harpenden, England was cancelled.
- Unconfirmed – web source that a fan remembers Pink Floyd appearing on the Woody Woodbury Show, stating they played The Gnome and The Scarecrow. But according to TV.com, there was no program listing the band as guests for the period November 4-11, 1967.
Seany D reached out to multiple people who claimed they attended some of the events during this time. At the time of publication, we were still waiting to hear from these sources.
I also found commentary from fans on the web, some of which appears below.
One fan who attended the 4 November concert suggested that Syd Barrett wasn’t himself, perhaps from his discovery of LSD while in San Francisco. The show was strange at best. They thought it was a let down. The fan also suggested that Interstellar went on for too long, while Syd looked wasted, having trouble controlling the feedback from his guitar and shouting louder than necessary. Fatigue may have been a factor because the band did, after all, arrive in San Francisco at 5:30 in the morning on the very day they were to play Winterland. (sydbarrettpinkfloyd)
On their opening night, they dressed in velvet and satin jackets and pants.
Another fan posted this comment: “One of the memories I have is that at the end of a set the band members walked off one at a time while the remaining members kept playing. Finally the drummer was the only one left and he continued. Then someone would come out and remove one piece of his drum set at a time. Finally he was furiously playing the bass drum, a snare and a cymbal. At the end I think he just had the snare then that was taken and he dropped his sticks, shrugged and walked off the stage.” (Hoffman)
This from New Orleans fan, allegedly at the Friday, November 10 Winterland show: “I don’t remember the set list though “Interstellar Overdrive” was played, it, being as mentioned, having received KSAN airplay. I do have a distinct memory of Syd staring into space strumming an E chord.” (Hoffman)
While in San Francisco, the band stayed at the Sausalito Hotel, also known as the Casa Madrona Hotel. They had their picture taken for Rolling Stone there.
Today, the second floor suite where they stayed is now called the Piper room.
That’s pretty cool.