Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Traffic & Other Bands Play Huge London Festival “Christmas on Earth Continued” (1967)

A tru­ly spec­tac­u­lar event, 1967’s “Christ­mas on Earth Continued”—a super-con­cert described in one pro­mo poster as an “All Night Christ­mas Dream Party”—gets sad­ly remem­bered as the last major show Syd Bar­ret played with Pink Floyd—ending the set dazed and motion­less onstage, his arms hang­ing limp at his sides. Barrett’s break­down wasn’t the only thing that kept this mas­sive hap­pen­ing, “the last gasp of the British under­ground scene,” from tak­ing off as it should have.

As the blog Mar­malade Skies recalls, the con­cert, held in the “vast Lon­don Olympia,” had “hope­less­ly inad­e­quate” pub­lic­i­ty.” This, and a “par­tic­u­lar­ly severe win­ter freeze” meant sparse atten­dance and “finan­cial dis­as­ter for the orga­niz­ers.” In addi­tion, a planned film of the event failed to mate­ri­al­ize, “owing to poor pic­ture qual­i­ty of the footage.”


Despite all this, it seems, you real­ly had to have been there. The line­up alone will make lovers of 60s psych-rock sali­vate: Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence, Eric Bur­don, Pink Floyd, The Move, Soft Machine, Tomor­row… The Who didn’t make it, but the unbilled Traf­fic did. We’re lucky to have some of the footage from that win­ter night. Check out Traf­fic below (with a very young Steve Win­wood), play­ing “Dear Mr. Fan­ta­sy.”

Lib­er­al Eng­land blog­ger Jonathan Calder calls the Traf­fic clip “price­less” and quotes Mar­malade Skies’ vivid descrip­tion of the nights fes­tiv­i­ties:

Soft Machine, with Kevin Ayers resplen­dent in pre-punk black string vest, cli­maxed with the ulti­mate Dada ver­sion of ‘We did it again’ as Robert Wyatt leapt into a full bath of water, that just hap­pened to be on-stage with them! At least, we assumed it was water. 

Tomor­row pow­ered through their unique mix of heav­i­ly Bea­t­les influ­enced psy­che­delia. Dur­ing ‘Straw­ber­ry Fields For­ev­er’ Twink (drums) and Junior (bass) per­formed a mimed fight whilst being sub­ject­ed to the most pow­er­ful strobe light effects I’ve ever wit­nessed. Steve Howe was a rev­e­la­tion, mov­ing from raga to clas­si­cal to Bar­rett — style anar­chy with an almost arro­gant ease. 

Traf­fic, still with Dave Mason, even per­formed ‘Hole in my shoe’. Steve Win­wood was into his white cheese­cloth peri­od, and their music was so unlike any­thing else around that they occu­pied a total­ly orig­i­nal space. The song, ‘Here we go round the Mul­ber­ry Bush’ was very typ­i­cal of their trip­py, watery sound at that time. 

Hen­drix — voom! All light shows were killed for his per­for­mance. Noel Red­ding was con­stant­ly nig­gling Jimi, play­ing bass behind his head as Jimi per­formed his tricks with his gui­tar. It was the first time I saw Hen­drix with his Gib­son Fly­ing Arrow, and the ten­sion on-stage pro­duced some elec­tri­fy­ing music.

At the top of the post see Hen­drix in back­stage footage, effort­less­ly coax­ing some beau­ti­ful 12-bar blues from that Gib­son fly­ing V. The film clips of him onstage—blowing an obvi­ous­ly very turned-on audience’s col­lec­tive mind—will con­vince you this was the only place on earth to be on Decem­ber 22, 1967.

And that fate­ful Floyd per­for­mance? We don’t seem to have any film, but we do have the audio, and you can hear it below, slight­ly sped up, it seems. The band were debut­ing their new 3D light­show, which—as much as Barrett’s sad loss of his faculties—left quite an impres­sion on the crowd. One anony­mous com­menter on Calder’s blog, who claims to have seen been in atten­dance at the ten­der age of 18, writes, “I was so impressed with the Soft Machine and Pink Floyd light­shows that I bought an old movie pro­jec­tor from a thrift shop and me and my flat­mate spent hours putting col­or slides into the pro­jec­tor grate and watched them melt psy­che­del­i­cal­ly on the wall.” No doubt impres­sion­able young­sters all over the UK indulged in sim­i­lar kinds of good clean fun, with Piper at the Gates of Dawn on the hi-fi. If like me, you were born too late to expe­ri­ence the zenith of the psy­che­del­ic 60s, then flip off the lights, let your trip­pi­est screen saver take over, and lis­ten to Pink Floyd decon­struct them­selves below.

via Lib­er­al Eng­land

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jimi Hen­drix at Wood­stock: The Com­plete Per­for­mance in Video & Audio (1969)

Jimi Hen­drix Plays the Bea­t­les: “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Day Trip­per,” and “Tomor­row Nev­er Knows”

Pink Floyd Plays With Their Brand New Singer & Gui­tarist David Gilmour on French TV (1968)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (22)
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  • Peter says:

    That Floyd link is a Syd show from 1970, not the Floyd show from ’67!

  • Colin Kropach says:

    I remem­ber this con­cert well hav­ing been to the 14 Tech­ni­colour Dream ear­li­er in the year and then a reg­u­lar at UFOs in Tot­ten­ham Court Road on Fri­day nights.

    Lon­don in 1967 was a spe­cial place with great music and small clubs all over the place. Free con­certs in Hyde Park round­ed it all out.

  • Paul says:

    Also not known wide­ly but Bri­an May from Queen was in his school­boy band, 1984 (with Tim Staffell) and they played this gig too.. Tim and Bri­an went on to form Smile with Roger Tay­lor. Then Time left and sug­gest­ed his room­mate Fred­die join up with Bri­an and Roger.…

  • joe brownfield says:

    I was there. 17 yrs old. An Amer­i­can stu­dent in Lon­don with no idea what i was about to see. We spent our week­ends at the mar­quee club and hyde park. An exten­sion of the Hip­pie psy­che­del­ic expe­ri­ence com­plete with visu­al gel screens strobes in a cav­ern of a venue. Eric Bur­den was a big draw, Hen­drix Floyd…what a show! the last gasp from the scene. Thanks for remind­ing me.

  • Alan Harvey says:

    I was there, just back from the front when Jimi came on. All the lights went out, Jimi smashed s light­ed cig­a­rette against the mic stand and away they went. I swear I got Hen­drix spit on my par­ka. I remem­ber the mag­i­cal blues on the Fly­ing V and Span­ish Cas­tle Mag­ic. I also remem­ber ten­sion between Jimi and Noel. At one point Jimi was tun­ing and glared and barked at Noel ‘Give me an F’. Mag­i­cal night.

  • Ian Macintosh says:

    I was there, and in fact, the ‘Mar­malade Skies’ quote is actu­al­ly a lift­ed quote from my pieces on the Pink Floyd web­site ‘A Fleet­ing Glimpse’. Not often men­tioned was the no-show of The Move, who were orig­i­nal­ly going to play. But Hen­drix was ace, and yes, open­ly angry with Red­ding dur­ing the per­for­mance; Traf­fic were bril­liant, Soft Machine were fan­tas­tic, and Eric Bur­don was good. Floyd were good as well, even with a non-func­tion­ing Syd. His gui­tar was­n’t plugged in as I recall. Not as good as the Ally Pal­ly in the sum­mer, but a great all nighter all the same. And yes, the end of a short but beau­ti­ful peri­od for psy­che­delia.

  • Ian Macintosh says:

    …or also, the Who, who did­n’t show either — Moon had been injured. And a men­tion for Tomor­row, the great unsung band of the flower pow­er peri­od.

  • Dave hatchard says:

    You must have been on something,the Move Did play,just before Hen­drix on the stage opposite,in fact l think they might of stood in for the Who! They had an effi­gy of the then prime min­is­ter Harold Wil­son on stage,which they stripped through­out their gig end­ing up giv­ing it a good going over!
    Hen­drix was out of this world,l stood near Eric Bur­don who kept on say­ing ‘He’s too fuck­ing much man,too fuck­ing much,
    What a night..sorry about Syd…the rest of the band did us jus­tice, and have done ever since!
    The flow­ers giv­en to us on entry would cost more than the concert…thanks 1967

  • GaryB says:

    The no-show was by The Who. There were a few rumors cir­cu­lat­ing as too why, but not worth repeat­ing as it was so long ago. The Move were there and already sched­uled to appear, so they weren’t act­ing as a stand-in act. An alto­geth­er nev­er to be for­got­ten and amaz­ing all nighter. Hap­py days.

  • Tony Foster says:

    I was there with Georgie my muse at the time . Sad­ly she over­did it on snow­balls by the time Hen­drix came on and so she was fast asleep! Saw Sam Gopal many years lat­er. Place seemed half emp­ty?

  • James B says:

    I was there with a friend. I was just 17. The set up was unusu­al with two stages at oppo­site sides of the huge Olympia hall and no seats only ply­wood plat­forms with slop­ing edges to lean against or lie on.

    We noticed Hen­drix set­ting up on the oppo­site stage and went and stood right next to it. The stage was not high and I reached out and touched his foot. Then he adjust­ed his amp and asked us if that was OK. I mean we were fans chat­ting to Hen­drix as he set up! He played with just his feet fin­gers, teeth and behind his head and he was amaz­ing.

    The oth­er high­light besides Eric Bur­don was Traf­fic, we were told their first ever gig. They were tru­ly amaz­ing. And, no one men­tions, the band cur­rent­ly enjoy­ing a hit then with Teenage Opera song about Gro­cer Jack .

    For us the oth­er mem­o­rable moment was when Pink Floyd came on ear­ly in the morn­ing, maybe the last band (it did go on all night) and we were lying on those plat­forms and this amaz­ing sound and light start­ed esca­lat­ing. We thought it was great. Sor­ry it’s writ­ten up as a ter­ri­ble per­for­mance, to some of us it was pure mag­ic.

    You real­ly did have to be there and if you were you won’t for­get it.

    And yes I too cre­at­ed my own light show after that: coloured food dye neutered sheets of slide glass in a slide pro­jec­tor and a strobe light with a mechan­i­cal­ly dri­ven alu­mini­um plate with a hole.

    Not being a super crit­ic

  • Roy says:

    I was there, noticed Noel Red­ding and Mitch Mitchell set­ting up half way along whilst anoth­er band was, I thought play­ing at the far end.
    So I posi­tioned myself right in front of the very low stage, I was prob­a­bly next to you! I had long blond hair and a beard which I’d man­aged to keep dur­ing months locked up in the Mid­dle East. Got back in March that year to arrive half-way through a friend’s down my street two week par­ty — and then the Sum­mer of Love, Wow! What a time to be young, we were so lucky.

  • Ginny rattenbury says:

    I was there and Hen­drix is the only per­for­mance I can remem­ber. Will nev­er for­get that.

  • Jay Nicholson says:

    My wife Di and I were there. She had been on an Oxfam fast at Eros in Pic­cadil­ly and was reward­ed for her efforts with free tick­ets for the show. I remem­ber so well how uncrowd­ed it was. We got so close to Hen­drix and watched his whole set includ­ing his trade­mark set­ting the gui­tar alight with lighter fuel. I can’t say as I remem­ber any of the so called ten­sion between him and Noel Red­ding.
    I also remem­ber see­ing The Move and The Ani­mals and above all, a fan­tas­tic set from Traf­fi. Can’t say that I remem­ber Gra­ham Bond or Tomor­row. Per­haps if I’d been bet­ter informed in those days, I would have want­ed to watch Steve Howe whom I lat­er (1969?) saw with Yes — a sup­port­ing act for The Nice at Ther South Bank. Yes., great times to be young and free. The next sum­mer fea­tured trips to Hyde Park for the free con­certs. And we did final­ly see the no-show Who at Ham­mer­smith — Bloody loud!

  • Del says:

    I was there, and remem­ber Pink Floyd as being very bor­ing, but Jimi as being very excit­ing. And Tomor­row as being great. But my undy­ing mem­o­ry is of the strange­ly slop­ing “things” to lie/rest on. ( sor­ry I cant think of the right word ). And get­ting off with a girl from my past I did­n’t know fan­cied me! And get­ting home the next day — morn­ing.
    A great time to be young!

  • Sean Fullerton says:

    I was there, I remem­ber the Move but not much more.

  • Francis Marshall says:

    I was there. Nineteen.years of age. Marc Bolan stepped over my out­stretched legs and said to me. Excuse me man. God I feel old.

  • Tony Brindle says:

    I was there, a 17-year-old naive kid just arrived in Lon­don from the sticks. Had­n’t a clue what I had walked into. I was actu­al­ly wear­ing a suit, believ­ing that a night out required me to “look my best” The place was huge, with a small fun­fair run­ning along­side the music being played on two stages. I was there to see Eric Bur­don, who, like me, was from “up north” Hen­drix came on, and I stood there amazed, and soon realised “that this ain’t Kansas any­more” I left in the ear­ly morn­ing and dumped the suit.

  • Leslie Johnson says:

    Christ­mas on Earth.
    I was there.
    I did not go to UFO and Mid­dle Earth.
    But I had read about swing­ing Lon­don, the under­ground, the beau­ti­ful peo­ple, the alter­na­tive soci­ety in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines.
    Here was my chance to meet these won­der­ful peo­ple with alive minds and bril­liant ideas.
    What did I find?
    The floor was cov­ered in a paste made of spilt beer and cig­a­rette ash, they put their beau­ti­ful embroi­dered Afghan coats down on this floor, laid on their coats, and just gazed up at the ceil­ing or closed their eyes. They did­n’t see the bands. I did.
    No one spoke to me and I did­n’t speak to any­one except the three friends I went with. Where were all these bril­liant minds I had read about? Were the beau­ti­ful peo­ple, swing­ing Lon­don, hip­pies, the alter­na­tive soci­ety etc just an inven­tion of the media?
    What a dis­ap­point­ment!!

  • Tim Naidu says:

    Christ­mas on Earth was a great night from which I remem­ber walk­ing home in south Ful­ham. Traf­fic was a great sur­prise as a favourite band although dis­ap­point­ed that The Who did not show. The fun­ni­est mem­o­ry was of fans migrat­ing from watch­ing Eric Bur­den /Animals at one end of the hall to see Traf­fic set­ting up and per­form­ing. The only time I saw Pink Floyd as more a Tomor­row fan-still remem­ber Twink stand­ing up and drum­ming. Great oppor­tu­ni­ty to see Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence per­form which pro­vides me with god­like sta­tus when dis­cussing with younger music fans. The Move sur­pris­ing­ly fit­ted in a psy­che­del­ic night.
    The hall reeked of cannabis. The whole night for £5.00

  • Andy Thomas says:

    I was there. So were The Move!!! They played a blind­er! It was The Who that didn’t show up. That was because Town­shend has cut on the index fin­ger of his left hand and couldn’t play! Traf­fic stood in for them! The Floyd were awful and Syd last­ed about 15 min­utes before he wan­dered off stage. He was out trip­ping! Didn’t have a clue what was going on. The band strand­ed on for a while play­ing a riff that sound­ed sus­pi­cious­ly like ‘Soft Machine’s — We Did It Again, but it was going nowhere. I saw them at The Boat House in Kew a cou­ple of months lat­er in March ‘68 after they’d dumped Syd. There were about 40 peo­ple there! And even less by the time they fin­ished!

  • Keith W says:

    Right, let me try again. My first attempt was thwart­ed as the site thought I might be spam. I won­dered whether it was my email address so I changed that. Still spam and when I hit the back but­ton again, my mas­ter­piece of a com­ment dis­ap­peared! So this is being com­posed in a text edi­tor and won’t be a bril­liant as my orig­i­nal :-)
    Chas (who was Char­lie back then), Jeff and I attend­ed this amaz­ing con­cert. We were three 15 year old gram­mar school boys, so I have no idea how we man­aged to get our par­ents to agree. Alas, as I have found with so many of the gigs I attend­ed in my youth, mem­o­ries are now sim­ply vague to non-exis­tent. Although there is the occa­sion­al clear rec­ol­lec­tion. But for what it’s worth, here is my two-pen­neth.
    First I have to cor­rect Tim Naidu whose mem­o­ry might be head­ing the same way as mine. Entry was only £1 in advance or 25 bob (£1.25) at the door. Five quid was prob­a­bly a week’s pay for some folk.
    As for the night, what do I recall? First impres­sion was won­der, in that I was a very, very inno­cent young boy and there I was sur­round­ed by all these long haired chaps (if my hair even touched ny ears I was in trou­ble at school) and some remark­ably beau­ti­ful young women — my school was sin­gle sex :-(
    Olympia was cav­ernous, with two stages, fair­ground rides and films being pro­ject­ed onto the walls. Cer­tain­ly nev­er seen any­thing like that in my life. But, I hear you cry, what about the music?
    OK, the over­rid­ing mem­o­ry is of Tomor­row who I thought were total­ly bril­liant! I had been won­der­ing how Kei­th West would per­form Teenage Opera, after all, did­n’t every­body play their hit? All I can say is that it did­n’t take long lis­ten­ing to them for my musi­cal taste to grow up. For years after I would tell any­one who would lis­ten about this amaz­ing gui­tarist called Steve Howe. Part­ly because at one point he played a solo. What made that unusu­al was that he did it play­ing solo. Twink and Junior had a mock fight on stage while Kei­th West popped back­stage for a cup of tea (which Twink con­firmed when I was lucky enough to meet him about a decade ago). I bought their LP on its release but by then they had all but bro­ken up. Inter­est­ing­ly I had seen them in Octo­ber on a pack­age tour (head­lined by Traf­fic, who also toured with The Who in Oct/Nov so James B had been incor­rect­ly informed) and they had made no impres­sion on me what­so­ev­er.
    Talk­ing of Traf­fic, my mem­o­ry is that they were on the oth­er stage imme­di­ate­ly before Hen­drix. As much as I loved them, I just kept wish­ing they (or who­ev­er it was) would bloody well hur­ry up and fin­ish! We had decid­ed that we’d stay put rather than go to the oth­er stage, that way we’d get clos­er to the stage for Hen­drix. It seemed as if most of the crowd made the same deci­sion. So although we got a lit­tle clos­er, we weren’t as lucky as some oth­ers in these com­ments.
    I have no clear mem­o­ry of Hen­drix, just the feel­ing that he was aston­ish­ing. As an aspir­ing gui­tarist, my eyes nev­er left him, so I was unaware of what the oth­er two were doing. Whilst I nev­er pro­gressed passed being a mediocre lead gui­tarist, I did learn to play the gui­tar behind my head and with my teeth (I still blame Hen­drix for me los­ing my upper front two teeth when I was 21).
    Ummm, any­thing else — oh yes, Pink Floyd. Again noth­ing spe­cif­ic, so no idea that Bar­rett walked off. What I do recall was that I described them as look­ing ner­vous, which as an estab­lished act, I found strange. Of course, over the decades one realised why.
    I was about to say that none of the oth­er bands left a last­ing impres­sion but then recalled that I real­ly liked Sam Gopal Dream. I want­ed to watch their set at the end of the gig but the oth­er two just want­ed to get home, so I left with them.
    And that’s it. My first all-night show, the first of many over the next few years.

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