Soft Machine at Red Rocks (Denver, Colorado) - September 1968
I knew nothing of Canterbury except Chaucer's Tales, of which I was a big fan from before my trek to Denver. This was the trio of Ratledge, Wyatt, and Ayers. I never recovered. Happy 30th anniversary.
Caravan at Memorial Hall (Kansas City) - September 1975.
Only 50% of the original (Hastings and Coughlan) augmented by Messrs Wedgwood, Richardson and Schelhaas. This was an opening slot for a terrible, and popular American band. Dreadful mismatching, and I missed any Sinclair presence, but still, it was a band calling itself Caravan and living up to the name, even with a truncated set.
Steve Hillage and National Health - Guildford, Surrey, May 1978
I realise there are those who think National Health have nothing to do with Canterbury (I've heard Dave's pleas for South London!). This gets my vote primarily because of the presence of 75% of Hatfield and the North. (Personally, I think even a 25% Hatfield reunion is worthwhile, so three out of four was fantastic! And John Greaves wasn't bad either). We did actually get to hear Phil Miller sing, and what other Canterbury concert can lay claim to that?
Gong at the Drum Room (Kansas City) - March 1996
After 18 years of promoting concerts by Obscure Europeans (whom I dubbed Obscuropeans), here I was, a few blocks from home, attending a Gong concert I hadn't technically caused, and for which I had no obligation. What bliss! The sold out performance was a great pleasure to be a part of. Someone was kind enough to send me a double CD of that performance, which still sounds impressive. And I know, Didier Malherbe has nothing to do with Canterbury the city, but he sure seems an integral part of it all.
Kevin Ayers in San Francisco, May 1998
This is on my list because it was the most enjoyable Kevin 'solo' gig I've ever seen. This one was with a highly creditable five-piece band called Mushroom. He was a much better front man for a great band than reluctant solo performer. (I'm still very glad I talked him into solo performances - as much as he dreaded and hated them, the fans always appreciated whatever they experienced in the way of shows and presences).