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The Magic Highway

 

The January 2008 issue of Classic Rock spotlighted the Hendrix mega-tour package which included the Outer Limits.


IN November 1967, a star-studded but unlikely assemblage of psychedelic, rock and soul bands set out in a fleet of cars, transit vans and coaches on a 21-date tour of theatres and civic halls the length and breadth of Britain in a vague attempt to emulate the traditional package tour of yesterday.
   But the combination of bands drawn up for this tour was a bit way out even for those times.
   This was a bill featuring the cream of the new music, some of the craziest, most pioneering and influential bands of all time: The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Pink Floyd, supported by The Move, The Nice, Amen Corner, Eire Apparent and The Outer Limits.
   These days, when one Led Zeppelin gig attracts ticket requests in their millions, a simlar bill would sell out stadiums in a flash. But there were no guarantees back in 1967.
   For the Jimi Hendrix Experience, this would be their second full tour of the UK, having spent much of the summer months in mainland Europe and the US, basking in the glory of having played the legendary set at the Monterey festival.
   The show was comprised of two halves with an interval. Newcomers The Outer Limits and Eire Apparent opened with just eight minutes apiece; Amen Corner were next with 15 minutes, and The Move closed the first half with a 30-minute set. After a 20min interval, The Nice were next, followed by Pink Floyd, with 15mins apiece. Hendrix closed the show with an incendiary 40min set.
   Probably the least well-known band on that tour were founded at Leeds University that same year.
   The Outer Limits were Rolling Stones' flamboyant manager Andrew Oldham's hot new signing to his Deram/Immediate record label.
   Their debut single, Just One More Chance, was released in June, and it was probably just about all they had time to play in their slot.
   Unfortunately for them, their second single Great Train Robbery, released in early 1968, was considered distasteful by the BBC, even five years after the actual event, and the band never fully recovered.
   Frontman Jeff Christie did however find lasting fame as the composer of the song Yellow River, which he took to No 1 in the Uk chart, for what seemed like forever, with his band Christie in 1970.
   The end of the tour marked the end of an era. It is widely regarded as the last of the great pop-rock package tours, a phenomenon unique to the times.

tour members

The cast and crew of the pop package, with Jeff (in colour) and Outer Limits members on the left.