Ian Gillan Band Middlesbrough Town Hall 15 May 1977

Gillan Middlesbrough Town Hall 15 May 1977
Support from Strapps
gillantixmiddsbro I didn’t realise how many times I’d seen Ian Gillan, or rather the band of his name; Gillan. I saw them at this gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall, twice at Newcastle Mayfair, four times at Newcastle City Hall, at least a couple of times at the Reading Festival, and at Donington Monsters of Rock. At the time of this Middlesbrough concert the band was called the Ian Gillan Band and the line up was Ian Gillan – vocals; Ray Fenwick – guitars; Colin Towns – keyboards; John Gustafson – bass; and Mark Nauseef – drums. The band was much more jazzy than the later Gillan, and they had just released the album Clear Air Turbulence. If you went along to Gillan concert you were always guaranteed a good fun night; some great (and very loud) classic rock, a few Purple songs, and some amazing vocals. Ian Gillan had an incredible range in those days, and would let out some unbelievable screams. The band often seemed quite tongue in cheek, and you got the sense that they didn’t take themselves that seriously. gillanprogmidds This was at the time of the emergence of punk, when you would imagine classic rock acts such as Gillan would struggle to fill their concerts, but heavy rock still has a strong following in the North East and there was a reasonably good turn out for this gig, which was in the main hall of Middlesbrough Town Hall. The set was drawn largely from their latest album with a few Purple classics; probably Child In Time (which was the title of the Ian Gillan Ban’s first lp), Smoke on the Water and Black Night. The members of Ian’s band came with a strong pedigree. John Gustafson had been in The Merseybeats and Quatermass; Mark Nauseef had been in Elf with Ronnie James Dio; and Ray Fenwick had replaced Steve Howe in The Syndicats. Colin Towns was the only member to stay with Ian in his next band Gillan, and is now a respected film composer. Support band Strapps also had links to Deep Purple: drummer Mick Underwood had been in Episode Six with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in the late ’60s (and would later join Gillan), and their album was co-produced by Glover. Next I saw Gillan the band was very different, and the emphasis was much more on heavy rock. I’ll continue my recollections of Gillan gigs tomorrow.

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