Humble Pie 1973 and early 1974

Hardrock and Charlton photo-13 My next Humble Pie experience was at the Who’s Charlton concert in 1974. John saw them in October 1973 at Hardrock Manchester, as part of a short UK tour which didn’t call in at the North East. Support for the tour was Heavy Metal Kids. John’s uncle lived in Stretford, and he went by train to Manchester for this show and stayed with my uncle. In John’s own words: “My ticket was row AA so I assumed it would be about 27 rows back but it was actually the second row – very exciting. I think I had seen the Heavy Metal Kids a couple of times as they supported a lot of bands at that time. This was of course one of the names proposed by Island Records for Free, which thankfully they rejected.The band featured Gary Holton on vocals who was a loud, brash cockney kid who went on to a successful acting career in Auf Weidersehen Pet.They were a decent band band and got the crowd warmed up. Humble Pie had released the Eat It album and were touring with the Blackberries. The setlist was heavily drawn from that album and the earlier Smokin and featured Up Our Sleeve, Honkey Tonk Women, C’mon Everybody, Road Runner, Hot n Nasty, 30 Days in the Hole, Hallelujah (I love her so), I Don’t Need No Doctor and a couple of slower ones Blues I Believe to my Soul and Black Coffee which heavily featured the Blackberries.”
Moving forward to May 18th 1974 and John, myself, and another friend Pete went to Charlton Valley football ground for a stellar one day festival line-up which featured The Who, Bad Company, Lou Reed, Maggie Bell, Lindisfarne and Montrose. I’ll blog separately on the whole day and the Who’s set on another occasion, as it was a great and memorable day for a number of reasons and warrants full treatment on its own. Suffice to say it was a legendary concert, and a great set by the Who, and Humble Pie were a very important part of the day. John rates it thus: “For me the greatest outdoor show I have seen in my life with a stellar line up of bands. Humble Pie came on after Lou Reed with Maggie Bell following them before the Who. Pundits saw that it was a close call between Humble Pie and the Who but, despite my bias, I think the Who won it with a great set and their spectacular green laser light show.” Humble Pie opened with a “Ere, get a load of this” from Steve and launched into the Small Faces classic Whatcha Gonna Do About It. The crowd went wild and Pie kept the energy level up for their entire set. Steve had his hair cut short for the show and was wearing a nifty set of denim dungarees. He really wasn’t the archetypal rock and roll guy and retained his pop/soul sensibilities, almost to a fault, and was constantly driving the band heavily in this direction, thus the inclusion of soul singers the Blackberries. I’ll blog more about the Blackberries role in the band tomorrow. The setlist is likely to have included some of the following: Whatcha Gonna Do About It; Thunderbox; Sweet Peace and Time; Let Me Be Your Lovemaker; C’Mon Everybody; 30 Days in the Hole; Road Runner, Hot N Nasty, 30 Days in the Hole, Black Coffee, and I Don’t Need No Doctor; and possibly I Cant Stand the Rain and Ninety Nine Pounds. I’ve searched the internet and can’t find any record of a setlist anywhere, and it seems that no live recordings of the Pie’s set exist from that great day, which is a shame.
On the Eat It album there is a live side which begins with Up Our Sleeve, recorded in Glasgow and the band are introduced as “Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome the finest rock and roll band in the land”. Perhaps slightly over the top and clearly a swipe at the Rolling Stones, with the word “greatest” replaced by “finest” but for a brief period they were right up there. Just a fantastic live band. Thanks again to John for the scan of his signed album, and for helping me write these blog posts on Humble Pie.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Phil on May 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Yay I was at this 1974 concert too. I remember Humble Pie and Bad Company. Were Focus and Lou Reed there too, or was that another time (also at Charlton I think) ?


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Lou Reed was on the bill, but not Focus. The only festivals I saw Focus at were Lincoln 1972 and Reading, also I think, 1972 Peter


  2. Posted by Keith Lambert on November 4, 2019 at 10:17 am

    This is a little out of date now but many will know that HP’s Charlton set was originally available on a hard to find Empress Valley bootleg (along with The Who and other acts). It was then released officially on HP’s ‘Official Bootleg Box Set Vol 1’ in 2017. I’m not sure how this source compares to the Empress Valley release but I imagine that they are very similar in terms of SQ.


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