Iron Butterfly, Yes and Dada Newcastle City Hall 14th January 1971

Iron Butterfly, Yes and Dada Newcastle City Hall 14th January 1971
ironb This was the first time I went to a concert at Newcastle City Hall, and because of that, I have pretty strong memories of the evening. I was 14 years old, and very excited at the prospect of going to a concert in the big city that was Newcastle. This was the “Age of Atlantic” package tour, named after the sample album of the same name and featured Dada, Yes and headliners Iron Butterfly. And all this for just 10/- (50p in new money)! DaDa were first up and featured Elkie Brooks, her husband Pete Gage, and her singing partner Robert Palmer. They were a jazz-rock fusion band with lots of members, and a brass section. In a way they were an earlier, jazzier and expanded version of Vinegar Joe, Elkie and Robert’s next and much more successful band. I arrived at the City Hall early, excited at the prospect of seeing a concert there and watched Dada’s entire set, enjoying every minute. Next up was Yes, who I was already familiar with. This was the third time I had seen Yes in concert, the first two being as support acts for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and The Nice at gigs at Sunderland Empire. By the time of this gig, guitarist Peter Banks had been replaced by Steve Howe, and the rest of the line-up was Jon Anderson (vocals), Bill Bruford (drums), Chris Squire (bass) and Tony Kaye (keyboards). Rick Wakeman was to join the band later that year. They had just released the classic Yes album, and the set featured tracks from the new album and their previous two releases. ironbprog I was a big fan of Yes at the time, and they were just great that night. I recall Yours Is No Disgrace, and The Clap as highlights. I was just blown away by Steve Howe’s performance of the latter song, and was fascinated by the semi-acoustic Gibson, complete with f holes, that he was playing. I remember the whole hall clapping along while he played. The song which most sticks in my mind was their version of Simon and Garfunkel’s America, which was simply majestic; almost symphonic. Yes went down well with the crowd; it was very clear that they already had a lot of fans and that they were on the verge of major success. I wasn’t familiar with Iron Butterfly and their material, having only heard In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, and its that song that sticks in my mind from the evening. I remember lots of guitar histrionics and showmanship. Iron Butterfly were good, but for me the best band of the night was Yes. I spent many further nights during the 1970s at Newcastle City Hall. It remains one of my favourite venues; long may it continue to host concerts by great rock band such as these three.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by R North on October 28, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for the review. Just one correction. The Yes Album had not yet been released at the time of this concert. It was released in February 1971.


  2. Posted by Chris Kirman on October 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I was at this concert too – me and my mates went to see the great Iron Butterfly play In – A – Gadda – Da – Via, which they kept for the encore, Butterfly Bleu (part of their new album and providing most of the set content) being the main song of their set. This was the new line up for IB, featuring Mike Pinera on guitar, who provided a more 70’s sound the revamped band needed.

    As for Yes, never a favourite of mine and i found them a bit ‘wooden’, playing their overblown works with precision but no vitality – which i think sums up the entire career of Yes (Sorry!)

    I can’t comment on Dada, as I was in the downstairs bar having a couple of beers with a lot of other people. I seem to recall that there were always a lot of empty seats for the poor support bands as the lure of the City Tavern or in house bars took precedent.

    Those were the days (to quote a Mary Hopkin song), a long time ago but not forgotten.

    Thanks for you sterling work


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