Lynyrd Skynyrd Newcastle City Hall 1977 (and a look back to 1974 and 1976)

Lynyrd Skynyrd Newcastle City Hall 1977 (and a look back to 1974 and 1976)
I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd three times in the 70s; once at Newcastle City Hall supporting Golden Earring (they blew them offstage), supporting the Stones at Knebworth in 76 (some would argue that they were the better band on the day) and then this gig where they headlined their own UK tour and called at Newcastle City Hall in 1977.
I’ll start with some brief memories of the Golden Earring support slot, which I have already blogged on, under Golden Earring. “The most memorable thing that I remember about the City Hall gig was the support act, who were Lynyrd Skynyrd, and blew Golden Earring off the stage that night. skynyrdprog77 It was an unlikely pairing of acts even at the time, as Skynyrd were an up and coming band, having just released their second album. In fact, many members of the audience left after Skynyrd’s set.” My friend John recalls: “I can remember the very large Confederate Flag behind the band and for me it was the best gig I saw them play. They were fresh, different and very exciting with an epic version of Free Bird. At later shows I sometimes felt they were going through the motions and the fire was missing”.
John and I then saw Skynyrd at Knebworth where they (almost) stole the show from the headliners, the Rolling Stones. They played a lengthy version of Freebird that day, with amazing guitar solos, and which gained them a lot of friends. It was a red hot afternoon and Skynyrd came into their own, with their twin guitars dualing across the opposite sides of the Stones tongue stage. This was televised on the Old Grey Whistle Test, and helped propel the band to mega status in the UK. They were back for their own tour in 1977, which sold out very quickly. Support act was Clover, an American band with a country boogie feel. Skynyrd came over as conquering heroes and the thing I remember most is that they were incredibly LOUD. It was probably one of the loudest gigs I have ever been to. Oh and Freebird went on for ever, and ever, and ever. I thought that the song was never going to end (but it was still good 🙂 ).
goldenearing The setlist from Knebworth 1976 is listed here. I think their set at the City Hall in 1977 was quite similar; give or take a couple of songs: Workin’ for MCA; I Ain’t the One; Saturday Night Special; Whiskey Rock-a-Roller; Travelin’ Man; Searching; What’s Your Name; That Smell; Gimme Three Steps; Call Me the Breeze; T for Texas; Sweet Home Alabama; Free Bird.
skynyrdprog76 On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered jet ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. The pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, but the plane crashed in a forest in Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; the other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and road crew all suffered serious injuries.
I had tickets to see the Rossington Collins band at the City Hall in the late 70s, but the tour was cancelled. I saw a more recent (re)incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd at Manchester Apollo in 2009 and they were pretty damn good too! I’ve already blogged on that gig.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on September 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I was at the 1977 Newcastle City Hall concert. It was a busy week for concerts having been to see Be Bop Deluxe the night before and Jethro Tull the previous thursday.

    The Lynyrd Skynyrd 1977 City Hall set list was slightly different to your blog –

    Working For MCA, I Ain’t The One, Saturday Night Special,Whiskey Rock A Roller, That Smell, Ain’t No Good Life, Gimme Three Steps, Call Me The Breeze, T For Texas, Sweet Home Alabama.
    Encores: Crossroads, Freebird.

    Support band Clover were fronted by Huey Lewis. They had already played the City Hall three months earlier as guests on Thin Lizzy’s Johnny The Fox tour.


  2. Posted by vintagerock on September 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Thanks Mitch I hadn’t realised that Huey Lewis was in Clover Peter


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