The Pretty Things and Arthur Brown Newcastle Tyne Theatre 5th October 2002

The Pretty Things and Arthur Brown Newcastle Tyne Theatre 5th October 2002
prttythingslpWhen I was a kid, way back in 1968, I received some record vouchers as part of my Christmas present. Now lps were precious items in those days; I went to the local record shop and spent ages choosing which discs to spend my vouchers on. In the end I chose “Prophets Seers and Sages, the Angels of the Ages” by Tyrannosaurus Rex and “Crazy World of Arthur Brown”. Both good choices. A few months later I came across and bought a copy of The Pretty Things’ “S F Sorrow” in a second hand shop. I played those albums constantly on our new home stereo system. The Arthur Brown lp had such wonderful prog tracks as “Spontaneous Apple Creation”, “Child of My Kingdom” and (of course) “Fire” and “Fire Poem”, featuring Arthur’s manic soaring vocals and the late great Vincent Crane’s rich swirling Hammond organ. And S F Sorrow simply amazed me; with its rich mix of great pop hooks, R&B, and psych. “Baron Saturday”, “She Says Good Morning” and “Loneliest Person” were my favourite tracks.
prttytixI first got to see Arthur Brown live around 1973 at a Kingdom Come gig in Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall. That concert was spectacular, and unlike anything I’ve ever see before or since. The show started with Arthur being tied to a large wooden cross in a simulated crucifixion, featured a massive brain being chased around the hall by the pope, and concluded with Arthur being dragged from stage in a straitjacket.
arthurThe first time I saw The Pretty Things live was at Sunderland Locarno, in January 1973. Their set at the time drew heavily from S F Sorrow and also included some of their classic 60s R&B singles. Phil May had the longest hair I had ever seen, and remains to this day one of our best rock vocalists and front men. I saw them a few times after that gig, supporting touring acts at Newcastle City Hall; once with Status Quo, and with a few other bands; exactly who I don’t remember, maybe Bad Company.

So some 30 odd years later, this gig at the Tyne Theatre teamed up two of my favourite acts. Arthur was as crazy and powerful as ever, and the Pretty Things played much of S F Sorrow, featuring a line-up which reunited many of the original band members. Arthur also joined The Pretty Things for a couple of songs. Arthur signed my ticket with a weird hippy third eye, and Phil May and the rest of The Pretty Things signed a reissue copy of S F Sorrow which was on sale at the venue. A great night. Oh and David came along with me and became a fan of Arthur and The Pretty Things that night 🙂

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on February 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Pete – you mention that you saw The Pretty Things at Sunderland Locarno in 1971 or 72. I saw them there too on Friday 5th January 1973 – is this not the gig you refer to? There was no support act.

    At the time they had just released their album Freeway Madness and I recall that the concert was poorly attended. They played a particularly short set as well – an hour at the most!

    One of my favourite 60’s singles has always been Don’t Bring Me Down – and I remember being absolutely chuffed when they opened the set with it.


    • Posted by vintagerock on February 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Hi Mitch I suspect that this is the same gig as I was at. Now that you mention the set being short and them starting with Don’t Bring Me Down, that all clicks. I have a copy of Freeway Madness and I think its a pretty good album, although they were beginning to slip a little too much into heavy rock at that point. Cheers Peter


  2. Posted by L. Hargreaves. on March 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Have you heard Live Route 66 from 72? Fascinating music. Lorettaofaustralia Australia.


  3. Posted by David Jackson on August 1, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    thanks for this great info. David J


  4. On the same day, Arthur Brown opened the Newcastle Record Fair. I got there early and managed to meet him. He signed a piece of paper for me ‘To Michael from the God of Hellfire, Arthur Brown’ and also drew an eye. I remember him being very nice and happy to chat and sign things. As a 7 year old(!) I got the Fire! single. I only wish I had got him to sign a plain white sleeve to then keep the record in.


    • Posted by vintagerock on February 20, 2022 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Michael great story! My ticket also has an eye drawn on it by Arthur! He is still going and playing Whitley Bay Playhouse in a few months time, which I intend to go along to. He is a hero of mine, a great showman with an incredible voice. Happy days Peter


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