Rush Newcastle City Hall June 12th 1980: a dilemma and a culture “clash”

Rush Newcastle City Hall June 12th 1980: a dilemma and a culture “clash”
rush1980This was one of those nights were I was torn between two gigs. Rush were playing at Newcastle City Hall and The Clash were playing at Newcastle Mayfair on the same night. Now you couldn’t get two more different bands which made my dilemma all the more interesting. I already had a ticket for Rush, I was going with a group of mates, and the gig was sold out (in fact Rush played two sell out shows on this tour, as had become the norm for their visits), when The Clash gig was announced. I hadn’t missed a Newcastle gig by either band; what could I do? I decided to buy a ticket for The Clash and try and times things so I would see both bands. Now on the rare occasions I have tried to do this, it usually hasn’t worked out very well, and I’ve ended up not enjoying either gig that much. So on the night of the gig(s) I went along to the City Hall with my mates to see Rush. This was the Permanent Waves tour, and my mates were massive Rush fans who couldn’t believe that I would leave the gig early to see The Clash. But that is exactly what I did. The norm at The Mayfair was for the band to take the stage around 10pm at that time, so I watched around one hour or so of The Rush gig then quickly drove down the road to the Mayfair to see The Clash. Rush were at the peak of their success of the time, and the City Hall was packed with rock fans who lapped up the complex melodic rock and mystical lyrics that Rush are masters of. Very different to the fast punk energy that I was about to witness down at the Mayfair.Rush1980prog
I arrived at the Mayfair ballroom just as The Clash had started the first song of the night. I always find it strange entering a gig late. Its like coming into a party uninvited when everyone is already drunk. Picture this. I enter the packed ballroom, having just left the sold out City Hall where everyone was sitting down listening intently to Rush, and The Clash are playing Safe European Home, and the place is going completely nuts. The atmosphere is electric, the air hot and sweaty. I stand on the balcony and wander around the place, taking it all in. The Clash were fast, loud, energetic and Strummer was amazing.
For once my aim of taking in two (very different) gigs on the same night worked, although I didn’t see that much of Rush, and couldn’t really get into their set as my mind was more focussed on getting my timings right in order to catch The Clash.
This was the last time that Rush played in Newcastle for 27 years, when they played at Newcastle Arena.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on March 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

    What an evening ! Fantastic.

    I was at the Rush show. Support band was Quartz who were giving away a three track see through flexi single in the foyer – I still have my copy.

    Rush were great again. Their set list at this show was:

    2112, Freewill, By-tor & The Snow Dog, Xanadu, The Spirit Of Radio, Natural Science, A Passage To Bangkok, The Trees, Cygnus XI, Cygnus XI Book II, Closer To The Heart, Beneath Between And Behind, Jacobs Ladder, Medley (Working Man, Anthem, Bastille Day, In The Mood).
    Encore: La Villa Strangiato.


  2. Hi
    I am in the process of scanning my archive and rebuilding my website ( as well as sending new images to my agent.You blog has been so helpful in tracking down the dates of gigs I snapped at the City Hall in Newcastle. (I kept no records). So thank you very much!


  3. Wow, this was the first time I saw Rush, Spirit of the Radio and the Permanent Waves record was the album that got me into them, memorable as 12 June 1980 was my 20th birthday! I had no idea or rather have no recollection that The Clash were playing the Mayfair on the same night, though I probably appreciate them more now than I did then, the punk scene wasn’t really my thing at the time, though I did think London Calling was a good record even back then. Anyway, memories of a great night, Rush were sensational as I recall, didn’t see them again until the gigs at Newcastle Arena in 2007 and 2011, which were both better than I expected, at the 2011 gig they played Moving Pictures in its entirety in the middle of the show, which was an unexpected treat. Neil Peart’s sad passing brought it home recently just what a terrific band they were, I only which I’d seen them a few more times. Ah well…


    • Posted by vintagerock on June 24, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Happy days Craig. As you may have gathered from my blog I dashed down to the Mayfair, missing some of Rush’s set, to see the Clash also. A great night! Cheers Peter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: