Stiff Little Fingers Newcastle City Hall 23rd January 1982 (and/or October 1982?) and farewell on 5th February 1983

Stiff Little Fingers 23rd January 1982 (and/or October 1982?) and farewell on 5th February 1983
slftix1982The fourth (also to be the final) album of Stiff Little Fingers’ first incarnation, Now Then… was not as successful as their earlier albums. The album took the band towards a more pop/new wave-oriented sound than their previous releases and wasn’t received that well by fans and critics. Having sad that, it did reach No 24 in the UK album charts. In 1981, drummer Jim Reilly left, and was replaced by Dolphin Taylor (from the Tom Robinson band).
“Looking back, for me, that was the end of the REAL SLF. After touring and recording for four years, Jake decided that 1982 would see the end of SLF. He wanted to pursue a solo career and walked away. I went back to a life in Belfast.” (Henry Cluney, from his website).
Live, however, they continued to be a major attraction and toured again in 1982, in support of Now Then…slf82prog
Frustratingly, my tickets and programmes for SLF in 1982 leave me confused once again. I have a ticket stub from a concert at the City Hall on 23rd January 1982, yet the programme from the same year shows that they played twice at Newcastle City Hall on 11th and 12th October 1982. So….was the January gig postponed until October? Or did I see them in January and October? And if I did, where is my ticket stub from the October gig? Who knows….I’ve giving up beating myself up about such things, and just accepted that my memory is not good these days. Perhaps if you read this you can help solve my dilemma. Support for some of the dates on the October tour came from Midnight Oil, an Australian rock band who hit the UK charts “Beds Are Burning” later in the ’80s.
By 1983 it was all over. Stiff Little Fingers announced that they were to split, and played a few farewell gigs, one of which was at Newcastle City Hall. Support came from the mighty Alarm (68 Guns). slftix1983Now I do remember this gig well. It was a storming concert, much better than their concert at the same venue previous year, and a fitting send off for a great band. There was a sense that this was the last time we were going to be seeing them, and we wanted to make sure that we made the most of it, and we also wanted to let the band know how much they meant to us.
But of course it wasn’t the end after all. Five years later Jake Burns reformed SLF and they continue to tour to this day. I’ve never seen the band live since those early days, which is something I should really put right. I’ve just read a couple of reviews of recent SLF gigs, and it seems that they are just as high energy and passionate as ever. I must try and get to see them again one day. Until then, I’ll remember that young, raw band I saw at that crazy gig at Newcastle Guildhall 35 years ago…

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark on December 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Those gigs were definetly October 82


  2. Posted by Richard Channelle on February 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I believe that the January 1982 gig was in support of the EP that featured the songs Listen and Sad Eyed People. I remember seeing the band at Bristol Colston Hall in Jan 82 and Bristol Studio in October 82. Rich, Bristol


  3. Posted by Dave on November 18, 2017 at 9:57 am

    SLF did the #1.10 or less tour in January and the Now Then….. tour in October 82


  4. Posted by Allan McGuigan on March 22, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    I seen them at the same gig back then and have just seen them on Friday again at Newcastle city hall, cannot say how fantastic they were again as had thought all them years ago, still a great band and great tracks too, such a nostalgic night for me, what a great atmosphere too, they had taken the seating out downstairs so was a right old school gig, cheers Allan


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Allan you are making me jealous. I should have gone and seen them this time around. Maybe next time! Best wishes Peter


  5. I kept a diary throughout the 1980s and I’ve got an entry dated 23rd January 1982: Went to SLF gig at Newcastle City Hall which was excellent. It made up for Leeds Utd’s defeat against Spurs.


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 5, 2022 at 11:20 am

      Hi Colin you know, one thing I regret is not keeping a diary of the bands I saw. I have to quote from my ticket stubs, programmes and my memory (which is not good!) Happy days Peter


      • Yeah, I was fortunate to keep my diary. I remember the SLF gig because it was the first time I’d ever seen a band live. I was still a teenager at school and had to travel on the bus with my mate from Houghton-le-Spring to Newcastle.
        We had school next day and I was knackered. It took hours to get home from the gig 😅😅 I also remember that the guitarist wore a Northern Ireland football shirt. And I’m a life-long Leeds supporter, hence my diary entry about them losing against Spurs. That game finished 1-0 with Garth Crooks getting the winner in the F.A. Cup 4th Round.
        The great thing about my diary is that I also noted every record I bought and where. So I’m going to recreate my teenage record collection. It was mostly punk, new wave and indie.

      • Posted by vintagerock on August 5, 2022 at 11:57 am

        Hi Colin a great first gig! I am so jealous that you kept a detailed diary! Thanks for sharing. Happy days Peter

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