The Skids Durham University 9th October 1980

The Skids Durham University 9th October 1980
skidstix80I saw the Skids for my fourth, and last, time at a gig at Durham University Dunelm Ballroom on 9th October 1980. The fold out poster-programme shows the band as Scottish gents in their cricket gear; punks no more. They had just released their third album “The Absolute Game” and the line-up was now Richard Jobson on vocals, Stuart Adamson on guitars/vocals, Russell Webb on bass, and Mike Baillie on drums. The album saw The Skid move to a softer, poppier sound. “Bubblegum’s back and it sounds wonderful. In contemporary terms the Skids are to The Clash and the post-modernists what Sweet were to Slade and Bowie: opportunistic enthusiasts with a starry-eye on the charts and an ear for crazy combinations….At its best, The Absolute Game comes close to being great pop music” (Chris Bohn reviewing “The Absolute Game”, NME, 20th September 1980). Things were not good in the Skids camp; internal disagreements had led to further changes in personnel. skidsprog80Soon after the 1980 tour Adamson and Baillie left the band, and it imploded. To be honest I remember little of the Durham gig, that probably means it didn’t have the power, passion or craziness of the previous times I saw the Skids. I’ll remember those nights at the Rock Garden and the City Hall, when these guys were at the top of their game, and one of the best punk / new wave bands around. “Towards the fag end of 1978, some time after cool critics had officially nailed down the coffin lid on punk, the Skids came along and cocked up the post mortem by crafting some of the finest music ever to come out of the great rock ‘n’ roll rejuventation….The sound they developed over three excellent albums was a majestic and highly individual blend of Big Chant pop and joyous punk energy built on Stuart Adamson’s sparklingly innovative guitar-play and embellished by Jobson’s challenging and only occasionally impenetratable lyrics. They had power, glory and unashamed feeling and made it all as singalongable as a video tape of Rogers and Hammerstein highlights.” (Garry Bushell, reviewing the Skids accomplishments in Sounds, 3rd July 1982)

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on June 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I was at this concert too. The Books were the support band.

    The Absolute Game is a fairly good album but didn’t have the attitude and energy of the earlier recordings and sadly this was the beginning of the end for The Skids.

    The 1980 Dunelm set list was –
    Circus Games, Out Of Town, Melancholy Soldiers, Animation, Dulce Et Decorum Est, Of One Skin, Working For The Yankee Dollar, Hurry On Boys, A Woman In Winter, Charade, The Devils Decade, The Saints Are Coming, Happy To Be With You, Sloop John B / Into The Valley.
    Encores: Masquerade, TV Stars, Circus Games.

    The Dunelm was a great venue for gigs and I saw many a band there – and although the University Concert Hall still stands I cannot recall any ‘name’ bands playing there since the early 80’s ?
    (Although I did see Free tribute band Freeway play there in 2008 with Simon Kirke guesting on drums).


    • Posted by vintagerock on June 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Mitch Many thanks indeed and yes I agree a great venue which hasn’t had any bands on for years Cheers Peter


    • Posted by Carl Reynolds on February 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      I was there too…I remember it started late and Jobson seemed pretty smashed but the place was packed and Circus Games was a rousing entry song that sticks in my mind to this day. Good fun and energy and Stuart Adamson could really play that guitar.
      No mobile phones in them days and got “wrong” fro getting home well past the expected hour. Thanks for the post…great memories


  2. Posted by Tim on April 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    What I remember was as a fifteen year old was, that the atmosphere was electric, and Splodgenessabounds had just released ”two little boys” of which the crowd were jovially chanting for in an addictive type of frenzy. The D.J didn’t seem to have that latest ditty, and so he went with ”two pints of lager”, which was their previous single.

    I was a kid, the atmosphere to me was electric, and I watched in awe as my heroes performed with consummate ease, Stuart Adamson playing with his guitar effortlessly behind his back, and to this day and forever more, I swear it was one of the best gigs that I’ve ever been to.


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