Traffic Newcastle City Hall 24th April 1974

Traffic Newcastle City Hall 24th April 1974
trafficposterConcert going was a much less expensive hobby in the 70s. I saw lots of great bands, and it didn’t cost me the fortune it does these days. For £2 I had my train fare, a good seat, a pint or two and a programme. John and I went to see Traffic at Newcastle City Hall on 24th April 1974, and the tickets cost £1 each, and well worth it too 🙂 Traffic were just about to release their ninth, and final (for then, anyway) album “When the Eagle Flies”, and the line-up of the band was Steve Winwood (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Wood (flute, sax), Jim Capaldi (drums, percussion), Rosko Gee (bass) and Rebop (percussion and crazy bongos). Support came from husband and wife duo Richard and Linda Thompson. My enduring memory is of a long-haired Stevie Winwood singing “John Barleycorn”, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. It remains one of my favourite songs. My other memory is of an incredible performance by Rebop, as he hopped from bongo to bongo, beating out crazy rhythms, dazzling us with lightning-fast percussion work. John’s comments on the gig: “I only saw Traffic once and it was towards the end of the bands career when the band when they were struggling to keep it all together and perhaps were not at there very best. That said, I have great and very happy memories of the show. The tour was to promote the album “When the Eagle Flies” and I believe the support was Richard and Linda Thompson (who closed their set with I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, which was the title track of their current, and best, album). traffic74The City Hall was not full and we had great seats pretty near the front and to one side of the stage. A set list is shown from the Rainbow show and I can recall a number of the songs – John Barleycorn was just great, followed by 40,000 Headman, Empty Pages, Pearly Queen and the outstanding Dear Mr Fantasy, which is one of the best extended jams of the period and a favorite of mine to this day. They played a number of tracks from the new album, as was the standard practice for the time, but I can only recall the title track. While the setlist from the Rainbow differs, I thought they closed with Low Spark of High Heeled Boys but I may be getting this mixed up. [My memory is of an encore of Feelin’ Alright?, but that could be my imagination]. A great band whose contribution to 70’s music is often overlooked and I am grateful to have caught them (almost) at their prime.”
Traffic setlist from London Rainbow May 1974: Heaven Is in Your Mind; John Barleycorn; Forty Thousand Headmen; Graveyard People; Empty Pages; Pearly Queen; Vulcan ?; Dear Mr. Fantasy; When the Eagle Flies; Walking in the Wind; Dream Gerrard; Memories of a Rock ‘n’ Rolla.
I saw Traffic once more, when they headlined the Reading festival a few months later in August 1974. It was another great set with some lengthy but nver boring jams (thanks in great part to Rebop’s antics), and exactly the right sort of music for a dark summer evening at a rock festival, the music drifting across the riverside fields, as the cool breeze made us all shiver a little.
Reading setlist: Empty Pages; Graveyard People; Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring; John Barleycorn; Forty Thousand Headmen; Love
When the Eagle Flies; Walking in the Wind; Dream Gerrard
Thanks to John for the image of his poster.

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