Wreckless Eric Ashington Regal 16th April 1978

Wreckless Eric Ashington Regal 16th April 1978
wrecklesserictixSupport from The Showbiz Kids
Back in the 1970s there were still some lovely old cinemas around, and many of them were being used as venues for concerts. In the North East, I attended gigs in Newcastle Odeon, Jesmond Cinema, Gosforth Royalty and this concert which was in Ashington Regal. These were all beautiful theatres, very ornate, with plush comfortable seats, and sculptures of cherubs looking down at the audience. They brought back memories of going to the pictures in the ’60s and the Saturday morning picture clubs that we would all troop off to, such as the ABC Minors. The whole street would meet at the bus stop and get the bus down to the down to watch old Laurel and Hardy, Flash Gordon and Perils of Pauline films. Sadly all of the cinemas I have mentioned here are now no more.
Regal, Station Road, Ashington, NorthumberlandThe Ashington Regal Theatre was built on the site of the Miners’ Theatre. It opened in 1939, and had a 39 feet wide proscenium, an orchestra pit that could hold 15 musicians, and a cinema organ. It was taken over by the Noble Organisation in 1972, and closed in November 1979, just over a year after this concert. The building then lay derelict for several years until it was eventually demolished, and a nursing home was built on the site.
In 1978, in what I would imagine was a last chance saloon move to keep the cinema open, a series of Sunday concerts were put on at the Regal. I think this Wreckless Eric gig was the only one I attended, although I may also have seen Slade there, but can’t be sure. I know Whitesnake also played the Regal as part of the series, and I think Squeeze may also have featured at one of the shows.
WrecklessEricLPWe knew Wreckless Eric from seeing him on the Stiff tour and for his classic Stiff single “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World”. Eric had just released his first album, and gave a typical shambolic, yet enjoyable performance. I saw him once more a couple of years later supporting Squeeze at the Mayfair. The Regal concert was quite poorly attended; Wreckless Eric was not such a big name at the time, and headlining a cinema of this size was probably quite an optimistic move. Support came from local band The Showbiz Kids, who were managed by local promoter Geof Docherty (who I think also promoted this gig) and featured Olga (later of the Toy Dolls) and Rob Kane (now of Dr Feelgood).
“We are the boys and girls well known as Minors of the ABC. And every Saturday we all line up, to see the films we like and shout aloud with glee. We like to laugh and have a singsong, such a happy crowd are we. We’re all pals together, we’re minors of the ABC.” Happy days 🙂

4 responses to this post.

  1. Lovely memoir! You might enjoy my tribute to Eric on The Immortal Jukebox. Regards Thom.


  2. I saw Supercharge there around this time on a Sunday evening. When they came on, the lead singer and Saxophonist Albie Donnelly shouted “Good Evening Ashing TON!” in a mid Atlantic drawl and proceeded to headbut the mike. Fab stuff!


  3. I remember seeing an Arbre gig there, sometime around ’76/’77..I think. IIRC it was advertised as a free gig, and a bunch of us kids from Stakeford went. Very good show, great band.


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