Wizzard live 1972 & 1973

Wizzard live 1972 and 1972
imageI’ve always been a big Roy Wood fan. “Fire Brigade” and “Blackberry Way” are two of my favourite songs; I remember sitting as a kid, in front of the TV with my parents, watching Top of the Pops totally transfixed by Roy and the late great Carl Wayne. By the time I got to see Roy live the Move had split, Roy had formed ELO with Jeff Lyne, and then left to form his own ultimate rock’n’roll band Wizzard. I first saw Wizzard when the made their second live appearance at the Reading Festival in August 1972. They had just released “Ball Park Incident”. I recall being surprised how different to the Move Wizzard were, complete with horns and that great full big band sound. I saw Wizzard twice more; at Sunderland Locarno on 19th January 1973, with the Jook support and again at the Locarno on 13th July 1973 with Silverhead support (thanks to Mitch for confirming the dates and support acts). Roy Wood was a marvel to behold in those days, with his distinctive warpaint make-up, long backcombed dyed locks and colourful costumes. And Wizzard were a big crazy band, complete with piano, cello and horns. They completely filled the small Mecca stage, and the ballroom was packed for those two shows. Wizzard were flying high in the UK single charts with two Number 1 singles “See my Baby Jive” and “Angel Fingers” during 1973, and of course that Christmas song later in the year. Roy Wood understood rock’n’roll and managed to create the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” both on record and live in concert. Wizzard was, however, a big and expensive band to maintain, because of the large line-up, and in terms of recording costs. Bassist Rick Price: “When we finished recording “Angel Fingers” it was rumoured that we had spent more time in the studio than Paul McCartney had with the whole of the Band on the Run album. Whether it was true or not, this meant that most of the record company’s money was spent in studio time and that the members of the band had to rely on live touring work for their income. A couple of tours in the U.K. and one tour of the U.S. were not enough to ensure regular wages for the band.” By autumn 1975 they had split.
Wkzzard line-up: Roy Wood (vocals, guitars, saxophone, percussion); Mike Burney (saxophone, clarinet, flute); Charlie Grima (drums, percussion, vocals); Nick Pentelow (saxophone, clarinet, flute); Rick Price (bass); Keith Smart (drums); Bill Hunt (keyboards, French horn); Hugh McDowell (cello, synthesisers).

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on February 26, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Peter. I was at both of the Sunderland Locarno shows which were only six months apart. See My Baby Jive had been number one in the singles chart just before the second concert and usually bands tend to leave their big hit until the end of the set but I remember that they started off with it !

    The Wizzard setlist at the July 1973 show was:
    See My Baby Jive, You Can Dance Your Rock ‘N’ Roll, Buffalo Station, Get On Down To Memphis, Meet Me At The Jailhouse, Goin’ Down, Ball Park Incident.
    Encore: The Locomotive.

    I was at both gigs with my brother Neil and we went backstage after the first concert and met Roy Wood. Neil had been a big fan of The Move and I remember we chatted about past members and whether he still kept in touch with them. He told us that he hadn’t seen Ace Kefford for a few years and had no idea what he was up to.

    A mention for support band Silverhead too – who were one of the best live acts I have ever seen.


    • Posted by vintagerock on February 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks Mitch Great story, sounds like you and Neil were often backstage meeting the bands! Cheers Peter


  2. Posted by Michael Freeman on April 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I had the pleasure of seeing Wizzard live twice followed by displeasure one more time.
    I saw them at Blackpool at The Tower Ballroom when Ball Park Incident was in the charts. They were brilliant. The Wizzard Brew stuff was bizarre as the album had not been heard. A 2nd visit to Blackpool to The Mecca ballroom was great. SMBJ had been released and the Wizzard Brew stuff was familiar to us so more accessible. The sup[port bands were Raymong Froggatt and Mongrel including Megan Davis on bass. I am unsure which of the 2 gigs they palyed. My final time seeing them was at Southport Floral Hall in 1974. No support band and a 45 minute set. I went home feeling angry and cheated. Roy was ill at the time according to the press but in my mind cancel rather than cheat young fans out of hard earned cash. They played mainly hits and very little from Wizzard Brew, if any.


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