UFO Newcastle Mayfair 23 June 1978?

ufoNow in this post, and the ticket pictured within, lies a mystery. Was this a concert I attended at Newcastle Mayfair? My friend found the ticket on eBay and bought it for me (thank you John). I did not already have the ticket but that is not to say I was not at the concert! Indeed I may well have been there. I would go to Mayfair with my late wife Marie on many Friday nights during the 1970s and other nights when there was a good band playing. I was also a massive UFO fan at the time. I had seen them many, many times at Sunderland Locarno and almost as many times at Newcastle Mayfair around this period. In 1978, UFO had just released the Obsession album which opens with the classic track “Only You Can Rock Me ”.

ufo1At the time the band were playing such classics as the great rock ballad “Love to Love”, and other rockers including “Lights Out”, “Rock Bottom”, “Too Hot to Handle”, “Shoot Shoot” and the amazing rocker “Doctor Doctor”, one of my favourite rock songs of all time. They also of course played the aforementioned “Only You Can Rock Me”. A clutch of catchy rock songs that should have ensured massive success for the band. Although UFO did become very popular in the UK, and worldwide, they never quite reached the levels of success of some of their contemporaries. I never understood why they are not seen as seminal as other bands of the time such as Judas Priest. On a good night, after a few drinks, in a nightclub such as Newcastle Mayfair there was nothing better than witnessing UFO at the height of their powers. The line-up at the time was the classic collection of Phil Mogg (vocals), Michael Schenker (amazing Flying V guitar), Pete Way (bass guitar around his knees), Paul Raymond (keyboards and second guitar) And Andy Parker (drums).

The band was soon to release the great live album Strangers In the Night. “Some critics, and the fans marked it as one of the greatest live rock albums of all time. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 47 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.” (From Wikipedia)

Mayfair_Ballroom_Newcastle_-_Dance_Floor

My guess is that I was at this concert and, I either paid at the door and never had a ticket (most likely), or alternatively I did have a ticket which was handed in at the door. Either way, in my mind, I am there singing along with those great songs and marvelling at Michael Schenker’s guitar playing particularly on “Doctor Doctor”. Fantastic. This band were, without question, one of the top rock outfits of all time. Period!

UFO_–_Hamburger_Harley_Days_2015_02I was lucky enough to see UFO many more times over the years. In recent years it seems the band may have come to the end of their long road. “In May 2018, vocalist Phil Mogg announced that UFO’s 50th anniversary tour in 2019 would be his last one as the frontman of the band, who may also either split up or move on with a replacement for him. Mogg explained, “This decision has been a long time coming. …. I don’t want to call this a farewell tour as I hate that word….” (From Wikipedia). I was lucky enough to see them on that particular tour. However, the run of concerts also saw the passing of several current and former members of the band.

Only a few days after seeing the band in Newcastle, long-time keyboard player Paul Raymond passed away from a heart attack on 13 April 2019 at the age of 73. Paul Raymond was replaced by Neil Carter who re-joined UFO for the remainder of the tour. Sadly, former guitarist Paul Chapman also passed on his 66th birthday, 9 June 2020. Chapman’s passing was followed two months later by that of original bassist, the late great Pete Way, who passed from an accident at the age of 69. Too many of our heroes are passing at early ages.

2022_Lieder_am_See_-_UFO_-_by_2eight_-_7DS2429Then, in August 2022, Phil Mogg himself suffered a heart attack. Phil was advised by doctors to stop performing and this resulted in the remainder of the tour being cancelled. Does this mean the end of the great rock ‘n’ roll band that was UFO? If so, their like will never be seen again.

A typical set list from 1978 was something like this (from setlist .com): Hot ‘n’ Ready; Pack It Up (And Go); Cherry; Love to Love; Only You Can Rock Me; Let It Roll; Doctor Doctor; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Too Hot to Handle; Shoot Shoot. How’s that for a great night out!

Was I at the concert? Who knows? I wish I had kept a diary! Anyway, this ticket, and John’s gift of it, has given me the chance to write a blog entry during the quiet season around New Year before I get back to serious gig going again in February 2023! Thanks again John.

Thanks to Frank Schwichtenberg for providing the image of UFO performing in Hamburg, 2015, via Wikimedia Commons. Thanks also to Stefan Brending for providing an image from 2022 of UFO performing at the Hellfest, Germany. And I couldn’t resist including a lovely photograph of the interior of the Mayfair ballroom. This was from 1961, but it didn’t look much different in the 1970s! From Wikimedia Commons: “The Mayfair Ballroom and Concert Hall was one of the most popular venue’s in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, hosting a rock club, which became the largest and longest-running of its kind in Europe. Situated on the corner of Newgate Street and Low Friar Street, it closed in 1999 to make way for a leisure complex, now known as The Gate. 22 November 1961 photographed by Turner’s. Please cite ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums'”

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mike on January 5, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Happy New Year Peter, I’m still loving your brilliant blog, and I’d wager a hefty amount that you were certainly at this gig knowing you attended so many of their other shows and tours. I also saw UFO for the second time a couple of weeks earlier at Manchester Free Trade Hall on this 1978 ‘Obsessions’ tour, and they were indeed an untouchable live act at this time. My personal favourite live album, recorded on this tour of course is Strangers In The Night. If you’ve not got the expanded CD boxed set of all the shows on that US tour, it’s well worth getting and not too expensive, all the band are on fire, but Mr Schenker sounds amazing. Happy days!

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on January 5, 2023 at 3:39 pm

      And a Happy New Year to you Mike! Yes I was certainly at that show in my heart and my mind, if not in reality. I agree, Strangers in the Night captures a great band just at the right time. Happy days Peter

      Reply

  2. I agree 100%, Peter – an excellent band, especially in a ‘live’ environment.
    Sadly missed these days.

    Roger 🤘

    Reply

  3. Hi. I saw UFO at the Mayfair with Schenker around that time and I believe I still have the ticket. I will dig it out and see what date it was. I have followed your blog for years when you started showing the tickets and I was at so many of the same gigs it as you it was unreal. I think a ZZ Top gig at the City Hall we were in the same row!! I have looked out for you at gigs lately so I could introduce myself. I saw you at Wishbone Ash at Whitley Bay but the band started as I noticed you and we had to rush away quickly afterwards to catch the bus to Blyth. Anyway keep on rocking and hopefully we will meet at a gig soon! Best wishes. Pete

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 9:47 am

      Hi Pete it would be great to say hello. Please do come and see me any time at a concert. It would be great to have a chat! Peter

      Reply

      • Posted by treetopflier2009 on January 6, 2023 at 11:20 am

        Hi Peter. I’ve just seen the post from deadheaduk and my ticket is the same as his! Yellow & red! I recognised it immediately! Now all I need to do is find the thing!! I remember seeing UFO headline Reading Festival a couple of years later. The show started with a plane circling around the site. Then 5 skydivers jumped out! When their parachutes opened they were picked out by spotlights and on the inside of the ‘chutes was emblazoned UFO! The lights followed them down until they landed at the back of the arena! At the same time the band hit the stage, lights blazing as they launched into Only You Can Rock Me (I think). A lad standing next to me said “blimey, how did they get from there onto the stage so quickly?” He actually thought the band had just parachuted into the show! What a laugh!

      • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 12:38 pm

        Hi Pete I am pretty sure I will have been at the Reading Festival that year but I cannot honestly say I can remember the skydiving! But my memory is not good these days. Happy days Peter

      • Posted by treetopflier2009 on January 6, 2023 at 12:57 pm

        There was a whole load of us from Blyth & Ashington went to Reading every year it was on from 1976 onwards….My last was 1995 – Neil Young, Paul Weller. I see a lot of your reviews are from Sunderland Mayfair. My band Prophet played there in the late 70’s. We also used to play a pub in Sunderland called the Old 29.

      • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

        Hi Pete I started going to Reading in 1972 but foolishly stopped in the early 80s, which I regret! I used to go to the Old 29 many times and saw the Angelic Upstarts, Groundhogs and King Crabs (Jimmy Nail) and many others there! I must have seen your band several times, I am sure! Best wishes happy days Peter

      • Posted by treetopflier2009 on January 6, 2023 at 2:30 pm

        We were loading in one Sat morning and The Groundhogs were loading out! Apparently the doors had been locked after they had played on the Friday and they had just kipped there! We were star struck!! It was TS McPhee man!! Anyway in the mid 90’s another of my band’s The Broadcasters supported them at the Ritz in Hartlepool. I mentioned it to Tony after the show when we were all having a drink. he reckoned they used to do it all the time when they played the Old 29!! After that we ended up supporting them a few times when they played up here. We would have done it for nothing just to see him play! What great days!!

      • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 2:40 pm

        I was at the Hartlepool concert so I must have seen your band! Small world. I am a massive Groundhogs fan and I have seen them probably 50 or more times since I saw then supporting the Stones at the City Hall in 1971. During the 80s they played many local working men’s clubs. I saw them at many clubs including South Hetton, Blackhall, Wheatley Hill and many others. Happy days. Sadly Tony has had several strokes and is not the player he used to be. The last time I saw him was at York Fibbers nightclub where his wife Joanne was singing in the band. A tremendous talent. Peter

      • Posted by treetopflier2009 on January 6, 2023 at 2:51 pm

        Small world indeed! I’m a Sunderland fan for me sins and I used to stand on the Fulwell end next to guy with massive dreads. We got talking one day as you do his name was Steve and he played guitar in a band called The Dead Flowers. His fave guitarist was TSM and he had seen them 100’s of times as well!

      • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 4:12 pm

        I have just looked at their facebook page and it seems Tony is playing at home but no gigs. Ken Pustelnik has a version of the band. I have yet to see them but will try to do so Peter

  4. Peter – see if the memories and photos of my brother help you to remember if you were there?
    http://www.shewan.co.uk/ufo-newcastle-mayfair-23rd-june-1978/

    Garry

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 9:40 am

      Thank you so much Garry I shall have a look. I wish I had taken photographs in those days. Best wishes Peter

      Reply

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