Archive for the ‘Aj Webber’ Category

Leo Sayer Newcastle City Hall 23rd April 1976 and 5th October 1977

Leo Sayer Newcastle City Hall 23rd April 1976 and 5th October 1977
leo76progI saw Leo Sayer on two further occasions before I started to loose faith. The first was on 23rd April 1976 at Newcastle City Hall. Support came from Glyder, a band that featured Dave Bronze on bass, who would go on to play with Eric Clapton and many others. Sayer was becoming more and more popular, both in the UK and the USA, and was starting to transform into a middle of the road family entertainer. He was soon to have a massive No 1 hit which would take his career in a new direction and would enable Leo to front his own TV show on BBC every Friday night, guest on The Muppet Show, sing a duet with Miss Piggy, and appear with his idol, Fred Astaire on TV in Hollywood. There was no new album or single to promote for Leo’s Spring 1976 tour; he released his fourth album “Endless Flight” later in 1976. “Endless Flight” featured two US No. 1 hit singles, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”. leo76tix
The setlist for the 1976 was something like this: Giving It All Away; I Hear the Laughter; Hold on to My Love; One Man Band; Train; How Much Love; Endless Flight; No Business Like Love Business; You Make Me Feel Like Dancing; When I Need You; Reflections; Long Tall Glasses; The Show Must Go On. No performance of “The Dancer” which will have disappointed me 😦 leo77prog
My final Leo Sayer experience took place at Newcastle City Hall on 5th October 1977. Leo’s 1977 UK tour came after massive No 1 success with the single “When I Need You”. “When I Need You” was written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager, and first appeared as the title track of Hammond’s 1976 album. Leo Sayer’s version was a big hit worldwide, reaching No 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in February 1977. Leo Sayer performed it on the second show of the third season of The Muppet Show, and his transformation to a successful middle of the road artist was complete. Leo’s 1977 tour was hugely popular, and sold out very quickly. A whole new audience were clammering to see Leo perform “When I Need You”. I went along to the concert with a mate, and we both knew that we had lost the singer-songwriter who created the wonderful “Silverbird” album. leo77tixThe tour was to promote Leo’s fifth album “Thunder in My Heart”, which featured the hit single of the same name. Support came from singer-songwriter Aj Webber, who popped up supporting several acts during the ’70s, played the Reading festival and had a great song “Magnus the lonely gnome”, and Blue, who were a soft-rock band fronted by ex-Marmalade Hugh Nicholson, had a great catchy single “Little Jody” and should have had more success. We saw a different, new Leo Sayer at the City Hall that night in 1977. The transformation had been coming about for some time, but it became very apparent at that concert. Gone were the serious, dark, moody early songs, replaced by singalong hits. Leo had become a song and dance man. Just look at the covers of his albums and you can see how his persona has changed. The sold out audience was also different. Gone were the rock fans who had followed him in the early days, replaced by a crowd who came to sing along to “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”.
Thinking back about Leo Sayer, his first album, those early hit singles, and his early tours, I remember how much I enjoyed the guy’s music, and how he was respected as a serious singer-songwriter. I think I’ll dig out my vinyl copy of “Silverbird” and play it one more time. I’ll play “The Dancer” first.