Archive for the ‘Billy Connolly’ Category

Billy Connolly Newcastle City Hall January 19th 2012

David and I really enjoyed Billy Connolly last night. We met him briefly at the stage door before the show and I got my ticket autographed (see scanned ticket to the right). He was on for over two hours without a break and told us some great stories. He looked great, with a smart new hair cut which he explained was for a movie that he is currently filming. His stories seemed to be completely natural and improvised; it would be interesting to go along again tonight and see how much of the show is the same. Lots of swearing, and crudity, vomit was a bit of theme of a few of the stories….great fun. A couple of friends from work were there; their comments were: “crying with laughter at the finish. It was really weird the way he came on and just started talking as if he had been doing it all night, then a complete stream of consciousness for 2.5h and then just stopped and left. He is very charismatic on the stage and you felt as if he was just having a chat with you down the pub.”

Billy Connolly Newcastle City Hall 1975

I last saw Billy Connolly in 1975 at Newcastle City Hall. Tonight I’m going along with David to see him again at the same venue, a gig that I’ve been really looking forward to since I bought the tickets. 1975 was a breakthrough year for Billy Connolly. He made an appearance on Parkinson which catapulted him to fame in the UK, and his single DIVORCE was a hit later that year. When I saw him at the City Hall, he was on great form, a wonderful storyteller, lots of bad language, and wearing his famous banana boots. I remember being disappointed when I went to buy my customary programme. I was told programmes had sold out earlier in the tour and there were, therefore, none on sale at the City Hall gig. I consoled myself by buying a small bottle of Billy Connolly whisky (!) which was drunk a long time ago. Unfortunately I can’t find the bottle. Think it was called “nip o sweety”?!
I’ll report back after the gig on how Billy shapes up these days. More later.

Grangemouth Pop Festival Scotland 23 September 1972: Jeff Beck, Billy Connolly and others

The Grangemouth Pop Festival
Line up: Beck Bogert Appice; Status Quo; Steeleye Span; Lindisfarne; The Everley Brothers; Beggars Opera; Average White Band; Sunshine; Billy Connolly; The Chris McClure Section; MC: John Peel. All for £1.50!
I’m going to see Billy Connolly at Newcastle City Hall on Thursday night. I’m looking forward to the gig, and it made me think about the couple of times I’ve seen Billy Connolly in the past. The first time I saw him was at The Grangemouth Pop Festival in Scotland in 1972 (see ticket right). At the time he was unknown outside Scotland and, as he delighted in telling us, he was scared shitless about this gig, as it was his biggest to date. The festival was organised by Great Western Festivals, who had also run the excellent Lincoln Festival which I attended earlier in 1972, and was billed as Scotland’s first pop festival. My friend Nicky and I went by train to the gig. Grangemouth is north west of Edinburgh. The festival took place on Saturday 23 September 1972 and was part of the Grangemouth centenary celebrations. It was held in a sports stadium, which was in an industrial area, next to a gasworks, which spewed smoke over us at various times during the day. It wasn’t that well attended as I recall, with quite a heavy atmosphere, drunkenness, and some fights as the day went on. The promised line up was good, however a few of the bands who were billed did not play; a not uncommon occurrence in those days. Billy Connolly (see left from the programme of the festival) delivered a set pretty early during the day which was a mix of comedy and folk songs, and was one of the hits of the day for me. He’d just had a success at the Edinburgh festival and was just starting to make a name for himself.Other highlights of the day were Beggars Opera who were also local heroes with great swirling Hammond organ, The Everley Brothers who sang all those timeless hits, and Steeleye Span, who were still playing quite traditionally-based elecric folk at that time, before the days of All Around My Hat. Status Quo were at the top of their game in the early 70s, and were great favourites of Peel, who was DJ/MC for the day. Marsh Hunt was to seen wandering around the crowd. The extract to the right, which is taken from the newspaper programme (also see below) shows the line up and timings. Chris Mclure, who was another local hero, also played. Unfortunately, neither Uriah Heep or The Electric Light Orchestra played. Beck, Bogert and Appice were the main reason we went along, and Beck was a revelation. His guitar playing eclipses Clapton in my view, and I was in awe of him that night. I remember him playing Superstition and am pretty sure that he used a mouth-tube, which was the first time I’d seen suc a strange contraption, and was a few years before Peter Frampton used one on Show Me The Way. I can’t remember much of the set, but I’m pretty sure it contained Morning Dew, a new song called Black Cat Moan, Going Down, and an epic version of Keep Me Hanging On, which Bogert and Appice will have brought with them from Vanilla Fudge. After the gig we got the train back to Edinburgh, where we spent the night trying, and failing, to sleep on some pretty hard and uncomfortable benches, until it was time for the first train back to Newcastle on the Sunday morning.