Archive for the ‘Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’ Category

The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976

The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
readingprog It was August Bank Holiday 1976 and I was back at Reading for the annual festival. By now a group of us went every year, usually traveling down in the back of a hired transit van. The line-up for this festival wasn’t as strong as previous years, and included a mix of reggae, classic rock, underground and heavy metal bands. Punk was on the horizon, but yet to break through. The other memories I have are of rain (some, but not lots in 1976, as I recall), mud, lots of drunkenness (by us, and every one else as I remember), and lots (and I mean lots) of can fights, which seemed fun at the time, but were probably actually pretty dangerous. If you got a half-full can of Watney’s Red Barrel on the back of your head, you really knew about it, and several people must have come home from the festival with pretty nasty cuts and scars. The festival was moving from a friendly, hippy vibe to a drunken, laddish, almost aggro vibe. This also matched the way the line-up and the music would develop, as it moved more to heavy metal in the late ’70s. The main attraction for us this year was Rory, who was the man, and a hero to us all.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Stallion (don’t recall who they were), Roy St John (American pub rock), U Roy (reggae), Supercharge (a Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly, who had quite a bit of success in the mid-70s and played a lot up and down the country; I remember seeing them several times), Mighty Diamonds (reggae), Mallard (Cpt Beefheart’s original Magic Band, and pretty good too) and headliners the hippy, trippy and quite weird Gong. I remember watching Mallard and Gong, who were both pretty good.
reading76Saturday had Nick Pickett (a folk singer, who I’d seen supporting Curved Air a few years earlier), Eddie & The Hot Rods (classed as pub rock as much as punk at this stage), Moon, Pat Travers (ace guitarist), Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Sadista Sisters, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Van Der Graaf Generator, Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, Camel and Rory Gallagher. Stand outs for me were Van Der Graaf who played an amazing extended version of Killer (John Peel: “Bloody marvellous, Van der Graaf Generator. Come on let’s here it for them”), Manfred Mann, and Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, which was seen as a pretty big deal at the time as Phil had assembled a stella line-up of himself (guitar), ex-Roxy compatriot Brian Eno (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, piano and clavinet) and Lloyd Watson (ace slide-guitar, vocals). The 801 band released one album, and a live lp which was recorded at one of three gigs that they played, at the Festival Hall. They played a great version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. But Rory was the highlight of the weekend. We were all massive fans, and made our way to the front of the crowd for his set, which was just amazing. A recording of Rory’s set that night exist which shows that he played: Take What I Want; Bought and Sold; Everybody Wants To Know; Drinkin’ Muddy Water; Tattoo’d Lady; Calling Card; Secret Agent; Pistol Slapper Blues; Too Much Alcohol; Souped-Up Ford and Bullfrog Blues. The Rory Gallagher band was Rory (guitar, vocals), Lou Martin (keyboards), the great Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Rod de’Ath (drums).
reading76Sunday featured: Howard Bragen; Aft; The Enid (who got the crowd singing along with Land Of Hope And Glory and became a festival favourite), A Band Called ‘O’; Back Door (very jazzy); Sassafras; Brand X (featured Phil Collins on drums); AC/DC (one of their early UK appearances, and just blew everyone away; Angus and Bon Scott on top form); Sutherland Bros & Quiver; Ted Nugent (had some arguments with the crowd who were throwing cans at him); Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy to the Rescue 🙂 ) and Osibisa (who were billed as special mystery guests, which seemed a bit of a let down, but got the crowd going and went down well).
Another fun time had by all 🙂
Note; for the first time there was an official glossy programme, as well as the newspaper programme, produced by the local Evening Post. Both are pictured here.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band Newcastle City Hall 1978 and 1979 (and Reading 1976)

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band Newcastle City Hall 1978 and 1979 (and Reading 1976)
mmann78tix Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were, to some extent, a natural progression from the highly successful Manfred Mann band which had all those 60s hits. The Earth Band saw a complete change of line-up, apart of course for Manfred himself, and a change in a style from straight pop to a rockier more progressive style. A hint of Manfred’s jazz influences, which he explored more fully in the predecessor band Manfred Mann’s Chapter Three, also emerged now and then. The Earth Band retained Manfred’s approach of reinterpreting the songs of other great artists (eg Dylan and Springsteen). I first saw Manfred Mann’s Earth Band at the Reading Festival in 1976. That was at the time of the “Roaring Silence” album. mmann78prog They had just released Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” as a single, which was to be their second UK chart entry (“Joybringer” was a hit in 1973). The line-up at the time was: Manfred Mann (keyboards, backing vocals); Colin Pattenden (bass); Dave Flettz (lead guitar); Chris Thompson (vocals, guitar) and Chris Slade (drums). Live favourites during this period were their interpretations of Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded by the Light”, and “Davy’s on the Road Again”. Manfred still played Dylan’s “Mighty Quinn” from his 60s catalogue, usually as part of the encore. mmann79tixI saw the band again at concerts at Newcastle City Hall in 1978 and 1979. The 1978 tour was promoting the “Watch” album and the 1979 outing was at the time of “Angel Station” (these were the Earth Band’s 8th and 9th albums). The line-up had changed a little by 1978 with Pat King playing bass. By 1979 John Lingwood was on drums, and Steve Waller was on guitar. My 1979 programme contains a flyer for a band called “Darling” who I imagine must have been the support act that year. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were a great live act, and massively successful during the 70s. mman79prog
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band continue to play to this day, largely on mainland Europe with occasional visits to the UK; only Manfred remains from the 70s line-up. They are another band who I really need to make the effort to see again.
Typical set list (from a show in 1979): The Good Earth; Angels at My Gate; Davy’s on the Road Again; Chicago Institute; Spirit in the Night; Don’t Kill It Carol; Father of Day, Father of Night; Martha’s Madman; You Angel You; Blinded by the Light. Encore: Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn); Eastbound Train (Hobo Bill); Step by Step.