Archive for the ‘Mr Big’ Category

Queen Newcastle City Hall 11th December 1975

Queen Newcastle City Hall 11th December 1975
A bit of an adventure involving a ladder and a night at the opera.
In late 1975, Queen recorded and released A Night at the Opera, which was at the time, the most expensive album ever queen 75 progproduced. The album was a massive success, and featured the hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was No 1 in the UK charts for nine weeks and is the third-best-selling single of all time in the UK. This propelled Queen to megastar status, their late 1975 tour sold out in record time, and they were No 1 in the charts at the time of the concerts. For some crazy reason I didn’t get tickets for the City Hall gig, but as the day of the Newcastle concert approached, I became more and more determined to go.
So on the night of the gig I turned up outside the City Hall determined to blag a ticket somehow. Now I had done this several times, and had always managed to buy a ticket, sometimes paying a little more than face value. But that night was different. Demand had been huge, and no-one was selling any tickets. No touts and no spares. A group of us were hanging around with the same idea, all desperate to get in to the show. Time was passing and we could hear the support act, Mr Big, take the stage. Soon they finished their set, and things were getting desperate. Then one guy had an idea. He spotted a ladder around the back of the venue, and looking around, he also spotted an open window. So he climbed up the ladder and squeezed through the open window. A couple of us followed. freddy75The window was tiny, but I managed to squeeze through, finding myself above a sink in the upstairs ladies loo. Luckily there was no one in the ladies 🙂 I quickly sneaked out, and found myself in the circle,  just as Queen took to the stage, exploding into Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen were amazing that night, although I must admit that my enjoyment of the gig was hampered to some extent as I remained on edge throughout the concert, in constant fear of being approached by a steward, and ejected from the venue. I stayed upstairs standing at the side throughout the gig. Luckily everyone was standing, so I easily blended into the crowd. The crowd went crazy for Queen that night; they had now actually become stars;  it seemed to me that they always knew they could and would.
Setlist: Bohemian Rhapsody, Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen (as it began), Flick Of The Wrist, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The March Of The Black Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Son And Daughter, The Prophet’s Song, Doing All Right, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…revisited. Encore: Now I’m Here, Hey Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen
Thanks again to Mitch for his photo which was taken by him that night.

Addition to blog entry on 17 May 2021.
I always regretted that I did not get a programme that night. By the time I emerged from the ladies toilet, after climbing through the window Queen were onstage and I did not have a chance to buy a programme. But through the wonders of eBay I managed to put this to rights, and bought a 1975 UK programme for £30, which I think is pretty cheap. I have attached the image within my blog entry above.

Mr Big live 1976

Mr Big live 1976
mrbig Mr Big were a British pop rock band, fronted by the enigmatic Dicken. They are best known for their 1977 Top 5 hit “Romeo”. The members of Mr Big had been playing together since the late 1960s, and in 1974, the band signed to Epic Records. In 1975, Bob Hirschman, then manager of Mott the Hoople, took over as the band’s manager, and their first album, Sweet Silence, was released on EMI. In November 1975, Mr Big supported Queen on their A Night at the Opera tour. I caught the tour at the City Hall, but got in late (that’s a story for another day) and missed Mr Big. I did get to see them once or twice, and have a programme from their solo tour. I don’t recall whether I saw them at Redcar Bowl, or Newcastle Mayfair, or possibly both. Romeo was a catchy tune, and Mr Big were good live. Dicken was a charismatic front man with a strong raspy voice. I’ve just played some of their material on YouTube to remind myself of them. I found the following write up which describes them well: “Not to be confused with the American band that came about years later, this Mr. Big are the real deal from the 70s. Probably best known for their massive hit “Romeo” in 1977, they were hard to define or pin down to one musical genre. Their music could be Pop one moment, Hard Rock the next and anything in between. Progressive Rock even! Signed to EMI around the same time as Queen and Cockney Rebel many fans feel they should have been just as big but sadly they lost out, particularly to the former. They toured as support to Queen, Sweet, Tom Petty, Journey, Kansas, The Runaways and were signed to the Arista label in the USA. Ian Hunter (of Mott the Hoople fame) produced their third album “Seppuka” but it was not released until years later. Dicken and bassist Pete Crowther went on to form another band named Broken Home, which released two albums in the early 80s (again highly recommended listening).” I also saw Broken Home at Reading 1980. From the Mr Big tour programme: “They took the British press by strom lat year, causing some of Britain’ finest music publications to rave ecstatically over their ‘awesome creative powers’. Mr Big is the quintessential British Band.”