Archive for the ‘The Specials’ Category

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 19th September 1980

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 18th September 1980
specialstix In Autumn 1979 The Specials released their debut album, entitled simply ‘Specials’ and a 40 date ‘2 Tone Tour’ of the country began featuring The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour ended at Newcastle Mayfair on 9th November 1979 and played to a packed house. The music was great, marred by some fighting in the crowd. From a review of the time: “Madness and The Selecter join The Specials for an all band finale of Skinhead Moonstomp which had become a tradition of the tour. A horde of fans invaded the stage and cause chaos. Which has by now become a tradition of the tour.” All three bands played excellent sets that night and bootleg recordings exist of the Specials and Madness from the concert.
Specials setlist: (Dawning of a) New Era; Do the Dog; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Rat Race; Blank Expression; Rude Boys Outa Jail; Concrete Jungle; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Stupid Marriage; Too Much Too Young; The Guns of Navarone; Little Bitch; A Message to You, Rudy; Nite Klub; Gangsters; Longshot Kick De Bucket; Skinhead Moonstomp; You’re Wondering Now
The Specials were back at the Mayfair for an equally crazy show in 1980. Support came from The Swinging Cats. Jerry Dammers talking about crowd stage invasions at the time: “At first it was a great laugh – we’re all in this together, there’s no stars here. Then people were getting on-stage two numbers into the set. It became tedious and dangerous, but you couldn’t stop it. One gig we told the audience it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t have it and it ended up in a massive ruck with the bouncers.”

SPECIALSUpdate 27 December 2021. Many thanks to Jimmy Burns (a.k.a. Punk Hoarder) who kindly provided me with an image of the poster for the second gig. Another crazy, crazy night. People were trying to climb on stage and sing and dance with the band. This caused lots of fun, but also numerous interruptions in the show. The Specials were really on top form in those days and a great live band who went on to have some very special (no pun intended) chart hits. I wish I could relive the punk era and go to some of those concerts again. I also wish I had taken a camera. But at least I was there to experience it and still hold (some of) my memories. Happy days!

Madness concerts 1979 to 1986

Madness concerts 1979 to 1986
madnesstixI first saw Madness on the legendary Two Tone tour which called at Newcastle Mayfair on November 9th 1979. This tour brought Ska to the masses, coming off the back of the punk revolution, and featured the combined talents of headliners The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour sold out everywhere, and was a complete success, but sadly the main reason it made the press was because of some violent outbreaks caused by a minority of troublemakers in some venues. The National Front and the British National Party were out recruiting at the shows, even though the bands who were performing on the tour openly distanced themselves from racism. It was a strange paradox, here we had fans dancing to multi-racial bands and singing along with songs whose lyrics preached racial unity, and yet the far-right was trying to sell politics which came from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. As I recall, there was quite a bit of trouble at the Mayfair gig, with fights breaking out throughout the night; and being one of a small number of people in the crowd with long hair, I did feel quite unsafe at times. None the less I survived 🙂 and it was a great night, featuring three excellent bands, and one of several nights I would spend with Madness over the next few years. By the time the Two Tone tour visited our towns, Madness were already hitting the charts and bringing their nutty humour and perfect pop tunes into our living rooms on Top of the Pops. In 1979 “The Prince”, “My Girl” and “One Step Beyond” had all been chart hits in the UK.
MadnessProg1The next time I saw Madness was at Sunderland Mecca, which by then was also called the Mayfair (just to confuse things :)), on April 30th 1980. The place was packed and a hot sweaty fun night was had by all. I remember being right down the front in the pit, gettimg knocked and pushed all over the ballroom floor. I then saw them at concerts at Newcastle City Hall in December 1980, October 1981, and February 1983. I also saw Madness headline the first night of the Dock Rock Festival, which took place down at Hartlepool docks in the summer of 1986. Dock Rock was a great festival in many ways, although at the time it was seen as a big failure, particularly in terms of the number of people who attended (although 10,000 did attend over the weekend). Looking back now, the line-up was pretty strong; featuring Madness, The Wailers, and Dr and the Medics on the Friday night, Lindisfarne, and Dr Feelgood on the Saturday night and Gil Scott Heron, Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Champion Jack Dupree on the Sunday night. madnessprog2
Going to a Madness gig meant a guaranteed night of fun. By the mid 80s there was no stopping these guys; and they had hit the UK single charts over 20 times, assembling a catalogue of tremendous pop tunes to draw from including “Baggy Trousers”, “Our House” and “House of Fun”. They also had some good support acts on those tours including The Moddettes, The Belle Stars and Jo Boxers.
Madness split shortly after the Dock Rock Festival in 1986, and reformed some years later. I saw them recently at a gig at Newcastle Academy, which I blogged on at the time.
Set list from the Mayfair 1979 concert: Tarzan’s Nuts; Mistakes; Believe Me; My Girl; Swan Lake-Razorblade Alley; Land of Hope and Glory; In the Middle of the Night; Bed and Breakfast Man; One Step Beyond; Rockin’ in Ab; Night Boat to Cairo; Madness. Encore: The Prince.

The Specials Hull Arena 16 Oct 2011

The Specials Hull Arena 16 Oct 2011
I was looking forward to this. I haven’t seen The Specials since the early 80s! Hull arena is an ice rink down close to the docks. Last night it was full of 40 something rude boys and girls who had turned out to see their heroes. And they didn’t let us down. Everyone was up for dancing, and dance they did! The band came out to a video montage which took us through the years since The Specials last graced our stages. This started with Thatcher, And took us though the death of Diana, the Blair years, the millennium and on to the recent riots and Cameron. Pretty political stuff, but then The Specials always did mix politics with the music. Then it was into Gangsters and the place erupted. This took me back a good few years, i’d forgotten just how powerful they were. The set was long, which seemed to pass in a flash” stand outs for me were Rat Race, Too Much Too Young, Enjoy Yourself and first encore Ghost Town. Great stuff from a live band who on a good night like this can’t be matched. Then it was back into the car off to York, round the ring road and back up home through Middlesbrough. I was home around 1am.
Setlist: (have probably missed a few) Gangsters; Do the Dog; New Era; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Blank Expression; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Rat Race; Hey Little Rich Girl; Stupid Marriage; Concrete Jungle; International Jet Set; Friday Night, Saturday Morning; Do Nothing; Stereotype; Man At C&A; Pearl’s Cafe; A Message to You Rudy; Nite Klub; Too Much Too Young; Enjoy Yourself
Encore: Ghost Town