Posts Tagged ‘60s’

60s Gold Tour Sage Gateshead 17 November 2021

60s tixSome time ago I promised myself I would never again go to a 60s show. Too cheesy. Too embarrassing. Too many people dancing around in an unbecoming manner! However this one tempted me for several reasons. Firstly it featured my hero PJ Proby. Secondly I always fancied seeing Marmalade. I have a vague memory of seeing them at Sunderland Top Rank in the early 70s when they were out of the charts and the place was empty. But it is very vague and I can’t be certain I was actually there! And yes I realise there is no original member in the band from their heyday when they had their big hits such as “Reflections of My Life” and “Lovin’ Things” but Sandy Newman has been a member of Marmalade since the mid-70s and featured on their last big hit “Falling Apart at the Seams”. And thirdly the show featured another hero of mine, Steve Ellis. Now Steve Ellis has sadly had to pull out of the tour due to ill-health. I hope he’s soon better. Still the line-up remained strong.

60s progWhen I was a kid, around 11 or 12 years old I would go to the Saturday morning disco at Sunderland Top Rank. It was 1967 or 1968 and my heroes were Steve Marriott, Steve Ellis and Barry Ryan. I had a pair of black checky hipster trousers and a black plastic belt which was very wide and had two metal prongs as a fastener. You bought the belts at Woolworths as I recall. The hipster trousers were made of very rough material and were quite itchy to the skin. I also wore a Paisley shirt with button-down collar made by “Rave” which was the make of the day and you bought them at Binns. Of course, I also wore a vintage kipper tie. I felt I was a young mod and would parade around the walkway which circled the ballroom eating my iced drink, called a Slush. I would even dance sometimes! I often think those were some of my happiest days. One of the records I loved was “Lovin’ Things” by Marmalade. I used to gaze at young girls my own age but didn’t dare talk to any!

And so I went along to the 60s show with mixed feelings. Would I enjoy it? Or was it going to be a cheesy letdown? And I also had in my mind the question “when is a band no longer a band?” After all, some of the bands (I should call them groups, as we did in the 60s) featured only one, or in some cases no, original members.

Introduction: 7.30pm. The compere for the evening was DJ Ally Pally, whom I have seen before fulfilling a similar role in another 60s Gold concert at Newcastle Tyne Theatre a few years ago. His job was to introduce each of the acts, and he did so well. I was accompanied by carer Jackie and my sister-in-lawjerrys p 1 Elaine who was, for the evening, my guest rather than a carer. She was sitting separately from us as we bought her ticket later. However, she was able to come over and join us later on. 

Gerry’s Pacemakers: 7.33pm. First up was Gerry’s Pacemakers. This consisted of the late Gerry Marsden’s backing band, including his musical director for the last 25 years, and a new singer. They sang a number of Gerry’s hits including “How Do You Do”, “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (one of my favourite songs of all time), “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Good versions of great songs and a nice introduction to the evening.

Dave Berry: 7.45pm. Next, a white glove appeared from behind the curtain and the legend that is Dave Berry shuffled onto the stage, his hands shielding his face. He was, of course, famous for those strange spooky hand mannerisms dave ber 1which continued throughout his set. He sang a few of his hits including “Memphis Tennessee”, “Mama” and my favourite “The Crying Game” with its wonderful Wah Wah guitar. The guitarist did a reasonable version of the original guitar sounds and solos, which were performed by either Jimmy Page or Big Jim Sullivan (great session man who went on to become Tom Jones guitarist on his TV show). The truth of who played on the single seems to be lost in the depths of time. Whoever it was they did a wonderful job. Dave Berry is 80 years old and looks, and sounds, just fine. Excellent.

Mamas & Papas UK: 7.57pm. The Mamas and Papas UK are simply a cover band who did fair versions of the band’s greatest hits including “Creeque Alley”, “Monday Monday” and “California Dreaming”. Greatmamas 1 songs which still sound good today. Strangely the band also included the singer from Gerry’s Pacemakers! Then came my hero!

PJ Proby: 8.10pm. Now this is THE MAN. The uncompromising, unflinching, outspoken, politically incorrect, but great, legend that is the 83-year-old PJ Proby. Still in strong voice and looking very healthypj 1 and stylish with longish white hair and full beard, he belted out his hits including “Somewhere”, “Hold Me” and “Maria”. PJ sat down for some of the performance but also managed some dancing with his saxophone player! The man is a hero of mine and continues to astound with his vocal histrionics and his melodramatic, but wonderful, rendition of classic ballads from musicals. Proby, and all the other acts before him, were backed by Gerry’s Pacemakers. Then things moved up a gear.

Marmalade: 8.23pm.  This version of Marmalade is fronted by Sandy Newman who has taken on the lead role that was formally Dean Ford’s. Sandy has been in the band since the mid-marm 170s and featured on their last big hit record “Falling Apart at the Seams”. I first saw Sandy at the Grangemouth pop festival in 1972. He was second on the bill, after Billy Connolly, and fronting the Chris McLure Section. The stage cleared for Marmalade who are a truly professional act and moved the whole show up a notch. Great versions of classic songs followed: “Wait for Me Marianne”, “Lovin’ Things” (in my mind I was 12 again and back in the Top Rank Suite in my hipsters), “Rainbow”, “Reflections of My Life” and their cover of the Beatles song, which got them a big hit and up to number one in the charts “Ob La Di, Ob La Da”. An excellent close to the first half of the show, and a long time wish of mine fulfilled; to see Marmalade!

Interval: 8.45pm. Time for a nice cool gin and tonic. Elaine came across and had a chat, taking up an empty seat beside Jackie and me. We all agreed the show so far was just great!

Vanity Fare: 9.05pm. Vanity Fare opened the second half of the show with the hits “Hitchin’ a Ride”, vanity 1“Early in the Morning” (their biggest hit) and “I Live for the Sun”. This is an example of a band which doesn’t include any original members; however it does include some long-standing members who have been with the band for many years). They reopened the proceedings well and were good fun.

Herman’s Hermits: 9.20pm. Herman’s Hermits contain the original drummer, hermans 1Barry Whitwam, who has been in the band since its inception. The band members have gradually retired over the years and Peter Noone left in the early 70s. Now the musicians who surround Barry have been with him for many years and did great versions of wonderful pop classics including “No Milk Today”, “Sunshine Girl” and “There’s a Kind of Hush”. Barry Whitwam came to the front and explained how the band had sold 80 million records and told the tale of how they once had the great privilege of meeting Elvis Presley. I have seen this version of the Hermits before and they always put on a great performance. You can’t go wrong with hits like that.

The Tremeloes: 9.42pm. And now a big surprise. This version of the Tremeloes was to be fronted by none other than bass player and singer Chip Hawkes. However we were told by Ally Pally that Chip had been taken unwell at the start of the tour and had to drop out. I hope you are soon better, Chip. He was chesney 1replaced by none other than his son, the “One and Only” Chesney Hawkes. Fantastic! Chesney is a consummate performer and took the show up a level again. He led the band, which also features his brother on drums and Chip’s 15-year-old grandson on guitar plus a couple of other members (one of whom was from Vanity Fare!) through all those classics good time hits: “Even the Bad Times Are Good”, “Here Comes My Baby”, and “My Little Lady”. In the case of the latter song, Chesney explained how his dad met his mum on the Golden Shot TV show in the 60s (his mum was one of the lovely girl presenters on the show) and that he wrote the song about her; they have been married for 54 years! The “Tremeloes” continued with more hits closing with an a cappella version of the smash “Silence Is Golden”. Just wonderful. Was this really the Tremeloes? Or Chesney Hawkes and family singing the Tremeloes? Who cares. It was just great. We all agreed it had been a wonderful night.

 Concert finish: 10.20pm. Our taxi driver was waiting for us and we were soon on our way home, still excited about the appearance of Chesney Hawkes (who was now our hero) and we told the taxi driver all about it. A great night reliving some wonderful memories with some classic pop songs from the 60s. When is a band no longer a band? Who cares?!

The Hollies Sage Gateshead 14 April 2018

hollies tix 2018Okay. So they come around a lot, and the songs are always quite similar. But never quite the same. There are always a few small changes, which never cease to delight me. After all they have so many great hits to choose from. Sure, I was just a kid at the time, but that’s exactly the point. The Hollies were part of my childhood. A very important part. Every time I see them memories flood back; memories of Saturday mornings at the Top Rank Suite, choosing Paisley Rave shirts with button-down collars, plastic wide two pronged belts from Woolworths, buying cheap coarse hipsters that made you itch all the time, swapping bubblegum cards in the schoolyard, talking about the latest hit records and who we’d seen on Top of the Pops on Thursday night.

The Beatles, the Stones, The Who, and the Hollies. Yes to me this band were a very important part of the 60s music scene. The line-up may have changed over the years, and the singer is no longer the great Alan Clarke, but the soul, the ethos, the power, the choruses and those great harmonies, those voices remain. As the band often say themselves, the Hollies were always about voices and songs. Great songs.


Mars Attacks! Trading bubblegum cards in the school yard

The Hollies current line-up is: Tony Hicks – lead guitar, backing vocals (1963–present); Bobby Elliott – drums (1963–present); Ray Stiles (ex Mud) – bass (1986–present); Ian Parker – keyboards (1991–present); Peter Howarth – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2004–present); Steve Lauri – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2004–present).Tony Hicks still looks as young as ever (he surely must have a portrait in the attic) and Bobby Elliott is omnipresent in cool, black hat, proudly wearing the Hollies moniker on his drum kit. And singer Peter Howarth brings his own style to the songs, now so well-established in the band that he has the confidence to do so.

bus stopThis is no embarrassing 60s package show; rather it is a two-hour celebration of hits spread across two sets. They start off with “King Midas in Reverse”, the song that so disappointed Graham Nash when it wasn’t a hit, that it was one of the reasons for him eventually leaving the band. Still a great song today. Then off we go into a stream of hits; some sang individually, some mashed together as a medley: “I Can’t Let Go”, “Sorry Suzanne”, “Jennifer Eccles”, “On a Carousel”. This band really were great when at the top of their game in the 60s; and the hits still sound great today. The first set finished with one of my favourites, starting with a classic guitar intro from Tony Hicks: “Look through Any Window”.

In the second set we are treated to more classics and even more of my favourites: “Bus Stop”; I played and played that single until it was worn out; “I’m Alive” (their only number one hit); followed by the very underrated “The Baby”. Then then tell a story, which I have heard so many times now, of a crazy night in a club with Eric Burdon (the Egg Man: but that’s another story) and The Animals as an introduction to “Stop! Stop! Stop!”. When we reach the harmonica introduction to “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and Tony’s great guitar intro to “The Air That I Breathe”, I know we are close to the end. The encore is the rock ‘n’ roll song “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”; not a great favourite of mine, but still good to end on. And that’s it. Another evening of 60s classics. Until next time. “The road is long………”hollies prog 2018

Setlist. Set 1: King Midas in Reverse; I Can’t Let Go; Sorry Suzanne; Jennifer Eccles; On a Carousel;    Gasoline Alley Bred; Listen to Me; Magic Woman Touch; Weakness; We’re Through; Priceless;  I Can’t Tell the Bottom From the Top; Just One Look; Stay; Look Through Any Window. Set 2: Here I Go Again; The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee; Yes I Will; Bus Stop; I’m Alive; The Baby; 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy); Carrie Anne; Stop! Stop! Stop!; He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother; The Air That I Breathe. Encore: Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress


P P Arnold & Chris Farlowe @ Solid Silver ’60s Show The Sage Gateshead 19th April 2015

PP Arnold & Chris Farlowe @ Solid Silver ’60s Show The Sage Gateshead 19th April 201560sshowtix
I promised myself some time ago that I wouldn’t go to any more ’60s shows. Too much singing and clapping along to cover versions of great tunes, which often lack the power and energy of the originals. Too many bands with hardly any, or no, original members. But this show featured two artists, who remain true to the soul of the ’60s, and remain artists; namely P P Arnold and Chris Farlowe. What the hell, promises are made to be broken. So along I went to the Sage, making sure to arrive early as both my heroes featured in the first half of the show.
The evening was opened by the New Amen Corner who, although don’t seem to feature any original members of the Amen Corner, are a class act of excellent musicians with a strong ’60s heritage, and play authentic versions of old classics. They are also providing backing to both P P Arnold and Chris Farlowe on this tour. Tonight they played “Bend Me, Shape Me” and the Turtles “Eleanor” before welcoming PP Arnold to the stage. After an embarrassing false start during which New Amen Corner played the intro to “Angel of the Morning” several times and PP didn’t arrive on stage as expected …. she finally did join us, and apologised explaining that she was waiting back stage and hadn’t heard her call. PP is the mod ace face soul sister, who arrived in the UK as an Ikette backing Ike and Tina Turner on a Stones’ tour, and was then asked by Mick Jagger to stay on and become a solo artist. She then formed a strong bond with Steve Marriott and the Small Faces, and performed with them on classics like “Tin Soldier”. This lady has class. She started with “Angel of the Morning”, and then sang Steve Wonder’s “Uptight.” Great stuff. Next she talked about how she recorded with the Bee Gees, singing “To Love Somebody” which PP covered on one of her albums. 60sprogThe next song was “If You Think You’re Groovy” which was written for her by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane; I think the Small Faces also backed her on the single. She dedicated the song to Marriott and the rest of the Small Faces. “River Deep, Mountain High” was dedicated to Tina Turner, who started PP off on her career. PP was suffering from a bad cold and was drinking ginger and honey to help her throat, but still sounded great. She then explained how after the Stones tour Mick Jagger invited her for a walk in Regents Park where he “made a proposition to her”. The “proposition” was of course to become a solo artist and join the new Immediate record label which was being launched by Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones’ manager, and which also featured Chris Farlowe and the Small Faces. This was as way of introduction to her first hit single, which was Cat Steven’s “The First Cut is the Deepest”. Excellent.
PP was then joined by Chris Farlowe for a duet of “Private Number”, introducing Chris as “the Voice”, and demonstrating the high regard in which he is held by fellow artists. Chris then launched into a set of soul and R’n’B classics: “Giving it Up for your Love”, “Stand By Me” were first. He then introduced a new song “Don’t Want to Love You Anymore” before performing “Handbags and Gladrags” as only Chris Farlowe can. Marriott featured again, as Chris dedicated “All or Nothing” to the legend. There was one song left that just had to be sung; he finished with a great rendition of “Out of Time” (No. 1 for Chris in 1966).
The final act in the first half of the show was ’60s stars the Merseybeats with their familiar trademark Gibson Firebird guitars, and featuring original members Bill Kinsley and Tony Crane. These guys had some hits, and some great songs “back in the day”. Their set was: “Just a Boy from Liverpool”, “Wishin’ and Hopin'” (No.13, 1964), “Hey Baby” (introduced as a favourite back in the days of the Cavern lunchtime spots), “Don’t Turn Around” (No. 13, 1964), a cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway”, the Everly’s (“their is only ever one duo”) “Let it Be Me”, “Singing the Blues”,  and “I Think of You” (No. 5, 1963). They closed with “Sorrow”, which they recorded as the Merseys (reached No.4 in 1966) and which was covered by David Bowie (No. 3, 1973). The Merseybeats returned for an encore of “Hi Ho Silver Lining”.
I’d had my ration of ’60s nostalgia for the evening, so left after the first half, missing Mike Pender’s Searchers and Billy J Kramer (sorry).
The old ones can still be the best (at least they seem so; to an old guy like me 🙂 ).

An Evening with Nancy Sinatra The Sage Gateshead 14th April 2005

Nancy Sinatra Sage Gateshead 14th April 2005
nancy-sinatra-bootsI move from writing about one lady with a Morrissey connection (Sandie Shaw) to another. In 2004, Nancy Sinatra recorded Morrissey’s “Let Me Kiss You” accompanied by the man himself on backing vocals. She also came to the UK for a tour shortly afterwards, and Marie and I went to see her at The Sage Gateshead. Support was Richard Hawley, who also came on stage during Nancy’s set and dueted with her: “working with Nancy came about because Jarvis was asked to write some songs for her…..he called me and wondered if I would like to come along to co-produce and play on them…..she asked me to support her on her European tour as a solo artist which I enjoyed immensely. She also asked me to get up with her band and duet with her every night, which is a memory I will cherish for all my time” (Richard Hawley, from his website).
nancystixI have several of Nancy Sinatra’s albums from the 60s; the albums “Boots”, “Movin’ with Nancy” and her lp with Lee Hazlewood, “Nancy and Lee” are all just great. “These Boots are made for Walkin'” is a classic pop song and “Summer Wine” and “Some Velvet Morning” are beautiful, dark, strange songs. So I was quite excited about seeing her. Well the lady didn’t let me down; she was pure class and sang many of those classics: “Boots”, her excellent version of “Bang Bang” which is so much better than Cher’s version with that spooky reverb guitar, “You Only Live Twice”, Morrissey’s “Let Me Kiss You”, a great and emotional duet with a video of her dad on “Somethin’ Stupid” and The Beatles “Run for your Live” which she covers on one of her 60s albums (I think it is on “Boots”). At one point she walked up and down the aisles throwing out Nancy key rings, each one in the shape of a big puckered pair of pink lips (I managed to catch one 🙂 see the images). Just great, and for me a dream come true. I think she also sang “Sugartown”, another great track. I guess this is another guilty pleasure, but actually I think the lady is one of the true greats, and don’t care.
nancy2Here is the setlist from the London show of the same tour; I would guess the set at Newcastle will have been similar to this, although not exactly the same, as I am sure she sang “Run For Your Life” at the Newcastle concert: Bang Bang; Your Groovy Self; How Does That Grab You, Darlin’?; Barricades And Brickwalls; Baby Please Don’t Go; Let Me Kiss You; Easy Evil; Drummer Man; 99 Miles From L.A.; Sixty Minute Man; Flowers; Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad; nancy1Somethin’ Stupid; Tony Rome; Baby’s Comin’ Back to Me; Lightning’s Girl; Sugar Town; These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. Encores: You Only Live Twice; Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time; Friday’s Child; So Long Babe; Besamè Mucho; 100 Years.
I’ll leave the last words on Nancy Sinatra to Richard Hawley (again, from his website): “must admit I was nervous, but soon found out I had no reason to be as Nancy is one of the most lovely and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. She is a massive talent and still has a great, unique voice.”

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014
The Zombies, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Maggie Bell, Dave Berry
r&B A great concert with a host of acts from the 60s. Much more enjoyable than I expected. Two things stick in my mind from last night, and will be the themes of my blog entry today. The first is the subject of authenticity and the question “when is a band not a band?” (if you see what I mean 🙂 ), and the second is just how powerful a performer Maggie Bell is.
First up were The Animals and Friends which features original Animals drummer John Steel, keyboards player Mickey Gallagher (who replaced Alan Price in 1965), Danny Handley on guitar and Pete Barton on bass and lead vocals. Now you have to admire Pete Barton, he is an amazing front man, and has a growling, powerful voice which actually matches and rivals the original vocals of Eric Burdon. He also has the unenviable position of not only taking the position of the powerhouse Burdon, but also making announcements like “We’re going back to the Club A’Gogo” and introducing songs from 1964 (when he was actually 2 years old at the time). Amazingly, he pulls it all off and leads the band in authentic (there’s that word) renditions of all those great songs: We Got To Get Out Of This Place, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and of course House of the Rising Sun. So although on the one hand, this version of the Animals features only one original member, on the other hand, the spirit and passion remains true to the roots of the ’60s band, and the performance comes over as authentic, true to the rich legacy and is delivered with passion and humility. A great start to the evening.
maggie The Animals were joined first by Dave Berry, who has replaced Spencer Davis on the tour, as Spencer is not well at the moment. I wondered at first whether Dave would fit well with this bill. In my mind I link him with the ’60s revival package pop tour, rather than a R&B package. But, as Dave reminded us, his roots lie in the Sheffield (and UK) R&B scene in the early ’60s, and he geared his short set towards this. He sang a few R&B classics and finished with an excellent version of “The Crying Game”. His performance was professional and slick, and he came over as a pretty cool guy.
Now when I was a young teenage kid, I stood a few feet in front of Maggie Bell and Les Harvey at Sunderland Locarno at a Stone the Crows gig. My mate and I were totally blown away by her voice and her performance that night. The lady simply oozed the blues, and sang with a passion and authenticity which came from deep in her soul. Now I haven’t seen her since the ’70s and wasn’t expecting what I saw last night. Maggie was simply sensational in every way. Much better than I could have hoped. Her voice remains strong, her performance electrifying, and she looks great. She sang a few blues classics including I’d Rather Go Blind, and finished with a an amazing duet with Pete Barton (by now I was starting to really admire that guy) of P J Proby’s “Hold Me”. I’d forgotten that Maggie hit the charts with a version of this on which she dueted with B A Roberston. Stunning.
maggietixAfter a short interval, next up was the latest line-up of the Yardbirds. Again the subject of authenticity comes to mind. This line-up features original drummer Jim McCarty and, back in the band after 50 years (!), original guitarist Top Topham who was in the band in the very early years and was replaced by Eric Clapton. The rest of the line-up are all relatively new: Ben King on lead guitar, Andy Mitchell on vocals and mouth harp, and David Smale on bass. Original rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja has recently left the band because of ill health. Like The Animals, this line-up remains true to the roots of the music and delivered pretty flawless versions of all those classics; “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul”, “Over Under Sideways Down” “Shapes of Things” and an amazing version of “Dazed and Confused” (I’d forgotten that this was a Yardbirds song which Page took with him into Zeppelin).
The evening closed with a performance by the Zombies, who remain pretty authentic in that they feature two of the main originals in Colin Blunstone (vocals) and Rod Argent (keyboards, or was in “organ” in those days? 🙂 ). The Zombies took us through all the hits, including Argent’s Hold Your Head Up, Blunstones’ Say You Don’t Mind, and the classis Time Of the Season. The closed the evening with She’s Not There. Great stuff.
From the promotional material: “Relive the musical revolution of 1964 as the chart-topping stars of the 1960s, including The Zombies, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Dave Berry and Maggie Bell perform some of their greatest hits. This amazing line-up have collectively, over 50 years, delivered 37 hit records and held chart-topping positions for more than 300 weeks.”

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1981

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1981
kinkstix79 The Kinks returned to a more familiar rock and pop format with the album Sleepwalker in 1977, ending their string of concept albums and accompanying tours. This album was followed Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979) and Give the People What They Want (1981). One further Kinks hit single was yet to come in the form of Come Dancing, which reached No 12 in the charts in 1982. The line-up of the band also changed, with John Gosling and John Dalton leaving. The core of Ray and Dave Davies, and Mick Avory on drums continued; Jim Romford (from Argent) joined on bass, and he was to stay with the band for the remainder of their career. I saw The Kinks twice during that period, at gigs at Newcastle City Hall in 1979 and 1981. Both concerts were glorious affairs, with Ray, Dave and the guys returning to playing the hits. kinksprog1979 By the late 70s The Kinks were starting to get the respect they deserve, with new wave bands like The Jam covering David Watts, The Pretenders singing Stop Your Sobbing, and rock band Van Halen including You Really Got Me in their live set. But nothing beats seeing The Kinks themselves play You Really Got Me, Lola or Waterloo Sunset. The latter song has always been my favourite, but didn’t always figure in their live set, although I did see them play it a couple of times. kinkstix81 The Kinks continued to play until 1996. Their last years were spent largely in the USA, where they continued to have success. The 1981 gig was that last time I saw them, which is of some regret for me. I remember they played a concert at Middlesbrough Town Hall in the mid-80s, which I sadly missed. I would love Ray and Dave to make things up sufficiently to play together again. Seeing The Kinks just one more time would be wonderful. I’ve seen Ray solo many times in recent years, and I see Dave has been touring in the USA (how about some UK dates please Dave?), but nothing is like seeing the two brothers together, playing those classic tunes. Come on guys, one more time please.

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1976 Schoolboys in Disgrace

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1976 Schoolboys in Disgrace
kinkstix76 In 1976 The Kinks toured to present another concept album “Schoolboys in Disgrace”. This was another in a series of concept albums which started with Village Green Preservation Society in the late 60s and continued through the mid 70s. The line-up of the Kinks at the time was the same as I had seen in 1975, and they were again augmented by a brass section, and backing vocalists. The story of “Schoolboys in Disgrace” is as follows: “Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school. After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr Flash.” (Ray Davies, 1975). kinksprogschoolboys Mr Flash had appeared before in the Kinks stories, as the villain from The Kinks’ rock opera Preservation. The front cover of the album, and hence of my copy of the programme shown here, was illustrated by Colin ‘Mickey’ Finn, a London illustrator, who also created the two delivery men characters used in the dire Straits video ‘ Money for Nothing’. The tour presented the album in its entirety, with use of visuals and props, and was great fun. The song that sticks out for me is “Jack the Idiot Dunce”, which I thought was great fun at the time. I’m not sure who portrayed the idiot dunce on the tour; possibly Dave. In 1978 the Finnish band Kontra had a number one hit in Finland with the a cover of the song. As with the 1975 tour, I don’t recall them playing any old favourites. I managed to find one setlist which suggests that they played the whole album, with “Money Talks” from Preservation 2 (which also features Flash) as an encore. Setlist: Schooldays Overture; Jack the Idiot Dunce; Education; The First Time We Fall in Love; I’m in Disgrace; Headmaster; Hard Way; The Last Assembly; No More Looking Back; Schoolboys Finale. Encore: Money Talks.

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1975 The Soap Opera

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1975 The Soap Opera
kinkstix75soap In 1975 The Kinks toured their concept album “The Soap Opera”. This was one in a series of concept albums which started with Village Green Preservation Society in the late 60s and continued through the mid 70s. The line-up of the Kinks at the time was Ray and Dave Davies on vocals and guitars; John Dalton on bass; John Gosling on keyboards; and Mick Avory on drums. They were also augmented by a brass section, and backing vocalists. This was very much a Ray project, and met with mixed critical reviews. The Soap Opera explores the relationships between stardom and “ordinary life” It (from Wiki) “tells the story of a musician named Starmaker who changes places with an “ordinary man” named Norman in order to better understand life. Starmaker goes to live with Norman’s wife Andrea and then goes to work the next day, getting caught in the rush hour. kinksprogsoap He works 9 to 5, then goes down to the bar for a few drinks before making his way home. He then is greeted by Andrea whom he tells is “making it all worthwhile”. By this point Starmaker has lost his grip on reality, and he doesn’t know who he is anymore. In the end he settles down with Andrea, accepting that he is now just “a face in the crowd”. The album finishes by saying that although rock stars may fade, their music lives on.” It has been suggested that the story of Starmaker and Norman is the story of Ray himself, trying to understand what it means to be “a star”. The tour presented the album in its entirety. I don’t recall whether they played any other Kinks tracks at all. The setlists that I have managed to find suggest not. I went with a group of mates and I do remember that we all enjoyed it and found it quite fun, but also pretty heavy going, quite silly in parts and somewhat confusing. Setlist: Everybody’s a Star (Starmaker); Ordinary People; Rush Hour Blues; Nine to Five; When Work Is Over; Have a Drink; Underneath the Neon Sign; You Make It All Worthwhile; Ducks on the Wall; (A) Face in the Crowd; You Can’t Stop the Music. I’m not sure who the support act was; I saw an advert for another date of the tour which suggested that it may have been Care Society, who were Tom Robinson’s early band, and were on Ray’s Konk label.

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1972 and Sunderland Locarno 1973

The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1972 and Sunderland Locarno 1973
kinksThe first time I saw the Kinks was at a gig at Newcastle City Hall in the early 70s. I think it must have been in 1972, as it was around the time that the single “Supersonic Rocket Ship” was in the charts. I seem to recall that the support act was local band The John Miles Set. The Kinks live at that time were a glorious ramshackle affair. They often arrived a little worse for wear, but it was obvious that they were having great fun on stage.  I saw them again shortly after this, at a gig at Sunderland Locarno, where the place was absolutely packed and Ray and Dave were very drunk. The Kinks were playing a selection of their old hits, and some rock n roll classics, at the time. I found a setlist from a BBC in concert show in 1973 . The songs played were:  Victoria;  Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues; Dedicated Follower Of Fashion;  Lola;  Holiday; Good Golly Miss Molly; You Really Got Me; All Day And All Of The Night; Waterloo Sunset; Village Green Preservation Society. I would guess that the sets that I witnessed at the City Hall and in Sunderland will have been similar to this. My favourite song was always Waterloo Sunset, and it remains one of my favourites to this day. Sadly I don’t have a ticket stub for either of these gigs as they were both “pay on the door” affairs. I remember that Ray was wearing a silver lame jacket at the City Hall gig, and  that he threw it into the crowd at the end of the show. I was sitting upstairs and was so jealous of the people down the front who were fighting over the jacket, which was torn to shreds. Happy days. I didn’t realise at the time just how important and influential a band the KInks were.  But then I guess thats often the way. They were certainly a fun band to see; in many ways I would see similarities in their performances to those of the Stones and the Faces during the same time period. I’ll spend the next few days reminiscing about some later Kinks gigs that I attended in the remainder of the 70s and the early 80s, starting with the concept tours “Soap Opera” and “Schoolboys in Disgrace”.

60s Gold The Sage Gateshead November 8th 2011

60s Gold tour The Sage Gateshead November 8th 2011
I can’t resist classic 60s bands. This show featured Gerry Marsden, The Searchers, The Fortunes and Chip Hawkes.
I’d bought two cheap tickets up in the gallery looking down onto the stage some time ago for this show. When it came to the night of the concert and after a very hectic day at work, I was feeling knackered and was in two minds whether to go. I guess I was also still feeling tired from the weekend in London seeing Roy Harper. However David said he’d come along with me so off we went to the Sage. My prime reason for buying the tickets was to see The Fortunes, as I’ve seen the other bands on the bill. When we arrived The Fortunes were on stage. They performed a pretty slick set of their hits such as You’ve Got Your Troubles and Storm in Teacup. The band has being touring consistently since the 60s, the line-up having changed along the way, with the last of the original band, Rod Allen, sadly passing away in 2008. Our compere (yes this was a proper 60s show) then introduced The Searchers. I’ve seen The Searcher on a number of occasions, the last being around 10 years or so ago. They always put on a professional show, and this was no exception with the hits Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away and What Have They Done to the Rain still sounding great. Guitarist John McNally was 70 this year and singer Frank Allen can’t be far behind him (is everyone I go to see now 70?) yet they still clearly enjoy playing and show no sign of slowing down.
David and I were both tired and beat a retreat home during the interval (sorry Gerry and Chip…will catch you next time).


programme (its very black and gold and didn't scan well.....)