Posts Tagged ‘festival’

The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015

The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015
thewhoThe Who. Hyde Park. London. 50 years. David, Shauna and I scrored some cheap tickets outside. It don’t get much better. We enter the park and catch the end of PUl Weller’s set. 65,000 people sing along to opener Can’t Explain and we are all off on our own Amazing Journey. The hits just keep coming: The Seeker, I Can See for Miles, The Kids are Alright, Pictures of Lily (for special guest Weller, Roger tells us). What happened to Substitute? Never mind; we can’t always get we we want. Pete is on top form, windmill arm twirling and swirling. Roger’s voice is strong; the songs still sound fresh even after all this time, particularly with the Hyde park choir helping them along. Roger and Pete seem genuinely pleased to be back home playing in London, just a few miles from where it all started. “We are the Mods” sing the old guys behind us. £22 for a bottle of Pino Grigio; are they having a laugh? Class visuals take us through Tommy and Quadrophenia, with lots of shots of Keith and the Ox. Won’t Get Fooled Again closes it, after which Pete and Roger spend quite a few minutes thanking everyone. thewhohydepark2015We wait around but there is no encore (what happened to Magic Bus?). Musn’t be greedy. My 20th Who show, and if this really was the last time that I’ll see this great band, it was a pretty excellent show on which to finish my Who journey.
Setlist:I Can’t Explain; The Seeker; Who Are You; The Kids Are Alright; Pictures of Lily; I Can See for Miles; My Generation; Behind Blue Eyes; Bargain; Join Together; You Better You Bet; I’m One; Love, Reign O’er Me; Eminence Front; Amazing Journey; Sparks; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Baba O’Riley; Won’t Get Fooled Again

Z Z Top Rocking the Castle, Donington 17th August 1985

Z Z Top Rocking the Castle, Donington 17th August 1985
zztopdoningtontixLine-up: ZZ Top; Marillion; Bon Jovi; Metallica; Ratt; Magnum; Tommy Vance (DJ)
Donington 1985 became “Rocking the Castle” rather than “Monsters of Rock”, presumably because the line-up was a little more mixed than the usual heavy metal fare. Z Z Top returned to the festival after playing third on the bill a couple of years earlier. They were joined by a strong clutch of bands including Bon Jovi and Metallica, both of whom who would go on to be headliners in their own right. It was a beautiful hot day; one of the best Donington festivals I attended, in terms of the weather. Don’t remember much about Magnum or Ratt, although I have always been a fan of Magnum. Metallica seemed very thrash metal to me at the time; they hadn’t yet developed the subtlety that was to come later. Bon Jovi were amazing; you could just tell that they were going to be massive. ZZ-Top-RockingCastleAt some point during the afternoon the Z Z Top car flew over the crowd, carried by a helicopter; this resulted in a massive cheer, and a hail of bottles and cans, none of which (luckily) managed to get high enough to touch the limo. This was the era of the can fight…. Marillion were the hit of the day, and went down really well with the crowd. They were at the tipping point of their career, having just released “Misplaced Childhood” and with major chart hits “Lavender” and “Kayleigh”. But the day belonged to boogie kings Z Z Top who were one of the biggest acts on the planet at the time, and effortlessly tore the place up with those classic songs, tongue in cheek humour, and unique style. Classic.
Z Z Top setlist: Got Me Under Pressure; I Got The Six; Gimme All Your Lovin’; Waiting For The Bus; Jesus Just Left Chicago; Sharp Dressed Man; Ten Foot Pole; TV Dinner; Manic Mechanic; Heard It On The X; I Need You Tonight; Pearl Necklace; Cheap Sunglasses; Arrested For Driving While Blind/Hit It Quit It; Party On The Patio; Legs; Tube Snake Boogie; Can’t Stop Rockin’; Jailhouse Rock; La Grange; Tush.
Two days to go ……

Backhouse Park concerts Sunderland Summer 1974 Jack the Lad, Brinsley Schwarz & Chilli Willi

Backhouse Park concerts Sunderland Summer 1974
brinsleyFor three Saturdays in Summer 1974 a stage appeared in Sunderland’s Backhouse Park and a series of concerts were held. The park was filled with music from a host of local bands and headliners Jack the Lad, Brinsley Schwarz & Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers. Local heroes Saltgrass played at each event and a grand time was had by all.
13th July 1974 Jack the Lad
When Lindisfarne’s split and main songwriter Alan Hull went off to follow a solo career (and eventually reform Lindisfarne with Ray Jackson) the remaining members: Rod Clements, Si Cowe and Ray Laidlaw formed Jack the Lad with their old friend Billy Mitchell. Jack the Lad followed the folk sound of their former band, and in many ways remained truer to their roots, while the new Lindisfarne went down more of a pop/rock road. Jack the Lad live were great fun with a lot of humour, traditional folk and a set full of jigs, reels, singalongs and dancing which went down well on a sunny afternoon in the park.
27th July 1974 Brinsley Schwarz
Brinsley Schwarz were stalwarts of the pub rock scene. This gig came towards the end of their career, and their line-up was Brinsley Schwarz, Ian Gomm, Billy Rankin, Bob Andrews, Nick Lowe and Carlos Luna. They had just released their sixth and final album “The New Favourites of… Brinsley Schwarz” which featured Nick Lowe’s classic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”.
The Brinsleys were heavily influenced by The Band and Eggs Over Easy, had a laid-back country-rock sound, with some catchy poppy songs, and were a great live act, and gave us another great afternoon in the sun. They split in 1975 and Schwarz and Andrews joined Graham Parker & the Rumour; Rankin joined Terraplane, and Nick Lowe joined Dave Edmunds in Rockpile. Lowe of course then went on to have a very successful solo career and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” became a hit for Elvis Costello.
3rd August 1974 Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers
The last of the trio of concerts featured Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, who were one of the main pub rock groups, and were very popular during the early 1970s. They released three albums and toured as part of the 1975 Naughty Rhythms tour with Dr Feelgood and Kokomo. Their members were Phil “Snakefinger” Lithman, Martin Stone, Paul “Dice Man” Bailey, Paul “Bassman” Riley and Pete Thomas. After they split in 1975 Thomas became the drummer for Elvis Costello, Riley played with Graham Parker; and Stone played with the Pink Fairies.

Durham Dome Festival 1973 – 1980

Durham Dome Festival 1973 – 1980
chrisjaggerDurham Dome fest took place during the years 1973 to 1980. Several pleasant sunny afternoons and evenings were spent down on the Riverside Race Course in Durham.

From local alternative hippy North East zine Mother Grumble, which organised the Durham Dome fests:
“Durham Domefest 1st July 1973
So many people, magical music, listening in the sunshine, smiling, free.
And there was free music.
And there was lite and love.
Riding bureaucratic storms to do this together, so many people helped make this happen, and will again.
Policeman, friends, lovers, strangers all together down at the riverside.
Old folks, young folks, we’re going to grow and grow, help them who can’t come and do another show.
Contact Mother G to plan and build the next one, new faces, new bands
Loudest sound in Durham town, the people can never let the people down.
There are no words, we can all see there, we have all been there, see you next time.
Durham’s first free open air music for the people, by the people – it’s all too beautiful
Meet you at the next one.
And don’t be late.”

The festival would feature a host of local bands playing on a domed stage, with a few name bands joining in. I recall sing Chris Jagger, Jack the Lad, Isotope and Global Village Trucking Company play alongside Arbre, Hedgehog Pie, Steve Brown Band, Village (think they won the Melody Maker contest?) and Raw Spirit. Prefab Sprout played at one of the later festivals, and I read that Supertramp also played at one of the Dome fest, although I don’t recall seeing them. I went to several of the Dome fests, including the first, although I don’t recall which ones I actually attended.
I recall a real buzz about Chris Jagger who turned up unannounced and played on a sunny afternoon. It was at the time of his “You Know the Name but not the Face” lp, which places it around 1973. And pretty good he was too.
The Dome fests were happy friendly events; you would turn up, chat to friends and lie in the sun on the grass by the river, listening to some music. You never knew which bands would play, and that was part of the fun of it. Everything seemed so much simpler. Happy Days 🙂

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
live8tixI was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Live8progMadonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
liveaidlanyardThe Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.

Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980

Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
futuramatixThis was the second Futurama festival and it took place at Queens Hall, which was in the centre of Leeds. The Saturday line-up featured U2 (low down on the bill), Echo & The Bunnymen, Soft Cell and Siouxsie & The Banshees (who headlined). I attended the Sunday with my mate Dave and it featured The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Glitter, The Durutti Colum, Classix Nouveaux, Young Marble Giants, Hazel O’Connor, The Soft Boys, Flowers, Naked Lunch, Blurt, Artery, Notsensibles, Vice Versa, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Athletico Spizz 80, Brian Brain, Tribesmen, Boots for Dancing and Household Name. We arrived during the afternoon and missed some of the bands. Queens Hall was a cavernous building, which was originally a tram and bus depot. It was used as a concert venue during the 1980s. It has since been demolished and is now a car park.
When we arrived it looked like a war zone. Punk fans from all over the north, and further afield, had decamped there for the weekend, and had been in the venue all night, sleeping on the floors; there was trash everywhere. We saw faces that we recognised from Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which had closed for the weekend as everyone was going to the festival. We chatted to a few people; everyone was talking about how great Siouxsie (who had headlined the Saturday night) had been. There were stalls around the place and pop-up art performances in dark corners of the hall. I recall one performance which involved a guy having a crap in a bucket; we moved on. The bands were playing on a stage at the end of the massive hall. futuramaflyer
This was an opportunity to see bands who went on to stardom: The Frantic Elevators became Simply Red, and Vice Versa became ABC. There was a great mix of bands at the event and the atmosphere was wonderful, really friendly. Although on the surface this festival appeared messy and shambolic, it is actually one of the best I have every attended for the musical range and the feeling in the crowd. Highlights of the day were Hazel O-Connor, who was in the charts with “Eighth Day” and became the robot from “Breaking Glass”, Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly’s meadering guitar, and the 4″ by 2″s who were a proto-Oi! band featuring Jimmy Lydon (John Lydon’s brother) and also at one point featured Youth of Killing Joke. But the highlight was an incredible performance by Notsensibles, a punk band from Burnley who had some success with their single “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher”. Their set included a lot of tongue-in-cheek songs, all performed in their strong Northern accent. They’d brought a large contingent of fans, who all sang along with every daft song. Notsensibles motto was “all we want to do is make silly records and play silly gigs”. There is a video on YouTube of them performing “Death To Disco” at the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIGrhea75qU
The festival ran very late into the night (inevitable given the incredible number of bands who were performing) and we left around midnight during Psychedelic Furs set to drive back up North and home, thus missing the headliner who was (also incredibly) the now shamed star Gary Glitter. The Futurama festival had a history of choosing off-the-wall headliners; on another occasion the closing acts was a reformed Bay City Rollers (now that must have been something to experience). A crazy, mad, fun event with some great bands. Happy happy days 🙂

Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975

Yes Stoke City Football Club 17th May 1975
yesstoke75tixSupport acts: Sensational Alex Harvey Band; Ace; Gryphon.
A month after seeing Yes at Newcastle City Hall I was off to see them again, this time at Stoke City Football ground. I drove down to the concert with my mate, both of us looking forward to seeing Yes again, and the added attraction of the amazing Sensational Alex Harvey Band. As soon as we arrived we found the nearest pub, where we were surprised to meet a bunch of lads from home, who were huge SAHB fans. We then had an argument about the relative merits of Yes versus Alex Harvey and co; such matters seemed very important at the time.
We entered the stadium and found a place on he pitch. First up was Gryphon whose medieval folk amused us; for some reason a lute, a bassoon and a tin whistle made a perfect start to the day. The weather was ok, quite sunny as I recall. Next was Ace, who pleased the crowd by playing “How Long” twice; once during the set, and again as an encore. Then came Alex.
A large Glaswegian contingent had travelled South to support Alex, Zal and the lads. They got very drunk and England vs Scotland scuffles started to break out among the crowd down at the front, close to the stage. Alex was having none of this. He stopped the song, I think it was “Framed”, pointed and stared the culprits and told them “Stop! No violence, or we don’t play any more” and the fighting ceased, just like that. Such was the power that Alex Harvey held over his audience. This was SAHB at their menacing best; Alex in his hooped t-shirt and jeans, scarf around his head, reading his philosophy to us from an old leather-bound book, Chris Glen wearing a jock strap of his jeans, and Zal in his green leotard complete with full evil harlequin make-up. Wonderful. “Don’t make wars. Don’t fight wars. And don’t pisch in the water”. They stole the show.
yesprogstoke75Other memories of the day: lots of people openly smoking joints. A little guy in the middle of the crowd sitting with a stash of dope selling it to anyone who passed by. A young guy wearing a battered top hat, posing as a member of the drug squad, grabbing hold of people and “arresting them”, then laughing and telling them it was just a joke after all.
There was a long wait before Yes took to the stage, during which time the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain. The stage crew were brushing rain from the stage and trying to cover the band’s gear with polythene sheets. Yes eventually took to the stage, and had lots of problems with the sound, caused by rain on the equipment. Steve Howe, in particular, seemed to suffer a couple of small shocks from his guitar, and was obviously worried about the danger of electrocution. In the end, after soldiering on for 40 minutes or so, Yes abandoned the show, Jon Anderson promising us that they would return and play a free gig (I’m still waiting and still have my ticket stub, guys).
Then it was back into my little old red MG Midget, and up the A1. A great day.
The next time I saw Yes was three months later, this time at the Reading festival. I’ll write about that tomorrow.
Yes setlist (cut short due to rain): Sound Chaser; Close to the Edge; The Gates of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Mood for a Day; Long Distance Runaround; Clap; Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil); Roundabout

BBC 6 Music Festival Sage Gateshead 21st February 2015

BBC 6 Music Festival Sage Gateshead 21st February 2015
6musictixHall 1: Maximo Park; The Fall; Kate Tempest; Royal Blood; Hot Chip
Hall 2: Ghostpoet; Father John Misty; Ibibio Sound Machine; Django Django; The Cribs
Hall 3: Craig Charles; Stuart Maconie; Ady Croasdell; Richard Searling
Concourse: Kate Tempest & Eliza Carthy; Villagers; Simian Mobile Disco; Jungle; Gruff Rhys
The BBC 6 Music Festival decamped to the North East this year with events in the Academy on Friday, The Sage on Saturday and Sunday and a range of venues across Newcastle throughout the weekend. David and Shauna came up from London for the weekend, and we all (Marie, me, David, Shauna, Laura, Dale) trooped across to the Sage for the Saturday evening festivities.
6musicleafetThe Sage had been transformed into a festival cum nightclub, with all of the halls open and simultaneously featuring music.  All of the seats had been removed from the floor level of Hall 1. The first act that Marie and I caught was Kate Tempest, who was introduced by Don Letts. Now there’s a face from the past. The last time I remember seeing him was 1977 in Newcastle Students Union and he was holding a big camera, filming the Clash. He was managing the Slits at the time and went on to be a member of Big Audio Dynamite. Kate Tempest got the crowd going with her spoken word hip hop music. We wandered into Hall 3 and found Stuart Maconie playing soul sounds, and then out onto the concourse to watch Jungle. For me the highlight was Royal Blood, who made a loud intense blues noise and played to a packed Hall 1. Its hard to believe that two guys (guitar, vocals, drums) can produce such a wall of classic rock music, in the tradition of Hendrix, Zeppelin and Cream. Great stuff. The others all reckoned Hot Chip as the highlight of the night. Laura and Dale went off to the Boiler House after the Sage closed at 11pm, for further 6 Music fun.
Its great that a national event like this has chosen to come to the North East. The 6 Music festival continues today with more music around the city and in the Sage tonight.

Roger Waters plays Dark Side of the Moon Hyde Park 1st July 2006

Roger Waters plays Dark Side of the Moon Hyde Park 1st July 2006
waterstix2006Hype Park Calling Festival 2006
Main Stage: Roger Waters (featuring special guest Nick Mason); Texas; Starsailor; Breaks Co-op; Chris Difford
Stage 2: The Lightning Seeds; Robert Cray; Suzanne Vega; Blackbud; Rocco DeLuca and the Burden
I booked a cheap hotel room online for David and I to stay in for this event. The room was not far from Marble Arch. We arrived at Kings Cross and tool the tube over to the hotel. When we arrived the guy on reception apologised and explained that there had been some mix-ups with bookings and that he was going to have to move us to another hotel nearby. He offered to drive us there, and took us through a maze of streets, where we arrived at a run-down seedy looking hotel. He took us to our room which was upstairs and left. As we looked around the room we realised how we had got the booking so cheap….the bathroom had no door and the beds were worn and scruffy. Still, we decided it was only going to be for one night, so we shrugged our shoulders and walked over to Hyde Park; we still weren’t far from the Marble Arch entrance to the event.
Hyde Park Calling was a new festival. Roger Waters headlined the Saturday night and the Who were doing the honours on the Sunday night. The supporting line-up was strong. I remember we watched and enjoyed Texas, and some of the Lightning Seeds.
watersdarksidetixThe main event was Roger Waters who was playing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, along with Floyd buddy Nick Mason on drums. The show featured an elaborate stage design by Mark Fisher (who was behind the design of Pink Floyd’s The Wall shows), and included giant puppets, large video screen displays and a 360° quadraphonic sound system. Roger’s performance was divided into two sets: the first featured Pink Floyd material and songs from Roger’s solo career, and the second The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, plus encores. The songs were performed true to the recording, and the sound was crisp and clear from where we stood about half way back in the park. What better way to spend a summer evening than listening to the Floyd’s classic album. A guy in front of us was incredibly drunk, and insisted on singing all of the words to the songs right into our faces. Sometimes he would stop singing, hug us and tell us how great Pink Floyd were.
After the show we meandered back through the streets to our seedy hotel room. We were up early next morning and back on the train home.
Setlist. Set 1: In the Flesh; Mother; Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V); Have a Cigar; Wish You Were Here; Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun; Southampton Dock; The Fletcher Memorial Home; Perfect Sense (Parts 1 and 2); Leaving Beirut; Sheep
Set 2 The Dark Side of the Moon, with Nick Mason: Speak to Me; Breathe; On the Run; Time; Breathe (Reprise); The Great Gig in the Sky; Money; Us and Them; Any Colour You Like; Brain Damage; Eclipse
Encore: The Happiest Days of Our Lives; Another Brick in the Wall Part 2; Vera; Bring the Boys Back Home; Comfortably Numb
Roger Waters band: Roger Waters (vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar), P.P. Arnold (backing vocals), Graham Broad (drums and percussion), Jon Carin (keyboards), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Carol Kenyon (backing vocals and lead vocals on “The Great Gig in the Sky”), Dave Kilminster (guitar), Katie Kissoon (backing vocals), Ian Ritchie (saxophone), Harry Waters (Hammond organ, synthesiser, and Roger Waters’ son), and Snowy White (guitar).

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.