Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 7th October 1980

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 7th October 1980
scorpionsoct80tixScorpions were on a roll. Only five months after their last visit to Newcastle they were back at the City Hall, this time for two nights. In fact, they were so popular that, as well as playing two concerts at the City Hall, they also played one night at Newcastle Mayfair ballroom, bringing their show to the Friday heavy rock night. All three nights sold out, pretty good going for a band that was playing tiny clubs a few years before. I attended the first City Hall concert, which was on 7th October 2010, and was another great gig. Support came from US Southern boogie band Blackfoot.
From the tour programme: “The Scorpions is mentioned in one breath with giants such as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and AC/DC. They are one of the best bands that I know and they sure play incredible music. scorpionsspring80progThe Scorpions are the first German band to go on a real world tour. …The stage was their school. They rose from faith in themselves.”
“The ladder we climbed, we built ourselves. Each single step was made with hard work, desperation and confidence, and we know it will last” Rudolf Schenker.
Schenker was 100% correct. Scorpions success did indeed last. Shortly after this tour they went into the studio to record their next album “Blackout”, which was to be their most successful to date. And who could have predicted that, over 10 years later, they would be high in the UK singles chart with their No 2 hit, the classic heavy rock ballad “Wind of Change”?
Setlist: Lovedrive; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); Loving You Sunday Morning; We’ll Burn the Sky; Animal Magnetism; The Zoo; Holiday; Lady Starlight; Always Somewhere; Pictured Life; In Trance; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 13th May 1980

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 13th May 1980
scorpionsmay80tixScorpions released their seventh studio album “Animal Magnetism” in March 1980, and returned to the UK in May 1980 to promote it. I saw them at Newcastle City Hall on 13th May. Support came from excellent local rock band Tygers of Pan Tang. The Tygers were formed in 1978 by Robb Weir (guitar) who recruited Brian Dick (drums), Rocky (bass), and Jess Cox (vocals). By 1980 they had built a local following, and were staring to break nationally as part of the NWOBHM, and were busy recording their debut album `Wild Cat` which was released later in the year.
Scorpions were now well and truly established in the UK as a fully fledged member of the heavy metal rock fraternity, and a packed City Hall gave them the customary rowdy reception, reserved for metal heroes.
scorpionswinter80prog This was another great performance, and a powerful rock double bill. “Loving You Sunday Morning” remained by favourite Scorpions song. Their new album “Animal Magnetism” was OK, but on reflection it isn’t one of their beat. It was sandwiched between the excellent “Lovedrive”, which was the album that broke them through in the UK and gave them their first succees, and “Blackout” which would follow a year or so later, and would be Scorpions most successful record release. Still there was no stopping them live, where they were a real force to be reckoned with.
Scorpions setlist: Lovedrive; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); Loving You Sunday Morning; We’ll Burn the Sky; Animal Magnetism; The Zoo; Holiday; Lady Starlight; Always Somewhere; Pictured Life; Make It Real; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man; In Trance; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
My ticket for this gig is particularly creased….we were reasonably close to the front..not sure if that says anything about how hot, loud and wild it was :)

 

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1979

Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1979
scorpionstix79I first saw German heavy metal band Scorpions in 1979 at Newcastle City Hall. Scorpions visited the UK several times between 1975 and 1979, playing in small clubs up and down the country, and by 1979 they were starting to build a considerable following, large enough to fill concert venues like the City Hall. They had just released their sixth studio album “Lovedrive”, which many fans believe to be their finest hour, showcasing their classic heavy metal formula which mixed some of the hardest, sharpest metal tracks with melodic ballads. After a few years in the wilderness, partly due to the arrival of punk rock, heavy rock was starting to reemerge in the form of the NMOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and bands like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Scorpions no doubt benefited from the renewed interest in heavy rock, plus their former member, and ace guitar hero, Michael Schenker had just rejoined the band, which also helped to increase their popularity. The line-up was Klaus Meine (lead vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar, and Michael’s older brother), Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums).
Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) also featured on “Lovedrive” and played guitar when Michael Schenker was indisposed, which happened several times during their early 1979 concert dates. Schenker was suffering from alcohol abuse, was not well enough to play some of the dates, and ultimately left Scorpions in mid 1979 to form his own Michael Schenker Group. I remember being surprised just how great Scorpions were, and at how strong their fan base already was. The concert sold out quickly and the Newcastle fans gave the band an amazing reception. I didn’t know any of the material at all but was blown away by the power and hard edge of their music. My memory tells me that Michael Schenker did play the City Hall gig, but I can’t be certain. I know that he pulled out of several of the gigs around that time, with Matthias Jabs having to step in, often as short notice. My favourite song from “Lovedrive” is “Loving You Sunday Morning”
Harry Doherty reviewing “Lovedrive” for Melody Maker, in 1979: “now that the new wave has been institutionalised and tamed by the establishment, heavy metal is once more basking in a glorious and celebrated comeback, a feast that will presumably last until the next fad surfaces – when HM will promptly revert to its underground role. But in the current blaze of recognition, look out for a powerful and, as far as Britain is concerned, relatively new heavy metal band, Scorpions”
Support on the 1979 dates came from Terra Nova, a short lived group was formed in 1979 by former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band members Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden.
In August 1979 Scorpions replaced Thin Lizzy as Saturday night headliners at the Reading festival, at two days notice. Scorpions acquitted themselves well, and went down a storm with the Reading heavy metal crowd, particularly considering that everyone was expecting to see Thin Lizzy.
It is likely the setlist at the City Hall was something like this: Pictured Life; Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; In Trance; Always Somewhere; Life’s Like a River; Fly to the Rainbow; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Top of the Bill; Robot Man; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
Their setlist at Reading was shorter: Backstage Queen; We’ll Burn the Sky; Loving You Sunday Morning; Lovedrive; Always Somewhere; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man

S Club Newcastle Arena 5th April 2003

S Club Newcastle Arena 5th April 2003
sclubtixToday I am going to slip in another guilty pleasure before I move back to some proper rock tomorrow. Laura was a big fan of S Club 7 from their early days, she and David would always watch their television series, Miami 7. S Club 7 were created by Spice Girls manager Simon in 1998 and were massively successful over their 5 year career, scoring four UK No.1 singles, one UK No.1 album, and a top-ten single in the USA. They sold over 10 million albums worldwide.
By the time Laura and I went to see them in 2003 Paul Cattermole had left and S Club 7 had become simply “S Club”, the remaining members being Bradley McIntosh, Jo O’Meara, Tina Barrett, Hannah Spearritt, Jon Lee and Rachel Stevens. The tour was entitled “S Club United” and also featured S Club Juniors. S Club Juniors were a pre and young teen spin-off from the main band. The show was, as I recall, good teen pop fun, heavily choreographed, and with S Club Juniors almost outshining S Club.
sclubprogBut of course the big news of the moment is that S Club 7 may be reforming!
From the Guardian: “Once upon a time, S Club 7 ruled the world. They had hit singles. They had a TV show. They had a film…They had a weird gang of less successful infant Mini-Me Minipops in the form of the S Club Juniors. There was nothing that S Club 7 couldn’t accomplish, or so it seemed, because they were there for each other. And then it all went wrong…..But now they’re back. It’s been reported that S Club 7 are close to signing up for one of those reunion TV series that everyone likes so much now. …Here’s a prediction: if they pull it off, the S Club 7 reunion TV series will be the definitive pop reunion TV series of our times.”
Laura is already making plans to go to the reunion tour. However, it seems I may be spared the delights of S Club 2014/15 as she tells me that one of her friends is a serious fan. Phew :)
I’ll return to some real rock’n’roll tomorrow. Scorpions are next on my list, I think.

Slade Newcastle City Hall 18th December 1981

Slade Newcastle City Hall 18th December 1981
slade81cityhalltixThe last time I saw the original Slade line-up live in concert was at Newcastle City Hall on 18th December 1981. Slade were where they should be, performing to sold out concert halls up and down the country. It was great to see them back at the City Hall, Slade were very clearly enjoying themselves, and it being close to Christmas festivities, of course they played that song. We were a few rows from the front, and my ears were ringing for days afterwards.
Slade played a couple of more times in the north east, at Newcastle University in 1982, and on 17th December 1983 at Durham University. It is possible that I was at the Durham gig, but without a ticket or programme I can’t be sure. I do have vague memories of seeing Slade there, but I think it may have been in the 1970s. On 18th December 1983, the night after playing in Durham Slade played the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, which was to be the original band’s last ever full UK show. A UK tour was scheduled for 1985, but was cancelled.
The front cover of the tour programme shows Slade on stage at Reading in 1980. The concert was recorded and released as the live album “Slade on Stage”. Reviewing the album, Kerrang said: “Watching Slade live is one of the most exhilarating experiences known to mankind. slade81progIts a completely over the top manic and raucous package, delivered at a pace that makes even Kiss seem like old men. So pin back your ears, reinforce your walls and listen to Noddy Holder bellowing through 10 gems including ‘Take Me Bak ‘Ome’ and ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’. Some light relief is supplied by ‘Everyday’. What are you waiting for? Go Out and buy it now.”
Setlist: Rock and Roll Preacher; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin'; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; Till Deaf Do Us Part; M’Hat, M’Coat; Everyday; A Night to Remember; Lock Up Your Daughters; Gudbuy T’Jane; We’ll Bring the House Down; Get Down and Get With It
Encore: Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Merry Xmas Everybody; Born to Be Wild
That concludes my Slade memories, which I’ve enjoyed writing. Looking back makes me realise just how great a rock band Slade were, and how important they were to me.
I’ve seen the “new” Slade a couple of times recently, and may go to see them again one day. They put on a fun show, but it just isn’t the same without Noddy and Jim (sorry Dave and Don). Now a reunion of the original band would be something to see :) but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Slade Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall 21st February 1981

Slade Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall 21st February 1981
sladepoly81tixThe “Live at Reading” EP reached number 44 in the UK singles chart; the band’s first chart placing since 1977. Polydor Records seized the opportunity to capitalise on Slade’s recent success and released a compilation “Slade Smashes!” in November 1980. The album was a big succees, turning a whole new audience onto Slade; it spent 15 weeks in the UK chart, was certified Gold, and sold over 200,000 copies. Success continued with the release of their new single “We’ll Bring the House Down” which was released in January 1981. sladeearly1981progAimed at the new heavy metal audience who had picked up and them at, and after, Reading 1980, it was a bit heavier than their normal sound.”We’ll Bring the House Down” got to number 10 in the UK singles chart, and became Slade’s first top ten hit since 1976.
Slade were starting to fill concert halls again, and toured relentlessly throughout 1981. The next time I got to see them Live after Reading in August 1980, was 6 months later at a sold-out gig at Sunderland Polytechnic’s Students Union dance at Wearmouth Hall on 21st February 1981. The place was ram packed with students and heavy rock fans who gave Slade the returning heroes welcome that they deserved. It was great to see them back filling halls again, and you could tell how much Noddy, Dave, Jim and Don were enjoying their newly found stardom.
MonstersOfRock1981I saw Slade again that year, 6 months later at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival on 22nd August 1981 , where they shared the bill with Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult, Blackfoot, More, and headliners AC/DC. Slade were 4th on the bill, appearing after Blackfoot and before Blue Öyster Cult. By now they were well and truly accepted as bona fide members of the heavy metal fraternity. Denim jackets were starting to sport Slade patches alongside those of Motorhead, AC/DC, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. You couldn’t make it up :)
Slade’s setlist at the time was: Dizzy Mamma; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin'; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; Lock Up Your Daughters; Everyday; Somethin’ Else; Pistol Packin’ Mama; Gudbuy T’Jane; We’ll Bring the House Down; Get Down and Get With It; Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Born to Be Wild; Merry Xmas Everybody
Almost finished my coverage of Slade gigs. One more day to go :)

Slade become heavy metal heroes at the Reading Festival 24th August 1980

Slade become heavy metal heroes at the Reading Festival 24th August 1980
SladeReadingFestival1980
Their singles weren’t selling, and their concerts were no longer drawing in the crowds. In fact, at the time of that they took a last-minute call asking them to appear at the 1980 Reading Festival, Slade were on the verge of packing it all in. “We had to pay to park in the public area,” recalls Jim Lea incredulously. “With no roadies, we had to carry our own gear and there was even trouble getting into the backstage area!” From the SladeInEngland site” “Reading Rock 1980 was without a doubt one of the bands finest hours….As far as their history was concerned, perhaps only their groundbreaking appearance at the Great Western Festival at Lincoln in 1972 had as much impact on their standing with the music going public, and the music writing press, as the Reading Festival in 1980.”
By 1980, 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 bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but rumours started to go around the festival site, that Ozzy wasn’t going to show. Soon those rumours started to hint at who might replace Ozzy, and the name in the frame was…wait for it….Slade. At first this seemed implausable. Slade were out in the “wilderness”, playing in small clubs. How would a staunch heavy metal crowd react to them? The festival organisers wouldn’t take the risk, would they? But the more I thought about it, the more I began to hope that it would happen, and the more I began to think it might really work out well for Slade. After all, I’d seen a similar thing happen eight years before at Lincoln, when Slade turned around a potential disaster and secured themselves a special place in the heart of rock fans. I had no doubt that they had the ability, the songs, the passion and the supreme rock’n’roll sensibilities and credentials to do the same again. I’d seen them play Middlesbrough Rock Garden a couple of months earlier, so I knew that Slade were performing well, powered on all of four cylinders, and ready to rock. And if anyone had the bottle to face the Reading crowd, and a potential shower of Party Seven cans, and talk them round, it was Noddy.
I think it was on the Saturday night that DJ Bob Harris (or it may have been John Peel; they were both there) confirmed that Slade would be replacing Ozzy, to massive boos from the crowd. Slade, those guys who sing the Christmas song? How could they replace a metal legend like Ozzy? The crowd was having none of it. I’m sure many were already plotting how they were going to show Slade exactly what they thought of them. This would no doubt involve lobbing cans at the stage, and probably filling them with piss first.
sladeliveatreadingSunday afternoon came. Slade were to appear after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before new heroes Def Leppard. My mate Dave and I were willing it to work out. 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. I had tears in my eyes.
From the SladeInWales site: “Slade’s appearance at the Reading Festival in 1980 will go down in the annals of rock history as one of the great comeback stories….Slade then went out and kicked everyone’s ass so hard they completely stole the show. All the British press (who had been ignoring Slade for some years by this point) wrote about Reading that year was Slade, and how they were back, dynamic, one of the greatest live bands ever….The Reading Festival in 1980 gave Slade a new lease in life.”
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. I could see Chas at the side grinning.”
The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP. For their next tour, Slade were back in concert halls, and were filling them.
Set list: Dizzy Mamma; My Baby Left Me; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin'; Wheels Ain’t Coming Down; Everyday; Somethin’ Else; Pistol Packin’ Mama; Keep a Rollin'; You’ll Never Walk Alone (Noddy leading the crowd in a mass singalong); Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Get Down and Get With It (mayhem; mass stomping of feet); Merry Xmas Everybody (well they had to play it, didn’t they, and the crowd sang the chorus; a surreal moment, a field full of denim singing along with Noddy; it was wonderful); Cum on Feel the Noize; Born to Be Wild (a perfect closer; follow that Def Leppard)
A great day :)
But….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.
Thanks to Andrew King for allowing use of his image of Slade onstage at Reading, through the Wikimedia Commons licence.

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