Kevin Ayers Newcastle 1974 and 2003

Kevin Ayers and Long John Baldry Newcastle City Hall November 1974
Kevin Ayers Newcastle Tyne Theatre 2003
Kevin Ayers’ legend looms large in English rock history. In 1974 he’d released The Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories album on the Island record label, and headlined the now legendary 1 June 1974 concert at the Rainbow Theatre, London, where his band consisted of John Cale, Nico, Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield. For this Autumn 1974 concert tour (see ticket, and programme below), his band consisted of the late great Ollie Halsall, who I’d seen at the City Hall a few years earlier in Patto. Support came from Long John Baldry who by the early 70s had grown his hair, and was looking seriously hippieish. Long gone were the suited blues man days of the 60s and Let the Heartaches Begin (which he didn’t, of course, sing). But the set was still blues-based and Long John’s voice was as deep and impressive as he was tall.The set consisted of songs from Bananamour, Joy of a Toy and The Confessions of Dr Dream, and was a somewhat shambolic, but enjoyable mixture of English whimsy, reggae and jazz-rock. Ayers did a version Falling in Love Again in the style of Noel Coward and Halsall performed Elvis’ Don’t be Cruel. There were problems with the electricity in the hall, with the power going over several times, and Ayers and Long John Baldry singing to us without any amplication at all at one point. If I remember right, the power failed completely in the end and the show was abandoned. I next saw Kevin Ayers almost 30 years later in the bar of the Tyne Theatre. The approach was similarly eccentric and enigmatic, but just as enjoyable.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Allan Brown on February 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Hi, I was at that concert in 1974 and seem to recall the PA failed almost immediately after Kevin Ayers started his show, during “May I?” The sound tech guys couldn’t fix it so the band played instrumentals awhile. Kevin announced they were going to play acoustic songs so he, Ollie and Long John played a few, but ultimately they gave it up as a bad job and the gig was abandoned.


  2. Posted by vintagerock on February 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Your memory seems better than mine! My recollections are very sketchy to be honest (I worry about my memory, which is one the reasons I am doing this blog). Thanks for the reminder, and apologies if my memories are inaccurate which is very possible!


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