Big Country in Concert 1982 to 1987

Big Country in Concert 1982 to 1986
Stuart Adamson formed Big Country after leaving the Skids, and in my view their work far surpassed his earlier band. The Skids were a fun live band, very much a product of the punk era, whereas Big Country were much more innovative and adventurous. It was clear that Stuart was the musical driving force behind the Skids, co-writing, alongside Richard Jobson, the band’s most famous songs such as Into the Valley. I first saw them in Dingwalls in Newcastle, which was a club which ran in the early 80s, out of what had been the old German Bierkeller. Their first single Harvest Home had just been released, and their jangling, swirling sound which married scottish traditional folk with rock, sounded so new and fresh. They were soon having big chart success with Fields of Fire and In a Big Country, and could command headlining status on a tour of major concert venues. Their 1983 tour brought them to Newcastle City Hall, and the first of a couple of great nights I spent with them in that venue. Big Country and Stuart Adamson in particular connected with the audience in a manner rarely seen. At times band and crowd were at one, singing together those great anthemic songs, with Stuart rocking back and forth leading us all on, as if to battle. The support on the 1983 tour was One The Juggler, who were an interesting and now forgotten band; quite theatrical if I remember correctly. I also remember seeing them at Newcastle Dingwalls. I next saw Big Country on their 1986 tour, again at the City Hall. By then they had released their third album The Seer, and the single Look Away was their biggest hit in the UK. Once again, it was a great night with another stirring set from the band. The last time I saw Big Country was at Roker Park, Sunderland in 1987, when they appeared as one of the support acts for David Bowie on his Glass Spider tour. It wasn’t one of Bowie’s best performances, and in contrast Big Country delivered their usual storm and went down very well with the crowd. They were obviously a lot of fans of the band there, and I’m sure that many people felt that their performance was better than Bowie’s that day. The band has recently reformed after Stuart Adamson’s tragic death, and have been once again touring the UK.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi,

    I am stunned at your blog! It brings back many great memories of punk/new wave/other gigs I also attended in the “Toon”. I now live in Sydney, OZ and have to say that the years 77-88 in Newcastle, were some of the best I have ever had. Fantastic bands and this instilled a passion for music which has not diminished to this day.

    I have a question tho, I have a flyer for the Newcastle Guildhall which was for John Cooper-Clarke in 78, (a gig I attended) and which also lists Joy Divison as playing (they didn’t). Never seen any record of this, even in the JD concert listing (cancelled shows or otherwise), have you ever seen this?

    Keep up the fantastic work!


    • Posted by vintagerock on April 12, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Hi Mick Thanks for the encouragement. I can’t recall the John Cooper Clarke gig at the Guildhall, sorry. I saw him a few times, but not at the Guildhall as far as I can remember. I attended a lot of punk/new wave gigs in Newcastle in 77/78 including The Clash, Jam, Damned, Buzzcocks, Penetration, Stranglers, Ramones, Television and the Pistols in Scarborough and Whitby. Will get around to reporting on them all. Best wishes Peter


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