Bad Company First gigs Newcastle March 1974

Bad Company Newcastle City Hall March 9th 1974
This gig was a big deal at the time. It was the first gig by the new supergroup who had recently been formed by members of Free, Mott the Hoople and King Crimson. Free in particular were great favourites in the north east, and local fans had memories of top Free gigs at Sunderland Locarno, the Mayfair, the Bay Hotel, the Empire, the Rink and the City Hall. I was lucky enough to catch Free live three times at some of the venues I have just mentioned, and had fond memories of that great band. And I guess the decision to play their debut gig at the city hall was, to some extent a measure of the fondness which Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke had for the reason, and also I would think a result of the persistence of local promoter Geoff Docherty. If I remember right Bad Company originally announced a single concert at the City Hall, which sold out immediately and a second gig was swiftly added. I went along with a couple of mates and we had high expectations. We were not disappointed. The gig was breath taking, and the crowd were really up for it. Although for me, and many others I suspect, Bad Company never quite reached the same bluesy feel and groove that Free had, on that night they were tremendous. My friend John is a big Free fan, and he too feels that they had the edge over Bad Company. He was also at the gig, and he and I have been having some email debates as to the setlist that night. A recording exists of the gig, and it suggests that the set was Little Miss Fortune; Rock Steady; Ready For Love; Don’t Let Me Down; Easy on My soul; Bad Company; Deal With the Preacher; Movin’ On; Can’t Get Enough; The Stealer; Rock Me Baby. However, John is convinced that they played more Free songs including Travelling Man, and that they played Seagull. Me, my memory has big gaps, and all I recall is that it was a great experience and a highlight of my concerts at the time. Bad company were back at the City Hall a few months later. I’ll blog on that gig tomorrrow. Thanks to John for the scan of the unofficial show souvenir programme, and the poster which comes from a gig in Birmingham a month later. I always bought an official programme, but hardly ever bought the unofficial ones which were sold outside venues at the time. I wish I had, as they are pretty hard to find and mighty collectable now. Some of them were pretty good, while others covered the concerts of several bands so that they could be sold at gigs over a period of a few months.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sid Smimth on September 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Hi there, I was also at the Bad Company debut gig. I know it’s a bit of a long shot but can you recall if there was a support act that night, and if so, any idea who it was?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Alan Brown on January 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I was also at the very first concert. You know I don’t remember a watching a support act, probably just focused on the new Rodgers / Kirke band. I do remember hearing Seagull being played by Rodgers on his own and the only Free song they played was Stealer. It was an amazing first concert but looking back was only very short (less than 1 hour) Final note I saw them also in November 1974 at Newcastle so it may have been this concert that played Stealer. If I can confirm 100% about Seagull at March 1974 concert I will re-post. cheers

    Reply

  3. Posted by Martin I on February 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Hi – just found this blog. I was also at the 1st ever Bad Comapny gig on 9th March 1974 paying a total of 60p for my ticket! It does say on the ticket Plus Guest but I can’t remember if there was one or not. I remember them playing only 2 Free songs – Easy on My Soul and The Stealer. I thought they opened up with Can’t Get Enough and then played it again in one of their encores as they’d not planned for such a reception. On Seagull – I can only remember that being played at the November gig but hey my memory……….. It was a brill night, my favourite ever gig at the time, and I managed to get Boz’s and Simon Kirkes autographs outside after the gig. Regards

    Reply

  4. Posted by Alan on January 19, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Just adding to this. Yes, you are correct, Easy on My Soul and Stealer were played at this Bad Company gig. I do remember a song being played called” In The Palace of the King” early on in the set. I do have a bootleg tape but Palace of the King is not on it , but the tape does not start at the beginning of the concert. Wonderful memories of the early seventies seeing Free, Bad Company, Back Street Crawler, Andy Fraser Band and Sharks. Back then, no mobiles, no internet, no rip off Ticket masters, you had to que for your tickets at the Box Office or bought them from local record stores. I remember quing through the night at Newcastle City Hall for 1979 Bad Company tickets (Feb and March) where I saw them twice from the three dates they played. For me, the magic had gone from the 1979 concerts but those 1974 concerts of Bad Company at NCH were very exciting (all most but not quite),nearly on par with the same excitement as a FREE concert. Marvelous times, the likes we will never see again.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Brian seales on October 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Went to the first gig with a pal Graeme Lloyd . We were upstairs as they were the only tickets left when we booked . Remember can’t get enough was the first track they played . Cannot remember Beckett being the support act. They still play gigs in the Tyneslde area. It was between their lead singer Terry Slessor and Brian Johnson from Geordie , who became the new AC/DC front man. Poor Terry ! I digress.
    I was a spotty 15 year old back then and bought my first pint of best scotch in the city tavern. You didn’t need your passport as ID in those days.
    Memories

    Reply

  6. Posted by Gill Baxter on November 5, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Just looked at my ticket from the 9th March 1974 concert and we were sitting in the row behin you G22 plus 3 others (not sure which tickets tho)

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  7. We traveled up in a car,four of us ,me mate had booked a room ,when the concert had finished ( by the way great ,) we all went back to hotel & put money in the mini bar on the landing ,we took them to the room ,me mate said where you going ,if the hotel staff come checking we’ll all get kicked out, here me car keys 🔑 you can sleep there,CHEERS ,

    Reply

  8. Heavy Metal Kids were on the bill at Manchester Hardrock a short while later – now B&Q Stretford.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Alessandro Borri on December 4, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Dear All,
    I am an Italian fan and collector too of BAD COMPANY and FREE. Did you know if BAD COMPANY played twice in Newcastle – City Hall in March 1974 ? Such 8th March 1974 and 9th March 1974 too ? Thanks for your kindly attention and help too !
    All The Best,
    Alessandro

    Reply

    • Posted by Michael on October 9, 2019 at 11:51 am

      HI, Just found this thread. Bad co definitley only played the 9th March (Saturday). One night only.

      cheers, Mick.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Peter on April 13, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    I was at this gig. If there were two nights itv was the first night, although I don’t recall there being another night. I also don’t recall there being a support act, although again this is possible (it was 45 years ago!) The first song I do recall, and it was called “In the house of the king”. I have always thought it was a BB King song but I’ve never been able to find it. They didn’t play for long and I recall them saying they didn’t know any more.

    By the way this was their first gig in the UK. Their very first gig was at a club in Frankfurt called the Zero Club, which I recall reading in the music press at the time.

    Reply

  11. Yes I was there too and I remember the support act was Country Blues artist Duster Bennet who sadly died in 1979.

    Reply

  12. Hi That gig in 1974 was my first ever time to see bad company with friends who were all cadet nurses in NHS particularly Pauline Race. We were 16 and earning buttons but it was such a fab memory. Great to look back!!

    Reply

  13. Posted by Tim Johnson on October 15, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Some recordings from the City Hall show can be heard on Youtube.

    Reply

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