Eric Clapton Newcastle City Hall April 1977

Eric Clapton Newcastle City Hall April 1977
Support from Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance
Eric Clapton returned to Newcastle City Hall a year later, this time with Ronnie Lane and his band Slim Chance as special guests. We were spoilt for Clapton shows from the mid 70s onwards. Eric moved from a period of a few years where he hardly played at all, to a position of touring the Uk every year. I took every opportunity to see Eric, going to every show that he performed at the City Hall, and never left disappointed. Looking at set lists from 1977, it seems that Clapton varied some of the set, but that it was focussed largely on the blues. A recording from Hammersmith gives the set as :Hello Old Friend; Sign Language; Alberta; All Our Past Times; Tell The Truth; Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door; Can’t Find My Way Home; Crossroads; I Shot The Sheriff; Nobody Knows You; Further On Up The Road; Stormy Monday; Willie and the hand jive; Layla; Dream, Dream, Dream. Ronnie Lane was a great choice of support act, especially after 1976’s support act Mr Pugh’s Puppet Theatre. I’d seen Ronnie in the Faces and once before with Slim Chance when they brought their Passing Show to Newcastle Town Moor (I’ll post on that gig another time). Ronnie came over to me as laid back, unassuming, friendly and authentic on stage. His set was good fun, and a good reason to stay upstairs and watch the support act, rather than retreat to the bar.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Terry Hackett on March 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    This was a great night, made especially unforgettable for those of us seated in the stalls by Ronnie Lane’s missus Kate Lambert and (unless I’m mistaken) Pattie Boyd doing the can-can!


  2. Posted by John Johnstone on March 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I was at this gig. I had been wanting to see Clapton live for ages, since I was a huge Cream fan. Although I have seen him many times since then, this was one of (if not the) best gigs of his that I ever attended. The band were tight and the two backing singers (Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy) were superb. The songs were strong and despite his issues, Clapton’s guitar playing was exemplary. Mind you, I thought that the second guitarist (George Terry) played a great show as well. The only slight disappointment was that, despite many calls from the audience for Crossroads, Clapton was a bit grumpy in his response and refused to play it.

    I remember that at one point in the proceedings, Clapton stopped and told Ronnie Lane (off-stage) to stop fondling his “bird”!

    One question – I thought that it was Ronnie Lane’s Poacher, not Slim Chance, that supported?


  3. I lucked into this show–and more,as you’ll see below–as a semester abroad student with a group from Michigan State University. En route to Scotland, we spent a night in Newcastle, and as our bus pulled into town we saw the posters for the show. I grabbed a few friends and we went down to City Hall. The show was sold out and about to start, so the three girls went around to the back to try their luck; my friend Eddie and I pleaded our case with an old guy manning the front door. It turned out he had a couple of tickets his nephew hadn’t come for, so he let us have them. The seats were front and center, and as we settled in, feeling sorry for the gals, we saw them walking out from stage left with a giant guy who turned out to be Clapton’s conga player, They came down the center stage steps and amazingly, found their seats right next to ours. It was a great show, as reported above (I’d add “Wonderful Tonight” to the set list). The girls said they’d been invited out to the Holiday Inn for the after-party, but didn’t want to go alone, so Eddie and I valiantly agreed to come–I’d been a huge Cream fan as a teenage guitar player and saw them on a revolving stage in Madison Square Garden in November of ’68, when I was 12.
    We got a cab out to the hotel, where I expected to find a throng of press and hangers-on, but only the night manager was there and the lobby and bar were empty. When we explained the situation, fully expecting to be sent away, he told us to go into the bar and make ourselves at home, using the band’s tab.
    About 20 minutes later the tour bus pulled up and the band piled out, led by Clapton with his arm around Ronnie Lane, singing “Got my moped working…” The two of them set up at the bar, Clapton quite drunk. We were joined in our booth by Yvonne Elliman, Carl Radle, and Layla herself, Pattie Harrison. They couldn’t have been friendlier. After a couple of pints I screwed up my courage and approached Clapton at the bar to shake his hand and spout worshipful nonsense, which he drunkenly tolerated.
    Quite a night.


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