Free Sunderland Top Rank Feb 13th 1972

I next saw Free at Sunderland Top Rank (or the Rink as we knew it at the time). Support came from Vinegar Joe featuring Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer, who I had seen the previous year in the band Dada. I went along with a few mates from school, and we arrived early sitting cross legged on the dance floor; as you did in those days. Vinegar Joe were a great live band; Elkie was very much the raucous rock chick singer, with swirling gypsy skirts, and quite a raunchy stage act. Her vocals were complimented by Robert Palmer’s more soulful approach. I saw Vinegar Joe quite a few times around that period; they were very popular, but didn’t achieve anything like the great success that Elkie and Robert went on to in their own right. The place went crazy for Free. I recall being crushed near the front of the stage, and concentrating on watching Paul Rodgers and Paul Kossoff. These guys seemed so much older than me, but they were actually pretty young at the time. Paul Rodgers was an incredible front man; lots of throwing the mike stand around, and a great vocal performance. Kossoff would really wring the notes out of his Les Paul. He has influenced so many people, including Joe Bonamassa who owns one of Kossoff’s original guitars. The setlist is likely to have included Little Bit of Love (which was a single at the time),  My Brother Jake, Travellin Man, Ride on Pony, Be My Friend, Fire and Water, Songs of Yesterday, Mr Big, All Right Now,and The Hunter as the encore. A great gig. Thanks to John for sharing his memories of the gig with me, and for reminding me of some of the songs for the setlist.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dave on November 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Elkie Brooks still touring and sounding more soulful than ever. But still very much the rock chic !!


  2. Posted by vintagerock on November 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

    You are right. Its about time I went to see her in concert again


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