Free Sunderland Locarno October 1972

By late 1972 Free were falling apart. Andy Fraser had left to be replaced by Tetsu and Rabbit, and in a few short months the band would be no more. This was a result of internal friction particularly between Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers, and because of Paul Kossoff’s health problems. Kossoff was replaced by a session musician on some of the tracks of their final album, Heartbreaker and on a tour of the USA his place was taken by the guitarist from Osibisa, which marked the end for the band. Free returned to play in Sunderland only a few months since their last gig in the town. I have a programme from that time which doesn’t actually list the Sunderland gig, but it does mention local gigs at Newcastle Mayfair, Durham University and Redcar Jazz Club. However, I’m certain that I bought it at a gig in Sunderland Locarno, which was presumably added as an extra date after the programme was printed. By this time Wishing Well had been released as a single and some of the new tracks from Heartbreaker will have featured in the set. My memories of this Free gig are much hazier than those of the gigs I saw earlier that year, which suggests to me that it didn’t reach the same heights, both in terms of performance and audience reaction. I don’t remember the place being packed. The programme lists support as caming from Smith Perkins and Smith, who were an American soft rock / country band. The next time I was to see Paul Kossoff and Andy Fraser it was as part of their own individual bands, and in the case of Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke as members of Bad Company.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alan Brown on January 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Hello, I was also at this concert. It was packed as Free had not played Sunderland since the Empire on 14-Feb-1971. I was only 14 at this concert but remember it quite clearly. There are photos from this gig on the inside cover of the KOSS solo album. Rodgers wearing an all white suit and playing a Gibson Flying V guitar. To me it seemed a fantastic concert but I do remember Kossoff being very wobbily and falling into the amplifiers and girls jumping on stage and him falling to the ground. Rodgers (I think) played guitar to cover Kossoff’s poor performance. I do remember at the end of the concert Rodgers flinging the mike stand into Simons bass drum and then Simon Kirke just kicking (with one strike) the whole drum kit apart. This suggests to me it was a ramshackle affair but at the time I was just glad to see the guys reformed. The support band that night was local band BECKETT with whom Terry Slesser their singer would work with Kossoff in Backstreet Crawler.


  2. Posted by cannymackem on September 30, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Sorry made a mistake above , Free played Sunderland in early 1972 on 13 FEBRUARY 1972 at Top Rank Suite with Vinegar Joe performing as support


  3. Posted by David Lewis on April 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I can remember seeing free at the locarno in 1969 supporting Canned heat i think canned heat went on first for some reason. Any idea of the date or why canned heat went on first. Anyway that was the first gig I ever went to and was hooked


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: