Focus Newcastle City Hall 1973

Focus Newcastle City Hall 1973
Support: Programme says Harvey Andrews and Graham Cooper; Ticket says Snake Eye!
I first saw Focus at a couple of festivals (Lincoln and Reading) in 1972. They were virtually unknown at the time, but were a big success with the crowd. They were (and still are!) a crazy, fun band. They had all the right ingredients, a crazy front man in Thijs van Leer, who was also a very accomplished and classically trained musician, an excellent, fluent guitarist in Jan Akkerman, some complex and beautiful instrumental pieces, and lots of crazy, mad fun. Highlights at the time were Hocus Pocus, House of the King and Sylvia. By 1973, Focus were well known enough in the UK to headline their own tour of concert halls. Thijs is a magnetic performer and dynamic guy on stage. He mixes first class musicianship (on organ and flute) with some very strange nonsensical lyrics, yodelling and very high falsetto singing. Jan Akkerman was the perfect foil; he seemed quiet and shy on stage, and his guitar playing was slick, beautiful, restrained; just perfection. A great gig. The programme says Harvey Andrews and Graham Cooper were support, while the ticket says Snake Eye! My memory doesn’t stretch to confirming who actually supported Focus that night. I certainly remember seeing Harvey Andrews on a number of occasions, but don’t recall when. I have no recollection of ever seeing Snake Eye, or who they were. Based on live recordings from the time, I would think that the set is likely to have contained a selection taken from the following Focus tunes: Focus; Focus II; Focus III; Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!; Eruption; Sylvia; Hocus Pocus; Anonymous; House Of The King.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. It was me, Harvey Andrews, and the late Graham Cooper. I think we supported all Focus’s gigs in the uk that year and some in Holland. 31 in total. Good times!

    Reply

  2. Posted by vintagerock on November 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Many thanks Harvey Good times indeed best wishes Peter

    Reply

  3. Posted by Dave Greenwell on February 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I went to this gig and it is etched in my memory! On arriving the ‘new’ company Virgin were handing out bags of their literature in the foyer. These came in useful later! Harvey Andrews was brilliant- I’d never heard him before that night but loved his songs, especially one about Northern Ireland, (I think). Unfortunately for him throughout most of his set a drunk Geordie in the Circle behind us kept shouting ‘Hocus Pocus by Focus’! After his set there was a long wait till Focus came on, which is where the Virgin material came in. Someone had the great idea of making a paper aeroplane with some of the contents of the bag, and within a few minutes the whole City Hall was awash with planes of all shapes and sizes flying in all directions. Then a magic moment- someone had made on with the largest folded up flyer (probably A1 or 2 paper size)- and launched it from one side of the balcony. Everyone caught sight of it as it crossed the middle of the hall, and as it just made it to the other side of the balcony there was the biggest cheer of the night!! And Focus were pretty good too. I was just 15 and had a ball at the Hall! I hope someone else remembers it like this and my memory is true!!

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on February 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Dave Great memories! Many thanks
      Now that you mention it, the paper areoplanes brings back vague memories. Each gig was a new adventure in those days when we were all young Happy days Cheers Peter

      Reply

  4. Posted by Tommy Watt on August 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Yep. I was there. By the time FOCUS came on there was about 3 feet of paper debris stacked up towards the stage made from all the free ad shit given out & converted into folding flying aircraft by everyone in the place. As the support act played, one of them hit either Harvey or Graham`s acoustic guitar & they both looked kind of nervous after that. Utter fucking magic.

    Reply

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