Mott the Hoople and Queen Newcastle City Hall November 1973

Mott the Hoople and Queen Newcastle City Hall November 1973
mott73Mott the Hoople’s success with All the Young Dudes was followed by a string of hit singles Honaloochie Boogie, All the Way From Memphis,and Roll Away the Stone all in 1973. These were to be followed by further hits Foxxy Foxxy and Saturday Gigs in 1974. They also enjoyed two major album successes with Mott and then The Hoople. There was however disquiet in the band. Mick Ralphs left to form Bad Company with Paul Rodgers, allowing him to explore the bluesier aspects of rock. And Phally left to be replaced by Morgan Fischer from Love Affair (via his own band Morgan). So when we saw them in 1973, with strong support in the form of Queen, everything was very different. It was the height of Glam, and the gigs were attracting a younger audience and had a much more pop feel, as opposed to the raw rock and roll excitement of those early shows. My friend John writes of his feelings towards the new poppier Mott: “I think I saw them one more time in 74 and by then they had run their course.I had lost interest and think they had too. Commercial success is nothing to be sneered at, and after all it is a business, but whether I thought the band had sold out or there music has changed I don’t know.It just wasn’t the same.” I agree. The band gained in stature and success, and many of their hit singles from that period remain my favourites to this day. Ariel Bender was a crazy foil to Hunter; they would literally push each other to gain centre stage, and their 1973 City Hall gig was great. But it was so different, and so removed from the rock n roll band of just a year or so earlier. There was a buzz about this tour for two reasons. First, because Mott were at the height of their success, and we were looking forward to seeing the new line-up, particularly this mad Ariel Bender guy. motthunter And secondly we were all looking forward to seeing Queen, who had just released their first album and were being hailed as the “next big thing”; a prophecy which for once turned out too true. Queen’s first single Keep yourself Alive was played a lot in the local Mecca ballroom that we all frequented. “Would Queen blow Mott off the stage?” was the question we were all asking. Well of course not. Both bands were great; Freddie was very clearly a star in the making; Bender was as impressive OTT and Glam as promised, and Mott lived up to all expectations, showing just how much they deserved their chart success. A great and memorable gig, and a legendary tour. I went on to see Queen 8 more times; and will reflect on those gigs when I (finally 🙂 ) reach letter “Q”.
John’s views on Queen at the time: “This was the first and only time I saw them, and I though they were sensational. Really a glam version of Led Zeppelin with some great straight ahead rock songs in Keep Yourself Alive, Liar and Son and Daughter. I immediately went out and bought the album – I had to order it from Bergs [a local record shop at the time]. I told everybody I knew how great they were and that they would be a big success. I felt a very personal connection with them. I can recall being very confused by Seven Seas of Rye as a single, but when Killer Queen was released I was so disgusted that I gave my album away and vowed never to see them again. I lived up to that promise. Aaah the impetuousness of youth.”
Queen setlist: Procession/Father To Son, Son And Daughter, Ogre Battle, Hangman, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, Jailhouse Rock/Bamalama Bamaloo. Encore: Hey Big Spender.
Mott set list: Drivin’ Sister, Sucker, Sweet Jane, Hymn For The Dudes, All The Way From Memphis, Sweet Angeline, Rose, Roll Away The Stone, All The Young Dudes, One Of The Boys, Rock And Roll Queen. Encore: Walkin’ With A Mountain.
Things in the Mott camp were however not good, and the pressures of success, years on the road and big egos were soon to come to a head. I saw the band once more before the end came, at that hell-on-earth endurance test of 1974, otherwise known as the Buxton pop festival. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to recall as much as can of their performance at that festival.
Thanks to John for the scan of his poster of Mr Hunter, and Mitch for the setlists.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on November 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I was there and agree totally with the comments that both bands were never the same after commercial success.

    I had practically given up on MTH at this point and went along mainly to see Queen. I had their debut album at the time and after Queen’s set was finished I wandered through the door to the right hand side of the stage (security was nil) and straight into the changing rooms where the band were towelling down. I had the first album sleeve with me which they all duly signed.

    I saw Queen six times and this show was one of the best. They were a breath of fresh air – sensational.

    Queen setlist was – Procession/Father To Son, Son And Daughter, Ogre Battle, Hangman, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, Jailhouse Rock/Bamalama Bamaloo.
    Encore; Hey Big Spender.

    Mott set list was – Drivin’ Sister, Sucker, Sweet Jane, Hymn For The Dudes, All The Way From Memphis, Sweet Angeline, Rose, Roll Away The Stone, All The Young Dudes, One Of The Boys, Rock And Roll Queen.
    Encore; Walkin’ With A Mountain.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on November 14, 2013 at 7:55 am

      Hi Mitch Many thanks. The story about getting to meet Queen is great! I agree that they were sensational. I must have seen them 9 times (this time plus 3 more at the City Hall, at Sunderland Mecca, at Leeds Elland Road, at St James Park, in Hyde Park and at Live Aid), but those are memories for when I eventually get to “Q”. Thanks for the setlist; I’ll update the post Best wishes Peter

      Reply

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