Johnny Winter New Victoria Theatre London 26th October 1974

Johnny Winter New Victoria Theatre London 26th October 1974
johnnywinterI was very sad to hear of the passing yesterday of the great Johnny Winter.
Johnny Winter was an incredible blues guitarist, an amazing performer, and a spectacular rock’n’roll star. He looked great, played and sang impeccable electric blues, and his performance was like being caught in a whirlwind.
The first time I saw Johnny Winter live was at a concert at the New Victoria Theatre, London in 1974. I went with my friend John, and it seemed quite an adventure travelling all the way to London for a concert. I’d been to a few festivals and one day events, but I think this was the first time I had travelled to the capital for a single artist concert in a theatre. Support came from Elf, who were fronted by Ronnie James Dio, but it was Winter we had gone to see. The concert was sold out and we had seats up in the circle, looking down on the stage. I recall that Johnny Winter was late coming on stage, but boy was he worth waiting for. This was Johnny the young rock’n’roll bundle of energy and fire (he will have been 30 at the time, but he still looked young and sharp to us). He wore a flash cowboy shirt shirt with long tassels flowing from the arms, and he twisted, twirled and ran around the stage, his incredibly long white hair swirling around him under his cowboy hat, while he sht fire-fast riffs from his trademark Gibson Firebird. johnnywinterposterWinter was every inch pure rock’n’roll energy; the renegade electric cowboy, playing dark and fast music from the delta. Flanked by fellow ace guitarist Rick Derringer, Johnny Winter and his band rocked through a set of blues, his own tracks including the ace “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo” (written by Derringer), great covers of the Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women”, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven, and Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally”. He was simply stunning and we were blown away.
Philip Norman wrote in The Times of the concert at the time: “Johnny Winter has long white hair and sleeves with red streamers like abandoned conjuring-tricks; his legs are as slim as the caddis-fly’s and, like that nervous insect, he lives in electric storms…effect is not calculated by mere voltage; there was something breathtaking …in this unrepentant chaos”
johnnnywinterlpJohn’s memories of the concert: “I first got into Johnny Winter after listening to one of the many great lives albums from the early 70’s Johnny Winter and Live. As I recall he did not tour the UK much and certainly no out in the provinces, so when we saw the date in London, we decided to go.The tour was to promote the recently release Still Alive and Well which was recorded after one of his many periods of ill health.The setlist included the title rack and I think Silver Train (the B side from Angie? by the Stones). He did a lot of covers and seemed to especially like the Stones. But the stand out track was his own blues tour de force Mean Town Blues, which remains one of my favorite live cuts from that period to this day.”
Thanks to John for his image of the album of the time and for the photo of his poster which he bought at the concert that night in 1974.
RIP Johnny Winter.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. There’s a great video on YouTube of Johnny and the band playing Jumping Jack Flash on Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974.

    Reply

  2. Nice blogpost. I’m sure that those concert memories are held tightly.

    Reply

  3. Posted by adam on December 8, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks Peter, it was a wonderful night.
    Johnny was incredible and I have never forgotten Randy Hobbs, jumping and running about, a very powerful bass player.
    Here is a link to the set list and details of that evening’s show on a cool timeline.
    Best wishes,
    http://yeech.altervista.org/Timeline/winter_timeline_1974.html

    Reply

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