Sweet Newcastle City Hall 2nd November 1973
“Are you ready, Steve? Aha.
Andy? Yeah! Mick? OK.
Alright, fellas, let’s go!..”
Sweet were a closet heavy metal band, but then you knew that already. Sure, they hit the UK singles charts with some pure (and great) glamrock pop songs, but if you took the trouble to turn those records over, the B sides featured some proper straight-on heavy rock. Determined to seek out the secret rock band hiding behind the glitter, I went along with a couple of mates, and 2,000 screaming girls, to see Sweet at Newcastle City Hall. It was at the height of their fame in late 1973, and the place was jam packed. Sweet came on stage to “The Stripper” music, and launched headlong into “Hell Raiser”. Their camp rock show didn’t let up for the next hour. What can I say? The girls screamed. Sweet played all their hits, and camped it up; seriously tongue in cheek. Wonderful.
Support came from Sun Chariot, according to the ticket (now who were they and whatever happened to them?)
Setlist: Hell Raiser; Burning / Someone Else Will; Rock ‘N’ Roll Disgrace; Wig-Wam Bam; Need a Lot of Lovin’; Done Me Wrong Alright; You’re Not Wrong for Lovin’ Me; The Man with the Golden Arm; Little Willy; Teenage Rampage; Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley: Keep On Knockin’ / Shakin’ All Over / Lucille / Great Balls of Fire / Reelin’ and Rockin’ / Peppermint Twist / Shout
Encore: The Ballroom Blitz; Block Buster!
The next time I saw Sweet was at Sunderland Locarno a few years later. I think it was around the time that they were in the charts with “Love is Like Oxygen”. By then their glam period had passed, and many of their teen fans had moved on. It was a rainy weekday night, and the ballroom was pretty empty. But, being the troopers that they were, Sweet put on another great performance.
“And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz
It’s it’s a ballroom blitz, it’s it’s a ballroom blitz”