T Rex Newcastle City Hall 24th June 1972 6pm and 8.30pm

T Rex Newcastle City Hall 24th June 1972 6pm and 8.30pm
TRexprogIt is early 1972 and it all started with a question. “Who is the best live band?” The silly questions that kids ask each other, and that seem so important at the time. “Who is the best live band?”. The answers were usually Led Zeppelin (we had all seem them live a few months before and they totally blew us away), Free, Family (both bands were big favourites with rock fans in the North East), Deep Purple, The Stones, oh and T Rex. Eh? Yes one guy was insistent that the best band he had ever seen live was T Rex. We scoffed at this. T Rex? Hadn’t they “sold out” and become teenyboppers? Now if he had said Tyrannosaurus Rex (we would all nod sagely and knowingly when that name was mentioned) we might agree. Tyrannosaurus Rex were cool, progressive, hippy and all those cool things. But T Rex?
It’s funny how such trivial things are so crucial when you are young.
My friend posed a challenge to me. I had to go and see T Rex with him the next time they came, so that I could see for myself. I agreed.
Roll on to June 1972. T Rex have announced a short tour and are coming to Newcastle City Hall. They are playing two shows, at 6.00pm and 8.30pm. Now being a man of my word I have to keep my promise. I’ve never see T Rex live. I missed out on seeing Tyrannosaurus Rex, which I regret, and at the time I secretly fancied seeing T Rex, but it had become too uncool to admit to that, or so I thought. Any way, I had accepted the challenge, so I had to go, and secretly I was quite looking forward to it. But first there was the task of getting tickets. T Rex were the hottest ticket (with teenage girls) at the time. The tickets went on sale on a Saturday morning, and my friend and I agreed to meet early in the morning and get the train through to Newcastle, in time for the box office opening. When we arrived at the City Hall the queue was across the road and right down the street. A couple of policemen were trying to organise and control the crowds, but as soon as the box office opened its doors, there was a massive dash and the line of the queue descended into chaos. This gave us an opportunity to take our chances. We rushed to the front and managed to get close to the doors. We were planning to buy tickets for the late show, but as we found we were able to buy good seats, we decided to go to both shows. We ended up with seats in the middle of the third row for the early show and towards the side in the fifth row for the late show.
TRextix6pmRoll on to the night of the concert. We turned up at the City Hall early, as the first show started at 6.00pm. Support were Quiver (soon to join forces with the Sutherland Brothers) who played a short, excellent, set which was lost on the screaming Bolanites. The City Hall was packed with girls in their early teens, all decked out in satin clothes, with T Rex scarves, and glitter on their cheeks. Several were wearing a top hat, mimicking the hat that Marc was wearing on the front cover of the recently released “Slider” album. To call the show pandemonium is an under statement. The screaming started from the minute the house lights went down and didn’t let up until T Rex had finished their short set. Marc was resplendent, an elfin rock god in a glitter jacket. He camped it up to the delight of the crowd. Everyone around was screaming “Marc! Marc!” and crying, tears running down their faces. I swear we were the only boys in the front block. T Rex were incredible. Very LOUD, and you could feel the energy flowing out of Marc and Mickey. The set included a few of the hits, I think they started with their current single “Metal Guru”, some album tracks, and a short acoustic set where Mark and Mickey sat cross-legged on a rug; Marc with acoustic guitar, and Mickey with small bongos between his knees, harking back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex days. Great stuff. Marc played the part of the rock god perfectly, pouting and prancing around the stage. Wonderful. The set was very short, less than an hour, and then by 8pm it was over, and we back out on to the street to join the queue for the late show.
TRextix8pmRoll on to 8.30pm. If I’d thought the early show was crazy, the late show was total chaos. This time the fans were just that little bit older and that little bit more determined to get to the front and touch Marc. We had girls climbing over us, and were crushed from all sides. We ended up with girls on our shoulders (“Can I get on your shoulders, Mister?”), both (the girls, that is) screaming “Marc! Macr!” at the top of their voices. And is seemed even louder. My ears were ringing for days afterwards. At the end we had to run down to the station to catch the last train home.
So, returning to my initial question: “Who is the best live band?”. My friend was even more convinced that no-one could match T Rex. And in some ways I could see where he was coming from. I’d certainly never been to a gig quite lack it for craziness and energy, from the band and the audience. But it’s like comparing the proverbial “apples and pears”. T Rex and Zeppelin were, of course, completely different bands. So we agreed to disagree, and although I 100% enjoyed my T Rex experience, I also remained 100% committed to Zeppelin, The Stones, Purple and others. But I did cross a line that night, and realised that “cool” wasn’t everything and that there was serious fun in seeing pop bands like T Rex, and serious merit in their music. From then on I stopped worrying about whether a band was cool, and if I fancied going to see them, I went.
Setlist: Metal Guru: Cadillac; Jeepster; Cosmic Dancer; Telegram Sam; Debora; Spaceball Ricochet; Girl; Get It On; Hot Love; Summertime Blues

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Just read that while I was making a coffee at work – brightened up my day!

    Reply

  2. Hi Peter

    Great memories of my first ever gig as a thirteen year old. I always thought it was 1973 but your tickets say otherwise. Now I can’t remember if I went to the early or late show! I do remember the huge queues to get the tickets on a Saturday morning, and alsonat the gig there were very few males apart from my friend and me.

    Kieran

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tony Poolan on September 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I was at the 6 p.m. show with my brother – my God I was 12 and it was my first gig. I was into them more as a result of Electric Warrior and before rather than The Slider which was the ‘touring album’. I had graduated from my Mam’s love of the Beatles and Les Paul and Mary Ford.

    Embarrassingly I can remember her putting us both on the bus and getting off at The bus station and walking up.

    It was pretty wild and they were very loud considering the make up of the audience.

    I thought they were good at the time – but it being my first real gig I think I would have anyway – and my lifelong love for Gibson Les Paul’s started then.

    I do also remember the acoustic set and a ‘very screamy’ Spaceball Ricochet along with Debora.

    As for best gig – can’t agree with that either. Decent band but very much of their time.

    Ironically I still like to listen to all of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T. Rex stud and thoroughly enjoy it.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on September 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Many thanks Tony I also listen to T Rex quite often, I think you are right that they are very much of that time. However, I also think they have somehow become almost forgotten compared to some of the other bands of the time, which is sad.
      Now……Les Paul and Mary Ford…There is an act I would really have liked to see. Cheers Peter

      Reply

  4. Like a couple of others here, this was also my first ever gig…and I was only 11 years old and still in Primary School!

    I had been a T Rex fan since Get It On (summer 1971) and wanted to go to the Autumn ’71 gig at the City Hall but my mum wouldn’t let me, dismissing it as a ‘passing phase’. I was at the first show of the evening and had a third row seat in the balcony (sort of overlooking Mickey’s bongos).

    My memory of the gig is a bit vague (it was just too much to take in for an 11 year old). I bought a scarf (not sure if that was outside the gig or inside) and a gig programme which in later years I managed to get signed by Mickey and Bill.

    This may seem an odd question, but can anyone remember what Marc was wearing for the two gigs? I have some photos of Marc wearing the sequined diamond trousers and glitter style jacket but would like to know if he wore the same outfit for both gigs or just one of the two shows and, if so, what did he wear for the other show?

    About 10 years ago I attended Bolanfest (a gathering of around 50 hard core Bolan fans) and someone had an original poster from the gig.

    As for the best gig? For me my favourite live gig was T Rex, at the City Hall, in 1977 on the opening night of the Dandy in the Underworld tour. Most of the set list was taken from the Dandy album, something Marc had never done before (he nearly always did a greatest hits package). He had a belief in the new album and the new band. Have a look at my website http://www.dandyintheunderworld.co.uk and you will see my review of the ’77 gig.

    A couple of weeks ago I visited the City Hall for the first time in around 30 years (I now live in the midlands) and went on one of the Heritage Days tours. To walk on the stage at the City Hall and to see the relatively small area backstage was something very special for me.

    I managed to see T Rex three times at the City Hall (’72, ’74 and ’77) and once at Sunderland Empire (’76). All four gigs were special in their own way. 1972 was Marc at his peak and 1977 showed Marc rising once again like a phoenix.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on September 30, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Michael Thanks very much indeed for your memories. I was at the same T Rex gigs as you. I’ll write about the Sunderland Empire gig tomorrow and the 1977 gig the following day. I didn’t know about the tours of the City Hall. I must try and go along to one.
      Fraid I can’t remember what Marc wore at the two shows in 72. I think he may have had the same gear on; but who knows….
      Best wishes and thanks for your support Peter

      Reply

      • Posted by Kath on April 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        I too was very young 12 years old at the 72 concert. Getting the tickets was a nightmare but we managed to get them. Marc did not wear the same outfit for both concerts the clothes you describe were worn at the second concert. I have one photo somewhere of the top he wore at first concert. It wasn’t glam at all. I also went to the 74 and 77 Newcastle and 76 at Sunderland. I was fortunate enough to meet marc 13th sept at new Bond Street just before he died. Most treasured memories.

  5. Posted by Kathleen andryszewski on May 31, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I went to the early concert. 12 years old then. Can anyone remember what day the tickets went on sale ? My picture was in the evening chronical standing in the queue. I’ve been trying to find a copy without any luck. Would have more of a chance if I knew the date. Cheers kath

    Reply

  6. I knew T.Rex were playing Newcastle in 1972, but my parents wouldn’t let me go because I was too young and didn’t have anyone to go with. Very frustrating because I later found out that the older brother of a school friend went to the gig and then said to me ‘you could have come with us!’. I was recently told an interesting story of someone who met Marc Bolan by accident when they stayed in the same hotel as him. He was very friendly, happy to chat and autographed some hotel notepaper that the person (a friend of a work colleague) still has.

    Reply

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