Toyah Newcastle Mayfair 1980 & Durham University 1981

Toyah Newcastle Mayfair 1980 & Durham University 1981
toyahearlyprogMy first recollections of Toyah Willcox are of seeing her performances in the seminal punk film “Jubilee” and the film of the Who’s “Quadrophenia”. That started my interest in her and I went to see her live on four occasions I the years between 1980 and 1982. It may not be cool to admit it now, but I was a bit of a fan at the time, and enjoyed her life performances. You have to admit that this lady has achieved a lot including 8 Top 40 singles, over 20 albums, two books, over 40 stage plays and 10 films, and many TV shows. She is also, of course, married to enigmatic prog king Robert Fripp.
I first saw Toyah live on the 1980 IEYA tour, when she called at Newcastle Mayfair on 5th June 1980. This was her first visit to the north east, and I had been waiting for some time for a chance to see her. At the time Toyah was seen as being part of the punk scene, although she said “I don’t use punk whatsoever because my philosophies are so different, my morals are so straight. I’m not a punk, I’m a modern woman.” toyah80I recall the gig as a joyous, crazy affair. Toyah live was a manic bundle of energy, charging around the stage, screaming, rolling around, totally into the performance. The band weren’t far behind her, either. The music used dynamics, soaring choruses and thumping beats to drive the gig along. Great fun, and very impressive. Toyah was a serious artist and a real contender at the time.
This was before she yielded to the charts and the hit making machinery. “At some of our gigs the kids go bananas! But this one time it was particularly bad. A riot started before we’d even leapt on stage. toyah81I was furious, ‘cos a lot of kids wanted to hear us! I didn’t know what to do, so I stomped off till everyone calmed down!” (Record Mirror, 1980). A live album was recorded during the tour, at Wolverhampton Lafayette a couple of weeks after the Mayfair gig. The track listing is: Victims of the Riddle, Indecision, Love Me, Visions, Tribal Look, Bird in Flight, Danced, Insects, Race Through Space, Ieya. I guess the set at the Mayfair will have been similar.
In early 1981 Toyah toured university student unions; I attended a wild packed gig at Dunelm Ballroom Durham University on 26th January. Toyah was on the verge of massive chart success. The EP “Four by Toyah” would soon be released, which featured the hit “Its a Mystery”.

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