The Who Wembley Stadium 18th August 1979
Support from AC/DC, The Stranglers and Nils Lofgren.
This was The Who’s first big gig with Kenney Jones as drummer. It was also the first time that the band were accompanied by a horn section, for some songs. A capacity crowd of 80,000 fans crammed into the old Wembley Stadium to see the ‘Orrible ‘Oo; accompanied by a strong support line-up. I went down to London with a group of mates on an early train. When we arrived in the capital some mates went off to Chelsea, as Sunderland were playing there that day. Those of us who weren’t football fans made our way to Wembley, in time to catch the support acts. Nils Lofgren was first on; I recall he had his small trampoline and did somersaults across the stage. AC/DC were great; this was the Bon Scott era band, who were just breaking big at the time. They started with “Live Wire” and played great classics like “The Jack”, “Highway to Hell” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Great stuff; really got the crowd going and, other than the Who, were the highlight of the day. The Stranglers were ok, but decided to make the brave move of playing mostly new material from “The Raven” album. This didn’t go down too well with the crowd. A big fight broke out on the pitch during their performance.
I’d arranged to meet my mates who had been to the match, at around 7pm at the back of the stadium. They arrived, quite drunk, full of stories of how the police had directed them into the Chelsea “Shed” section of the ground, where all the home supporters were standing. They stood through the entire match, surrounding by hard men Chelsea skinheads, not daring to speak in case anyone recognised their Mackem accent. If Sunderland got the ball they had to stop themselves from cheering, lest they revealed themselves to the skins. They seemed pretty shaken by the whole experience, but quite proud that they had survived and lived to tell the tale.
The crowd was very mixed; a collection of rock fans, a smattering of Hells Angels who were camped on the pitch just in front of where we were all sitting, and groups of “new mods” in parkas (this was the beginning of the mod revival and around the time of the release of the “Quadrophenia” movie). One of my mates, who had been to the match and was a little worse for wear, insisted on taunting the Hells Angels in front of us. Luckily they started to joke along with him, taking it all in good spirit.
The Who started with “Substitute” and “I Can’t Explain” and played well, although the sound wasn’t good at all. The crowd loved them, and gave them a “returning heroes” type welcome. I enjoyed the gig, but it wasn’t the best time I have seen the Who. We left during the encore ot be sure to catch our train home to the north, which was just as well, as there were massive delays getting to the tubes. The police diverted us away from Wembley Park tube station and round to Wembley Central. Although we left around 10pm, we arrived at Kings Cross just in time to catch the midnight train back to Newcastle.
Setlist: Substitute; I Can’t Explain; Baba O’Riley; The Punk and the Godfather; Behind Blue Eyes; Boris the Spider; Sister Disco; Drowned; Music Must Change; Magic Bus; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Trick of the Light; 5:15; Long Live Rock; Who Are You; My Generation; Dreaming From the Waist; Won’t Get Fooled Again.
Encore: Summertime Blues; The Real Me
Archive for the ‘AC/DC’ Category
The Who Wembley Stadium 18th August 1979
The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
It was August Bank Holiday 1976 and I was back at Reading for the annual festival. By now a group of us went every year, usually traveling down in the back of a hired transit van. The line-up for this festival wasn’t as strong as previous years, and included a mix of reggae, classic rock, underground and heavy metal bands. Punk was on the horizon, but yet to break through. The other memories I have are of rain (some, but not lots in 1976, as I recall), mud, lots of drunkenness (by us, and every one else as I remember), and lots (and I mean lots) of can fights, which seemed fun at the time, but were probably actually pretty dangerous. If you got a half-full can of Watney’s Red Barrel on the back of your head, you really knew about it, and several people must have come home from the festival with pretty nasty cuts and scars. The festival was moving from a friendly, hippy vibe to a drunken, laddish, almost aggro vibe. This also matched the way the line-up and the music would develop, as it moved more to heavy metal in the late ’70s. The main attraction for us this year was Rory, who was the man, and a hero to us all.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Stallion (don’t recall who they were), Roy St John (American pub rock), U Roy (reggae), Supercharge (a Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly, who had quite a bit of success in the mid-70s and played a lot up and down the country; I remember seeing them several times), Mighty Diamonds (reggae), Mallard (Cpt Beefheart’s original Magic Band, and pretty good too) and headliners the hippy, trippy and quite weird Gong. I remember watching Mallard and Gong, who were both pretty good.
Saturday had Nick Pickett (a folk singer, who I’d seen supporting Curved Air a few years earlier), Eddie & The Hot Rods (classed as pub rock as much as punk at this stage), Moon, Pat Travers (ace guitarist), Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Sadista Sisters, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Van Der Graaf Generator, Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, Camel and Rory Gallagher. Stand outs for me were Van Der Graaf who played an amazing extended version of Killer (John Peel: “Bloody marvellous, Van der Graaf Generator. Come on let’s here it for them”), Manfred Mann, and Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, which was seen as a pretty big deal at the time as Phil had assembled a stella line-up of himself (guitar), ex-Roxy compatriot Brian Eno (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, piano and clavinet) and Lloyd Watson (ace slide-guitar, vocals). The 801 band released one album, and a live lp which was recorded at one of three gigs that they played, at the Festival Hall. They played a great version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. But Rory was the highlight of the weekend. We were all massive fans, and made our way to the front of the crowd for his set, which was just amazing. A recording of Rory’s set that night exist which shows that he played: Take What I Want; Bought and Sold; Everybody Wants To Know; Drinkin’ Muddy Water; Tattoo’d Lady; Calling Card; Secret Agent; Pistol Slapper Blues; Too Much Alcohol; Souped-Up Ford and Bullfrog Blues. The Rory Gallagher band was Rory (guitar, vocals), Lou Martin (keyboards), the great Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Rod de’Ath (drums).
Sunday featured: Howard Bragen; Aft; The Enid (who got the crowd singing along with Land Of Hope And Glory and became a festival favourite), A Band Called ‘O’; Back Door (very jazzy); Sassafras; Brand X (featured Phil Collins on drums); AC/DC (one of their early UK appearances, and just blew everyone away; Angus and Bon Scott on top form); Sutherland Bros & Quiver; Ted Nugent (had some arguments with the crowd who were throwing cans at him); Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy to the Rescue 🙂 ) and Osibisa (who were billed as special mystery guests, which seemed a bit of a let down, but got the crowd going and went down well).
Another fun time had by all 🙂
Note; for the first time there was an official glossy programme, as well as the newspaper programme, produced by the local Evening Post. Both are pictured here.