Archive for the ‘AC/DC’ Category

The Who Wembley Stadium 18th August 1979

The Who Wembley Stadium 18th August 1979
thewhowembley79tixSupport 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.
thewhowembley79progThe 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

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The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976

The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
readingprog 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.
reading76Saturday 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).
reading76Sunday 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.

AC/DC: Monsters of Rock Donington Park 1991

Monsters of Rock, Donington Park, 17 august 1991
Line up: AC/DC; Metallica; Mötley Crüe; Queensryche; The Black Crowes
This is the last of my ramblings on AC/DC and it brings me up to date with my concert memories of the band. The 1991 Monsters of Rock festival was the last time Iwas to see the band for almost 20 years; as the next AC/DC concert I attended was at Manchester MEN Arena in 2009. It was also the last time I attended a Monsters of Rock festival. That particular my daughter was getting into rock music, and her and her friends were big fans of Mettalica, and that was our primary reason for attending. So I drove her and two friends to the festival. Highlights for me were The Black Crowes, Metallica and AC/DC. I don’t remember much about the other bands.
Metallica had just released their “Black” Metallica album, which had been heavily played in our house. I hadn’t rated the band up until then, although I had seen them at an earlier Monsters of Rock in 1985, but that lp got me into them. My favourite track was Enter Sandman, which was the opening song at Donington that year. Metallica were at the top of their game at that time, paying some of the best heavy rock of the time. We made sure that we arrived in time to see The Black Crowes, as I’d heard a lot about them. I remember being impressed by them, particularly by their cover of Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle. My friend John lives in the US and is a massive Black Crowes fan, and he keeps me up to date on them. I really must get to see them again some day soon. AC/DC closed the day with a set which closed with one of the biggest firework displayed I’ve ever seen. I then spent some time finding the others, which was not easy in a crowd of 60,000+ people all of whom were aiming for the exits, and then we drove back home. AC/DC setlist: Thunderstruck; Shoot to Thrill; Back in Black; Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be; Heatseeker; Fire Your Guns; Jailbreak; The Jack; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; Moneytalks; Hells Bells; High Voltage; Whole Lotta Rosie; You Shook Me All Night Long; T.N.T.; Let There Be Rock Encore: Highway to Hell; For Those About to Rock (We Salute You). I’ll move on from AC/DC now, and will ponder on which concerts to reflect on this coming week. Back tomorrow.

AC/DC: Monsters of Rock Donington Park 1984

AC/DC at Monsters of Rock Donington Park; 18 August 1984
Line up: AC/DC; Van Halen; Ozzy Osbourne; Gary Moore; Mötley Crüe; Y & T; Accept
This was probably the best Monsters of Rock festival that I attended. I’d won tickets in the local newspaper (note “complementary” stamp on ticket at left), which was a positive to start with, so my mate and I went along free of charge for once! The weather was great, hot and dry, and the line-up was as strong as you could get in terms of heavy rock in the mid 80s. The bottle fights really took off this year, as I recall, with bottles of piss being lobbed across the crowd throughout the day. I have never been one for trying to get to the front at such events, and staying near the back of the crowd was definitely wise on this particular day.
I don’t remember much about Accept or Y&T. Motley Crue were OK, but didn’t have the scale of theatre and excess that I would see on their Theatre of Pain tour the following year (review to follow at some point). Gary Moore played some great blues guitar, as always. Ozzy was at the top of his game during this period in my view. At this time he was playing Mr Crowley, Crazy Train, along with Sabbath classics Iron Man and Paranoid. Van Halen were OK but, for me, had already lost some of the power and hunger they had in the early days when they supported Sabbath on their 1978 tour and on their first UK headline tour shortly after that (review to follow). As I recall there was a lot of talk about Van Halen blowing AC/DC off the stage, which just didn’t happen at all in my view. AC/DC were, as always, excellent and brought a great day to a close. AC/DC setlist: Guns for Hire; Shoot to Thrill; Sin City; Back in Black; Bad Boy Boogie; Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution; Flick of the Switch; Hells Bells; The Jack; Have a Drink on Me; Highway to Hell; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; Whole Lotta Rosie; Let There Be Rock; Encore: T.N.T.; For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

AC/DC: Monsters of Rock Donington Park 1981

Monsters of Rock festival August 22, 1981
I’m continuing my AC/DC memories with thoughts on the 1981 Monsters of Rock Festival. The line up for this, which was the second Monsters of Rock event was AC/DC; Whitesnake; Blue Öyster Cult; Slade; Blackfoot; More.
I went along to this gig with a group of mates in the back of a Transit van with one of my friends driving us. We went primarily to see AC/DC, who were a favourite band of all of us, although many of us were also fans of Blue Oyster Cult. This was our first visit to Donington, and for me is for the first of several visits to the Monsters of Rock festival over the next 10 years. My recollection of the day is a very cold and wet one, with, as often the case for festivals in the UK, quite a bit of rain. The first couple of bands: More and Blackfoot weren’t anything special as I recall, but Slade went down well as they always did at a festival.  
I’d seen Slade tear the place apart at the Reading Festival the year before, in common with many others in the Donington crowd, and that Reading comeback meant that they were now well accepted by the heavy rock fraternity. I also remember lots of cans etc being thrown across the crowd that day. The sound mix for Blue Oyster Cult was awful and they were a big disappointment for all of us; it didn’t go well for them at all that day. Whitesnake were on top form around this time with Coverdale in great voice, delivering classics like Mistreated and Ain’t no love in the heart of the city. AC/DC closed the day and were great, their show translating well to a massive open air setting. The AC/DC setlist at Donington was: Hells Bells; Shot Down in Flames; Sin City; Back in Black; Bad Boy Boogie; The Jack; What Do You Do For Money Honey; Highway to Hell; High Voltage; Whole Lotta Rosie; Rocker; T.N.T.; Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution; You Shook Me All Night Long; Let There Be Rock. Over the next couple of days I’ll do a write up on the 1984 and 1991 Monsters of Rock festivals, which will bring my AC/DC memories up to date. I’ll then move on to another band. I haven’t been there since 1991, but am planning to go to Download at Donington in June this year to see the reformed original Black Sabbath, unless they add any indoor shows before then.

AC DC: Whitley Bay Ice Rink Jan 14th 1986

January 14th 1986 Whitley Bay Ice Rink
Whitley Bay Ice Rink was a venue for concerts throughout the 1980s. I remember seeing quite a few gigs there including Rainbow, The Cure, Wham!, and The Jam. However, this gig draws a blank. I have a ticket and a programme, so I must have been at the gig. But I can’t remember anything at all about it. I can only conclude that this wasn’t a particularly memorable gig! By now AC/DC had graduated from clubs to concert halls, to arenas and festivals, with stadium gigs to come.
The Ice Rink was a vast, cavernous and very cold (naturally; it was, and still is, an ice rink!), and not the best place to see a band. It did however fill a gap in the North East venue map. The old Newcastle Odeon, with a slightly larger capacity than the City Hall, had sadly been converted into a multi-screeen cinema by the 1980s, and the Arena wasn’t built until 1995. Setlist: Fly on the Wall; Back in Black; Shake Your Foundations; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; You Shook Me All Night Long; Sin City; Jailbreak; The Jack; Shoot to Thrill; Highway to Hell; Sink the Pink; Whole Lotta Rosie; Let There Be Rock; Encore: Hells Bells; T.N.T.; For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

AC/DC: Back in Black at Newcastle City Hall 1980

AC/DC: Back in Black tour; Newcastle City Hall 4th November 1980
For Those about to Rock tour; Newcastle City Hall 5th October 1982
After the great nights at the Mayfair, it was difficult to imagine How AC/DC could make any sort of return after the sad passing of singer Bon Scott. When the Back in Black tour was announced, however, the tickets sold out immediately, such was the loyalty of their fans. Everyone was waiting to see how new singer Brian Johnson would shape up. Brian hails from Newcastle, and had already had a taste of fame with local band Geordie, who had enjoyed a couple of chart hits.
I saw Geordie quite a few times at local venues around the North East. They were basically a fun rock band, who would guarantee you a good night out in a local club, but to be honest they were nothing particularly startling. They’d grown out of the local workingmen’s club circuit. I picked up their first two lps at the car boot (see cover of second lp) but don’t play them. But Brian has a strong rough voice, and I could sort of see how he might fit into AC/DC. So I was looking forward to seeing them with interest, not quite sure what to expect.
My memories of the Back in Black gig, which I saw on 4th November 1980 (ticket above; programme left), are entirely positive. I remember the stage set, which was one of the biggest backline of stacks and amps that I had ever seen. It was also the first appearance of the bell, hanging above the stage. I also remember the gig as being very, very loud. From the start it was clear that the guys were out to impress and prove themselves; and prove themselves they did; in spades. Coming back after the loss of a strong, charismatic front man can make a band try that extra bit harder. I’d seen a similar thing happen before when Deep Purple came back with David Coverdale replacing Ian Gillan on the Burn tour, and in a different way, Genesis on Trick of the Tale tour with Phil Collins on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel. In both cases the bands came back with renewed power, backed up by a strong lp with great new songs and blew the crowd away. The same was true of AC/DC in 1980. Back in Black is a classic album, and many of the songs remain in their concert set to this day. That night in the City Hall the power, and the passion, were there as before, but in a different way. Angus was, as ever, manic, a twisted evil schoolboy. Brian Johnson rose to the occasion; his squealing vocals worked and he Angus worked the stage together. The setlist was something like: Hells Bells; Shot Down in Flames; Sin City; Back in Black; Bad Boy Boogie; The Jack; Highway to Hell; What Do You Do For Money Honey; High Voltage; Whole Lotta Rosie; You Shook Me All Night Long; Let There Be Rock.

AC/DC were back at the City Hall in 1981 and 1982. I missed the 1981 show; I’m not sure why, possibly because I’d seen them at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival that year (separate report to follow) and figured I was AC/DCed-out at the time. I was back in the City Hall on 4th October 1982 to see them again (ticket right; programme below). Again, a good gig.

The setlist for 1982 tour was something like: Hells Bells; C.O.D.; Shot Down in Flames; Sin City; Shoot to Thrill; Back in Black; Bad Boy Boogie; Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution; Highway to Hell; Let’s Get It Up; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; Whole Lotta Rosie; Let There Be Rock. Encores: You Shook Me All Night Long; For Those About to Rock (We Salute You). The 1982 concert was the last time that AC/DC played the City Hall. From there on in, they played in arenas, festivals and, more recently, stadiums. Their next visits to the region were gigs in Whitley Bay Ice Rink and Newcastle Arena, both pretty soulless sheds. More recent tours have sadly missed the North East completely, which is somewhat surprising, given the band’s following in the North East and their new singer’s local connection. I’ll report on their 1986 Whitley Bay Ice Rink show tomorrow.