Archive for the ‘Budgie’ Category

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.

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Ozzy Osbourne live 1982 to 1986

Ozzy Osbourne live 1982 to 1986
ozzytixOn 19 March 1982 a light aircraft piloted by Andrew Aycock (Ozzy’s band’s tour bus driver) carrying guitarist Randy Rhoads and Rachel Youngblood, the band’s make up designer, crashed while performing low passes over the band’s tour bus. In a prank turned deadly, the left wing of the plane clipped the bus, causing it to crash, killing Rhoads, Aycock, and Youngblood. Randy was only 26, and although he played for only a short period, he has been an immense influence on a whole generation of musicians in heavy rock and metal. Guitar World proclaimed that the guitarist “could have been the greatest”.
The Ozzy band were shocked and crushed by the tragedy, but regrouped with a new line-up (Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake had left the band). By the time I saw Ozzy again on the Speak of the Devil tour when it called at Newcastle City Hall on 18th December 1982 the band was: Ozzy, Brad Gillis (from San Francisco band Ranger) on guitar, Tommy Alridge (from Black Oak Arkanas, and the Pat Travers Band), Pete Way (UFO) on bass. They were also joined by actor John Allen who was executed in a mock hanging as part of the now highly theatrical stage show. ozzyprog1Support once again came from Budgie. From the 1982 tour programme: ” Tragedy struck, and rock lost a great guitar hero and a friend in Randy Rhoads. And yet in the midst of the quiet that followed our loss, there was movement. When the music stopped there was silence. However, it wasn’t a simple silence. It was a silence that would whip itself into a greater sound – a sound that would Speak of the Devil. As time changed me, as time has no doubt changed you, my infatuation with horror made things move faster. The tracks you’ll hear capsulize a real life story that helped cleanse my soul of the 13th anniversary of my career. I am Ozzy Osbourne…and sometimes we all Speak of the Devil”.
Setlist: Over the Mountain; Mr. Crowley; Crazy Train; Revelation (Mother Earth); Steal Away (The Night); Suicide Solution; Goodbye to Romance; Flying High Again; Believer; Sweet Leaf; Children of the Grave; Iron Man. Encore: Paranoid.
ozzyprog2Ozzy was back in Newcastle on 18th November 1983 at the Mayfair for the Bark at the Moon tour with support from Heavy Petting. The line-up had changed again and was Ozzy, Jek E Lee on guitar, the return of Bob Daisley on bass, Don Airey on keyboards, and the legend Carmine Appice (Beck, Bogert and Appice; Vanilla Fudge) on drums. Ozzy had morphed into a werewolf, and the show was even more theatrical. I saw the show again as part of the 1984 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington where Ozzy joined a bill headed by AC/DC and also featuring Van Halen; Gary Moore; Y&T; Accept; and Mötley Crüe.
Ozzy setlist from Donington 1984: I Don’t Know; Mr. Crowley; Over the Mountain; Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel; Bark at the Moon; Revelation (Mother Earth); Steal Away (The Night); Suicide Solution; Centre of Eternity; Flying High Again; Iron Man; Crazy Train; Paranoid
ozzyprog3Two years later I saw Ozzy again; back at Newcastle City Hall on 12th February 1986. Support came from US rockers Ratt. A new tour and yet another line-up: Ozzy; Jake E Lee remaining on guitar; Phil Soussan on bass; the late Randy Castillo on drums (who went on to join Motley Crue) and John Sinclair on keyboards. The tour was in support of The Ultimate Sin album. From the programme: “”Ozzy Osbourne is still the reigning madman of rock’n’roll. He’s still an intense performer who often pushes himself too far……The music’s great, the band is hot and we’re ready to take on the world”.
Setlist: O Fortuna; Bark at the Moon; Suicide Solution; Never Know Why; Mr. Crowley; Shot in the Dark; I Don’t Know; Killer of Giants; Thank God for the Bomb; Flying High Again; Secret Loser; Iron Man; Crazy Train; Paranoid.
This was the last time I saw Ozzy live until the current Black Sabbath tour. Ozzy’s visits to the UK became less and less frequent as he concentrated on the US. I did have a ticket to see him at Newcastle Arena 10 years or so ago, but the concert was cancelled as Ozzy was not well at the time. Ozzy is a great heavy rock singer, and a crazy and compelling front man whose stage presence is as powerful today as it ever was.

Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz September/October 1980

Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz September/October 1980
OzzyprogWhen Ozzy left Black Sabbath in 1979 I honestly thought it could be the last we saw of him. Sure; he was a great, mad front man in Sabbath, but I really didn’t see him as a solo act. Ozzy always struck me as crazy, fearless, yet almost child-like. He fitted well within the Sabbath context, and as part of a group; but on his own? How wrong I was. No-one could have predicted just how successful his career would turn out to be. But it was obvious from the first time I saw him in concert and heard him play his new songs that Ozzy was going to be OK, more than OK in fact. The new album had some great tracks in “Crazy Train”; “Goodbye to Romance”; and “Mr. Crowley”, and he included Sabbath favourites “Iron Man”; “Children of the Grave”; and “Paranoid” in the live show, so how could he not be great. Oh, and Randy Rhoads was a simply incredible guitarist, just as good as his legend suggests. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle Mayfair and Sunderland Mayfair. Now this is another one of those gigs that has tested my memory; which has been playing tricks on me again. Now in my mind I went to see Ozzy at the City Hall concert; but I can’t find a ticket for that show, and I always keep them. I do have a programme so I know that I did see Ozzy that year, and on that tour, and I can definitely remember it was shortly after the Blizzard of Oz album was released. I can only conclude that I must have gone to the Sunderland Mayfair gig, and  I either paid at the door or tickets were collected on the way in. I’m learning just to accept things like that now; I can’t always remember details fully these days, and it’s no good dwelling on them or trying to figure it out; it just drives me nuts 🙂 . The line-up of Blizzard of Ozz was Ozzy (of course) on vocals, the late and truly great guitarist Randy Rhoads; Bob Daisley from Rainbow on bass, Lee Kerslake fom Uriah Heep on drums and local lad Don Airey on keyboards (replaced by Lindsey Bridgewater for the tour). Support came from those excellent Welsh rock heroes Budgie.
Setlist for the tour was: I Don’t Know; You Lookin’ at Me Lookin’ at You; Crazy Train; Goodbye to Romance; Mr. Crowley; Suicide Solution; Iron Man; Children of the Grave; Steal Away (The Night). Encore: Paranoid

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 13th Nov 1981

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 13th Nov 1981
Support: Budgie and Nightwing
gillantixnov81 Gillan were back at Newcastle City Hall in November 1981, this time with local guitar hero Janick Gers who had joined the band as replacement for Bernie Torme. Looking back, Bernie’s departure probably was a sign that all was not well in the band, and it was perhaps inevitable that they were soon to split up. The new line up released the album Double Trouble shortly after Janick joined. Double Trouble was, as its name suggests, a double album, with one disc recorded in the studio, and the other recorded live. Janick Gers hailed form the North East, and was well know to the Newcastle rock crowd as the guitarist in local band White Spirit who had gigged consistently throughout the region in the late 70s and early 80s. gillanprognov81 Janick was a more than adequate replacement for Bernie. What was lost in terms of punk rock swagger and guitar heroics, was more than compensated for by Gers’ technical guitar wizardry and his more traditional rock star stance. The local crowd gave him a great reception that night, and the concert was as good as ever. Gers was, of course, to go on to much greater success with Iron Maiden. Support acts for this tour were rock stawlwarts Budgie, and Nightwing. Budgie has just released their ninth album Nighflight, and their line-up at the time was original member Burke Shelley – vocals, bass guitar; John Thomas – guitar; and Steve Williams – drums. Budgie retained their own strong following in Newcastle, had headlined the City Hall and the Mayfair themselves in previous years, and were quite a “big” name support act. I was to see Gillan once more at the City Hall in the following year, before the band split. I’ll blog on that gig tomorrow, which will be my final Gillan post.

Budgie: a much under-rated rock band. Memories of gigs 1972 – 2005

Budgie: a much under-rated band. Memories of gigs 1973 – 2005
My first memories of Budgie were seeing their name on the bill at the 1972 Lincoln festival. I was at the festival and noticed in the programme that they were playing in the Giants of Tomorrow tent. I remember thinking that Budgie was a strange name for a band. I can’t remember if I actually went to see them; I suspect not, as I spend most of the time in front of the main stage. The next time that Budgie came onto my radar was an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. They played  Breadfan and the riff just blew me away.  My friend had the album Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, and I spent hours practising and learning the riff. Not long after that I went to see them at the local Locarno ballroom in Sunderland. Seem to remember they started with Breadfan, and played it again as an encore. But they had other great rock songs: Parents, Zoom Club, In the grip of the tyre-fitters hand. The album Never Turn your Back on a Friend is a classic, which I played again and again at the time. Burke Shelley has a unique vocal style. By 1977 Budgie were a regular on the concert hall circuit and often played at Newcastle City Hall. By 1978 guitarist Tony Bourge had left the band, and original drummer Ray Philips had also departed some time ago. Burke Shelley kept the band going, and signed up new guitarist Robert Kendrick. I went to see Budgie twice at the City Hall in 1978. They were still drawing a respectable crowd, but not filling the place, and I was beginning to feel that their time had passed. However, the dawn of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal gave a kick start to their career and a spot at the 1980 Reading Festival, where I saw them play on the Sunday afternoon, kept them in the minds of heavy rock fans.
They returned to headline Reading in 1982, a gig I sadly missed. It was to be over 20 years before I saw Budgie again. In fact the band all but disbanded in the late 80s, concentrating on studio work, and not gigging at all. They returned in the late 90s and started touring the UK again around 10 years ago. Will and I took the chance to see them when they last came to Newcastle in 2005 to play at Trillians Rock Bar, which used to be The Man on the Moon pub in the 70s. The set consisted of some new tracks but the old favourites: Parents, Zoom Club, and of course Breadfan all featured. They were loud, in fact very loud, and the guitarist Simon Lees was excellent. Burke Shelley’s screeching vocals were as strong as ever and he played and looked great. It was really good to see them again. Will and I had tickets to see them again at Trillians a few years later, but the gig was sadly cancelled. The last I heard was that Burke Shelley had taken ill while on tour in Poland. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Burke returned home to recover. Hope he’s OK. Budgie are often forgotten, and are never given the credit they deserve. They were a pretty good solid rock band, who I remember with some fondness. Hope I get to see them again one day. I’ve just found a very old (and very small) programme from the Never Turn Your Back on a Friend tour. I must have got this (probably free) at Sunderland Locarno or Newcastle Mayfair in the early 70s. I didn’t know I had it. I’ve scanned it and added it to the post (see right).