U2 Newcastle Mayfair 9th October 1981
Support from the Comsat Angels.
This gig came a couple of months after we had seen U2 deliver an incendiary performance at the Rock on the Tyne festival at Gateshead Stadium, where Bono clambered up the lighting towers, played the part of the rock star and generally got everyone onside. The Mayfair was packed to the rafters. Everyone wanted to see this new band. U2 had just released their second album “October” and the excellent single “Gloria”. There was something very different about U2; something that it was difficult to get a handle on, or describe in the same terms as any other band of the period. To put it in some sort of context, U2 were coming up alongside The Teardrop Explodes and The Bunnymen; both excellent bands. But there was something almost intangible about U2 that seemed to set them apart. Their music came through new wave, but its roots lay deeply and squarely in the 60s, beat, The Beatles, Stones, soul, religion, spirituality and, of course, Van Morrison. Jim Green, writing in Trouser Press, in March 1982: “People haven’t asked U2 if they’re the future of rock. They’ve told them.” What I remember of this gig was a joyous, crazy night with Bono singing his heart out for us, and those great, powerful early songs: “Gloria”, “I Will Follow”, “Fire” and “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”. The U2 who played those club gigs was a raw, hungry, stunning act who were a million miles away from the stadium rock band that they would very soon become. A different time, a different band, a different place. It seems so far away now. But on the night, in the heat and sweat and volume and crush of the Mayfair U2 were shiny and young and Newark intense. And Bono ran around that stage and sang and sang for all of us. I know I have written this before about other bands, but on that night, in the Mayfair, as we all watched U2; they were simply the best band on the planet.
Setlist: Gloria; Another Time, Another Place; Rejoice; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Fall Down; October; Stories For Boys; I Will Follow; Twilight; Out Of Control; Fire; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
Archive for the ‘Comsat Angels’ Category
U2 Newcastle Mayfair 9th October 1981
Siouxsie and the Banshess Newcastle City Hall 3rd March 1981
The Banshees’ released their second album, Join Hands in 1979 and went out on a major UK tour to promote the new album. However, a few dates into the tour drummer Kenny Morris and guitarist John McKay quit the band after an argument. Drummer Budgie was rapidly recruited from The Slits, along with guitarist Robert Smith who was borrowed from tour support band The Cure. I had a ticket for the show at Newcastle Polytechnic but the concert was sadly cancelled as Siouxsie was unwell, and it was another two years before they called at Newcastle again. By the time I saw the Banshees again, at Newcastle City Hall on 3rd March 1981, Smith had returned to the Cure and the late great John McGeoch, from Magazine, had joined on guitar. McGeoch was the perfect choice for the Banshees; he understood how to coax an amazing, innovative noise from his guitar, inventing his own scales and making imaginative use of effects. He has been described as “one of the most influential guitarists of his generation” (Perrone, 2004) and in 1996, he was listed by Mojo in their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” for his work on the Banshees song “Spellbound”.
By the time of this gig, the Banshees had released three albums: “The Scream”(1978); “Join Hands” (1979) and “Kaleidoscope” (1980), and had achieved further hit singles with “Happy House” “Christine”, “Spellbound”, and my favourite, the wonderful “Israel”, which was often their opening song. So there was plenty of new material, and the set had changed almost completely since I last saw them in concert. Support came from The Comsat Angels. The Banshees had become a considerable force, transcended the punk genre, and were a major classic rock band, and Siouxsie was elegant, scary, crazy and remained totally engaging. Although I loved the early Banshees, I think that this was their classic period and classic line-up.
Setlist: Israel; Spellbound; Arabian Knights; Christine; Tenant; Halloween; Night Shift; Paradise Place; Switch; But Not Them; Voodoo Dolly
Encore: Eve White/Eve Black; Red Over White; Happy House