Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
We spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.
Archive for the ‘Cure’ Category
The Cure Whitley Bay Ice Rink 1985
By 1985 The Cure had graduated to playing at Whitley Bay Ice Rink, which was a cavernous (and cold!) venue which was frequented by bigger bands during the 80s, before Newcastle Arena was built. By 1985 The Cure had hit the single chart on several occasions, including the superb “Love Cats”. I went along to this gig with my mate Dave, and we were both quite into the band at the time. I seem to remember that we both liked “Love Cats”. Support came from Hard Corps, who were a French band. By the time of this gig, The Cure were centred very much around Robert Smith, as band leader and the focus of the live performance. The Cure in concert had become much more of a rock / pop show, and Smith was coming into his own as a front man. Setlist: The Baby Screams, Play For Today, A Night Like This, Primary, Kyoto Song, The Blood, The Hanging Garden, Charlotte Sometimes, Inbetween Days, Let’s Go To Bed, The Walk, Push, Screw, One Hundred Years, A Forest, Sinking. First Encore: Give Me It, Boys Don’t Cry. Second Encore: You Really Got Me, I Dig You. It was over 20 years till I saw The Cure again, when Laura, David and I went to see them at Wembley Arena.
The Cure Newcastle City Hall 1982
A year after seeing The Cure at the City Hall, they were back again at the same venue. The band were in their heavy goth phase, and this before they started to have serious chart success. Support came from Zerra1 who were an Irish band from the U2 mould. (Update note: I found another old Cure programme upstairs in my collection. It is probably from this tour, or another early tour, so I have added it here) Setlist: The Figurehead, M, In Your House, Cold, The Drowning Man, A Short Term Effect, The Hanging Garden, Siamese Twins, Other Voices, Three Imaginary Boys, Primary, One Hundred Years, Play For Today, A Forest, Pornography. Encore: 10.15 Saturday Night, Killing An Arab, All Mine.
The Cure Newcastle late 70s and early 80s
I saw The Cure quite a few times in the early days of their career. The first time that I saw them was at the Reading Festival in 1979, when they appeared low down on the bill on the Friday night. I remember that I had read a lot about them, and I’d also had heard the single “Killing an Arab” on the radio. So I made of point of being in the arena and watching them that night. They went down prety well, and showed some promise, even at that early stage. I also saw them at a gig in Newcastle University Ballrom on a Saturday night sometime in 1980. I also saw them as support act for Siouxsie and the Banshees at Newcastle Poly. Robert Smith played two sets that night, first with The Cure and then as guitarist for The Banshees. My favourite Cure song at the time was “A Forest”, and it probably still is today. By 1981 they had graduated to playing the City Hall. The great Cure gig list site http://www.cure-concerts.de shows the setlist for the 1981 Newcastle gig as: The Funeral Party, M, The Drowning Man, All Cats Are Grey, Three Imaginary Boys, Primary, At Night, Fire In Cairo, Play For Today, Grinding Halt, A Forest, Faith, Jumping Someone Else’s Train, Another Journey By Train, Killing An Arab, Forever. Looking at other setlists from the same tour, indicates that the Newcastle set was comparatively short in comparison with some of the other gigs on the tour, with some shows featuring many more songs. I have a lovely little programme from those days (see scan) which is a song book, and contains the lyrics from many of their early songs. I’m not sure at which gig I bought this, but it must have been from one of their early tours. I saw The Cure twice more in the 80s, and will blog on those gigs over the next couple of days. There was then a gap of 23 before I saw them again, at Wembley, in 2008.
The Cure Wembley Arena 20 March 2008
Hadn’t seen the Cure for ages. Must have been 20 years; Whitley Bay Ice Rink was the last time I think. Laura had been listening to a lot of their old stuff and I’d been given the best of the Cure as a present, so we were all getting into them again. So Laura, David and I decided to buy tickets for their only UK gig in 2008 at Wembley Arena. We bought the tickets ages before the show and we were all really looking forward to seeing them.
Travelled down to London on the afternoon of the show, went for a pizza and then took the tube to Wembley. Didn’t really watch the support act; spent the time looking at the merchandise stall; Laura bought a great t-shirt with a full size face of Robert Smith, which looks great on her.
This was a long set; with the Cure playing for around 3 hours. Yet we didn’t get bored. I would say that I know less than half of the set ; still enjoyed it though. Great to hear The Forest, Three Imaginary Boys, Love Cats and Arab again. Brings back memories. David and Laura thought they were great (which they were!).
Memories of old Cure shows:
Seeing them at Reading in the late 70s, seeing them at the City Hall in the early 80s; seeing them in Newcastle University Ballrom on a Saturday night in the late 70s or early 80s.
prayers for rain
a strange day
a night like this
the end of the world
to wish impossible things
pictures of you
from the edge of the deep green sea
hot hot hot!!!
the only one
friday i’m in love
just like heaven
a boy i never knew
shake dog shake
one hundred years
play for today
let’s go to bed
close to me
why can’t i be you?
three imaginary boys
fire in cairo
boys don’t cry
jumping someone else’s train
10:15 saturday night
killing an arab