T Rex Newcastle City Hall 10th March 1977
1977 was, of course, the year of punk rock. Marc was well aware of this and, in an interview in The Sun (February 1977) said that he had been waiting ‘for something like punk rock to come along…..I consider myself to be an elder statesman of punk” and declared himself “The Godfather of Punk.” Unlike many stars, he wasn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth was and “picked The Damned to tour with me because I wanted to put the best of the established bands against the best of the new wave bands, so we‘ll see who can out-punk the other every night” (The Journal, March 1977). A new T Rex album “Dandy in the Underworld” was released to fan and critical acclaim, and the band went out on tour with, as alluded to above, punk rock band the Damned as support. The tour was our chance to see a new, rejuvenated, slimmer Bolan, sharp-suited with smooth elfin looks, and a new band featuring Dino Dines (keyboards), Tony Newman (drums), Herbie Flowers (bass) and Miller Anderson (guitar). Although not every show was quite sold out, attendances were good, and the UK tour gained positive reviews. Bolan and T Rex were back on form and the future looked bright. From the tour programme: “Bolan today is a genuine star – the man who put magic back into pop music; seldom heavy and most often playful….Marc is a global super-star who has toured over 500,000 miles in the last two years….I am a teenage idol I suppose”. Big statements, but actually Bolan could live up to them.
I saw the tour at Newcastle City Hall on 10th Macrh 1977. The Damned were their usual crazy manic selves; it was quite brave of Marc to invite them on tour with him, as it could so easily have back-fired. In fact, the pairing worked well, with the Damned warming the audience up, and T Rex playing a set containing a good mix of old and new and which showed just how good a live act Bolan and his band could still be. Bolan was enjoying a new surge in popularity, and he even talked about the possibility of performing again with Finn and Took, as well as reuniting with producer Tony Visconti.
Set List: Jeepster, Visions Of Domino, New York City, The Soul Of My Suit, Groove A Little, Telegram Sam, Hang-Ups, Debora, I Love To Boogie, Teen Riot Structure, Dandy In The Underworld, Hot Love, Get It On
While driving home early on the morning of 16th September 1977, Marc Bolan’s purple Mini crashed into a tree, after failing to negotiate a small bridge near Gypsy Lane, Barnes, in southwest London, a few miles from his home. Bolan was killed in the crash, which took place two weeks before his 30th birthday.
Thanks to Michael and his excellent http://www.dandyintheunderworld.co.uk/ site of the tour for helping refresh by memories and providing pointers to some of the reference material of the time.