Archive for the ‘Elvis Costello’ Category

Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981

Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
rockontynetixbIn 1981 the north east for its own rock festival in the shape of Rock on the Tyne, a two day event which took place at Gateshead Stadium over the August bank holiday weekend. So we decided to forego our usual annual trek to Reading and sample the delights of this new event. That seemed a big choice, and a bit of a dilemma for me at the time, as I had been going to Reading for 9 consecutive years. As it happened, having made the break from going to Reading I never returned, which in hindsight was a mistake….
The line-up for Rock on the Tyne was (according to my tickets) as below.
Saturday. Huang Chung, Doll by Doll, The Polecats, Pauline Murray, U2, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Elvis Costello. [note the programme doesn’t list Pauline Murray, and does list Beckett. I can’t remember seeing Pauline play, and suspect the programme may be correct.]
Sunday. Fist, Diamond Head, Trimmer & Jenkins, Dr Feelgood, Ginger Baker’s Nutters, Lindisfarne, Rory Gallagher.
rockontynetixaOne of my main reasons for attending was to see up and coming new wave Irish band U2; this was their first appearance in the north east. I remember getting to the festival just in time to see their set late on Saturday afternoon. U2 were amazing at this point in their career. Bono was passionate, full of energy and you could just feel how hungry he and the rest of the band were for the massive success which was soon to follow. Stand-out songs were 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow (which they performed twice, once during the main set and again as part of the encore) and Fire. I remember Bono climbing up the lighting rig during (I think) Fire. Or perhaps that was the following year when they supported the Police at the same venue, or maybe it was on both occasions (actually I think it was both times ?) The memories are fading now, but what I do remember is that U2 were the highlight of the festival, and they were the band that everyone was talking about.
My other memory of the weekend was Rory Gallagher. Rory was never less than excellent, and this performance was no exception. He’d put on a little weight and added a brass section, and played the festival out with all those blues rock classics…Well did out ever get up with them bullfrogs on our mind?! Pure class 🙂
rockontyneprogIan Dury was good, Elvis was moving into his country period, Ginger Baker had a massive drum kit (of course). The festival wasn’t that well attended and wasn’t repeated although Gateshead Stadium has been used for concerts since then, including the aforementioned Police and U2 gig which took place the following year.
U2 setlist: With A Shout; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Another Time, Another Place; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; Stories For Boys; Out Of Control.
Encores: I Will Follow; Fire.
Rory Gallagher setlist: The Devil Made Me Do It; Bad Penny; Nadine; I Wonder Who; Moonchild; Double Vision; Wayward Child; Bourbon; Brute Force and Ignorance; Ride on Red, Ride On; Western Plain (When I Was a Cowboy); Tattoo’d Lady; Leavin’ Blues; Philby; Shadow Play; Bullfrog Blues
This post takes me up to the letter “U”. I will continue with “U” tomorrow, by writing about U2 in concert.

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The Stiff Tour 1977 Middlesbrough Town Hall

The Stiff Tour 1977 Middlesbrough Town Hall and Newcastle Poly
stiffstixThe Stiff tours were a highlight of the late 70s rock calendar. These amazing events featured a selection of artists from Stiff records, travelling up and down the UK dropping into concert halls, university student unions and your local theatre. The first tour was known as the Live Stiffs Tour or 5 Live Stiffs, and took place in late 1977.  My ticket stub from the gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall is here on the right, I’ve been trying to work out what the title for that concert was! Perhaps it was “The First Stiffs’ Tour” ?? Who knows 🙂 This first extravaganza boasted a stellar line-up of the new wave aristocracy with  a young Elvis Costello with his fine Attractions, Ian Dury and the magnificent Blockheads, the crazy, wild and 100% authentic Wreckless Eric, The Jesus of Cool Nick Lowe (featuring rocker supremo Dave Edmunds) and ex Pink Fairies, Motorhead (and great Lewis leather jacket) Larry Wallis. A bunch of mates and I caught the tour at this Middlesbrough Town Hall gig. At the time punk was really taking off around the UK, and the old town hall was packed. I remember seeing Elvis Costello outside talking to a group of kids; my mate Norm recalls him giving them a penny for the guy.  We witnessed some great music with wonderful performances from Elvis and Ian Dury that night. Ian stole the show; he was at his height at the time, performing material from New Boots and Panties!!: “Sweet Gene Vincent”, “Billericay Dickie”, and “Clever Trevor”. The gig ended with everyone on stage performing Dury’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”. Amazing!!
The tour called at Newcastle Polytechnic a couple of weeks later. I enjoyed the show so much, I went along again, this time with Marie. Marie has a better memory than me on this gig, and can recall us chatting to Elvis Costello in the union bar. She swears that Captain Sensible was with him, holding court to a few of us, in a typical mad mood, and show off that he is, he ate an entire packet of crisps, including the bag, all in one go in front of us. I do have a vague memory of meeting the Captain, but couldn’t be certain that it was the same night as the Stiffs tour. I wish I had kept a diary…
A bargain at £1.50

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
liveaidtixI went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
liveadiprogFor me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale

Glastonbury Festival 2013

Glastonbury Festival 2013
glasto1 I’ve already reported my thoughts on the Rolling Stones and Portishead sets at Glastonbury 2013, but I would also like to briefly reflect on my overall impressions of this year festival. We are just getting used to going to festivals again, having taken a long break from the days when we used to attend most of the festivals that took place in the UK throughout the 70s and early 80s. We have been to one day events in the years since then, but I really couldn’t face the prospect of camping and staying in a field for several days. Until 2010, that is, when Marie, David, Laura and I decided to take the plunge and go to Glastonbury. To my surprise and delight, we all enjoyed every minute of the experience, and we returned on 2011 and again this year in 2013. Glastonbury 2011 tested our faith, with a lot of rain and mud, and made me think twice about going this year. We hired a campervan in 2010 and 2011, but this year, partly as a result of the van getting stuck in the mud and having to get towed out by a tractor (which still gives me nightmares), we decided to try camping for real, in a tent (!) this time. So we bought a nice family size tent, and all the essentials: airbeds, stove, and even a blow-up sofa. We drove down on the Wednesday, arriving during the evening to get a spot in the campsite. Thursday was spent resting after the long drive, and moving all of all our stuff (we took far too much) from the car to the tent. Laura and David met some friends and left us for much of the time, joining us for the Stones and Portishead. We just took it easy, wandered around the massive site taking in the atmosphere, and caught a few bands along the way. glasto2 Highlights of the acts that we did see were: Beady Eye on the Other Stage on Friday, Liam showing off his old familiar swagger, Bill Bragg rousing us all to think a little on the Saturday morning on the Pyramid stage, Elvis Costello singing all those hits on Saturday afternoon, Rufus Wainwright alone with a grand piano singing sweetly on the Pyramid on the Sunday afternoon, and Primal Scream, who seemed a little lost and didn’t quite get the crowd going before the Stones. There were a lot more acts that I had planned to see, but there are so many stages and so many things to do it just wasn’t possible to do so. And the weather was great. There was a little rain on the Thursday, which produced a small amount of the obligatory mud. However that mud soon dried up and the rest of the weekend from Friday to Sunday was sunny and hot. So we juts took things easy, rested some, walked around the site a little and caught a few bands. My main objective was to see the Stones, and that was achieved. Anything else was a bonus. We left later on Sunday, driving home before the crowds started. The vibe at Glastonbury is great; very friendly with people of all ages. We certainly didn’t feel out of place at all. So my faith and interest in festivals remains renewed, and we look forward to Glastonbury 2014 (hope we can get tickets 🙂 ). I think one festival a year of this type is probably enough for me now, and probably all I can cope with if I am honest with myself. I returned stiff and tired and have only just got over the whole thing. However, there are lots of other festival types and one day events that we intend to visit over the Summer, starting with Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis as part of the Manchester International Festival tonight and The Stones in Hyde Park next Saturday.

Elvis Costello Sunderland 1980; Newcastle 1981 and 1982

Elvis Costello Sunderland Mayfair 1980
Very few of the top punk and new wave bands came to Sunderland, as most bands tended to call at Newcastle and/or Middlesbrough for their North East gigs. So when a punk act did come it was a big event. My 1981 the old Sunderland Locarno (or “Mecca” as it was more commonly known) had been renamed The Mayfair, taking the same name as its Newcastle counterpart. Sunderland Mayfair regularly featured heavy rock acts, and one or two punk / new waves bands also crept on to the schedule. The place was absolutely jam packed for Elvis Costello. I remember being down the front on the dance floor and being squashed and pushed all over the place. The next time I saw Elvis was a year later in 1981, when he was back at the City Hall. Elvis was incredibly prolific in the early years of his career. By the end of 1981 he had released 6 albums and 17 singles, and the vast majority had climbed high in the charts; an incredible achievement. This meant that he has a vast catalogue of songs to choose from in concerts, and his sets just got longer and longer over the years, often featuring in excess of 30 songs, which is some going, and certainly set him aside from many of his punk contemporaries. His shows were a great mix of high energy new wave, catchy jangly pop, beautiful moving ballads, with a classic cover thrown in every now and then. Costello was back at the City Hall a year later, at the time of the Imperial Bedroom album. The last time that I saw Elvis at Newcastle City Hall was some thirty years ago, in 1982. Support that evening came from The Bluebells, who were to hit the charts with Young at Heart a couple of years later. I saw Costello at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, and then lost touch with his work. Reflecting back on these gigs has made me realise just how good he is, and I’ve promised myself that I will make every effort to see him when he comes to the Sage Gateshead in 2013.

Elvis Costello Newcastle City Hall 1979

Elvis Costello Newcastle City Hall 1979
Support Acts: Richard Hell; John Cooper Clarke
Elvis Costello was back at the City Hall in early 1979 fronting a great triple bill, with Richard Hell and the Voidoids and John Cooper Clarke as support acts. I’d seen Richard Hell as support for the Clash at Newcastle Poly, and John Cooper Clarke popped up quite often as a support act in those days. Both acts were well worth watching, of course. Richard had been a member of Television and, briefly, the Heartbreakers, and was known at the time for his signature tune “Blank Generation” and for “inventing’ ripped, safety-pinned shirts. John Cooper Clarke was a revelation in those early punk days. His rapid, caustic humour delivered in that greater Mancunian drawl always went down well with the Geordie crowd. Songs (are they songs?) such as “I Don’t Wanna Be Nice”; “Psycle Sluts 1&2” and “(I Married a) Monster from Outer Space” stick in my mind even to this day. Elvis Costello had kept on turning out those classic hit singles in the year since his last City Hall performance. “Oliver’s Army”; “Accidents Will Happen” and “Radio Radio” were all new to the set this time around. The set was much longer with two extended encores. I’ve just played last song “part Girl” on Youtube to remind myself how great Elvis was in those days. I must also mention Elvis’ band The Attractions, who were a very important part of his sound. Local guy Bruce Thomas played with Paul Rodgers in the 60s, and I saw him several times in the very under-rated band Quiver. The other members were Steve Nieve on piano and Bruce Thomas (whoo I’d previously seen with Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers) on drums. Setlist: Goon Squad; Hand In Hand; Oliver’s Army; (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?; Green Shirt; The Beat; Accidents Will Happen; Lip Service; This Year’s Girl; Lipstick Vogue; Watching The Detectives; Big Boys; You Belong To Me – including a line from The Last Time; Pump It Up. Encore 1: (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea; Mystery Dance; Radio, Radio. Encore 2: No Dancing; Party Girl

Elvis Costello Newcastle City Hall March 1978

Elvis Costello Newcastle City Hall March 1978
Support Mickey Jupp
I’d seen Elvis Costello on the Stiff tour, and was really into his early singles and his image. He quickly graduated to playing concert halls, and this was the first of many times that he has played at Newcastle City Hall. His success was pretty rapid, and that clutch of early singles is impressive. Within a year he had delivered two ace albums and the singles Less Than Zero, Alison, Red Shoes, I don’t want to go to Chelsea, and Watching the detectives. Amazing when you think of it. His image then was very distinct; a strange nurdy mix of Buddy Holly, Hank Marvin, and yet still very cool. On stage he was sharp, stuttering, passionate and totally enthralling. I really enjoyed seeing Elvis Costello in the late 70s and early 80s, and haven’t been to see him for some time. I missed his recent visit to Newcastle, but note that he is returning to the region next year to play at The Sage Gateshead, and have promised Laura that we will go along this time. Reminiscing about my early Elvis concert experiences has made me realise just how great he was, and I am sure still is, so I look forward to see him next year. I’ll post a few more recollections on early Elvis gigs over the next few days. Setlist: Waiting For The End Of The World; No Action; This Year’s Girl; Night Rally; (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes; Hand In Hand; Less Than Zero; The Beat; Lip Service; (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea; Pump It Up; Lipstick Vogue; Watching The Detectives; You Belong To Me; Mystery Dance; Miracle Man