Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
This was the second Futurama festival and it took place at Queens Hall, which was in the centre of Leeds. The Saturday line-up featured U2 (low down on the bill), Echo & The Bunnymen, Soft Cell and Siouxsie & The Banshees (who headlined). I attended the Sunday with my mate Dave and it featured The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Glitter, The Durutti Colum, Classix Nouveaux, Young Marble Giants, Hazel O’Connor, The Soft Boys, Flowers, Naked Lunch, Blurt, Artery, Notsensibles, Vice Versa, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Athletico Spizz 80, Brian Brain, Tribesmen, Boots for Dancing and Household Name. We arrived during the afternoon and missed some of the bands. Queens Hall was a cavernous building, which was originally a tram and bus depot. It was used as a concert venue during the 1980s. It has since been demolished and is now a car park.
When we arrived it looked like a war zone. Punk fans from all over the north, and further afield, had decamped there for the weekend, and had been in the venue all night, sleeping on the floors; there was trash everywhere. We saw faces that we recognised from Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which had closed for the weekend as everyone was going to the festival. We chatted to a few people; everyone was talking about how great Siouxsie (who had headlined the Saturday night) had been. There were stalls around the place and pop-up art performances in dark corners of the hall. I recall one performance which involved a guy having a crap in a bucket; we moved on. The bands were playing on a stage at the end of the massive hall.
This was an opportunity to see bands who went on to stardom: The Frantic Elevators became Simply Red, and Vice Versa became ABC. There was a great mix of bands at the event and the atmosphere was wonderful, really friendly. Although on the surface this festival appeared messy and shambolic, it is actually one of the best I have every attended for the musical range and the feeling in the crowd. Highlights of the day were Hazel O-Connor, who was in the charts with “Eighth Day” and became the robot from “Breaking Glass”, Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly’s meadering guitar, and the 4″ by 2″s who were a proto-Oi! band featuring Jimmy Lydon (John Lydon’s brother) and also at one point featured Youth of Killing Joke. But the highlight was an incredible performance by Notsensibles, a punk band from Burnley who had some success with their single “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher”. Their set included a lot of tongue-in-cheek songs, all performed in their strong Northern accent. They’d brought a large contingent of fans, who all sang along with every daft song. Notsensibles motto was “all we want to do is make silly records and play silly gigs”. There is a video on YouTube of them performing “Death To Disco” at the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIGrhea75qU
The festival ran very late into the night (inevitable given the incredible number of bands who were performing) and we left around midnight during Psychedelic Furs set to drive back up North and home, thus missing the headliner who was (also incredibly) the now shamed star Gary Glitter. The Futurama festival had a history of choosing off-the-wall headliners; on another occasion the closing acts was a reformed Bay City Rollers (now that must have been something to experience). A crazy, mad, fun event with some great bands. Happy happy days 🙂
Archive for the ‘Gary Glitter’ Category
Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
Wham! The Final Wembley Stadium 28th June 1986
Support from Gary Glitter and Nick Heyward.
Im May 1986 Wham! announced that they were to split and that they would play one final concert at Wembley Stadium. My mate Dave and I decided to go and see Wham! for one last time. I remember the journey to London well, as we decided that, instead of using the train as we often did when going to concerts in the capital, this time we would try out the North East’s new(ish) Non-stop Clipper bus service. The service was advertised quite heavily on TV at the time with a cheesy tune: “From Newcastle to London, from London back home….Non-stop Clipper, here it comes!” The Non-stop Clipper was a double decker bus, converted for longer journeys with a toilet and somewhere to sell stotties 🙂 but it was basically still a standard double decker bus. We decided to sit right up front on the top deck, to get the most out of our Non-stop Clipper experience. Now, I can tell you, it’s quite a strange, disconcerting experience, sitting up there on the top deck, overlooking the motorway, cruising for a few hours. Nonetheless it got us to London safe and on time and also at a fraction of the price of the train. I think we took a bus very early in the morning, which got us down to London early afternoon. Then we made our way across London to join 72,000 eager Wham! fans.
The show was a big celebration of Wham! and featured a career-spanning set of hits, and special guest appearances from Elton John who sang Candle in the Wind with George, and Simon le Bon who joined the duo for the encore. There was also a screening of the new Wham! film, Foreign Skies, which was shot during their tour of China. Support came from now disgraced star Gary Glitter and ex Haircut 100 front man Nick Heyward. There were big video screens and two giant walkways for George and Andrew to get close to the adoring crowd who screamed and screamed. There were also many tears, particularly during the last songs, as the reality hit home that this was the last time we would all see Wham! And then it was over. And this was one final that really was final. No reunion tour (not yet anyway). We made our way out of the packed stadium, wandered down Wembley Way with the crowds, and across to Victoria where we boarded our trusty midnight Non-stop Clipper which took us back up North and home. We arrived back early Sunday morning.
Setlist: Everything She Wants; Club Tropicana; Heartbeat; Battlestations; Bad Boys; If You Were There; The Edge of Heaven; Candle in the Wind (with Elton John); Credit Card Baby; Like a Baby; Love Machine; Where Did Your Heart Go?; Why (Carly Simon cover); Last Christmas; Wham! Rap; A Different Corner; Freedom; Careless Whisper; Young Guns (Go for It!); Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Encore: I’m Your Man (with Simon Le Bon)
That concludes my coverage of Wham! Back to some rock tomorrow 🙂
It had been 7 years since I last saw Rod; far too long. I drove up to Glasgow with a group of mates for this concert. Baby Jane had been a big hit, and I saw it as a return to rock’n’roll for Rod. We had a drink in a proper spit and sawdust pub (I think it actually did have spittoons on a concrete floor covered in sawdust). Think it was called The Ibrox? I remember I asked for a half of lager (I was driving and that was all I was going to have to drink) and the barman told me in his strong Glaswegian accent “We dinna sell halves of lager in here”. Support came from disgraced rocker Gary Glitter who was having a little bit of a comeback at the time. From Everything2: “1982 and 1983 were spent by Glitter touring universities with his show. This appealed to Glitter as the people at university at this time were the teenagers who bought his records at the peak of his success. This success was followed by Glitter being asked to appear as a guest by his friend Rod Stewart in 1983 at his concert at Ibrox Park in Glasgow. Glitter jumped at this and appeared in front of an audience of 20,000 people [note. I am sure there were more than 20,000 people there, I would have said more like 50,000?] which was many more than he was used to at this time. At the beginning of his set, Glitter had a mixed reaction from the audience, but his unique style of working the crowd had them crying out for more by the time he had finished, so much that Stewart had to put in a very good performance to compete.”
The rest of the bill consisted of JoBoxers, who grew out of Subway Sect and had a hit with Boxer Beat and Scottish band Passionate Friends: “in the summer of 1983, following a series of gigs around the country, the band were brought to the attention of Harvey Goldsmith. Harvey was promoting the Rod Stewart gig at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, and invited the boys to play support to Rod, Gary Glitter, and Jo Boxers.” (Wikipedia) There was a great atmosphere at the gig, lots of Scottish flags, and a very warm welcome for Rod from his adopted home crowd. Rod had by now moved fully into rock/pop hero mode, and the set reflected his late 70s and early 80s solo work, with very little from the Faces days or his early solo outings. Favourites of mine were always “I’m Losing You”, “Mandolin Wind” and “Reason to Believe”, none of which featured in Rod’s seat at the time, although he did sing the excellent “Gasoline Alley” and finish with a rocking version of “Stay With Me”. An excellent concert, with the now traditional footballs being booted out into the stadium and onto the Ibrox turf.
Setlist: Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me); Sweet Little Rock & Roller; Dancin’ Alone; Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright); Passion; She Won’t Dance With Me; Little Queenie; Jimmy Z Blues; Sweet Surrender; I Don’t Want to Talk About It; You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim); Baby Jane; Young Turks; What Am I Gonna Do (I’m So in Love With You); Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?; Gasoline Alley; Maggie May; Sailing; Hot Legs; Baby Jane (Reprise); Stay With Me
Gary Glitter in concert
I wondered whether to include disgraced star Gary Glitter in my bloggings at all, but in the end decided I should do so. I am treating this as a historical record of my concert goings, and given that I have seen Gary Glitter in concert on a few occassions, I felt I should comment on that here. The first time I attended a Gary Glitter concert was 1974 and he was high in the charts somewhere between the singles “I Love You Love Me Love” and “Remember Me This Way”. At this point he was very much a teen glam star and Newcastle City Hall was packed. By the end of the 70s Gary Glitter had hit hard times. The hits had dried up, but he was still out their gigging in small clubs. A group of us went to see him during this period at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. The small venue was filled with skinheads and punks who gave him a great reception. By the mid 80s he was enjoying a comeback of sorts, and was again filling Newcastle City Hall. The last time I attended a Gary Glitter concert was at a large sports hall in Durham. By this point he was touring every Christmas with the Gary Glitter Christmas Show or “Glitter at Christmas”, which had become a seasonal favourite with people of all ages. He was filling large halls and even arenas at this time. I also saw Gary Glitter play the part of The Rock in The Who’s performance of Quadrophenia at Hyde Park in 1996, as support act for Wham! at their farewell concert The Final in Wembley Stadium in 1986, and supporting Rod Stewart at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow in 1983.