Archive for the ‘Gillan’ Category

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.

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Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979readingprog79
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
reading79badgeWe 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.
readingpaper79Sunday 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.

Monsters of Rock Donington Status Quo 21st August 1982

Monsters of Rock Donington Status Quo 21st August 1982
Line-up: Status Quo, Gillan, Saxon, Hawkwind, Uriah Heep and Anvil
quoknebworthThis was the third Monsters of Rock festival, and the second time I went to the event. I drove down with my mate Dave, and we had a great time. It was a strong line-up of hard rock bands with Status Quo topping the bill, and a clutch of great support acts in Gillan, Saxon, Hawkwind, Uriah Heep and Anvil. Tommy Vance was DJ and compere for the day. Highlights for me were Hawkwind, Uriah Heep and Quo. Saxon were quite successful at the time and represented the NWOBHM, and Gillan seemed to gig constantly during that period, and was always good fun, playing a few Purple classics alongside his own material.quodoningtonUriah Heep were fronted by new(ish) singer Pete Goalby, alongside long time Heepsters Mick Box, and Lee Kerslake. Their set included classic tracks like Stealin’, The Wizard, July Morning, Gypsy and Easy Livin’. It seemed strange to me to see them so low down on the bill. Both Heep and Hawkwind would have had headline status a few years earlier. Hawkwind’s set feautured Brainstorm, Angels of Death, Urban Guerilla, Psychedelic Warlords, and of course Silver Machine and Master Of the Universe. Their ever-changing line-up at this time included Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd Langton, Harvey Bainbridge and Nik Turner. Both great bands. But the day rightly belonged to Quo, who were worthy headliners. We pushed our way right down the front for their set. This show is often rated as not one of Quo’s best, but I enjoyed seeing them headlining a festival again, and thought they were pretty good. There were some problems with the sounds, with some parts of the crowd reporting that they couldn’t hear Quo very well, but I think this depended on where you were placed in the field. This was the first time I saw the band with Pete Kircher who replaced John Coughlan on drums. Quo were celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band.
Status Quo setlist: Caroline; Roll Over Lay Down; Backwater; Little Lady; Don´t Drive My Car; Whatever You Want; Hold You Back; Rockin All Over The World; Over The Edge; What You´re Proposing; Dirty Water; 4500 Times; Big Fat Mama; Don´t Waste My Time; Roadhouse Blues; Rain; Down Down; Bye Bye Johnny.

The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978

The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
readingprog1 This was the year punk finally arrived. The festival was now officially known as the Reading Rock Festival, having dropped “jazz” from the title and the line-up, and weekend tickets cost all of £8.95. Our old friend John Peel was compere, as always, and a van load of us descended on the riverside site, having driven part of the way down on Thursday, gone for a drink in Wetherby and slept on Wetherby racecourse (the crazy things you do when you are young 🙂 ) Highlights of the weekend for me were Penetration (I was a big fan at the time), Sham 69, The Jam, Status Quo (most of our group were heavily into them) and Patti Smith.
Friday line-up: Dennis O’Brien; The Automatics; New Hearts (who would become mods and change their name to Secret Affair); Radio Stars; Penetration; Sham 69; The Pirates; Ultravox; The Jam.
Memories: Radio Stars were always good for a laugh; “Dirty Pictures” (turn me on) was a favourite at the time; it was great to see local north east punk heroes playing up on the massive Reading stage Penetration, although they suffered from murky sound throughout their set; The Pirates rocked the place with no-nonsense rock’n’roll, “Shaking All Over” and ace guitarist the late Mick Green (a big influence on Wilko); and the John Foxx version of Ultravox! played a quite moody atmospheric electronic set. The main event was Sham 69, who were excellent with Jimmy Pursey his usual cockney “boy on the streets” self, and those anthems “What have we got?”, “Borstal Breakout” and “If the Kids are United”. The Sham Army had come across to Reading in force, all braces, No 2 cuts, and Doc Martins, and ready to take on those hippies. We were right at the front, although we soon moved to the side of the crowd when the fights started. A bunch of skins climbed on to the stage, and Pursey tried to call order, pleading with the crowd to stop fighting to no avail. He was in tears, watching bedlam and violence all around him, and not being able to do anything to stop it. But that was the nature of a Sham gig at the time. Jimmy even brought Steve Hillage on stage to show that it was ok to mix with hippies, but that just annoyed the skins more. A nasty, frightening experience, which marred an excellent performance by Sham. The Jam were great, Weller the edgy young mod, getting himself into a strop at the poor sound quality, and trashing his gear. Punk really had arrived at Reading.
The Jam set included: Mr Clean ; Away From the Numbers; Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane; Tonight at Noon; David Watts; Down in the Tube Station at Midnight; “A” Bomb in Wardour Street; News of the World
Saturday line-up: Speedometors; The Business; Jenny Darren; Next; Gruppo Sportivo; Nutz; Greg Kihn Band; Lindisfarne; Spirit; The Motors; Status Quo.
readingprog2Saturday was a little more straightforward rock. Lindisfarne had recently reunited and hit the charts with “Run For Home”. The Motors were OK (Airport!). Spirit were excellent, with great Hendrix-style guitar from Randy California. Status Quo played a solid respectable set, nothing earth shattering. I know quite a few people were disappointed with them that night, but I thought they were OK. “Dirty Water’ was to become a crowd singalong favourite.
Status Quo setlist: Caroline; Roll Over Lay Down; Backwater; Rockers Rollin; Is There A Better Way; You Don’t Own Me; Hold You Back; Rockin All Over The World; Dirty Water; 4500 Times; Big Fat Mama; Don’t Waste My Time; Roadhouse Blues; Rain; Down Down; Bye Bye Johnny.
Sunday line-up: After The Fire; Chelsea; Pacific Eardrum; Bethnal; Squeeze; John Otway; The Albion Band; Paul Inder; Ian Gillan Band; Tom Robinson Band; Foreigner; Patti Smith Group.
Memories: Paul Inder is Lemmy’s son and was 11 years old (!) at the time; what a great thing to do when you are 11 🙂 ; Bethnal were a good band, who had a manic violin player; Squeeze were fun; Otway was as crazy as ever (Really Free); Tom Robinson led a mass singalong of “Glad to be Gay”; and Foreigner went down well with the crowd. But the day belonged to Patti Smith who was amazing. I was a big fan and left my mates to push my way right to the front of the crowd for Patti’s set. She had the whole crowd with her as she tore into “Gloria”, “Because the Night” and great covers of the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star)” and the Who’s “My Generation”. Stunning. I saw her again at Newcastle City Hall two days later and she was equally as electric.
Patti Smith setlist: Rock n Roll Nigger; Privilege (Set Me Free); Redondo Beach; Free Money; Ghost Dance; It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World; So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star); Ask the Angels; 25th Floor; Because the Night; Gloria, You Light Up My Life; My Generation; Godspeed

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 30th October 1982

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 30th October 1982
gillantixoct82Gillan were to visit Newcastle City Hall for the last time on 30th October 1982. I’d seen the band earlier in the year at the Donington Monsters of Rock bonanza, where they took the second spot on a strong rock bill headlined by Status Quo. Gillan’s set at Donington was: What’s The Matter; Bluesy Blue Sea; Black Night; No Laughing In Heaven; Trouble; Born To Kill; M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction); Living For The City; Vengeance; Bite The Bullet; No Easy Way; New Orleans; Smoke On The Water. The 1982 Gillan tour was to promote the Magic album, which was to be the band’s last. Support came from upcoming NWOBHM band Spider, who were much more boogie than heavy metal, and were often compared to Status Quo. Gillan split shortly after this tour, when Ian Gillan took the suprising step of joining Black Sabbath as vocalist. gillanprog82 Looking back on these concert experiences over the last few days has made me realise just how much fun I had at Gillan gigs. In fact I have probably seen them just as many times as I have seen Deep Purple, albeit within a much more concentrated period of 5 years. Gillan were, for a few short years in the late 70s and early 80s, a really credible and great rock band, who managed to blend the traditions of classic rock ala Purple, with the spirit of NWOBHM, and a sprinkling of new wave in the form of Bernie Torme. They never took themselves too seriously, and were a collection of five strong musicians and individuals. Reflecting on a band for a few days, and in Gillan’s case it has been a week, usually leaves me with some unfinished business to follow up. This often involves promising myself I will try to see the band again, which for Gillan is not possible (although I do look forward to the next time Purple play in the UK). In Gillan’s case I realise that I only have one of their albums, Future Shock, so I have promised myself that I will look for a copy of Glory Road (I am watching a copy on ebay which is currently at 99p 🙂 ). Anyway, I have enjoyed writing about Gillan, and refecting on the fine nights of rock I enjoyed with them. Time to move on to another band tomorrow.

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 13th Nov 1981

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 13th Nov 1981
Support: Budgie and Nightwing
gillantixnov81 Gillan were back at Newcastle City Hall in November 1981, this time with local guitar hero Janick Gers who had joined the band as replacement for Bernie Torme. Looking back, Bernie’s departure probably was a sign that all was not well in the band, and it was perhaps inevitable that they were soon to split up. The new line up released the album Double Trouble shortly after Janick joined. Double Trouble was, as its name suggests, a double album, with one disc recorded in the studio, and the other recorded live. Janick Gers hailed form the North East, and was well know to the Newcastle rock crowd as the guitarist in local band White Spirit who had gigged consistently throughout the region in the late 70s and early 80s. gillanprognov81 Janick was a more than adequate replacement for Bernie. What was lost in terms of punk rock swagger and guitar heroics, was more than compensated for by Gers’ technical guitar wizardry and his more traditional rock star stance. The local crowd gave him a great reception that night, and the concert was as good as ever. Gers was, of course, to go on to much greater success with Iron Maiden. Support acts for this tour were rock stawlwarts Budgie, and Nightwing. Budgie has just released their ninth album Nighflight, and their line-up at the time was original member Burke Shelley – vocals, bass guitar; John Thomas – guitar; and Steve Williams – drums. Budgie retained their own strong following in Newcastle, had headlined the City Hall and the Mayfair themselves in previous years, and were quite a “big” name support act. I was to see Gillan once more at the City Hall in the following year, before the band split. I’ll blog on that gig tomorrow, which will be my final Gillan post.

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 8th March 1981

Gillan Newcastle City Hall 8th March 1981
Support Dedringer
gillantixmarch81 Gillan were back in Newcastle to play at the City Hall in the Spring of 1981. They were now touring twice a year, and to be honest they were perhaps playing just a little too much. Still, I knew a Gillan gig would always be good fun, so I continued to support them and went along to every show they played in Newcastle. This time they were touring in support Future Shock, which was their third and most successful album, reaching number 2 in the UK album chart. Future Shock contained their cover version of the old song New Orleans, which was to become a live favourite, and hit the charts around the time of this tour. Gillan had already hit the charts with a rather tongue in cheek cover of Elvis’ Trouble, and New Orleans followed the same formula. In fact Gillan had quite a few chart hits at this time, resulting in frequent appearances on Top Of The Pops. gillanprogmarch81 Gillan appearances on Top of the Pops opened up a new more mainstream audience for the band, and were pretty hammed up performances. Support on the Spring 1981 tour came from Dedringer, a heavy rock band from Leeds. Although they never had any great success, Dedringer toured the UK quite a lot, supporting Gillan, Triumph and the Michael Schenker Group. This was the last time that I saw Gillan with Bernie Torme in the ranks. Torme walked out of the band after a German tour, just as the band were due to return home and play on Top of the Pops. He was replaced by White Spirit guitarist Janick Gers. The band hardly stopped for breath, and didn’t let the change of guitarist slow them done, with 1981 proving to be their most prolific yet in terms of recording output and touring.