The Who Charlton Athletic Football Club 18th May 1974
Support Acts, in order of appearance: Montrose, Lindisfarne, Bad Company, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Maggie Bell. The support acts were chosen by The Who.
The Who spent some time considering venues for a big outdoor London concert, and selected Charlton ground because, accordingly to Townshend, it had “particular acoustic qualities” and offered “excellent views of the stage from the terraces.” I went to the gig with two mates, travelling down to London by coach, leaving the north east at midnight on Friday night and arriving early on Saturday morning. We then caught the local train across to Charlton. By the time we arrived the ground was pretty full, and fans continued to flood in throughout the morning. By the time Montrose exploded onto the stage at 12 noon, the place was ram packed. The concert was intended to have an attendance limit of 50,000 fans, but breakdowns in security resulted in many additional people getting in, and an estimated crowd of 80,000 (The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958-1978, Neill & Kent, 2007). I ran into quite a few mates from home on the terraces, several of whom had managed to push or blag their way in without paying. The supporting bill was very strong, with Montrose and Bad Company both going down well. This was one of the first appearances of the new Lindisfarne Mk II line-up. Lou Reed and Maggie Bell both played ok, but didn’t go down as well with the crowd as the others. Humble Pie were pure class, with Marriott on his top OTT “my skin is white, but my soul is black” form. They almost upstaged the main act. There was a long wait before The Who took to the stage, and several reports recall an atmosphere of violence, which I must say I don’t remember. I do remember that it was a very hot day and that there were some fights, a heavy smell of dope with many people openly smoking joints, and lots of cans thrown around throughout the day. Brian Farnon writes of a “lunatic…wandering around with a foot-long spike….sticking it in peoples necks” on the excellent ukrockfestivals.com site.
The Who started at 8:45 and played an hour and 45 minute set, starting with “Can’t Explain” and working their way through old classics and some more recent material, including a few from their most recent album “Quadrophenia”. The sound wasn’t that great, even though we had been promised quadrophonic sound, and there were large PA speakers sited around the ground. The Who were excellent, although Pete later admitted that he was drunk and felt that the show wasn’t actually one of their best. To all of us in the crowd it was a great day, and an opportunity to see the best rock band in the world during their prime period. The set included a lot of 60s material, and several songs that I hadn’t seen them play before such as “I’m a Boy” and “Tattoo”. Entwistle performed “Boris the Spider” in his deep bass voice. A lengthy encore included “5:15”, an extended “Magic Bus”, “My Generation”, “Naked Eye”, “Let’s See Action” and the first ever performance of their slow 12-bar blues arrangement of “My Generation”, which is now known as “My Generation Blues”. Pete didn’t smash his guitar.
Charles Shaar Murray reviewed The Who’s performance in NME: “They performed with a freshness and enthusiasm that they haven’t had for quite some time, and generally acted like the epitome of what a rock and roll band should be…The Who are it; as good as it ever gets, and good as we can expect from anybody.”
Pete Townshend admitted (also in the NME): “At Charlton I got completely pissed… I was so happy to get out of it…. I felt really guilty I couldn’t explode into the exuberant and happy energy our fans did….”
When the concert finished it was absolute pandemonium trying to get out through the crowd, and a number of us decided to try and climb over one of the fences. We managed to get over, but one of my mates cut his hand quite badly on the sharp metal top of the fence. It looked quite nasty, and was bleeding a lot, so we decided that we needed to get to a hospital. We pushed our way back into the ground, which wasn’t easy as we were walking against all the people leaving, and made our way to the St Johns Ambulance post, where we all bundled into an ambulance. A poor guy with a pretty cut up face, who had fallen onto a broken bottle, was lying next to us in the ambulance. The ambulance sped through the crowds and 5 minutes or so later we were in the hospital, where we spent most of the night, while my mate had his hand stitched. The hospital was full of fans suffering from injuries, and worse for wear from alcohol and drugs. It was daylight by the time we got out of the hospital, and we walked back into central London and made our way to Victoria where we caught our bus home. The things you do for rock’n’roll 🙂
The Who setlist: I Can’t Explain; Summertime Blues; Young Man Blues; Baba O’Riley; Behind Blue Eyes; Substitute; I’m a Boy; Tattoo; Boris the Spider; Drowned; Bell Boy; Doctor Jimmy; Won’t Get Fooled Again; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me
Encore: 5:15; Magic Bus; My Generation; Naked Eye; Let’s See Action; My Generation Blues
Archive for the ‘Humble Pie’ Category
The Who Charlton Athletic Football Club 18th May 1974
Humble Pie Newcastle Odeon November 1974
The last time that John and I saw Humble Pie was at a gig at Newcastle Odeon in late 1974. I recall my friend Norm being there at the gig as well (will check with him; I did so and yes Norm was with me; he has a strong memory of sitting up in the balcony watching the band). On this occasion the band the 7.30 start time suggests that the band played one show, rather than customary two shows that bands often played when they called at the Odeon. I recall this as a good gig, with Marriott on his usual top form. For me Steve Marriott really came into his own at big, open air gigs. He seemed to draw power in his voice and his performance from a larger crowds. Support for this gig was McGuinness Flint. This was a later version of the band, with a line-up featuring Hughie Flint, Tom McGuinness, Lou Stonebridge and Dixie Dean. I remember them playing When I’m Dead and Gone, The programme says of Humblie Pie: “perhaps one of our hottest bans in the 70s, are also A&M’s most coloirful and illustrious soul childrenof the explosive 60s English rock n roll boom.” Sadly the band was to split up the following year. Humble Pie played a lot of gigs during their brief existence. Over 400 are documented in Jerry Shirley’s book from the August 69 debut at Ronnie Scotts to a show in Houston in March 1975.He believes this is about 70% of the total. Steve Marriott went on to play in the reformed Small Faces, which I saw a couple of times at Newcastle City Hall in the late 70s. I also saw Steve playing at a small venue in Sunderland shortly before he tragically died in a fire, which was on April 20th 1991. A bit like Paul Kossoff, Phil Lyonott and I am sure a number of others, Steve Marriott represents everything which is good and bad about rock and roll, tremendous talent, a huge ego, but the inability to deal with the fame and fortune rollercoster ride full of tremendous highs and depressing lows. Shame. Setlist for the gig at the Odeon was probably something like: Thunderbox; Four Day Creep; Sweet Peace and Time; The Fixer; 30 Days in the Hole; Let Me Be Your Love maker; C’Mon Everybody; I Don’t Need No Doctor. Thanks again to John for all his help with memories of Humble Pie and in writing the last few days’ posts.
Humble Pie July 6th 1974 Buxton Festival
I’ve already blogged about this festival in a separate post some time ago. The Buxton festival came only a couple of months after Humble Pie’s appearance at Charlton, and they were one of the main reasons that both John and I went to this festival. The festival itself was in an awful location, and it was cold and wet, but Humble Pie played a great set and livened up the proceedings as much as it was possible to do, given the grim environment. The setlist is likely to have been similar to Charlton. A DVD, taken from 8mm film, is available on Amazon and includes footage of Charlton and Buxton; now that might be worth getting, although I suspect it does not feature any sound. I said yesterday that I would write a little abut the Blackberries, who were Carlena Williams, Venetta Fields, and Billie Barnum. The Blackberries were top notch session soul/gospel singers and it was Steve Marriott’s idea to get them into the band for recording and live concerts. In Steve’s own words: “Working with the Blackberries was great. I thought it was the best period of the band. I was almost a bit overwhelmed by them at times, because they were so good. I really dug it, because I was always into black music”. Although today it may seem a relatively obvious move for a band whose roots lay in blues and soul, it was actually pretty groundbreaking for the time, and not something that management and the rest of the band necessarily fully agreed with, at least at first. Jerry Shirley said “A&M and the Management Company thought it was the wrong thing to do, from the beginning” and in the words of Greg Ridley “I was a bit dubious at the time. I liked the music with a hard edge to it, and I was thinking ‘what are the girls gonna do. Are they gonna add or subtract from the band?’ But when they came in they were great. Great singers and a great laugh”. Steve had in his mind moving from a more traditional rock format to something resembling a soul revue, and you could see that in those great Humble Pie shows on 1974. I recall their Buxton set as being strong, and for some reason I seem to recall the Blackberries coming even more to the fore than they did at Charlton a couple of months earlier. It certainly changed the format of the show, and succeeded in blending rock with soul to a much great degree. I saw the Johnny Otis show, which featured Shuggie Otis, and a massive band and singers at Reading in 1972, and I guess this was something like the kind of show that Steve was aiming to create, although much closer to the sort of soul revue that Otis Redding or Ike and Tina Turner will have fronted in the 60s. As I said above, it was very different and refreshing for its time, and didn’t go down well with everyone, some people preferring a much more standard rock format. I found the following setlist for Buxton 74, which seems a little short, but could be correct as the songs were often quite long, including significant jamming: Watcha Gonna Do About It, 30 Days in the Hole; C’Mon Everybody; Thunderbox; Let Me Be Your Lovemaker; I Don’t Need No Doctor
Hardrock and Charlton My next Humble Pie experience was at the Who’s Charlton concert in 1974. John saw them in October 1973 at Hardrock Manchester, as part of a short UK tour which didn’t call in at the North East. Support for the tour was Heavy Metal Kids. John’s uncle lived in Stretford, and he went by train to Manchester for this show and stayed with my uncle. In John’s own words: “My ticket was row AA so I assumed it would be about 27 rows back but it was actually the second row – very exciting. I think I had seen the Heavy Metal Kids a couple of times as they supported a lot of bands at that time. This was of course one of the names proposed by Island Records for Free, which thankfully they rejected.The band featured Gary Holton on vocals who was a loud, brash cockney kid who went on to a successful acting career in Auf Weidersehen Pet.They were a decent band band and got the crowd warmed up. Humble Pie had released the Eat It album and were touring with the Blackberries. The setlist was heavily drawn from that album and the earlier Smokin and featured Up Our Sleeve, Honkey Tonk Women, C’mon Everybody, Road Runner, Hot n Nasty, 30 Days in the Hole, Hallelujah (I love her so), I Don’t Need No Doctor and a couple of slower ones Blues I Believe to my Soul and Black Coffee which heavily featured the Blackberries.”
Moving forward to May 18th 1974 and John, myself, and another friend Pete went to Charlton Valley football ground for a stellar one day festival line-up which featured The Who, Bad Company, Lou Reed, Maggie Bell, Lindisfarne and Montrose. I’ll blog separately on the whole day and the Who’s set on another occasion, as it was a great and memorable day for a number of reasons and warrants full treatment on its own. Suffice to say it was a legendary concert, and a great set by the Who, and Humble Pie were a very important part of the day. John rates it thus: “For me the greatest outdoor show I have seen in my life with a stellar line up of bands. Humble Pie came on after Lou Reed with Maggie Bell following them before the Who. Pundits saw that it was a close call between Humble Pie and the Who but, despite my bias, I think the Who won it with a great set and their spectacular green laser light show.” Humble Pie opened with a “Ere, get a load of this” from Steve and launched into the Small Faces classic Whatcha Gonna Do About It. The crowd went wild and Pie kept the energy level up for their entire set. Steve had his hair cut short for the show and was wearing a nifty set of denim dungarees. He really wasn’t the archetypal rock and roll guy and retained his pop/soul sensibilities, almost to a fault, and was constantly driving the band heavily in this direction, thus the inclusion of soul singers the Blackberries. I’ll blog more about the Blackberries role in the band tomorrow. The setlist is likely to have included some of the following: Whatcha Gonna Do About It; Thunderbox; Sweet Peace and Time; Let Me Be Your Lovemaker; C’Mon Everybody; 30 Days in the Hole; Road Runner, Hot N Nasty, 30 Days in the Hole, Black Coffee, and I Don’t Need No Doctor; and possibly I Cant Stand the Rain and Ninety Nine Pounds. I’ve searched the internet and can’t find any record of a setlist anywhere, and it seems that no live recordings of the Pie’s set exist from that great day, which is a shame.
On the Eat It album there is a live side which begins with Up Our Sleeve, recorded in Glasgow and the band are introduced as “Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome the finest rock and roll band in the land”. Perhaps slightly over the top and clearly a swipe at the Rolling Stones, with the word “greatest” replaced by “finest” but for a brief period they were right up there. Just a fantastic live band. Thanks again to John for the scan of his signed album, and for helping me write these blog posts on Humble Pie.
Humble Pie early years and live at the Lincoln Festival and Newcastle Odeon 1972
Humble Pie are one of my friend John’s favourite bands. He has helped me a lot with my memories of that band in concert, and with writing the blogs on the Pie over the next few days. We both remember just how great a front man Steve Marriott was, and how powerful a force Humble Pie live were in the early to mid 70s.
Formed in 1969 with Marriott, Frampton and Ridley having significant pedigrees (Jerry Shirley being a kid who got the gig after befriending Steve Marriott when they supported the Small Faces), the name, coined by Steve Marriot ,was a push back of the “Supergroup” moniker which was common at the time and had been applied to them. Their first two albums were almost soft-rock, and quite different to the soulful raucous rock band that they would develop into a few years later. The single Natural Born Bugie (why did they spell it that way?) was a major chart success reaching number 4 in July 1969.The single highlights the vocal ability of the band with Ridley, Frampton and Marriott each taking a verse in turn. A follow up single Big Black Dog did not chart, but was played often at the Sunderland Mecca that John and I both frequented, and the overall “sound” was to be indicative of what was to come.Their next album was the eponymous Humble Pie, with a great cover featured on Shirley’s drum kit, followed by their first “real album” Rock On which contains Shine On, a song which still features in Peter Frampton shows, Stone Cold Fever and Rollin Stone. After poor album sales, but a good live response, Dee Anthony came up with the idea of capturing them on a double live album – sold at a discount – an idea he was to repeat to great effect with Peter Frampton in subsequent years. Performance – Rockin the Fillmore, to give it its full name, was recorded at the Fillmore East (not West) over four shows on May 28/29th.They were to play that venue more than 20 times. The album contains only two self penned songs Stone Cold Fever and Four Day Creep plus the standards Rollin Stone and I’m Ready and three covers I Walk on Guilded Splinters, Hallelujah (I love her so) and I Dont Need No Doctor.The latter song would feature in every gig the Pie played. Guilded Splinters is John’s favourite piece of recorded music. He feels that it “captures everything that was great about the band: a long slow jam building to a crescendo with no flash or glitz just a great band keeping solid time and improvising over a solid base.” Splinter is 24 minutes and 30 seconds but in Jerry Shirley’s book he says it was edited down from 33 minutes. They never played this song after Frampton left and it highlights his ability and the chemistry which existed between him and Marriott during that brief but fantastic period from late 69 to mid 71.
The next album Smokin was their best selling, hitting No 6 in the USA driven by their aggressive touring, but only No 28 in the UK. Over their entire history Humble Pie never had an album in the top 10 in the UK. John feels: “While it is their biggest commercial success, for me the chemistry was gone when Clem Clempson replaced Frampton and Marriott took control. Many bands are better when the creative tension between two contributors is held in check – Waters/Gilmore, Page/Plant, Blackmore/Gillan among others – and for me, despite their next great effort, Eat It , the band were never the same. Thunderbox was decent but the next and final album Street Rats less than spectacular.”
John first got into Humble Pie when a friend at School loaned him his Rockin the Fillmore. I’m less clear how I first got into them, but first got to see them at the Lincoln Festival in May 1972, where they pulled off a tremendous performance and got a great reaction from the crowd. We both wanted to go and see them at Durham University in early 72 but it was the Rag Ball, students only, expensive (dinner included) and formal dress (which seems unbelievable for the time, but I’m pretty sure that its true). We both then saw them at Newcastle Odeon in late 1972 with Frampton’s Camel as support. My ticket shows the time as 6pm, so I can only assume that there were two shows that evening, and I must have attended the early show. I remember thinking it strange that Frampton would be supporting his ex-band, but recall very little about his set. I do remember him playing Plain Shame, which remains one of my favourite Frampton songs to this day.
My memories of Humble Pie in concert from those days are primarily of Steve Marriott. He was just such an amazing front man. All cockney swagger, the guy had absolutely no fear, and he took total control of the crowd throughout every performance. His voice, range and power were just amazing, and you got the feeling that he was believed and felt every single word. If you don’t know what I mean go to youtube and look out a live version of I Don’t Need No Doctor or Rollin’ Stone. Do I really remember him shouting “My skin is white, but my soul is black” or is that my memory playing tricks? I don’t think I’ve seen a performer since that even comes close. Or maybe, and I guess its a crazy comparison, I see something of the Marriott attitude in Robbie Williams; the total ego, the power of the performance, the ability to hold a massive crowd in his hand. And I see some of the Marriott mannerisms in Paul Weller, but then he is a big Marriott fan. A typical Humble Pie set list from 1972 was something like: Up Our Sleeve; C’Mon Everybody; Honky Tonk Woman; I Wonder; Hallelujah I Love Her So; I Don’t Need No Doctor; Hot n Nasty; Four Day Creep; Rolling Stone. Humble Pie sets tended to include a small number of songs as each one ended up as quite a marathon with lots of jamming. Thanks to John for his excellent contributions to the above. More tomorrow.
The Buxton Festival 1974
Line-up: The Faces, Humble Pie, Mott The Hoople, Horslips , Chapman/Whitney StreetWalkers, Trapeze , Chopper, Badger, Strider, Lindisfarne, Man. My friend John and I have spent the week swapping memories of The Faces to help me write my blog. One memory that we share is of the 1974 Buxton Festival which we both attended. I’m not sure if it is a pleasant memory or not; and those of you who attended any of the outdoor Buxton events will know why I say that. Terry Battersby puts in well on the UK Festivals site: “I managed Buxton in 72/73/74.They should have been campaign medals issued”. I managed 73 and 74 and know what he means; I hold my medal with pride; the Buxton festivals were a real endurance test. Buxton is a town high up in the peak district and the festival was sited up on a moor. You couldn’t imagine a worse place to hold a pop festival. All of the three outdoor festivals (there were some indoor events which preceded them) suffered from poor weather, lots of wind and rain, and after 1974 the organisers abandoned the idea of holding any further festivals. I’ll write separately about the 1973 festival in a day or so, it was a strange event at which the Hells Angels took over and ran the event (which was pretty scary). Anyway, back to 1974. I drove down to Buxton with my friend Gilly, who also came to the 1973 event with me. We arrived on Friday afternoon, finding the place cold and windswept. Not being the most prepared festival-goers at the time, we didn’t have a tent and planned on sleeping in the car (not easy in an MG Midget), or in sleeping bags on the ground. When we arrived on the moor we saw lots of people building makeshift huts from planks of wood. I asked them where they found the wood, and they pointed me to a storehouse in the next field. So off I went to retrieve some wood for us to build our own shelter. I was leaving the store with some planks under my arm with a few other guys, when we were stopped by a policeman, who asked us where we were taking the wood. He quickly bundled us all into the back of a police jeep and took us off to a temporary police cabin which they had set up for the weekend. Once in their they searched us, took statements, and made us wait a few hours, telling us that we would probably be charged with theft for taking the wood. When they eventually did let us go we had to walk back to the site, where I found my mate Gilly lying asleep by the car. The bands had started by that point, and we went into the arena and caught as much of the show as we could. I remember seeing Man and Mott the Hoople that night. Mott started with Golden Age of Rock n Roll and were just great. I slept in the car and Gilly slept in a sleeping bag underneath the car. We were both frozen; it was truly awful. Highlights of the next day were Humble Pie (Stevie Marriott was awesome in those days and a big festival favourite), and Roger Chapman and the Streetwalkers. Anyone who was there will remember the magic moment in that dull rainy day when the sun came out during My Friend the Sun, as Roger sang “He’s there in the distance” to a great cheer from the crowd. The Faces were OK, but it wasn’t the best time I saw them; by this point they had added a horn section to the band. I remember keeping warm in the Release tent and chatting to Caroline Coon. My friend John was also there with a group of mates, although I don’t recall us running into each other. His memories: “My own recollections were that the weather was terrible,wet and cold,the facilities non existent and I slept in my dad’s car with three other mates. The Friday bands were good Mott , Man and Lindisarne. On Saturday there was the famous “My Friend the Sun moment” which I do recall and Humble pie were great.The Faces came on late and I remember the stage being pelted with bottles – reports on the Web said this is because they refused to play an encore…..those were the days!!!” Postcript: several weeks after the festival I received a letter summoning me to attend my local police station where I was issued with a formal caution for “stealing” the wood; and that was the last I heard of it. I did run into a couple of the lads who were in the jeep with me at Reading and Knebworth over the years and we always said hello. I wonder where they are now. Thanks to John for the ad showing the line-up for the festival. Note The New York Dolls were listed to play at one point (although they don’t appear in the listing above), but didn’t make it for some reason.