Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
In 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.
One 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 🙂
Ian 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.
Archive for the ‘Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ Category
Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
Ian Dury & the Blockheads
I first saw Ian Dury in Kilburn and the Highroads when they supported The Who at Newcastle Odeon on their 1973 Quadrophenia tour. I can’t pretend to remember much about them, other than they seemed like an ok pub rock band. Interesting to see that the Kilburns also featured Nick Cash who I was to see a few years later in 999, and who were truly a top punk band. The next time I saw Ian Dury was on the Stiff tour at Middlesbrough Town Hall, where he stole the show which closed with everyone on stage and all of us singing along to Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll. Ian was an enigma on stage. He was, of course, nothing like a traditional rock star. And he was hardy “punk”. But his onstage patter, his humility, the way that he dealt with his disability, and his crazy dress sense, all gave him a charisma and a connection with the audience that no one else had in the day. We were all with him from the word go, and his stage presence, coupled with the tremendous musicianship of the Blockheads made every Dury gig a unique and fun experience. The thing that I remember most about the 1978 gig at Newcastle City Hall was that I had one of my final Maths exams for my degree the next morning. I figured that there was no point in any further revision at that point, so went along to see Ian and the Blockheads. Glad I made that choice! Support at that gig were Matumbi (a reggae band) and Whirlwind (a rockabilly band). For me, the best tracks live were Sweet Gene Vincent, Clever Trevor and Sex and Drugs. To be honest, I was never a great fan of Rhythm Stick or Reasons to be Cheerful, although I have warmed to the latter song recently. A setlist from Hammersmith in 1979 shows the songs played as: Clever Trevor; Inbetweenies; Don’t Ask Me; Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3; Sink My Boats; Waiting For Your Taxi; This Is What We Find; Mischief; What A Waste!; Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick; Sweet Gene Vincent. I guess the Newcastle gig will have featured a similar set. I’m surprised Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll doesn’t feature in the list. It was certainly a high point of the early Blockheads gigs I saw. Great memories of a one-off and a great man; sadly missed. Great gigs. Respect.
Note added 20th July 2014. I found the programme below in my collection. It must have come from the December 1980 concert.