The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
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.
Saturday 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
Archive for the ‘Jam’ Category
The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
The Jam Whitley Bay Ice Rink September 1982
By the end of 1982 it was all over and The Jam were no more. The last time I saw them play was at the cavernous (and cold) Ice Rink in Whitley Bay. This was the first gig to be held at the Ice Rink which was used as a venue for large gigs before Newcastle Arena was built. The Jam played two nights in the massive venue and once again showed what a great band they were. I saw the Style Council a few times, and couldn’t really get away with them, and saw Paul Weller in concert a few years ago, and he was just great. But nothing compares to The Jam in the late 70s and early 80s. Role on the reunion (never say never 🙂 ). The setlist from The Jam’s final gig which was at Brighton (where else for a true mod band?) Centre in December 1982: Start!; It’s Too Bad; Beat Surrender; Away From the Numbers; Ghosts; In the Crowd; Boy About Town; Get Yourself Together; All Mod Cons; To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have a Nice Time); Smithers-Jones; Tales From the Riverbank; Precious; Move On Up; Circus; Down in the Tube Station at Midnight. Encore: David Watts; Mr Clean; Going Underground; In the City; Town Called Malice. Encore 2: The Butterfly Collector; Pretty Green; The Gift
The Jam Newcastle City Hall 1980 and 1982
The Jam were back at the City Hall in 1980 and 1982, playing a couple of nights each time. Support for the 1980 concert was The Piranhas who hit the charts with their cover of Tom Hart. A bootleg exists for this concert which shows the setlist as: Thick As Thieves/Boy About Town/Monday/Going Underground/Pretty Green/Man In The Corner Shop/Set The House Ablaze/Private Hell/This Is The Modern World/Little Boy Soldiers/But I’m Different Now/Start!/Scrape Away/When You’re Young/The Eton Rifles Two years later and they were back again, this time supported by The Questions, who were signed to Paul Weller’s record label. They also wrote some songs for Weller protege Tracie Young (aka Tracie). The ticket also mentions a local support act, but I’m afraid I can’t remember who that was. By 1982 The Jam had released six albums, and had hit the charts many times, including three Number 1s. Town Called Malice was Number 1 in 1982, and the band were riding the crest of a wave. However Paul Weller was beginning to feel that this was the end of The Jam and the band was soon to disband. I would see The Jam, once more which I will write about tomorrow. Looking back this band left a legacy of great singles, and some great live performances.
The Jam Newcastle City Hall 1979
The Jam called at the City Hall twice in 1979, once in May, and again in December. Both gigs were glorious occasions. By now Paul Weller was developing as a songwriter, and the concert set was changing all the time. Live favourites of mine were David Watts, Billy Hunt, the wonderful Away From the Numbers, all the singles, and Smithers-Jones. Their cover of Batman still appeared now and then and was always good fun. The beautiful Butterfly Collector was also part of the set by late 1979, and remains a favourite to this day. Paul Weller was just on fire at these gigs, spitting and snarling the vocals, with Bruce Foxton bopping about alongside him, and Rick Buckler smashing away at the back.
Setlist from London Rainbow Theatre show of the December 1979 tour: Girl on the Phone; To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have a Nice Time); It’s Too Bad; Burning Sky; Away From the Numbers; Smithers-Jones; The Modern World; Mr Clean; The Butterfly Collector; Private Hell; Thick as Thieves; When You’re Young; Strange Town; The Eton Rifles; Down in the Tube Station at Midnight; Saturday’s Kids; All Mod Cons; David Watts
Support for the December tour came from The Vapors who were to hit the charts with Turning Japanese. The programme for the Spring Tour 1979 has some smashing period advertisements. I am invited to buy Jam Shoes from Shelly’s of London. The come in “all colours”: white and platted, black and platted, black and white, red and white, red and beige, etc. Just send £12.99 plus £1 postage. Jam Jackets in plain colours (£35) and Union Jack (£55), from Carnaby Cavern Ltd (we supply The Jam, The Four Tops, so why not you?). “Mod” Parka, genuine american fishtail parka as word in the 60s, US Army surplus, not new but in good condition, only £12.50, from ACME Clothing Co. Wow! What a wardrobe. I wonder if I send my cheque off now I can still buy these. They would sure look great to wear the next time I see The Who or Paul Weller 🙂 !
The Jam 1977 and 1978
When we think of late 70s punk rock, we have a certain image of safety pins, spitting, the pogo, and fast furious rebellious rock. In reality the punk scene was a pretty broad church, which drew from a wide range of influences. The Jam burst onto the scene in 1977, blending mod, sharp suits, with attitude, arrogance and great catchy pop songs. They had obviously been influenced by, soul, R&B, The Who and The Small Faces and you could tell that lead singer and guitarist Paul Weller was a big fan of Steve Marriott and Pete Townshend. I attended a few early Jam concerts in the North East, at Newcastle Mayfair and at Sunderland Seaburn Hall. These gigs were pretty wild affairs with Weller and the guys having to dodge a hail of glasses (and they were real glass in those days, not plastic) and waves of spit. The Seaburn Hall gig was particularly ferocious; it was attended by a group of skinheads (“We hate punks”) who were looking for trouble and there were several scuffles. The Jam set in those days drew from their first album, their early singles, and a nifty cover of the Batman them closed the show. They were a breath of fresh air and it was evident even at those early gigs, that this was a band that stood above the rest, and would ultimately transcend the punk movement. By 1978 The Jam had graduated to playing Newcastle City Hall, a venue that would be host to some great Jam gigs over the next few years. I also saw them headline the Friday night of the Reading festival in the same year. Sample Jam setlist from 1978: The Modern World; London Traffic; I Need You (For Someone); The Combine; Aunties & Aunts; Standards; Here Comes the Weekend; Sounds From the Street; News of the World; London Girl; In the Street, Today; Bricks and Mortar; In the City; In the Midnight Hour; Carnaby Street; All Around the World. I think support for this gig was Patrick Fitzgerald and The Dickies?