Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
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
We 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.
Sunday 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.
Archive for the ‘Motorhead’ Category
Posted by vintagerock in Bite the Pillow, Bram Tchaikovsky, Cheap Trick, Climax Blues Band, Cobbers, Cure, Doll by Doll, Fame, Gillan, Inner Circle, Jags, Little Bo Bitch, Members, Molly Hatchett, Motorhead, Movies, Nils Lofgren, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Police, Punishment of Luxury, Reading festival, Root Boy Slim, Scorpions, Speedometors, Steve Hackett, Terra Nova, Tourists, Whitesnake, Wild Horses, Wilko Johnson, Yachts, Zaine Griff. Tagged: classic rock, concert, concerts, festival, gig, gigs, heavy metal, heavy rock, music, new wave, pop, rock, rock n roll. 3 comments
Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
Motorhead 1981 & 1982 Newcastle City Hall and 1984 Newcastle Mayfair
Motorhead continued to be massively popular with rock fans throughout the early 80s, selling out multiple nights at concert halls up and down the country. I saw them live a couple of more times at the City Hall, in 1981 and 1982. Their next album “Iron Fist” was released in 1982 and they toured again to promote it. Their shows continued to be a feast of heavy, loud, fast, high energy rock’n’roll, with front man Lemmy always on good form. But things were soon to fall apart. Fast Eddie left the band in 1983, followed shortly by Phil Taylor. By the time I saw Motorhead again at Newcastle Mayfair in 1984, the line-up featured Lemmy, Phil “Wizzö” Campbell and Würzel on guitars, and Pete Gill on drums. Campbell remains with the band to this day. The new line-up put on a good performance at the Mayfair and I enjoyed the gig. But things were not quite the same. It was 26 years until I saw Motorhead again, at the City Hall in 2010. I blogged about that gig at the time. t was great to see them again, and in many ways nothing had changed. Lemmy came on stage and told us: “We are Motorhead and we play Rock and Roll”. Lemmy: “Is it loud enough?” Crowd: “No!!!”. Lemmy: “Then we’ll turn it up. I don’t f***ing care if you go deaf. I’m f***ing deaf already”. Lemmy hasn’t been too well of late, and their 2013 tour has been postponed until 2014. Hope he’s soon better. It’s characters like him that brighten up rock’n’roll. That concludes my memories of Motorhead; tomorrow I’ll move on to other concert memories.
Motorhead Live Newcastle Mayfair The Ace of Spades !
By 1980 Motorhead had become a massive live attraction, selling out everywhere they played. During the Summer the band headlined “The Over The Top Heavy Metal Brain Damage Party” (great title for a rock concert) at Bingley Hall, Staffordshire. A comic programme, which featured “The Overwhelming Motorhead” in “Rock Commando” was produced especially for (reportedly exclusive) distribution at their Bingley Hall concert. I didn’t attend the gig (at least I don’t think I did, unless perhaps the Heavy Metal Brain Damage really has got to me 🙂 ) but I have a copy of the comic which I must have brought at a later gig, probably at the Mayfair later that year. The comic was written by Klaus Blum with a section from Alan Burridge of Motorheadbangers, and features a great comic strip adventure with our heroes in a futuristic England and France. During the Summer of 1980, Motorhead went into the studio again to record the ‘Ace Of Spades’ album, and took it out on tour throughout the UK in the Autumn. This time they called at Newcastle Mayfair, rather than the City Hall. The Mayfair was in fact a much more natural choice of venue for Motorhead. It was a home for heavy rock in the 70s and 80s and their music was much better suited to a packed ballroom. Motorhead filled the Mayfair for two nights that year; I attended the gig on Thursday 30th October, which was the second of the two nights. Support came from NWOBHM band Weapon. I remember being right down the front for this gig. It was absolutely deafening and my ears were ringing for days, which seemed to me to be a badge of honour at the time. The tour was entitled “Ace Up Your Sleeve”. The front cover of the tour programme features a similar image of the band to the “Ace of Spades” lp cover, with Lemmy and the gang looking very sharp and cool, dressed as cowboys. The ‘Arizona desert-style’ pictures were apparently actually taken during a photo session at a sandpit in Barnet! “Ace of Spades” is seen as the definitive Motorhead album, and was their biggest album chart success. These guys were at the height of their powers in the late 70s and early 80s, and were an excellent live act who bridged classic heavy rock, punk and the NWOBHM.
Motorhead Newcastle City Hall 1979
1979 was a busy year for Motorhead. Lemmy and crew released two albums, headlined two UK tours, appeared on Top of the Pops, and played at the Reading Festival. The year started with the release of the “Overkill” album, and a March tour of the UK, with support from Girlschool. I saw the Newcastle City Hall gig, which was a great double bill and both bands put in a rocking performance. Come August, and Motorhead were third on the Friday night bill at Reading, sandwiched between performances by Wilko Johnson and The Tourists. The Friday night was headlined by The Police. Motorhead played well and got a great reception from the crowd. Reading that year had a strange line-up, which tried to mix up-and-coming new wave acts with more established rock bands. This caused a split crowd, and lots of can fights. Motorhead were one of the few bands who both camps were “allowed” to like, and this resulted in their performance being one of the successes of the weekend. Motorhead released the “Bomber” album later in the year, and toured again to promote it. This time they had another great rock band of the day, Saxon, as support, and they called at Newcastle City Hall in November. The Bomber tour featured a massive “Bomber” plane lighting rig hanging over the band and going through its manoeuvres while they played. Great stuff. Motorhead were really at the top of their game during this period, and just couldn’t be beaten for a loud, fun night out.
A typical setlist from a late 1979 Motorhead gig: Overkill; Stay Clean; No Class; All the Aces; Metropolis; I’ll Be Your Sister; Dead Men Tell No Tales; Keep Us on the Road; Iron Horse/Born to Lose; Stone Dead Forever; Lawman; (I Won’t) Pay Your Price; Poison; Leaving Here; Capricorn; Train Kept A-Rollin’; Bomber. Encore: Limb from Limb; White Line Fever; Motörhead
“Only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud, So good I can’t believe it screaming with the crowd, Don’t sweat it, get it back to you, Overkill, Overkill, Overkill…On your feet you feel the beat, it goes straight to your spine, Shake your head you must be dead if it don’t make you fly, Don’t sweat it, get it back to you, Overkill, Overkill, Overkill.” (Overkill, Motorhead, 1979)
Motorhead Live The Marquee London 1975 and Newcastle City Hall 1978
From day one I was really into the image of Lemmy and Motorhead. The idea of the gun-slinging outsider “louder than anyone else” rock’n’roller appealed to me. I was lucky enough to see the band at one of their first ever gigs, when they played the Marquee Club in London in August 1975. My mate and I were on our way to the Reading Festival, and stopped off in London en route. By chance, Motorhead were playing at the Marquee that night so we went along to see them. Support came from a London band called National Flag, who were quite popular at the time, and were resident band at the Marquee. This was the first Motorhead line-up of Lemmy, ex-Pink Fairies Larry Wallis, and Lucas Fox on drums. Imagine our surprise when we walked into the Marquee club, only to see Lemmy himself playing on the one armed bandit. We had a chat with him, and he advised us on how best to play the bandits. A few years later, I saw Lemmy again in similar circumstances; this time playing a bandit in the bar at Newcastle City Hall. Motorhead were a bit rough that night at the Marquee, but you could see the track that they would be treading. The set consisted of a few new songs, some Pink Fairies (“City Kids” I think), the song “Motorhead” itself, and a couple of classics (“Johnny B Goode”). This initial Motorhead Line-up was short-lived and was soon replaced by the classic grouping of Lemmy on bass and vocals, “Fast Eddie” Clarke on guitar, and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. The next time I saw Motorhead it was the classic line-up and they were on their first major headline tour, which called at Newcastle City Hall. That was in 1978, and by then the band had released their first eponymous album. Support came from ex-Pink Fairies Duncan Sanderson’s Lightning Raiders (although I am sure that they were announced as “The Deviants” but I don’t think the late great Mick Farren was there?). The programme from that gig tells me that it’s “All About Being Loud” and “Loud Enough? Christ! It’s like being wired to some gigantic vibrator – not a sound – more of a sensation. Pete Sutton, NME.” “Noise is a big part of Motorhead mania, some fans actually stick their heads in the P.A. bins.” I didn’t quite do the latter, but I did stand right next to the P.A. at a gig at the Mayfair (probably the Bomber tour), which might explain something about the current state of my hearing. Motorhead were a breath of fresh air at the time, accepted by the NWOBHM fraternity and by the punks. I found a setlist from Hammersmith 1978 on the internet. I suspect the City Hall concert featured a similar set: Motörhead; Vibrator; Tear Ya Down; Keep Us on the Road; Leaving Here; I’ll Be Your Sister; Lost Johnny; The Watcher; Damage Case; Iron Horse/Born to Lose; No Class; Louie Louie; Limb from Limb; (I Won’t) Pay Your Price; I’m Your Witch Doctor; Train Kept A-Rollin’; City Kids; White Line Fever. I always liked the raw energy and pure rock’n’roll noise produced by this band, and went on to see them several more times over the next few years. I’ll write a little more about them over the next few days.
Motorhead Newcastle City Hall 10 November 2010
“We are Motorhead and we play Rock and Roll”
Lemmy: “Is it loud enough?” Crowd: “No!!!”. Lemmy: “Then we’ll turn it up. I don’t f***ing care if you go deaf. I’m f***ing deaf already”
Its been around 25 years since I last saw Lemmy and crew. I thought it was about time I put matters right; plus I managed to score a ticket for £15 on ebay (whoopee!). I’d almost forgotten how great the loud, uncompromising Motorhead experience can be. Not much has changed over the years. The guitarist and drummer are different to last time I saw the band (no Fast Eddie any more), but Lemmy looks pretty much the same and the sound (and volume) hasn’t changed at all. One thing had changed: I didn’t see Lemmy in the bar on the bandit where he could often be found in the late 70s. I enjoyed this much more than I expected. I must remember to go and see Iron Maiden next year!
Setlist: We are Motorhead; Stay clean; Back in line; Metropolis; Rock out; OTT; One night stand; Thousand names; I got mine; Know how to die; Tragedy; Power; Brazil; Killed by death; Bomber; Ace of Spades
Encore: Born to raise; Overkill