Shanghai Redcar Coatham Bowl 1975?
This was one of the first gigs I went to at Redcar Coatham Bowl. It was probably in 1975 or 1976. Shanghai were a rock band fronted by ex Rebel Rouser and top 60s R&B vocalist Cliff Bennet. The rest of the bands line-up featured former Pirate, ace guitarist and big Wilko Johnson influence Mick Green on choppy Telecaster; Brian Alterman, also on guitar; Speedy King on bass; and Pete Kircher on drums (who would later join Status Quo). This band had all the right ingredients but just never quite made it; another potentially great rock band who were passed by when punk came along and brushed everything aside. I also saw them supporting Status Quo around the same time. Shanghai lasted a couple of years, released two albums, and then split. Mick Green went on to reform the Pirates and sadly passed away in 2010, while Cliff Bennett continues to perform to this day. Wonder who the support act was. I think it may have been Raven, who were a North East band which formed in 1974 and gained popularity during the NWOBHM movement in the late 70s.
Archive for the ‘Shanghai’ Category
Shanghai Redcar Coatham Bowl 1975?
Status Quo live in 1975 and 1976
1975 and 1976 were busy years for Status Quo. This wasn’t unusual, however, the work ethic of this band is outstanding; they just keep on playing. They hit the UK singles chart four times: with a live EP which featured “Roll Over Lay Down”, “Gerdundula” and “Junior’s Wailing”, then with one of my personal favourites “Rain”, then “Mystery Song” and “Wild Side of Life”. I saw the band twice at Newcastle City Hall; on 12th May 1975 and again on 9th March 1976.
From the 1975 tour programme: “”To begin with in 1971 we played for a tenner or a fiver just to keep going and retain the right to play things our way” says Richard Parfitt. “We knew it was the only way to build a future for ourselves and a reputation we could live with”. After a decade as rock musicians the Quo now have the respect and approval of a massive following who have put their seal on a band who can truly said to have succeeded by “Public Demand”. The swaying thousands who form massed choirs and wave their scarves at a Quo concert to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”…have turned the Quo into unsuperstars of the Seventies…When the critics eventually put their group hierarchy into perspective in later years it will almost inevitably be those groups who kept to basics like the Stones, the Who and Quo who will be remembered as being the heart of this Generation’s music….Quo believe in what they are doing and millions ll over the work have come to believe they are “On the Level” too.”
Support for the 1975 tour was the excellent Pretty Things, who were a big favourite of mine at the time. They had just released the “Silk Torpedo” album which saw them entering a glam / heavy rock phase. Its opening song “Joey / The Dream” is just great. Front man Phil May was as energetic as ever, the rest of the line-up had changed quite a bit since the first times I saw them in the early 70s. Quo released two albums” “On the Level” and “Blue for You”, both of which were respectable slabs of rock, although not as heavy as the “QUO” album. Andy Bown joined the band as a permanent member on keyboards. Support for the 1976 tour was Shanghai, a new band fronted by 60s rocker Cliff Bennett of the Rebel Rousers fame. These were, as always, great gigs.Status Quo also recorded two shows at Glasgow Apollo in 1976, and released them as a live album, called simply “Live”. The record is one of the few that manages to capture the excitement and rawness of a band at the height of their powers, and documents just how great Quo live were in those days. That it was recorded at the Apollo was entirely appropriate; the great venue had, along with Hammy Odeon and Brid Spa, become a second home for the band. The Glasgow crowds really knew how to rock and got fully behind Quo. On the other side of the coin, if a Glasgow crowd didn’t like a band, they would let them know. The “Live” album was the blueprint for the recent classic frantic four line-up reunion.
Typical setlist of the period: Junior’s Wailing, Mad about the Boy, Backwater / Just take me, Is there a better Way, Little Lady / Most of the Time, 4500 Times, Rain, Roll over lay Down, Don’t waste my Time, Roadhouse Blues, Caroline, Bye Bye Johnny.
It was 1978 before I saw Quo again, when they returned to the Reading festival as triumphant headliners. I’ll write about that weekend of rock tomorrow.