Wishbone Ash New England tour Newcastle City Hall 14th November 1976
Support from Supercharge
Wishbone Ash released their sixth album “Locked In” in early 1976. It featured much softer rock songs, and wasn’t as successful as their previous lps. They soon, however, followed this with their seventh album “New England” which was released later in 1976 and was a return to the traditional Wishbone Ash style. “New England” was recognised by fans and critics as classic Ash and was a much bigger success than “Locked In”. “New England” contained much harder rock songs along with soft rock ballads, and the classic twin guitar style returned in force.
Wishbone Ash toured to promote “New England”, calling at Newcastle City Hall on 14th November 1976. Support came from Supercharge; a great Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly. Supercharge built up quite a following in the mid-70s gigging a lot on the college and club circuit; I remember seeing them several times, at Newcastle Poly and Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt, I think. They were always good fun and guaranteed a good night.
Andy Powell from my “New England” tour programme: “We’ve finally pulled all the elements together. We finally got back to what Wishbone Ash is all about…For a while we lost direction and had an identity problem. This band has never been hyped. Anyone with longevity has substance.’New England’ will confirm that substance.”
The programme goes on: “Like six years beofe, Wishbone Ash will provide a pleasant musical change from recent bands more adept at applying eye mascara and spitting blood capsules into the audience than playing musical instruments. The return of the guitar hero awaits your viewing pleasure. Although Wishbone Ash now live in America, they have retained those distinct British characteristics that have always been the trademark of their music. Upton will undoubtedly address the audience from centre stage, exposing his latest footwear [Now that rings a bell, Steve Upton would always show off his new shoes and colourful socks]. Turner will still split out vocals with fierce aggression while laying down the firm foundation of rhythmic support with drummer Upton. And another generation of aspiring guitarists will soon discover two idols to mould their styles after. Powell and Wisefield have taken those initial twin guitar relationships into untrodden territory….Wishbone Ash are blowin’ free once again.” And indeed they were.
When I opened my programme yesterday, possibly for the first time since the concert almost 39 years ago, I discoverd a flexi disc had been popped safely inside. This must have been given away on the night, and features snippets of four tracks from “New England”: “Outward Bound”; “Runaway”; “Mother of Pearl”; and “(In all my dreams) You Rescue Me”. I put it on my record player and played it, possibly for the first time. Straight away the music took me right back; the record started with some quite heavy rock, but soon the familiar twin guitar sounds came, weaving their way towards the melody. Classic stuff 🙂
The 1976 Newcastle concert was another excellent Wishbone Ash performance. The set featured old favourites, several songs from”New England” and a couple from “Locked In”.
Based on published setlists it is likely to have been something like this: Jail Bait (from “Pilgrimage”); Time Was; Blowin’ Free; Warrior; The King Will Come (all from “Argus”); Rest in Peace (from “Locked In”); Runaway; (In all my dreams) You Rescue Me; Lorelei; Outward Bound (all from “New England”); Bad Weather Blues (live favourite); Mother of Pearl (“New England”); Persephone (“There’s the Rub); It Started in Heaven (“Locked In”)
Archive for the ‘Supercharge’ Category
Wishbone Ash New England tour Newcastle City Hall 14th November 1976
Queen Hyde Park 18th September 1976
Support from Kiki Dee, Steve Hillage, and Supercharge.
The last open air festival event I went to in the long hot summer of 1976 was Queen in Hyde Park. A group of us went down to London by train on a day return ticket, returning straight after the concert on the mail train which pulled out of Kings Cross at midnight. This was a free concert, which drew a crowd of over 150,000, and was organised by Richard Branson. The line-up consisted of Supercharge, Steve Hillage and Kiki Dee. Kiki Dee had just been No 1 in the charts with Elton John and their massive hit Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. There were lots of rumours about that Elton would join her onstage for the song, but he didn’t; instead she was accompanied by a life-size cardboard Elton figure, and we all had to sing the Elton parts with her. Steve Hillage was quite popular at the time, and was great on the day, lots of glissando guitar, and amazing psychedelic trippy versions of the Beatles’ All Too Much, and Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man. There was a big fight in the crowd during his set. But the day belonged to Queen. It was quite a brave move headlining such a major event at what was still a relatively early point in their career, but they pulled it off and were as majestic as ever. Their set was relatively short, around an hour, because of curfew and time restrictions. Apparently Queen were prevented from returning for their usual long encore by the Police. This was just before they released the Day At The Races album. Freddy was amazing, although from where we were standing he was a tiny white figure shining across the massive sea of people (no big screens to watch in those days).
Setlist: A Day At the Races Intro; Bohemian Rhapsody; Ogre Battle; Sweet Lady; White Queen (As It Began); Flick of the Wrist; You’re My Best Friend; Bohemian Rhapsody; Killer Queen; The March of the Black Queen; Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise); Bring Back That Leroy Brown; Brighton Rock; Son and Daughter; ’39; You Take My Breath Away; The Prophet’s Song; Death on Two Legs; Stone Cold Crazy; Keep Yourself Alive; Liar; In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited
The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
It was August Bank Holiday 1976 and I was back at Reading for the annual festival. By now a group of us went every year, usually traveling down in the back of a hired transit van. The line-up for this festival wasn’t as strong as previous years, and included a mix of reggae, classic rock, underground and heavy metal bands. Punk was on the horizon, but yet to break through. The other memories I have are of rain (some, but not lots in 1976, as I recall), mud, lots of drunkenness (by us, and every one else as I remember), and lots (and I mean lots) of can fights, which seemed fun at the time, but were probably actually pretty dangerous. If you got a half-full can of Watney’s Red Barrel on the back of your head, you really knew about it, and several people must have come home from the festival with pretty nasty cuts and scars. The festival was moving from a friendly, hippy vibe to a drunken, laddish, almost aggro vibe. This also matched the way the line-up and the music would develop, as it moved more to heavy metal in the late ’70s. The main attraction for us this year was Rory, who was the man, and a hero to us all.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Stallion (don’t recall who they were), Roy St John (American pub rock), U Roy (reggae), Supercharge (a Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly, who had quite a bit of success in the mid-70s and played a lot up and down the country; I remember seeing them several times), Mighty Diamonds (reggae), Mallard (Cpt Beefheart’s original Magic Band, and pretty good too) and headliners the hippy, trippy and quite weird Gong. I remember watching Mallard and Gong, who were both pretty good.
Saturday had Nick Pickett (a folk singer, who I’d seen supporting Curved Air a few years earlier), Eddie & The Hot Rods (classed as pub rock as much as punk at this stage), Moon, Pat Travers (ace guitarist), Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Sadista Sisters, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Van Der Graaf Generator, Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, Camel and Rory Gallagher. Stand outs for me were Van Der Graaf who played an amazing extended version of Killer (John Peel: “Bloody marvellous, Van der Graaf Generator. Come on let’s here it for them”), Manfred Mann, and Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, which was seen as a pretty big deal at the time as Phil had assembled a stella line-up of himself (guitar), ex-Roxy compatriot Brian Eno (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, piano and clavinet) and Lloyd Watson (ace slide-guitar, vocals). The 801 band released one album, and a live lp which was recorded at one of three gigs that they played, at the Festival Hall. They played a great version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. But Rory was the highlight of the weekend. We were all massive fans, and made our way to the front of the crowd for his set, which was just amazing. A recording of Rory’s set that night exist which shows that he played: Take What I Want; Bought and Sold; Everybody Wants To Know; Drinkin’ Muddy Water; Tattoo’d Lady; Calling Card; Secret Agent; Pistol Slapper Blues; Too Much Alcohol; Souped-Up Ford and Bullfrog Blues. The Rory Gallagher band was Rory (guitar, vocals), Lou Martin (keyboards), the great Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Rod de’Ath (drums).
Sunday featured: Howard Bragen; Aft; The Enid (who got the crowd singing along with Land Of Hope And Glory and became a festival favourite), A Band Called ‘O’; Back Door (very jazzy); Sassafras; Brand X (featured Phil Collins on drums); AC/DC (one of their early UK appearances, and just blew everyone away; Angus and Bon Scott on top form); Sutherland Bros & Quiver; Ted Nugent (had some arguments with the crowd who were throwing cans at him); Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy to the Rescue 🙂 ) and Osibisa (who were billed as special mystery guests, which seemed a bit of a let down, but got the crowd going and went down well).
Another fun time had by all 🙂
Note; for the first time there was an official glossy programme, as well as the newspaper programme, produced by the local Evening Post. Both are pictured here.