Archive for the ‘The Sweet’ Category

Sweet Newcastle City Hall 6th March 1981

Sweet Newcastle City Hall 6th March 1981
sweet81In 1979 Brian Connolly left Sweet. His alcoholism had become a problem and had started to affect the band’s music and performances. Sweet continued as a trio with Steve Priest and Andy Scott handling lead vocals, and Mick Tucker continuing on drums. Keyboard player Gary Moberley joined the group for live concerts. I saw the three piece Sweet at Newcastle City Hall in March 1981. Sadly the venue was far from full, which was a shame because this was a great show, very loud and rocky. The set was a mis of a few of the hits, and soke of the rockier album tracks. Based on a live recording of the tour rehearsals, it is likely to have been something like this: Ballroom Blitz; Burn On The Flame/Restless; Burning/Some Else Will; Two wont go; It makes me wonder; Hey mama; Love is like oxygen; Fox on the run; Done me wrong alright; Guitar solo; Action; Set Me Free; Drum Solo; Sweet FA
Sweet split at the end of the tour, playing their last gig in Glasgow on 20th March 1981.
In 1983 I saw Brian Connolly supporting Pat Benatar at Newcastle City Hall. At the time Brian was fronting his new band called Connolly’s Encore, which consisted of ex-Argent guitarist John Verity and Terry Uttley, bass player from Smokie. The next time I saw a version of Sweet, was when Brain Connolly’s Sweet played Sunderland Wearmouth Hall in the early 1990s. The line-up was Brian Connolly (lead vocals), Dave Farmer (ex Blackfoot Sue on drums), Gary Farmer (Dave’s younger brother on bass) and Steve Turner (guitar). The hall was packed and Brian and his band played pretty good versions of all the hits to the delight of a very drunk Saturday night student crowd.
In 1985 Andy Scott and Mick Tucker re-formed their own version of Sweet.
Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker both sadly passed away; Connolly in 1997 and Tucker in 2002. Andy Scott continues to front Sweet today; I saw them a couple of years ago at the Sage on a Xmas tour with Slade. Steve Priest fronts his own version of the band, which performs in the USA.

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Sweet Newcastle City Hall 2nd November 1973

Sweet Newcastle City Hall 2nd November 1973
sweettix83“Are you ready, Steve? Aha.
Andy? Yeah! Mick? OK.
Alright, fellas, let’s go!..”
Sweet were a closet heavy metal band, but then you knew that already. Sure, they hit the UK singles charts with some pure (and great) glamrock pop songs, but if you took the trouble to turn those records over, the B sides featured some proper straight-on heavy rock. Determined to seek out the secret rock band hiding behind the glitter, I went along with a couple of mates, and 2,000 screaming girls, to see Sweet at Newcastle City Hall. It was at the height of their fame in late 1973, and the place was jam packed. Sweet came on stage to “The Stripper” music, and launched headlong into “Hell Raiser”. Their camp rock show didn’t let up for the next hour. What can I say? The girls screamed. Sweet played all their hits, and camped it up; seriously tongue in cheek. Wonderful.
Support came from Sun Chariot, according to the ticket (now who were they and whatever happened to them?)
sweetprogSetlist: Hell Raiser; Burning / Someone Else Will; Rock ‘N’ Roll Disgrace; Wig-Wam Bam; Need a Lot of Lovin’; Done Me Wrong Alright; You’re Not Wrong for Lovin’ Me; The Man with the Golden Arm; Little Willy; Teenage Rampage; Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley: Keep On Knockin’ / Shakin’ All Over / Lucille / Great Balls of Fire / Reelin’ and Rockin’ / Peppermint Twist / Shout
Encore: The Ballroom Blitz; Block Buster!
The next time I saw Sweet was at Sunderland Locarno a few years later. I think it was around the time that they were in the charts with “Love is Like Oxygen”. By then their glam period had passed, and many of their teen fans had moved on. It was a rainy weekday night, and the ballroom was pretty empty. But, being the troopers that they were, Sweet put on another great performance.

“And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz
It’s it’s a ballroom blitz, it’s it’s a ballroom blitz”

The Sweet The Sage Gateshead Dec 15th 2012

Slade and Sweet The Sage Gateshead Dec 15th 2012
sweettix1 I bought a ticket for this gig on ebay for £1.75 (result!) and was particularly looking forward to seeing the latest version of the Sweet, as it is many years since I have seen the band. These days the Sweet features guitarist Andy Scott as the only original member. I’ll blog about their set, rather than Slade, as I wrote about the latest (Noddy-less) version of Slade when I saw them at London’s Koko club last christmas. sweetprog I saw the classic Sweet line-up a couple of times in the 70s, and also saw Andy, Steve Priest and Mick Tucker as a three piece in the early 80s, after Brian Connolly had left the band, and Brian Connolly’s Sweet in the early 90s. All of these line-ups were good fun in concert, so I was interested to see how this latest incarnation would shape up. Sweet started their set with Hellraiser, which sounded really good. Andy is very clearly the leader of the band, playing those chunky fuzz-toned guitar riffs that are the bedrock of all the old hits on a lovely red strat. They followed Hellraiser with New York Groove, which is the title track of their new album. Its good to see that the guys are still releasing new material. sweettix2 This new track was followed by The Six Teens, which is often forgotten, but is one of the best Sweeet hits in my view. Then we got a few of the hits: Wig Wam Bam ran straight into Little Willy. By now most of the crowd were up on their feet, singing along to every word. It was during Teenage Rampage that I looked down from my seat in the circle and saw a group of 50-something men and women singing “Recognise your age it’s a teenage rampage”; which seemed almost surreal. The next song was a cover of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round, which also appears on the new album. Love is Like Oxygen followed; a great song, written by Andy, and quite different to the rest of Sweet’s material. Then Andy paid tribute to Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker, and the “crazy journey which I was on in the 70s”, and assured us that “as long as there is breath in me”, he would be there playing with Sweet. Then they played Blockbuster, Andy introduced the members of current line-up, and they finished with Fox on the Run. Great stuff. The new line-up is very strong, with three great front men: Andy, Tony O’Hora on guitar, vocals and keyboards, and, on lead vocals and bass, local Geordie guy Peter Lincoln. The powerhouse drummer is Bruce Bisland. The current band plays all the hits in a blend of heavy rock and pop that seems entirely right. Andy looks good; great 70s style hair; very thick and long (makes me dead jealous). The crowd wouldn’t let them leave without an encore; we got Action (another great, under-rated and oft-forgotten song); and of course, the whole place then went crazy to the Ballroom Blitz. I went down to the foyer during the interval and queued in a line to meet the members of Sweet, who signed my programme. Great to shake hands with Andy Scott! Legend. A good fun set, and better that I had expected.

Pat Benatar Newcastle City Hall January 1983

Pat Benatar Newcastle City Hall January 1983
I only saw Pat Benatar once, at Newcastle City Hall in 1983 on a short UK tour. At the time she was a hard rock act; this was before her rise to mega stardom, and pop/ adult oriented rock. I knew a few of her songs at the time, notably Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Shadows of the Night”. Her big smash “Love is a Battefield” was yet to be released, although she may well have performed it. I remember the gig being a pretty good rock show. Support came from Brian Connolly of the Sweet, who was at the time fronting his new band called Connolly’s Encore, which consisted of ex-Argent guitarist John Verity and Terry Uttley, bass player from Smokie. I found a backstage pass on the floor after the gig, which I still have (see left). I googled a setlist from a March 1983 concert in the USA on setlist.fm, which was: Anxiety; Love Is a Battlefield; Hell Is for Children; Promises in the Dark; Precious Time; Fire and Ice; You Better Run; Heartbreaker; I Need a Lover; Treat Me Right; Shadows of the Night; Hit Me with Your Best Shot. I guess the set at the City Hall will have been similar.