Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.
Archive for the ‘Tygers of Pan Tang’ Category
Posted by vintagerock in 01 Band, Angel Witch, Broken Home, Budgie, Def Leppard, Fischer Z, Gillan, Girl, Grand Prix, Hellions, Iron Maiden, Krokus, Magnum, Nine Below Zero, Pat Travers, Praying Mantis, Quartz, Reading festival, Red Alert, Rory Gallagher, Samson, Slade, Sledgehammer, Trimmer & Jenkins, Tygers of Pan Tang, UFO, White Spirit, Whitesnake, Writz. Tagged: classic rock, concert, concerts, festival, gig, gigs, heavy metal, heavy rock, music, NWOBHM, rock, rock n roll. 4 comments
Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
Tygers of Pan Tang Newcastle City Hall 13th May 1981 & Newcastle Mayfair 3rd Sep 1982
The Tygers of Pan Tang were formed in Whitley Bay. For readers who are not from the North East, Whitley Bay is a seaside town. close to Newcastle upon Tyne. The original Tygers line-up was Robb Weir (guitar), Rocky (bass), Jess Cox (vocals) and Brian Dick (drums). They released the single “Don’t Touch Me There” in 1979 and the album “Wild Cat” in 1980. I saw the original band several times at gigs in the north east; I think at their old stomping ground The Rex Hotel in Whitley Bay, and possibly at the Old 29 and/or the Mecca in Sunderland. I also saw them supporting Magnum at Redcar Coatham Bowl and The Scorpions at Newcastle City Hall. John Sykes (later of Thin Lizzy) joined the band during 1980; soon afterwards Jess Cox left and was replaced by Jon Deverill.
The new line-up recorded their second album “Spellbound” and went out on a headline tour to promote it. I won a competition in a local paper and as my prize received a clutch (I think it was 6 or 8!) tickets for the City Hall gig, a sweatshirt, a copy of the new “Spellbound” album and some badges. Result 🙂 ! So I played my prize to get to know the songs ready for the gig. A group of us met in Steels club on the night of the concert and drove through to the City Hall in a couple of cars, clutching our free tickets (note the ticket stamped “COMPLIMENTARY”. Support came from Magnum (a bit of an about turn, as the Tygers had supported them just a year earlier) and Alcatraz, who I can only assume were a NWOBHM band and not to be confused with Alkatraz (a Man spin-off band who I had seen a few years earlier) or Alcatrazz (a band formed in 1983 by vocalist extraordinaire Graham Bonnet, guitar ace Yngwie Malmsteen and ex-Maiden drummer Clive Burr). The City Hall wasn’t full for the gig, but the Tygers performed a set of class metal, fronted by the powerful front trio of Jon Deverill who stood stage front open shirted, mane of long hair, confidently and powerfully screaming the vocals, John Sykes who was already a rock star in his head and you just knew it to watch him, and founder and guitar anchor Robb Weir. They released a great version of “Love Potion No 9” around the same time. John Sykes left shortly afterwards the tour to join Thin Lizzy, and was replaced by Fred Purser from Penetration, which is the line-up I saw at the Mayfair in 1982. The Tygers were one of the better bands to emerge from the NWOBHM genre. Robb Weir fronts a reformed Tygers to this day.
PS. I’ve just found this great flyer, in a pile of things in my room. It shows bands coming to Newcastle Mayfair (Rock on Friday!) in 1980: Vardis, Quartz, Anglewitch and Tygers of Pan Tang (with special guest DJ Alan Robson 🙂 ). All very NWOBHM. It also advertises “Forthcoming attractions in October: 5 Giants of the rock world: Gillan, The Scorpions, Cheap Trick, Motorhead, AC/DC. Tickets on sale now!” Happy days.
Scorpions Newcastle City Hall 13th May 1980
Scorpions released their seventh studio album “Animal Magnetism” in March 1980, and returned to the UK in May 1980 to promote it. I saw them at Newcastle City Hall on 13th May. Support came from excellent local rock band Tygers of Pan Tang. The Tygers were formed in 1978 by Robb Weir (guitar) who recruited Brian Dick (drums), Rocky (bass), and Jess Cox (vocals). By 1980 they had built a local following, and were staring to break nationally as part of the NWOBHM, and were busy recording their debut album `Wild Cat` which was released later in the year.
Scorpions were now well and truly established in the UK as a fully fledged member of the heavy metal rock fraternity, and a packed City Hall gave them the customary rowdy reception, reserved for metal heroes.
This was another great performance, and a powerful rock double bill. “Loving You Sunday Morning” remained by favourite Scorpions song. Their new album “Animal Magnetism” was OK, but on reflection it isn’t one of their beat. It was sandwiched between the excellent “Lovedrive”, which was the album that broke them through in the UK and gave them their first succees, and “Blackout” which would follow a year or so later, and would be Scorpions most successful record release. Still there was no stopping them live, where they were a real force to be reckoned with.
Scorpions setlist: Lovedrive; Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep); Loving You Sunday Morning; We’ll Burn the Sky; Animal Magnetism; The Zoo; Holiday; Lady Starlight; Always Somewhere; Pictured Life; Make It Real; He’s a Woman – She’s a Man; Another Piece of Meat; Robot Man; In Trance; Steamrock Fever; Can’t Get Enough
My ticket for this gig is particularly creased….we were reasonably close to the front..not sure if that says anything about how hot, loud and wild it was 🙂
Magnum in concert late 70s and early 80s
Magnum are a greatly under-rated rock band. Their music is a blend of heavy rock and prog, and their debut album “Kingdom on Madness” is a classic of the prog genre. I saw the band live 5 or 6 times during the period 1978 to 1985, and always enjoyed their shows. The first time I came across Magnum was when a group of us went to see Whitesnake at Newcastle City Hall, in 1978. Magnum already had some profile, as they were listed as special guests on the ticket.They were pretty impressive that night, to the extent that my mates and I went to see them quite a few times in the years that followed. This included two or three great gigs at Redcar Bowl; one in 1980 (with local NWOBHM heroes Tygers of Pan Tang as support), and one in 1985. I also have a programme for the 1984 Spring Tour, so suspect I may also have seen them at Redcar then. I also saw them play at Reading 1980 and supporting Z Z Top at Donington in 1985.The mainstays of the band were (and are to this day) Bob Catley (vocals), Tony Clarkin (guitar and main songwriter), and Mark Stanway (keyboard). The songs I remember most are “All of my Life” from their second album (always resulting in lots of singing along by the crowd) and the title track of their debut album “Kingdom on Madness”, both of which were highlights of their live set in those days, and came towards the end of the show, or as part of the encore. Magnum split in 1994 and reformed in 2001, and continue to play to this day.