Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 24th May 1981

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 24th May 1981
whitesnaketix81Support from Billy Squier
In 1981 Whitesnake recorded “Come an’ Get It” which made No. 2 in the UK lp chart. It was kept off the No. 1 slot by Adam and the Ants’ Kings of the Wild Frontier. Two singles were released from the album: the Top 20 hit “Don’t Break My Heart Again” and the Top 40 hit “Would I Lie to You”. The band toured the UK in Spring, and this time their popularity had grown to the extent that they could sell out multiple nights at the top concert venues, including two nights at Newcastle City Hall. I went to the first night, and it was another great gig. Whitesnake were now one of the top heavy rock acts in the UK. A Whitesnake gig was heavy rock with a soul, featuring extended yet measured guitar and organ solos which came from the heart, rather than for flashiness or effect. And Coverdale was nothing short of amazing, his passion for the blues ripping and screaming its way through his performance, and his vocal ability simply outstanding.
whitesnakeprog81I saw the band a few months later when they appeared second on the bill to headliners AC/DC at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington.
After the 1981 tour David Coverdale took time out from music, as his daughter was not well, which put Whitesnake on hold for a short while. Coverdale also felt that some of the members of the band were becoming a little complacent. There were also rows over money, and Coverdale felt that the rest of the band lacked his ambition to push Whitesnake onwards and upwards, so he ultimately came to the decision in early 1982 to disband the line-up entirely. There were shortly to re-emerge with a new line-up, but more of that tomorrow.
Setlist from City Hall 1981: Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Sweet Talker; Ready an’ Willing; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Till the Day I Die; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Take Me with You; Come On; Wine, Women an’ Song

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: 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
readingprog80Sunday 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.

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 18th October 1979

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 18th October 1979
whitesnaketix79Support from Marseille
Former Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice joined Whitesnake in 1979. The band now included three former Purple members in Coverdale, Lord and Paice, and the new line-up recorded “Love Hunter”. This was the album that defined the early band, consolidated their position as heavy rock champions and started a journey to stardom which would continue on an upward trajectory for the next decade. The album features the excellent blues-rock anthem “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and the title track is a fine slab of rock which showcases Moody’s slide guitar. The unforgettable and controversial cover art, which was also on the tour programme, features a naked woman riding a great big snake. The woman is clearly mesmerised by the evil looking snake (which surprisingly isn’t all white).
whitesnakemitchpic79Whitesnake toured in October 1979 to promote “Love Hunter”, still on a high from the success of closing the Reading festival. Support for the tour came from Liverpool rockers Marseille, who had been the first band to win “UK Battle of the Bands” in 1977. I saw Whitesnake when they returned to Newcastle City Hall on 18th October for a triumphant performance.
In 1979 Whitesnake had everything going for them; a rock god vocalist with the most powerful and soulful voice you could find on any stage, a pair of excellent blues guitarists, the best Hammond organ player in rock, and now a legendary rock drummer.
whitesnakeprog79Add to that a growing collection of blues rock classics and you had the recipe for a great rock performance. And that is exactly what Whitesnake delivered. But there was much more to Whitesnake than heavy rock; this band had a soul, a passion and a feel for the blues unlike any other band.
When Coverdale sang “I love the blues, They tell my story, If you don’t feel it you can never understand” in “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” you felt that he meant it.
Setlist: Come On; You ‘n’ Me; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Steal Away; Mistreated; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Lovehunter; Lie Down (A Modern Love Song); Take Me with You
Encores: Breakdown; Statesboro Blues/Rock Me Baby.
Thanks to Mitch for his photo, taken at this gig.

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979readingprog79
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
reading79badgeWe 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:
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.
readingpaper79Sunday 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.

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 26th October 1978

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 26th October 1978
whitesnaketix78Support from Magnum
David Coverdale embarked on a solo career in 1977 after the split of Deep Purple. His first solo album “White Snake” was released in February 1977. All the songs were written by David Coverdale and Micky Moody, who was also guitarist in David’s band. The album wasn’t particularly successful, but its title inspired the name of Coverdale’s future band, which was to come together one year later. In early 1978 Coverdale released his second solo album “Northwinds”. The band which was to be Whitesnake was already coming together. In June 1978 the “Snakebite” EP was released, which contained the Whitesnake favourite, their cover of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”. Coverdale: “Originally I had no plans to actually record ‘Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City’…if you can believe it…a song that connects so deeply with so many that I still play it today, 25 years later.”
whitesnake78prog I first saw Whitesnake at Newcastle City Hall in October 1978. They had just released the “Trouble” album, and this was the first night of their first major tour of UK concert halls. The line-up was David Coverdale (vocals), Micky Moody (guitar), Bernie Marsden (guitar), Neil Murray (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Dave Dowle (drums). Jon Lord had just joined. From the programme: “David Coverdale and Whitesnake – two names that have imprinted themselves on the British Rock media and the public in the last nine months….David Coverdale and Whitesnake left audiences and industry aware that a brilliant, yet deeply experienced new force had arrived on the rock scene.”
Whitesnake were heavy but soulful. Much more bluesy than Purple, but also heavier. Coverdale had an incredible voice; one minute he could be singing the most soulful gentle blues, and then he would thrust his head back, that mane of hair would sway behind him, and he would bellow and scream some of the rockiest songs to be heard on a concert stage anywhere. And with Jon Lord in the band, you knew that they had to play some Purple songs. Their versions of “Might Just Take Your Life” and “Mistreated” were pure class. “Mistreated” in particular was a tour de force for Whitesnake; particularly because of Coverdale’s amazing vocal performances of the song. But Whitesnake wasn’t just the David Coverdale show; this was a strong rock band with two excellent guitarists who both understood, and could play, the blues, and in Jon Lord the greatest exponent of the Hammond organ.
Phil Sutcliffe, reveiwing the concert is Sounds (11 November 1978): ‘Mistreated’: the most astonishing first line I’ve ever heard is Coverdale gathering into that bellow of “I’ve been Mistreated”: the sort of passion that whitesnakeredcarmitch78enabled Samson to pull down the Philistine temple; the song is magnificent and raw, an insight like an old roaster’s painting of a butcher’s shop, life as red meat; at the end Coverdale throws his head back and howls like a wolf and we roar at him; “You like the blues? Of course you f***ing do – all northerners like the blues and don’t we know it”. Whitesnake were incredible that night, and the Newcastle heavy rock brigade now had a new band to worship alongside Rainbow and Gillan.
I saw Whitesnake 10 or so times over the next 5 or 6 years and will write about those gigs over the next week.
Setlist: Come On; Might Just Take Your Life (Deep Purple cover); Lie Down (A Modern Love Song); Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Trouble; Steal Away; Mistreated; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Take Me with You; Rock Me Baby; Breakdown.
Thanks to Mitch for his photo of David Coverdale and Whitesnake, which he took at an earlier concert at Redcar Coatham Bowl on 24th March 1978.

W.A.S.P. Newcastle Mayfair Rock Night 21st Sep 1984

W.A.S.P. Newcastle Mayfair Rock Night 21st Sep 1984
wasptixIt was Friday Rock night at Newcastle Mayfair and the headline band was a new act, called W.A.S.P. Now W.A.S.P. are an American heavy metal band, whi formed in 1982, and emerged from the same L.A. scene as Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, and Ratt (and later Guns N’ Roses). There has been a lot of speculation about what the band’s name means, and whether it actually stands for anything. One interpretation is “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants”, particularly as the early W.A.S.P. song “Show No Mercy” contains the repeated line “White Anglo-Saxon / A violent reaction”. However, the original U.S. release of their debut album had the words “We Are Sexual Perverts” inscribed on both sides around the label in the center. When asked about the band’s name leader Blackie Lawless avoided giving a straight answer: “We Ain’t Sure, Pal.” In a later interview, Lawless stated the main reason for the name was the full stops (periods), and that they created a “question mark of uncertainty” to make W.A.S.P. stand out more.
waspprog2These guys were crazy, wild heavy rock theatre. From the fold-out poster programme that I bought at the gig”: “W.A.S.P. is extreme heavy metal. They don’t stop with leather and studs, chains and spikes – they wield circular sawblades onto metal codpieces and armbands. Bare-assed on stage, they throw raw meat at the audience and drink blood from a skull – and this is only the beginning. Blackie Lawless (leader, lead singer, bass, songwriter) hung out with Ace Frehley (Kiss) in a tough street gang until being seriously stabbed at the age of 13. He went on to a two-year sentence at a military school in Florida. After 18 months Blackie was expelled for beating up a sergeant major, but he broke his knuckles in the process….Blackie took up guitar and did a stretch with the notorious New York Dolls. Randy Piper (guitar) quit school at 15 and slowly worked his way to L.A. He worked 10 days in Disneyland sweeping up, before getting fired for drunkenness. Tony Richards (drums) got himself thrown out of a dozen different schools for various kinds of anti-social behavior by the time he was 15. Included with the more common fighting, drinking and drug charges were getting caught in the closet with a young female teacher and burning the school’s football team’s equipment. Chris Holmes (guitar), the madman whose mother was a Hells Angel (and still beats the shit out of people who argue too much). Chris was kicked out of school at the tender age of 7 – for savagery. These four guys were obviously meant for each other.”
Is this for real ? 🙂

waspprog1The programme went on: “By May of 1983, W.A.S.P. could sell out the 3000 seat Santa Monica Civic and put on a show that was truly over the top and very controversial. Blackie arranged for a Red Cross Blood Drive during a three-day sod-out run at the Troubadour: fans who gave blood would get in free. But when the Red Cross found out that Blackie drinks animal blood on stage, they didn’t want the band’s blood, or most of the fan’s blood, either. A greater controversy exists over the ‘rack’ [W.A.S.P. would torture a girl on a rack on stage] and feminist groups condemn the onstage treatment of women by W.A.S.P. …YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.”
W.A.S.P. had just released their latest single “Animal (**** Like a Beast)” and their eponymous debut album, and delighted the Geordie rock crowd with a typically OTT performance of slabs of heavy metal, and very un-PC rock theatre. Good unclean fun. Support came from UK NWOBHM glamsters Wrathchild. I saw W.A.S.P. again at Donington a few years later, and they were equally crazy. Now a Born Again Christian, Blackie Lawless continues to lead W.A.S.P to this day.
Setlist: On Your Knees; The Flame; Hellion; L.O.V.E. Machine; Sleeping (in the Fire); Tormentor; School Daze; The Torture Never Stops; I Wanna Be Somebody; Animal (*** Like a Beast)

Van Halen Newcastle City Hall 17th June 1980

Van Halen Newcastle City Hall 17th June 1980
vanhalen80tix Van Halen in 1980 was all about crazy, OTT, wild rock excess, and the classiest, loudest rock’n’roll on the planet. We just knew when we arrived at the City Hall and saw loads of mega size trucks parked in a line outside, that this was gonna be some show. That feeling continued when we entered the venue and saw that the stage had been built outward so that it covered the first few rows of the stalls.
Van Halen’s 1980 contract rider says it all. The venue was required to provide: potato chips with assorted dips; nuts; pretzels; M & M’s (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES 🙂 ); 12 peanut butter cups; 12 assorted yogurt (on ice); 48 large, bath-size cloth towels; 100 cups for cold drinks (16 oz., waxed paper); 50 styrofoam cups (minimum 10 oz.) for hot drinks; forks, knives and spoons (metal, not plastic); serving utensils, corkscrew, bottle and can openers; salt and pepper (in shakers); tablecloths; napkins (paper); 2 large bars Ivory soap; large tube KY Jelly! Wow!
Van Halen arrived on stage a little the worse for wear; there had obviously been some back stage drinking activities. Although there performance may not have been as tight as in previous visits to the City Hall, what they lacked in slickness they certainly made up for in craziness.
Setlist: Romeo Delight; Bottoms Up!; Runnin’ With the Devil; Tora! Tora!; Loss of Control; Take Your Whiskey Home; Dance the Night Away; Women In Love; Jamie’s Cryin’; Bright Lights, Big City; Everybody Wants Some!!; And the Cradle Will Rock…; Light Up the Sky; Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love. Encore: Ice Cream Man; You Really Got Me
vanhalenprog80I saw Van Halen on one further occasion, when they appeared second on the bill to AC/DC at the 1984 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington. The word on street (or, rather, in the field) was that Halen would blow AC/DC off the stage, and although, that didn’t quite happen as AC/DC delivered a stella performance (how could they not, as headline act, with a big show, and the darkness of night on their side?) Van Halen were undoubtedly great that day. “Jump” and the album “1984” had just been released and they were on a roll. Dave Lee Roth had some great rap with the crowd, famously saying in reaction at some cans being thrown about: “Don’t be throwing no shit up on stage, but that’s alright I know who threw that bottle and after the show pal I’m gonna f**k your girl friend man”. They played tracks from their new “1984” album, did a great cover of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” and closed, as usual, with their cover of the Kinks “You Really Got Me”. And then a big bell came down from the roof of the stage, signally the arrival of AC/DC (but that’s another story).
Donington Setlist 1984: Unchained; Hot for Teacher; On Fire; Runnin’ With the Devil; Little Guitars; House of Pain; I’ll Wait; Everybody Wants Some!!; Oh, Pretty Woman; 1984; Jump; Panama; You Really Got Me
There really was no-one else like Van Halen in the late 70s and early 80s. Pure rock’n’roll class.

Van Halen Newcastle City Hall 26th June 1979

Van Halen Newcastle City Hall 26th June 1979
vanhalentix79Van Halen were just about the hottest new rock’n’roll act on the planet. I’d seen them once before when they supported Sabbath on their 1978 UK tour and they blew Sabbath off the stage. This time they were back to play two nights at the City Hall. I went along on the first night (note the typo in their name on the ticket 🙂 ). Van Halen had the perfect recipe for hard rock. In David Lee Roth they had the ultimate flamboyant rock god singer, mane of blonde hair, shirt open to his waist, tight skinny jeans and energy, craziness, and jumping around like you have never seen. Oh and the guy could sing too. Eddie Van Halen was the slickest cool showman guitar player, with a the fastest finger tapping technique you’d ever seen. These two guys were 110% showmen with massive egos, both sparring for the audience’s attention; you could just see why conflict between them would surface in later years. Eddie’s brother Alex Van Halen was hidden behind a massive drum kit pounding away, and bass player Michael Anthony was far from the silent type, providing back vocals and dancing while keeping solid rhythm. vanhalenprog79This tour was around the time of the release of their second album and their set contained classic Halen tracks: “Runnin’ with the Devil”, Eddie’s guitar solo “Eruption” and the band’s first US hit single, “Dance the Night Away.” They also did great covers of the Kink’s “You Really Got Me” and “You’re No Good”. These guys were LOUD, fast, crazy, straight in your face, triumphant and a whole lot of fun. We came out of the City Hall with our ears ringing and smiles right across our faces.
Setlist: Light Up the Sky; Somebody Get Me a Doctor; Runnin’ With the Devil; Dance the Night Away; Beautiful Girls; On Fire; You’re No Good; Jamie’s Cryin’; Feel Your Love Tonight; Outta Love Again; Ice Cream Man; Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love; Eddie Guitar Solo (Eruption and Spanish Fly); You Really Got Me; Bottoms Up!; Atomic Punk

Venom Newcastle City Hall 3rd October 1985

Venom Newcastle City Hall 3rd October 1985
VenomprogVenom are, according to their official site: “the original inventers and founders of Black Metal, the creators of Thrash, Speed, Death and Power Metal, the deadliest force ever to hit the music scene, the original sinners playing the Devil’s music at its highest intensity, the ultimate Rock n’ Roll band in the universe, Venom, hell f**ing yeah!!!!!!!.” Venom, as you might have gathered play LOUD, fast, evil, rock. They have songs called “Die Hard”, “The Seven Gates of Hell”, “Don’t Burn the Witch”, “Welcome to Hell” and “Bloodlust”. Wow! I think you may get the idea.
Venom hail from the 70’s and the North East of England, namely Newcastle, and were formed by Conrad Lant (aka: Cronos). Cronos wanted to create the ultimate metal band that was “heavier and more over the top than anything anyone had ever seen or heard before, more Satanic than Black Sabbath, louder than Motörhead, with a pyrotechnic show to rival Kiss, and with even more leather and studs than Judas Priest”. Great concept. Cronos completed his line-up and his plans for metal world domination with Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn on guitar, and Tony “Abaddon” Bray on drums, and Venom released their debut album in 1982. Venom made their debut at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1984. They always said that their stage show was so massive and that they’d never play a UK date until they could headline at a venue that could house “every last pyro and effect”. “We did it to shove two fingers up at the music industry” recalls Cronos. “we were told… there was a certain way of doing things in this industry. You had to get in a van and do all the s**t hole clubs… I said ‘Bollocks!!!, then booked the Hammersmith Odeon in London and sold it out.”
venomtixI saw them with my mate Dave at the City Hall in 1985. According to the ticket support came from Exodus and Chariot, who I have no recollection of. The gig was not that well attended, with an estimated 400 people in the 2,400 capacity hall. From the programme: “Good evening hellspawn, to the most unholy unacceptable and unspeakable blitz of metal you will ever see in your comparatively paltry lives. You are about to experience the grossest amount of sonic assault, volatile visuals and plain power Uber….you are about to experience Venom, the most magnificently powerful metal monster in the world….Ladies and Gentlemen, from the depths of Hell — Venom.”
Venom live were LOUD with scary screaming vocals over a fast thrash metal noise, and flames, explosions and other crazy pyrotechnics. Think a twisted version of Motorhead + Kiss + Sabbath + Slipknot.
An experience like no other. Truly epic.
Setlist: Too Loud (For the Crowd); Black Metal; Die Hard; Nightmare; Countess Bathory; The Seven Gates of Hell; Teacher’s Pet / Poison / Teacher’s Pet; Buried Alive; Don’t Burn the Witch; In Nomine Satanas; Welcome to Hell; Warhead; Schizo; Satanachist.
Encore: Leave Me in Hell; Bloodlust; Witching Hour

Uriah Heep Carlisle Sands Centre 30th October 2004

Uriah Heep Carlisle Sands Centre 30th October 2004
heeptix2004Support from Doogie White’s White Noise
Thanks for sticking with my during my week of ramblings on Uriah Heep. This will be my last post on that mighty, great band (at least until I see them again).
It was 2004 and I was suffering Heep withdrawal. I had foolishly lost touch with the band and it had been 19 years since I last saw them perform at a gig at Newcastle Mayfair. I read that they were touring the UK, and saw the nearest concert to me was at Carlisle Sands Centre, so I decided to go along. Carlisle is a 60 or so mile drive, and the Sands Centre is a leisure centre cum concert venue just outside the city centre. I arrived in time to catch support act Doogie White and White Noise. The ticket lists Manfred Mann’s Eartband as support, but this wasn’t the case. Doogie White was the singer in a later line-up of Blackmore’s Rainbow, and his set contained quite a few Rainbow favourites.
The 2004 line-up of Uriah Heep was Mick Box (guitar), Lee Kerslake (drums), Trevor Bolder (bass), Phil Lanzon (keyboards) and Bernie Shaw (vocals). Shaw and Lanzon both joined the band in 1986, and Shaw is now their longest serving vocalist. It was really great to see Uriah Heep again. I wasn’t sure how many old songs they would play, and whether I would know many, but I need not have worried. They started with Easy Livin’, and also played Stealin’, Gypsy, The Wizard and July Morning. The encores were Bird of Prey and Lady in Black. Shaw is an excellent front man with a great voice, and does justice to those classic Heep songs. It all came back to me, and I was once again a big fan. I’ve seen Uriah Heep on four further occasions since then, in Stockton, Workington, Newcastle and Holmfirth, and have already blogged about those shows. During that period Trevor Bolder has sadly passed away, and Lee Kerslake has retired from the band. Mick Box continues to lead the band. Long may they continue to rock.
Setlist: Easy Livin’; Shadows of Grief; Pilgrim; The Other Side of Midnight; Stealin’; Wise Man; The Wizard; Devil’s Daughter; Sunrise; Gypsy; July Morning; Look at Yourself
Encore: Bird of Prey; Lady in Black