Sunday, 20 March 2011


The first serious international concert I ever attended was a triple bill - The Who, The Small Faces and mod moppet Sandy Shaw - at that venerable, but now defunct venue Festival Hall in 1968. Big moment involving major life-style decisions. What to wear - corduroy hipsters, best Westminster Boutique shirt, Italian loafers plus an extra workout with the hair brush.

I never saved that concert ticket, but recently found most of my tickets from the '70s, some of which are framed below.{Hit the magnification button) Now there are some pretty good musical memories here when combined with their corresponding back stories of serious excess.

However, one of these concert moments stands out as both extemely embarrassing and Monty Pythonesque. We are referring to probably the worst example of English prog-rock excess, a band which went far beyond the pretensions of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Focus and Super Tramp combined and all that inflated seriousness which characterised the '70s, until the the Sex Pistols vomited on the whole edifice.

Q. Scan pic below, recall all those guitarists of the period who fell prey to the fashion of the twin necked guitar, and you have the culprits.

A. It was YES and they still stalk the memory lane circuit to this day after minor repair work at the fat farm and botox clinic.

And the Pythonesque dimension. Well, the promoters didn't read the fine print and forgot to book a local warm up act as required by law. The whole gig was delayed while they raced over to the seedy D'Brazil night club, and seconded a third rate comedian in a safari suit with his repetoire of tasteless 'boom boom' jokes.

A collective What the Fuck is Happening!
I don't feel very comfortable in this Parallel Universe?
Finally, reasoning kicked in with "I knew there there was something wrong with that bloody acid".


  1. First major live gig I ever went to was Arcade Fire on their second album tour back in 2007. Awesome band, didn't love their last album though.

  2. Since I sold off four metres of very rare vinyl a few years ago to finance my China mortgage, pretty well lost interest in listening to music, and have adopted the post-modernist position: prefer to read about it.

    Lost interest in live gigs decades ago after seeing Bob Marley (tres cred this one), since concerts today are clinical, corporate antisceptic affairs sans drugs, alcohol and general mayhem.

    2007?? FOARP I'm trying to guess your age. Cheers

  3. Born sometime after 1st Jan 1980 I'm afraid. saw a lot of small gigs by never-to-become-huge bands during my student years, then coped some good gigs after I went back to London to do my Master's in '07. Alexandra Palace with my bro behind the bar, the band doing a brilliant set (apparently they sucked at Glastonbury, but at an indoors venue like Ally Pally they totally rocked). Drugs at live venues? Security perhaps et rough at the gate, but once you're in every gig I've been to there've been 'nuff people smoking.

  4. FOARP Here is a pretty neat factoid.

    Also Bob Marley.

    However, Suu Kyi's choice of Lee Perry is disappointing, since my namesake was the founder and exemplary exponent of the Dub mix.If you read up, you will find that Perry definitely had kangaroos in the top paddock.