During my tenure at Newcastle City Hall in the mid 70s as Humper, follow spot operator and eventually House Electrician, I saw hundreds of bands from the entire concert touring repertoire, from classical to hard rock, mainstream comedy to progressive contemporary. Being House L/X for a touring show in a venue was fairly easy money- it mostly involved turning the house lights off and on either side of the turns then going down to the bar if the show wasn’t too captivating. My friends in VI Form at school were envious I was a rather unusual combination of being a cool geek. (Cool for the job, Geek because I was into electronics and disco lighting).
Every now and again, we got to light some shows that weren’t touring a full rig and if we got on really well with the road crew of the big tours, they even let us light the support acts as well. This was a great treat as they had much better kit than us!
The gig I most looked forward to was Supertramp and that was a fabulous night, I’ll treasure memories of that day (and will blog about it eventually). However, the best show I ever saw was 10CC. They booked for two nights (maybe even three) and this was a much more relaxed affair when we had short residences. I watched their show the first night and even forgot to go down to the bar as their performance was so good and the atmosphere so electric. I even made a special point of watching the other show(s).
It was 1976 and the album was “How Dare You“. The bland split up the following year, Godley & Creme (the creatives) spinning off into the wierd & wonderful, whilst Gouldman and Stewart stayed on in the more commercial 10CC that still made good stuff but lost that spark that had produced the first four albums that were both brilliant and peculiar in equal measure.
One lasting memory of the gigs was the encore- they removed a black backing cloth to reveal a 10CC mirror ball- a sausage and three spinning doughnuts (the thst two with blanking pieces), focussed kilowatts of light on it and made the place look like the Hammersmith Palais whilst they rocked the joint to Rubber bullets.
Anyway, I’ve got a ticket to see them in York tomorrow night at the Grand Theatre as part of a short retrospective tour. Three decades later and three members short, it will be interesting to see what it is like. However- the support act is Kiki Dee (of don’t go breaking my heart fame with Elton John) who is teamed up with someone called Carmelo Luggeri. (By coincidence, her hit with Elton was also in 1976, the year I saw 10CC (unless it was 1975, the mind plays tricks and I haven’t found a definitive gig guide yet).
Anyway, it is a night out and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it regardless. I can’t retire to the bar though, I’m driving.