I found several slightly tattered A4 sheets of paper in a box in the attic a few years ago.
I had written down all the gigs I went to, from my first in 1979 to 1990 when I stopped writing them down.
This first list starts in December 1979 when I had just turned 14. My first ever gig was The Police and Squeeze at the Lewisham Odeon in South East London.
This was a Capital Radio ‘Tickets For Toys’ concert. My cousin Christine Olga (who is three years older than me), went up to London with her friends and managed to get the tickets by giving toys for Help A London Child. They had to sleep on the pavement as they’d got there the night before and joined the queue. Sting came round at about 2am with hot chocolate for some of them!
So thanks to Christine Olga, Squeeze, were the first band I ever saw live. A very nice starting point.
I loved Squeeze. I still have loads of their coloured vinyl 7″ singles. Including ‘Cool For Cats‘, from 1979 in pink. I started a Record Club at my school, St. Tarcicius in Camberley, Surrey. I organised it that we were allowed to bring singles in, to play on the school’s record player on Friday lunch times. ‘Cool For Cats’ was a favourite with me…(along with ‘The Diary of Horace Wimp’ by E.L.O.). The Record Club was short lived though. It got banned after I was off ill one week and the boys in my class ran it without me. They were all found dancing on the desks and singing along to the Tom Robinson Band ’Sing If You’re Glad To Be Gay’ at the top of their voices by a horrified teacher (it was a Catholic middle school and the teacher was Sister Bartholomew). I think they thought they were being punk. Possibly a few of them were in fact gay and glad about it. Anyway, that was the end of the Record Club.
I found these photos on-line recently – the track isn’t live, but the photos are from that night.
The first band I ever saw……Squeeze.
After they had played (I think it was Jools Holland‘s last gig), the air of anticipation really intensified.
The album ‘Regatta de Blanc’ had just been released and The Police were number one in the singles chart with ‘Walking On The Moon’; the follow up to ‘Message In A Bottle‘. I had turned 14 two weeks previously and this was an extremely exciting night for me. People started randomly shouting ‘Sting!’ and cheering every time a roadie came on stage to adjust something.
Then the lights went down, the cheer went up and they were on stage. We danced and jumped around in front of our seats and sang along to every word. We smiled at each other and threw our arms in the air. An hour or so later, we spilled out into a cold December night. The Police had finished and I had been to my first gig. Many were to follow!