Thursday, April 06, 2006

Of Musical Anniversaries...

... and that's what today is all about. Friday, April 6th 1973, to be exact.
My first gig, by the Band who have remained my faves ever since that day, exactly 33 years ago. Roxy Music. The place ? Green's Playhouse, in Glasgow. A former cinema first built in September, 1927. This wasn't just any old Venue, I'll have you know. The various quotes from Fans and Artists alike who have been been there, whether in the audience or stomping the boards, or indeed up on the absurdly high stage, who have so many fond memories of it always being 'the best gig in the world' as oft-quoted in the book 'Apollo Memories' will testify. But, for now, it was still Green's.
The name change to the Glasgow Apollo was to occur some 3 months later.
I have just read the aforementioned book on the venue, a great tale, with a very sad, prolonged ending. The Apollo was indeed very special, and I am so envious of the people who grabbed souvenirs from anywhere and everywhere from the building, whether at the last few gigs played there or from the rubble of 20 years ago when the demolition men eventually moved in. One guy even has 2 seats from the venue in his house ! Oh, I wish I had. After it became the Apollo in the summer of 73, I attended numerous gigs there, right through to the early 1980s (despite moving to London in 79, I would still go back for occasional concerts in my home town). It was such a great venue, it was often considered as a 'night out' whether you liked, or even knew, the Band or Artists who were playing. You would just wander up and take in whoever was on.
Sure, I saw my faves there over the years - Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Sparks, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, all stalwarts of that mid to late 70s timeline. But there were many other concerts I attended with friends as a 'walk-in' just to see what they were all about - the likes of Kevin Ayers, Bachman Turner Overdrive (surprisingly, supported by an excellent Thin Lizzy), Chuck Berry (where I, and about 50 others, ended up dancing on stage with the man himself at the final encore !) and many more, either too numerous to mention, or my brain isn't working so I can't remember them. Oh, there was Barclay James Harvest, which was pretty ermm, hippy, Man. I was scheduled to see Brian Eno which I was really looking forward to, until he fell ill, cancelled the tour, and never re-scheduled. This was waaaayyyyyy before all his ambient stuff, you know.
But, I always remember April 6th. A special day for me.
And, one day, I'll get a 'real' Apollo souvenir from someone, somewhere. A seat, a brick, an ashtray, whatever. Some things you just have to have, know what I mean ?

Johnny Reece