Best viewed at 800x600 minimum res . Updated Jan
the Magic Band.
was the second time I saw Beefheart live.The whole festival was a wash out,
security collapsed , the field was flooded. but we still had a GREAT time, helped
along by the likes of The Captain,
Dr John and the Grateful
Dead. I recently got an audience tape of the Beefheart show. Surprisingly
its mostly very good. How anyone could tape in that weather was amazing. The
sound of the tape is not exactly pristine, but it brought back that wonderful
show to me more clearly.Tape quality starts out fairly muddy, but soon gets
to B+ to A- standard.
Yessss indeedy. this was a GREAT performance, although
the reviewer sells the Cap'n himself somewhat short. His voice is out of this
world. On the ac cappella Old Black
Snake he just plays with the word"sucking , over and over
and over again, stretching it out almost endlessly. Virtuoso stuff. There also
was a pretty extended break, where there was a PA problem. That's why he did Old
Black Snake just then which showcased his incredible voice. At the
time in the crowd the pa was pretty much dead, so when he sang it was more or
less non amplified , but such was the power of his voice that even though I was
about 20 metres away you could still hear him clearly , quite a feat.
Due to various backstage problems (which
plague the entire weekend ) the Magic Band have to wait
for a full hour onstage before they can get to their instruments and
plug into their amps.But once given the go ahead, finally Rockette
Morton takes off his coat and divests himself of his gloves
( its COLD )
for a moment , he reaches down into his guitar case , hauls out his
bass and straps it on, then he fits a cigar in his mouth, coolly lights
it and steps out in front on his own.
boogies, slamming massive distorted bass chords that send shivers
through the crowd, he duck walks the length of the stage. His goatee
pushes forward doing a hypnotic little dance as he bends
our collective minds with his strange syncopated bass lines, its like
watching Lenin on acid .
His introduction done ,the Magic Band come
on and join in the fun. Zoot Horn
Rollo is bizarre .He's wearing an embroidered overcoat
, a giant hat and a pair of fetching women's tights on his pipe cleaner
thin legs. He sports a pair of old sneakers to complete the ensemble.
Winged Eel Fingerling on guitar is equally odd , his
hair quiffed forward in a bizarre Elvis parody , complete with shades
( handy when its 3 a m ) .
Marimba attends to his drumming duties whilst wearing
a pair of ladies panties on his head, his hair swept up through the
crotch holes on either side in a pair of lewd pigtails .
Beefheart walks into the spotlight.
The band launch into
When it Blows Its Stacks -and suddenly the stage is full of
boogieing , swaying , dancing musicians who almost bounce off each
other in their enthusiasm , the rhythms are as usual , bizarrely catchy
, blues based but bent into weird shapes , never quite what the listener
expects to hear , they somehow make sense, but only just - its Magic
Band music and as such its unique, NO ONE else plays rock music like
this band does.
the band hit this high they just don't stop. The music attains a level
that is impossibly high but the band maintain this for a whole hour
! Its relentless, its manic, it was impossibly fucking amazing folks
and those of us who were there were privileged people , amazingly
lucky to witness this white hot cauldron of music being played during
a freezing cold night on a Lancashire stage during a festival that
was coming apart at the seams .
first fingers of a gray and pallid dawn were breaking through at 4am
when the band finished up , they had drained and entertained us all
, woken the sleeping , drawn the huddled festival goers from their
tents and sleeping bags to the stage to witness one of the best ever
sets at ANY festival .
THEY WERE TRULY AWESOME.
stage wear was also impressive, not as weird as Rollo or The Eel, but spectacular
nevertheless. As was his custom during the 1972 tour the Capn was wearing his
Sun and Moon embroidered cape, very "Spotlight Kid" looking in his black suit
and white shirt. He really was an imposing figure on stage,a massive presence
, he would prowl around during the instrumental breaks and one was drawn to him,
no matter what other madness was going on around.
There are at least
two versions of this show. The more widely circulated of the two is the one
that appears on the Grow Fins compilation,
but there is another , which is unfortunately incomplete , due to a tape speed
problem that restricts its listenable length to about 20 minutes. The unfortunate
thing is that its a far better sounding tape than the complete show . Does anyone
know of any other versions that are in existence. ?
Rockette Morton's bass solo -
The Mascara Fake.
When It Blows Its Stacks
Hobo Chang Ba.
Alice in Blunderland.
My Human Gets Me Blues.
Steal Softly Through Snow.
Spitball Scalped A Baby.
spake the Captain.
The Captain addressed us on occasions ,here's the transcript of
some of it after Abba Zabba .
"I'd like to introduce the group at this time.
On guitar, Zoot Horn Rollo
On bass, Orejon , Orejon
On drums ,percussion, Ed Marimba.
On lights, the Collie , did you see the collie ?
( I thought this was Comet,
but apparently its collie
see explanation **** below )
On bass , and guitar , Rockette
Behind the beautiful black be -bops, Winged
Eel Fingerling on guitar.
Like to do a composition from the Spotlight Kid , and the Spotlight
Kid on spotlight, Alice in Blunderland,
featuring Winged Eel Fingerling
are a few references to the Spotlight
Kid throughout the show, a reference to the spotlight
being played on the band from the lighting tower in the audience, which
was about where I stood for this show , not wanting to stand in the
water which pooled in the front of the stage.
At the beginning of the tape after Rockette Morton's bass solo,
there is some weird wordplay on The Mascara
Rockette, remarks- "'The
then during a pause in the solo Beefheart says""And
this is the Mascara Fake " Rockette then
plays his ass off some more ,pauses and then he says"-"and
this is the Mascara for gods sake"The solo
finally finishes and then Don says "
and this is the Mascara ...."to much laughter
from band and crowd alike .
**** "Did you see the Collie
"is correct, not Comet as I thought -Chris Jones
Beefheart at Bickershaw - have consulted with a friend and Beefheart definitely
said "You see the collie"
Not "you see the Comet". He was referring to a dog that got on to the stage.
This is what my mate Ray (aka Gino) says about it
. . .
Beefheart certainly did introduce the
collie since this dog wandered on stage
just a moment after Don introduced the Magic Band and called out to the Spotlight
Kid on spotlight. If you were in the crowd at the back the dog would probably
have gone unseen and the aptness of Don's quip would have been lost.
(As a first-time visitor much taken by your site,
I can add:)
The collie referred to in the article may well be the one responsible for
another remark made by the Captain:
At one stage there was a silence interrupted by a dog's bark ...
To which the good Captain quipped through his mic to the audience:
"D'yer hear that dog? ... He got in for free!"Keep on keeping on!
This from Chris Jones transcribed
from an alternative audience tape to the Grow Fins version
don't you turn off the monitors, we'll do this next composition without the
monitors. ??? we don't need the monitors to play. Doh?, oh it's not the monitor.
Now everybody's going to know we're human beings. No, I'm just kidding, I'm
kidding, I'm kidding."
He then mutters something indiscernible and the band laugh.
"If I had an electric light on right now, I wouldn't
take it out for nothing."
"All right, here we go, ah. Zoot Horn Rollo on guitar. A composition,
a composition Peon from the album Lick My Decals Off Baby. Rockette Morton
on bass this time. Thank you, thank you for waiting"
Just about everything really , as mentioned
before , Rockette Morton's
entrance was pretty much standard fare in the shows I saw in 1972 but it was
one of the most impressive ways to start a show I've ever seen. "When
it blows its stacks" and" Booglarize
you" are so heavy that its a wonder the band didn't collapse
the stage . "Click clack"
is wild. " Alice in Blunderland"
is stunning, Eel really turning on the guitarwork , which is teeth grindingly
good .Likewise the work in "Human gets me
blues" is totally demented.Beef picks up his soprano sax during
and rips forth a goodly spew of screeching and a nice little unaccompanied solo
which then segues through into "Golden Birdies,"
which is pretty much immaculate. "Spitball
Scalped A Baby " has a short drum intro and then its the
soprano again , about halfway through this the Cap'n says forcefully
" leave that alone man, leave those things
have no idea what he is referring to , although it could quite possibly
have been some audience member fiddling with something onstage as by
that time the security all had split, as the organizers made the mistake
of either paying them for the weekends work or not being able to pay
the security at all. Whatever, they all left, so the festival was free
from about Saturday onwards.This meant that by Sunday half the local
village had joined the crowd, so that during the Dead's set there were
old ladies and grizzled miners dancing with the hippies in the mud to
the strains of "Casey Jones." .
This new photo
of the Magic Band at Bickershaw courtesy of Jules
are some great photos of this show on Detlef Jurgens excellent Captain Beefheart
More Beef concerts? go here to Electricity
If you have any info regarding
the festival please get in touch Contact
Updated May 2023
- Film Stills still taken from an 8mm film shot by a local May 2023
- The Rouchon Collection : a wonderful, large collection of images from the festival from start to finish and which covers most aspects of the festival.
Grateful Dead : Photos, setlist,tapes, transcript, eye witness reviews. Updated April 2023
own Bickershaw saga. Updated June 2021
from the mud :More eyewitness accounts from intrepid Bickershaw veterans. Updated with new photos June 2021
French Review new June 2021
intended programme and the artistic dropouts
Express- Bickershaw edition,includes site map New!
photographs from Roger Hutchinson -New!
festival publicity handout
Festival Runs at a Loss
of tickets . New Sept 22nd 2001
stills from BC'S 8mm footage of Bickershaw !
Adverts in the press
of all artists who performed at the festival . Band personnel , known tapes
and setlists . Updated Jan 2011
photos : Wishbone Ash, Kinks, Family, Captain Beyond, New Riders, Country
site photographs updated Nov 2004
Beefheart : Setlist, tapes, reviews, photos
encounter with Captain Beefheart at Bickershaw:
by Charles Gee
of Captain Beyond at Bickershaw
to the main Archive.