Updated Jan 2012
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Gang Of Four.
Lords Of The New Church.
Gateshead. Tyne and Wear.
"Seven years ago I left this town and I said I would make it. It's nice to come back and make you part of the success."
Bono seranades the masses from the scaffolding © Ian Anderson
lad Sting of headliners the Police probably meant this to be a triumphal
return to his home town after seven long years on the road, but whatever
his intentions, the arena was less than full. Estimates of attendance varied
from 6,000 to 15,000, in a venue that could accommodate 25,000.
Whatever the true number of attendees, there was plenty of room for the crowd to mingle and dance. Just why there were so few in attendance might have been due to the relatively high ticket prices ( £8 :30 ), which was quite an ask for the average young audience member in an area that had been badly hit by the industrial closures of the era. One could attend the three day Reading festival for £ 14:50 in 1981, so this ticket price was pretty steep.
Andy Summers of the Police
The weather was also pretty dull, no rain, but windswept and threatening to rain , which tends to put a downer on an outdoor event. A film crew were in attendance, which means that we can access moving images of many of the bands who performed ( see setlists below and check out youtube for performances) .
Most of the bands were well received, with the exception of the somewhat archaic punk rock of Lords of the New Church, composed of ex members of the Damned, Sham 69 and The Dead Boys , did not go down particularly well with this crowd. Stiv Bators ,Brian James ,Dave Tregunna and Nicky Turner were heroes of a bygone age and their time had passed, at least with this sort of audience.
The Gang of Four played a superb set , judging from the tracks that were filmed , their corrosive , funky sound was probably the most unique and challenging of the day, audience response seemed healthy, plenty of cheers for each number, although due to the non crowded conditions, each bands followers could infiltrate down to the front to cheer them on, so judging the support bands reception from the video soundtrack may be deceptive.
Jon King of the Gang Of Four
Right : Tour program for Gateshead
Program scan courtesy Steve Bastow
The running dog imperialist lackeys who made up the Gang of Four © Ian Anderson
The Beat ! © Ian Anderson
The Beat received a warm welcome, their up tempo ska-pop was just the thing for a stadium gig, high energy and tight , unlike the Lords , their music had not dated (and they probably had much better composing chops than anyone in the New Church in the first place, thus ensuring stronger material), despite this, the group was in its last throes and would disband in 1983 with Dave Wakelin and Ranking Roger departing to form the less successful General Public .
Second ranking band U2 had made huge strides in their popularity since the 1981 Rock On The Tyne festival, when they had appeared way down the bill. In the interim , they had toured extensively and released their second album " October" which had been quite well received in the UK . They were on their way up the tree and their live performances were full of energy .At Gateshead, Bono climbed on the PA and did his best to stir up the masses .
Bono and the Edge
Sting and his towels .....
View from the drums
The omission of a backcloth meant most of the Polices' dry ice effects was blown off the back of the stage ....
The arena looks quite full for U2
Audience response was rapt for both of the headlineing bands
The Police's set seemed to provoke very mixed responses from reviewers,some called it predictable and lacking in spontaneity . Others insisted that Sting was in a bad mood and took it out on the audience with carping remarks about Virgin records and the press. Local papers were shocked by the number of four letter words that peppered his stage announcements considering his 75 year old granny was watching him from side of stage, and other reviewers thought him relaxed and in fine form .
You can read extensive reviews on Stings site , watch clips of his set on youtube or buy the DVD and judge for yourself....
The Police © Ian Anderson
Two years later and another open air Police gig. I think the climate was a bit like Knebworth 80 but without the rain.
The event was filmed by Channel 4 and some of it appeared on their The Tube programme. There is a DVD available of The Police set although I believe it is from Korea and includes sub-titles that can't be turned off. Some of the U2 set can be found on YouTube.
Lords Of The New Church - Contained two Punk icons in Brian James (The Dammed) and Stiv Bator (The Dead Boys) - not really my cup of tea though.
Gang Of Four - Formed in Leeds but again not my kind of music.
The Beat - By this time The Beat had almost come to the end of their time as a top ten singles chart act, but it was good to hear some familiar music at last from these ska boys.
U2 - On the cusp of greatness. U2 had by this time released the critically aclaimed 'Boy' and the less satisfactory 'October'. 'War and its lead single 'New Years Day' were several months away. A typical early period U2 performance with Bono climbing the scaffolding for the PA during 'The Electric Co'.
Set List: - Gloria, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, A Day Without Me, An Cat Dubh, Into The Heart, Rejoice, The Cry / The Electric Co., I Will Follow, Out Of Control, A Celebration, 11 O'clock Tick Tock, The Ocean
The Police - I saw The Police five times in their hey day and they just didn't do it for me in the open air. Indoors was another story but here like at Milton Keynes they came second best to the second on the bill. In my opinion anyway. Bono duets with Sting on 'Invisible Sun'
I wish I had photos but all I have are memories. My brother and I came over to the UK for a month from the US that summer. We bussed up from London to see this show.
I am so glad we were there. It was absolutely incredible to see my favorite bands all together. Bono climbed the scaffolding, The Beat ( my fav band of all time) brought the house down - I was in a stupor during Stand Down Margaret. The Police were brilliant, Really enjoyed Gang of Four ( I believe one of the members lives here in Portland now.) Don't remember much about Lords of the New Church.
It was chilly and it rained a little. I got dissed by a girl in the crowd for being an American. I had speed on board and too many pints and almost pissed myself on the busride back to London.
trains running to Twickenham by the time we got there so I slept, head on my
brother's lap in Trafalgar Square, while he watched skinheads huff glue.
Ah - the memories!
Glad I found your blog!
cathie joy young
Setlists and Recordings.
Gang of Four
7-31-82 Gateshead International Stadium
"Bono demonstrated his sudden sense of release quite literally by scaling the PA stack beside the stage and crowning it with a white flag that he'd plucked from the audience, singing 'Electric Col all the while. "There's only one flag and that's a white flag", he announced with a defiantly peaceful fervour for these aggressive times. "
7-31-82 Gateshead International Stadium
7-31-82 Rock On The Tyne
(vocal, bass), Andy Summers (guitar, vocal),Stewart
Gateshead 1981 - Rock on the Tyne.
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