Gigs and live music have played an important part in my life since I saw my first band at the age of twelve. The memory is still vivid. It was 1978 or 79; my first year at secondary school. My mum had allowed me to go along with my class mate Marie Smith and her older brother, who acted as responsible adult. He was just sixteen and I had a crush on him, although I can’t for the life of me remember his name now. I know it was one of those years because Marie left our school at the end of the first year and we lost touch. I was a small, excited, sta-pressed trousered, Fred Perry Shirt and monkey boot wearing ska lover and I was as giddy as hell at the prospect of my first gig.
The Specials played Rainbow Theatre in London as part of the Rock Against Racism tour; or that’s what my memory tells me. I have searched for evidence of this gig online and can’t seem to find anything, but I know it was there because I can see the whole gig as though it were yesterday. I was totally blown away. The power, energy and emotion of the performance, with speaker climbing antics from Neville Staples that would make a health and safety team’s hair curl these days. I can just picture him singing Monkey Man perched on the top of the left hand speaker, as the crowd urged him to jump!
That performance set me on a life time of band watching, festival going and music. Not that I’m musically talented in any way, but my love of music passed down to my kids who are now both musicians, poets and working or studying in the industry. Meanwhile I content myself with writing about the experience of performance, and capturing moments in photograph. I’m not yet sure if my love of music and performance and the kids immersion in it was a blessing or curse…..
….we’ll just have to wait and see.