Passionate People, Passionate Places: Newcastle City Hall

It’s November 1976, a bunch of us, recent into the Lower Sixth at St Aidan’s RC Comp Sunderland, are heading out of the City Tavern and alongside Northumberland Road.

Our vacation spot is Newcastle City Hall, the place we’re about to find the foremost music venue within the North East, with the doable exception of the Mayfair.

I can solely describe the importance of the occasion as being just like my first match at St James’ Park eight years beforehand, besides what can be on provide right here would by no means ship you residence sulking, as 90 minutes up the street at Gallowgate usually did.

The band was Thin Lizzy, on their Johnny The Fox tour, supported by Graham Parker and the Rumour.

We filed up to surrender our tickets on the french window kind entrance doorways to take up our first not sure steps into the world of dwell music.

Newcastle City Hall.

What a begin! It’s now 44 years later however I can nonetheless hear the twirling Gibson Les Paul syncro of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham’s guitars underpinned by the booming rhythm of Phil Lynott’s bass and Brian Downey’s drums.

We left elated and deafened in equal measure.

The subsequent show the next month was Lindisfarne’s reunion live performance – 30 odd years later I noticed myself within the viewers in a photograph taken by the Evening Chronicle.

Newcastle City Hall. Tim McGuinness, arrowed, within the viewers on the first Lindisfarne reunion live performance in December 1976

So it adopted that me and my friends turned disciples of the City Hall, and we noticed many, many extra nice bands, corresponding to Queen, The Police, Frank Zappa, B B King, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Rush, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, Deff Leppard, Family, Jethro Tull, The Ramones, The Undertones, The Runaways, Talking Heads, to call only a few.

But particular point out should go to Bruce Springtseen, in May 1981.

At the time I wasn’t even a fan, but it surely was the singularly most good efficiency I’ve ever seen on the City Hall, and Springsteen himself has been quoted as saying this efficiency was quantity three on his record of all time nice exhibits.

Built in 1927 (as a part of a growth which included the City Baths), the auditorium on the City Hall holds simply over 2000; the acoustics are good wherever you sit, and there are only a few locations the place restricted viewing is a matter.

At current the constructing goes by means of a renovation however till not too long ago had remained the identical since 1927, excluding the stage which was changed in 2008.

The bands and performers who’ve trodden on it reads like a Who’s Who of music, from the nice tenor Mario Lanza in 1958 to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Stones and David Bowie.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to get a couple of planks from the old stage and had them made into an image body.

David Bowie at Newcastle City Hall, Ziggy Stardust tour, June, 1973

The solely criticism of this venue is that in my time as a daily punter, the Concert Bar within the basement was often called one of many hardest locations to get served within the Toon, the place was at all times six deep on the bar earlier than a show.

That was in fact till the bell rang, signalling the act was about to come back on and there’d be an almighty rush again upstairs.

You’d combat your manner again to your seat simply in time for the second bell to go, after which the lights would exit. . . .



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