The Jam and the guy from Deep Purple
(Article by Stephen Davies)
Wow what a thought. Put down in writing what you remember form your first Jam gig..
I must have been 15'ish - Birmingham Bingly Hall (never knew why it was called that). Was pre 'Sound Affects' but post 'Setting Sons' I think. I was dressed in white stay pressed trousers and a blue fred perry. There was a cafe around that area at the time where all the mods met. This was around the time Quadrophenia (the movie) had been a hit so as a young chap thought it was pretty awesome just to be around. The only problem was, I didn't have a ticket - ohh and it was only 11am...
Most the kids at my school had took the day off - I know this because the next day I remember the head announcing the previous days poor attendance and wondering it it had 'anything to do with the jam being in town'. Anyway, the day went on and stood there without a ticket i was ready to throw in the towel. Thens some guy comes passed and asks if i wanted to buy a ticket. Of course I did - the face value was £5 which, being 15, is what I had in my pocket - he wanted more. I suggested he give me his address and I would send him the balance - desperate as I was to see the gig. Eventually I got the ticket and got in to the gig ....
Christ, It was a shit venue. I seem to remember these big heaters sending down warmth exactly where it was not needed - on the crowed, Eventually the band comes on stage (introduced as the best fucking band in the world). I have no idea how I did it but I wasn't far from the front. maybe in 1980 no one was far from the front. It wasn't my first gig ever. I'd previously seen the Kinks and Thin Lizzy at Birmingham Odeon. But it was the fist gig I think i'd been to where it was all out bouncing, pushing and shoving - ace. There were times, as a slight drama boy, I thought we might all die in some great crushing incident, but we didn't. I recall hearing 'Thick as thieves' and 'In the crowd' and thinking there is nothing better than this ever to come. But it did keep coming.. In fact it kept coming for years and years. For me, another couple of gigs at Bingly Hall Birmingham. Including that one they filmed.
A few at Bingley Hall Stafford, where Funeral Pyre had just come out - I remember saying to my mate, 'if they do any old stuff I reckon they will be splitting up'. They did away from the numbers and I knew it was all over. What an amazing band. I wish my kids could experience something half as good as the headmaster announcing the news that there was to be a new single and him expecting to see everyone in school that day. Alas, I can't imagine it happening. The Jam to me were the thing that guided me through difficult years. It was 1978 - to about 81 and god did youth need some help then. I think they probably do now but the messages we got were to keep on keeping on etc. I have no idea what today's youth receives from their idols - except maybe a large mobile bill. Oh, by the way. When I was walking to the gig from the bus stop, some guy asked me where all the kids were going. I recognised him immediately - it was Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. I'm not too sure he cared either way.
(Article by Stephen Davies) 31/07/2011