Tuesday, 29 December 2015
37 years ago.
Posted by Francois Bitzi on 'Rock and Photo passion'
I'm very grateful to Francois Bitzi for his photo of The Clash, playing at 'The Lyceum' in London in 1978 and also to all the other people who have posted memorabilia about the same concert.
It seems hard to believe but 37 years ago on 28th December 1978, at home from university for Christmas and feeling bored, I took the train up to town to see The Clash play The Lyceum.
I'd thought fairly hard about it because The Lyceum was a fairly big venue (about 2000 capacity although they weren't using the upstairs then, so maybe a thousand or so) and I was used to seeing the likes of The Jam and The Clash in very small venues; close up and personal
A fan posted a picture of his ticket for the night - which reminded me that it cost £3-50p to get in and that was a lot of money for a poor student at the time (no loans back then) and I had to pay for the train fare as well.
Then again, I was able to make a last minute decision - I just turned up and bought a ticket on the door. That was normal for Punk, it wasn't that popular back then.
I popped into a pub on the Strand and met a friend by accident and then we went and joined the queue to get in.
I remember thinking that everyone I had ever bumped into at Punk gigs must have all turned out that night to fill the hall.
I chose a spot near the front and in the middle - right next to where Don Letts (the Rastafarian DJ from The Roxy Club) had set up what looked like it was the biggest movie camera in the world.
It was painfully obvious that he had begged, borrowed or even possibly stolen this monster and didn't really know what he was doing with it.
There's a bootleg of the concert which may have come from his recording and years later a film did emerge which is called 'Rude Boy', with lots of shaking and jarring - so he really was learning how to use it.
I remember thinking how great The Clash were and at one point me and Don Letts looking at each other as if to say - "wow they got good and I didn't realise it".
And they were good - my memory may be playing tricks but I think that was probably the biggest venue they had played so far by that time.
I remember coming home with my ears ringing and my mind swirling.
I also thought about going straight back the next night (they played the 28th, 29th and 3rd January) but I couldn't really afford it so I didn't go.
Besides I was always going to be able to see them in a small venue whenever I wanted to wasn't I?
April 1978 they did the Rock against Racism Carnival and after that they never looked back - it wasn't long before they were in the big stadiums in The States and it had all started to go very wrong.
But Christmas 1978?
That was as good as it got.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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