Music was my first love: T.Rex was my first concert
Sunday Oct 31st 1971, my first ever concert, and what a concert it was. T.Rex at Newcastle City Hall.
I can’t recall if the day after was a school holiday but regardless my mum decided to let me go see Marc Bolan and T.Rex at City hall. I don’t think I’d ever done anything so daring on my own beforehand. I was 11.
My friend (Karen Bell) who was younger than me wasn’t remotely scared by the adventure we were going on. I was a little nervous as the coach took us from Middlesbrough to Newcastle, it was packed full of hysterical, weepy teenagers who were all heading off to see their idol on stage and they made me feel a little bit better.
We arrived safe and sound and were duly herded off the bus in the general direction of City hall and told we would be picked up at the same point after the show had finished.
The streets of Newcastle around city hall had been closed to traffic and there was a sea of bodies all sweeping their way to the venue. It was like a tsunami of hormones and hysteria, a hurricane of glitter and platform boots, a maelstrom of Marc maniacs and I was thrilled to be a part of it all.
Marc lookalikes were running up and down the aisles with their corkscrew hair and stars under their eyes, their multi coloured satin flares and T.Rex t-shirts mimicking my hero’s style. The excitement in the air was tangible; there was enough power in the room to put the national grid to shame.
There was a support act, I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember who they were, my mind was focussed on one thing and one thing only, that was getting to the front of the stage the moment the lights went down prior to T.Rex coming on stage, it was like a DNA moment, I knew instinctively, even though I’d never been to a concert that I had to leave my seat as soon as the lights went down.
The lights dipped and the sage was ablaze with gigantic T.REX letters flashing and dazzling us. And then the surge of girls rushing to the front. Something I will never forget as long as I live, the stalls were one monumental mass of bodies, all trying to grab a corkscrew curl for themselves. I later learnt that the first 8 rows of seats were destroyed in the mayhem. My friend, wisely told me to stay where I was otherwise I wouldn’t get to see anything as I’d be crushed under thousands of teenage girls.
And there he was, stood on stage singing something, it was impossible to hear the song for the absolute cacophony of screams and cheers and crying…. And that was just I.
The hits kept coming and the fans kept screaming and the night was the most electrifying night of my life (at the tender age of 11) and I was convinced Marc had spotted me and was singing my favourite songs just for me.
Then suddenly a girl was on stage, at this point Marc was sat cross-legged singing an acoustic number, she jumped in him and bouncers jumped on her and there appeared to be a few electric flashes from cables on the stage. We were all convinced she had electrocuted him and he was dead. For a brief moment, maybe a minute or two the auditorium was silent and then the band hit the opening chords of Get It On, and Marc re-appeared to screams so loud they are probably still travelling along in space being registered in the ether as recognisable sound waves.
Mickey Finn climber on to the star that represented the . in T.Rex and threw a tambourine into the audience and mayhem ensued as everyone fought for a piece of it. Me I was just transfixed, Marc was singing songs from Electric warrior and I was in awe at how he commanded the stage as he strutted and pouted and preened and postured, all the while making sure he hit the notes vocally and on his guitar.
The highlight was definitely Metal Guru, a new song that was played for us and how we took it as if it belonged just to us, the Newcastle crowd who epitomised T.Rextacy.
And then all too soon it was over, I was back on the bus with Karen who declared she loved Marc more than her musical hero (I won’t name him as he fell from grace in later years).
A girl climbed on to the bus sharing her ‘find’ a 6” round badge, homemade that she had found. I (and I don’t know why) lied and said it was mine and that it had fallen off my jacket. She gave me it, I never flinched, if she by any chance reads this 46 years later, I am sorry.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night but if I was at school the next day I can’t remember going, all I know is I had no voice as I had screamed every last ounce of sound out of my body screaming at Marc, declaring my never ending love for him.
The second concert I went to was also T.Rex, Sunderland a few years later, maybe I will share the account of Marc speaking to me and my dad’s car being swamped by screaming fans.
Get It On …. Bang A Gong.
A note re images, all taken from the internet with no names attached, if the owners would like credits please get in touch.