When I was a teenager I lived in Newcastle-Under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. The main places we went to see gigs were The Victoria Hall in Hanley, Trentham Gardens and Keele University.
My friend Andy Winfield and I would take it in turns to buy the NME every Thursday (I think) and scour it for gigs that were in these venues, hoping that some of the slightly more wacky bands we were into would be playing locally. I remember seeing the ad pictured here and being so excited that Kevin Ayers was playing at Keele University on Wednesday 11th May 1977.
I think as it was May, the ticket for it was probably my birthday present in April from my Mum and Dad.
I can’t remember tons about the gig as it was rather a long time ago, but there was three of us there, myself, Andy and I think it was probably my girlfriend Karen. We got my Dad to give us a lift up to Keele so we were well in time for the show. The ticket said 7:30pm so I think we got there at about 6:30pm went into the concert hall and just stared at the roadies setting up all the gear. I think it was on this occasion when some long haired student came up to us and said “Hey guys nothing’s going to happen until about 9, so why don’t you come for a drink in the bar?”. I think we did and were quite amazed at how easy it was for three fifteen year olds to buy three halves of Strongbow. We didn’t hang around too long in the bar as we wanted our prime place for the gig.
When Kevin and the band appeared it was pretty much like seeing God as far as we were concerned. The stage was pretty low and we were standing right in front of Kevin Ayers, my mate Andy was delighted that a bead of sweat rolled from Kevin Ayers’ forehead and onto his arm. He vowed never to wash again, I reckon he did though as it was over 34 years ago.
The songs I remember were an awesome version of ‘May I’ near the start of the set and, my favourite track at the time, ‘Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes’ right at the end. I remember some kind of monumentally heavy song as an encore which I am guessing now was probably ‘Why are we sleeping?’.
An interesting point about this gig was that Police guitarist Andy Summers was playing that night. I remember Kevin saying “I’d like to introduce to you Andy Summers on guitar, he’s a bit miserable tonight because today he lost his shoes.” Andy was indeed barefoot!