Here's my observations and memories of Knebworth 1985. First of all
I arrived at 6.30 am & was excited never having been to such a large
event before. It was already raining and did not stop much throughout
the day. My first impression of Knebworth was that it was a large
country estate with little of character to recommend it .The P.A.
system looked the size of a football pitch & at the time was the biggest
stage ever built in the UK with the largest P.A., being that purple
were going for the loudest British concert sound ever , at that point
the record still being held by The Who at Charlton 74. After a very
long wait the concert began at 11.30 with Alaska.
were promoting their second album on Music For Nations and their performance
confirmed this. Playing for 30 minutes they made very little impression
except for at the front. I think that they played Fool For Your Loving
as song 6 or Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues .I remember applauding
more in sympathy than excitement & felt given the talent in the band
they were very bland kind of a precursor of modern day Whitesnake!
Truth is this was a great opportunity to make a first impression wasted;
material & performance were routine.
Mountain played for 30 minutes being
the support on Purple's tour at the invitation of Ritchie Blackmore.
Mark Clarke ex Rainbow on bass. Theme From An Imaginary Western was
beautiful being dedicated to the recently deceased original bassist
Felix Pappalardi. They played 2 songs from the 1985 electro rock flavoured
album, neither making any great impression. Then it went from absurd
to ridiculous with drummer Corky Laing battering a large black box
stage prop I remember thinking what is this sh!te! The box battering
seemed to be endless along with a drum solo. My main memory is Leslie
West's awesome guitar playing & once again disappointment but a desire
to see Mountain in an indoor arena.
Mama's Boys were great playing 6 songs
to an excellent response; they had the loudest sound of the day as
1/3 of the P.A. blew out after their set causing the record attempt
to fail. Last song by Mama's Boys was Mama We're All Crazy Now which
was the nearest they came to a hit single. Also played Gentleman Rogues
, Runaway Dreams , Straight Forward No Looking Back, i remember that
this song was part of audience participation singing the chorus back
to the band . Pat McManus also did his solo with the Jimmy Page synth
guitar which I liked but many thought a bit clichéd. Anyhow I enjoyed
them and the memories are good, Drummer Tommy is dead now due to leukaemia.
Shame, they should have been huge and it looked like they would go
on but it all fizzled out.
Blackfoot played for 40 minutes, I
recall as the sun shone for the only time of the whole day. They were
wonderful, a southern boogie treat, playing classics Howay The Lads
, On The Run & Morning Dew. Their set passed very quickly and they
got an excellent response from the crowd.
UFO were next featuring new guitarist Atomic
Tommy from Japan , new material was good but nothing special. . They
played Hot & Ready , Rock Bottom , Lights Out & I think finished with
Doctor Doctor. Enjoyed them but felt they were living on past glories.
played with a broken leg and I was within 6 ft of the stage during
his set, something I have no desire to repeat. Meatloaf played all
the classics and against a fairly indifferent crowd performed an excellent
set, indeed the whole experience inspired him to write 'Rock & Roll
Mercenaries'. He seemed a wee bit out of place but I felt that his
performance vindicated his presence good on ya Meat. I remember his
rant about drinking a kettle of hot water & then pissing ice cubes
feeling that this was an expression of his displeasure with the crowds
response to his show and in retrospect he had a point! The big man
gave 100% and compared to the early part of the bill and deserved
to be there making the best of his opportunity..
came on at 6.30 finishing at 7.45 the true stars of the day playing
the classic World Wide Live set and encoring with a great version
of Still Loving You, I bought the live album as soon as I got home.
Without doubt the finest set in Scorpion history they made me forget
the endless rain and the incredibly long day. Blackout, Make It Real,
Another Piece Of Meat, The Zoo, Rock You Like A Hurricane, fresh vibrant
and played with passion and precision. Shame they were still playing
exactly the same set at Donnigton 86 supporting Ozzy!
Purple eventually began at 10 pm the long
wait leaving plenty of time for arseholes to throw bottles! The night
was warm but wet and by the time purple started my spirits were very
low . Nice laser light show during difficult to cure and the lasers
during Blackmore's guitar solo which went round the venue in delay
towers to heighten the effect . Three folk climbed on stage during
the show the welcome getting more severe as time went on. Purple's
performance was competent if a bit uninspired Blackmore not even playing
during SOTW. Truth is it was fine, a golden opportunity which could
and should have been much better than it was, it was as if they saved
the worst performance of the tour for home!
Now read on to my
version of Deep Purple events...