Thursday, December 07, 2017

Castle Rock feat. Tyrannosaurus Rex

Dudley, Zoo, Dudley, Worcester, UK. Friday 05-June-1970

This was the first time I saw Marc Bolan live after listening to him on the John Peel Late Show and buying all those Regal Zonophone singles and the four Tyrannosaurus Rex albums. This was just before they shortened their name to T.Rex and burst upon the pop world with Ride a White Swan.

I bought my ticket somehow, there was no TicketMaster in those days. Off I went by train from the soon-to-be-reopened Kenilworth station to Birmingham and somehow from there to the Zoo. This was my first ever open air concert so it was all very strange and a little bit scary for a non-streetwise schoolboy.

I still have this programme.

Text of the above page.


Tyrannosaurus Rex are two.

Marc Bolan is one. He sings, plays guitar, organ and bass, and writes all of T. Rex's songs. "How do I see myself? I suppose I'm a poet. Well, sometimes."

Marc's first contact with top music came when he worked in Soho selling cokes at the 2I's coffee bar—the starting ground for early British rock’n’rollers like Adam Faith, Terry Dene and Screaming Lord Such. "I remember Cliff Richard being thrown out 'because you can't sing' I was nine at the time."

Marc is now 22 years old and Tyrannosaurus Rex are two. From their earlier accoustic songs, the group has travelled into electric music. . . . "But 1 don't think about it as 'being electric' I'm into the media power of the electric instrument, to reach as many people as possible."

Aiding Marc in reaching these people is Mickey Finn, the other half of T. Rex. Mickey plays bongos. And sings. And sometimes plays bass.

"Before I joined up with Marc, I was into painting. I painted the Beatles' shop—actually painted it and organised it so it'd be ready in time. Before that I sometimes played with Haphash and the Coloured Coat. We made an LP and did just one live gig, in Amsterdam.

Mickey, who particularly enjoys the music of Jack Bruce, The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, is a motor-bike freak. . . . "And I'd like to take up drag racing."

Following a chance meeting with Marc in a London macrobiotic restaurant, Mickey became T. Rex's other half.

"I wouldn't have put myself forward. He had an ad in the paper, didn't he? It came so easy. We met talked and then went down to Wales for three weeks."

"Since Mickey became a part of T. Rex the music has become freer, more relaxed, and we can improvise—which we could not do before."

And Marc's songs, those songs of fables and fantasies and dreams and images.

"I don't write the songs—inspiration does.

I couldn't write those songs—I'm being used."

And not badly either. Not badly at all!

I hadn't thought through the transport logistics and ended up missing the last train home. I didn't have any money to speak of, certainly not enough for a taxi or a hotel.

I had somehow picked up from my father the bizarre idea that in an emergency police stations acted like Western Union, that he could go into Kenilworth police station, hand over a tenner and the Birmingham police would give me the same. I told you I was not streetwise, not then, not now! They didn't, of course, and the upshot was that they took pity on me and let me sleep in a police cell overnight. The next morning I made my bleary way home by train again.

I had been sufficiently geeky during the gig to note the set list on an old scrap of paper. That set list eventual found its way into the excellent book Marc Bolan: A Chronology by Cliff McLenehan:

Set List: One Inch Rock, Debora, Hot Rod Mama, Wind Quartets, Pavilions Of Sun, King Of The Rumbling Spires, By The Light Of The Magical Moon, Organ Blues, Elemental Child, Conesuela, Salamanda Palaganda, Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart, The Wizard, Jewel.

The track that has stuck in my memory was an extended version of The Wizard with a long guitar solo to the words "he was a wizard and he was my friend he was [repeat * n]". Ah, that was all a very long time ago.

PDF of the complete programme.

TXT of the complete programme.



1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great stuff Mark. We should all be grateful that “geeky” people like yourself should do things like note down the set-list... well done. And great memories