The first gig I went to was Saxon at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on 25th January 1983.
I was 15 years old, in my final year of school and had been itching to get to a show for a while. Unfortunately my home city was short on decent live music venues back then, especially ones that allowed in spotty underage teenagers (unlike some of my mates I did look my age at the time!) Legendary Nottingham venue Rock City had been open since 1980 but I’d never plucked up the courage to buy a ticket for any gigs there and it was another couple of years before I would go to a gig at what would become my second home in the late 80s.
However, when the newly built Royal Concert Hall was due to open its doors in 1982 me and my mates would regularly scan the Nottingham Evening Post gig listings for any hint of anything remotely ‘metal’ appearing at our shiny new (spotty teen friendly) concert venue.
I have vivid memories of the day we discovered that Saxon were bringing their ‘Eagle Has Landed’ show to town and mobilising ourselves to get tickets as soon as they went on sale. This was in the days before online bookings so the 4 of us quickly pooled our pocket money together (or begged our folks for £4.50), jumped on a bus into the city centre and headed straight to the box office!
As for the gig itself I don’t remember much about it other than:
- We had an underage pint or two in the bar before the show
- The concert hall looked and smelt new and wasn’t very rock n’ roll
- We had a great view from the front row of the first balcony
- We pissed off some miserable ‘old gits’ (probably in their 30s) who were sat behind us by standing up and head banging throughout the entire show (its an all seater venue)
- My mate Ady had spent the month before the gig learning all the words to Saxon songs (and he wore a silk scarf around his wrist!)
- The lighting rig was very impressive
- It was loud….BLOODY loud! (Our ears were still ringing at school the next day!)
Not many people of my age can say that there is video footage available from their first gig but fortunately I can. Saxon released the Nottingham show on VHS video tape (which I have somewhere in the attic surprisingly) and now the footage is up in all it’s glory on YouTube. If you look closely you might just see me and my mates Kev, Chris and Ady on the front row of the first balcony – right in the middle! 🙂
The full setlist from the gig is available here. Here’s what the Nottingham Evening Post had to say about the gig the following day:
Great memories. What was the first gig you went to, where and when?