For information about how to use this forum please check out forum help and policies.
by Jo Wood
photos by Arron Rapoport
Perfect. Thanks exilestones!
The Rolling Stones in Newcastle 40 years ago - the city's biggest ever rock show!
by Dave Morton
38,000 fans watched the Rolling Stones at St James' Park, Newcastle, on June 23, 1982
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
When the Rolling Stones rolled into Newcastle to perform at St James' Park 40 years, it was the biggest rock concert the city had ever hosted.
It was the beginning of the era of 'stadium shows' in our region. The Stones' would blaze a trail and be followed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Queen who all drew huge crowds at St James' Park in the the years that followed.
Back on June 23, 1982, Mick Jagger and the band were in the middle of a European tour in support of their Tattoo You album, and it was six years since UK audiences had seen them in the flesh. The press called it "Europe's largest travelling show". The amount of equipment and number of people needed to keep the band rolling was astonishing.
A fleet of 26 trucks would be used to transport the gear between huge UK concerts in Newcastle, Bristol and Wembley. Among the items being hauled around the country were the sections and scaffolding for a 240 foot-long stage and a luxury portacabin fitted with a bar and table-tennis table for back-stage relaxation.
For these huge outdoor shows, the Stones were using a 100,000-watt PA system, and the performance would be illuminated by 400,000 watts of lighting. One hundred permanent road crew members and many more hired locally for each concert kept the show on the road.
Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones at St James' Park, Newcastle, June 23, 1982
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
For Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and co, it was a far cry from the Stones' earliest visits to Newcastle 20 years before in the early 1960s when they'd played in the small, sweaty confines of the Club a’Gogo on Percy Street.
It was warm and drizzly back in 1982 when the day of the St James' Park show arrived. There would be 38,000 in attendance and queues started forming outside the venue in the early hours ahead of the doors opening at 2pm.
For hungry fans, hot dogs were on sale for 50p, and hamburgers 60p - and as for merchandise, you could pick up a tour sweatshirt for £7. Support came from George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and the J Geils Band who’d recently enjoyed a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic with Centrefold.
The Stones, who had been staying at the Holiday Inn in Seaton Burn, arrived at St James’ in a luxury coach just before 7pm. They were whisked backstage where in the hospitality tent, champagne flowed and fellow rock stars including Sting and members of Genesis dropped by.
Newcastle's biggest ever rock show would prove to be a triumph and the Evening Chronicle reviewer posted a highly positive write-up next day. “The drizzle reigned all night but by nightfall Mick’s magic had rained down on 38,000 fans drying their spirits and rekindling the fire of good old rock’n’roll,” we reported. "Their sell out concert at St James’ Park was a mesmerising spectacle, a non-stop musical party, an unqualified success.”
The 25-song show kicked off with Under My Thumb. Songs new and old followed, including classics such as You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Tumbling Dice, Miss You, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Start Me Up, and Jumping Jack Flash.
“Jagger is still the most charismatic live performer in rock”, our man noted. “He cuts a striking figure, making full use of the 240ft-long stage, running from end to end to tease and torment in fine athletic form.
"Meanwhile, Richards seemed to be only marginally less popular than Jagger, eliciting huge cheers every time he moved to one side of the stage, with the inevitable cigarette jammed in his mouth. The band kept the level of excitement at a consistently high level throughout the two-hour set, and the enthusiasm among the good-humoured crowd didn’t flag for one second.”
Satisfaction was the inevitable encore and the show came to an end with the strains of the 1812 Overture and a spectacular firework display. And with that, the Stones were on their way to their next show at Wembley, while Newcastle United also picked up £35,000 for hosting the event.
The Rolling Stones would return to St James' Park in 1990 - and incredibly they're still treading the boards in 2022.
This is one of my favorite threads! 1982 was the first tour I saw and I have great memories of the shows. Specialy Frankfurt was outstanding! Still the No.1 of my 26 shows.
photos by Gary Gaar