Europe in May/June 1975

The band played two "secret" gigs (I wonder who was there?) in Bangor and Lampeter, Wales, in May 1975, to get themselves together prior to playing to proper audiences.
- Paul Barsby was at Lampeter, "My lasting memory of this gig was of the drum kit falling over half way through and of various problems with the sound system. It did have the feel of a rehearsal".

They then embarked on a short tour of France, Switzerland and Belgium
(there remains some doubt about the 14th and 18th):

May 14 - Le Havre (Probably didn't take place)
May 15 - Caen, Cinéma Concorde
May 16 - Brest, Hall des Expositions
May 17 - Metz, Villerupt open air Festival
May 18 - Rennes (Probably didn't take place)
May 19 - Nantes, Cinéma Le Paris
May 20 - Bordeaux, Alhambra
May 21 - Toulouse, Palais des Sports

May 22 - Marseille, Salle Vallier
(Jaxon's electronics stolen)

    
This letter from an irate French fan appeared in "Rock et Folk"

May 23 - Montpellier, Cinéma Le Regent
(Cancelled after theft of Jaxon's electronics)
(Two adverts have Marseille and Montpellier reversed)

May 24 - Grenoble, Pavillon des Sports
May 25 - Lyon, Bourse du Travail
(Two adverts have Lyon and Grenoble reversed)

May 26 - Switzerland, St. Gallen, Tonhalle
Chris Judge Smith on drums!!

May 27 - Colmar, Parc des Expositions
May 28 - Epinal, Pavillon des Sports

May 29 - Paris, Salle Wagram
(one advert says incorrectly, Reims, Opéra for May 29)

May 30 - Paris, Salle Wagram


Peter Hammill pictured at the Salle Wagram in Best Magazine

Gig pictures

       
Jaxon in full swing!
Andrew Tyler's Paris review in the NME, June 28, 1975
May 31 - Brussels, Universite Jansen

June 1 - Liege, Trocadero

The advert below doesn't entirely agree with the dates above, nor does this French listing, or
this listing in Best!


"The two Welsh gigs, Lampeter and Bangor in May 75, were just a pre-cursor of The French Tour, starting later that week. Somewhere in the midst of all this, Hugh got married and was given the luxury of two days' honeymoon on Anglesey. And then the fun really started. A whirlwind of electrostatic proportions hit France. A crazy round of Euphoria, haze, daze and elation. From the bizarre to the stratostrophic, with all points in between - including aeroplanes, trains, freak out, tv mime, stolen sax bits, Communist Festival with bomb scares, disappointed fans outside the cancelled gig at Montpellier, acoustic solo number in Epinal as Leeds were robbed of the European Cup, a shower of missiles (when the electrics went off!) in Grenoble, Hotel Lounge Grand Piano recital of Gog. The triumphal entry into Paris: 2 gigs at Last Tango's Salle Wagram; mega mirror-ball and light effects; Fluff Freeman there as a fan with portable cassette recorder; and White Hammer (I kid you not!) for an encore.

A whirl of faces, places, names; concert halls and the sheer lunatic size of it all. The band; Gordian Troeller, the no-nonsense manager; road crew including Martin 'c'est bon' Pottinger, Les The Desk, The Van Man, Mike, and John Genius Goodman. And fellow mad-cap travellers: Cockney Wes, Mr Bell, Lincolnshire Eddie, the irrepressible Dave Jones and where-are-you-now Nigel Sims."

- Ian Laycock, May 2000, The Box.

...and concerning the Villerupt Festival: "The band and gear flew from Brest (a gig I missed) as I recall. Metz is a misnomer, although that's how it was described. Villerupt is actually a 1-horse town/village in the back-of-beyond, in the direction of Luxembourg. There was lots of weird war energy kicking around in the area as well...glad I'm not so sensitive nowadays! The Festival was organised by the local Communist party, and featured Ducks Deluxe and Dr Feelgood as well, on an outdoor stage inside the municipal stadium. VdGG only played about 45 mins I suppose. The big thing was that the local fascists had rung the police to tell them that they had put a bomb in the stadium, so everyone had to be evacuated whilst it was searched. Needless to say, nothing was found! Everyone finally trouped back in, and the band played to a smallish open-air audience in the sun. Some shards of the gig remain on tape, although I've never yet come across the full 45 mins. I think the Nantes show made a good impression on me, but there was excess consumption in those days, so some things have blurred more than others, as you would expect at this distance..."

- Ian Laycock...sometime later.

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