Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Night We All Sang Shang-a-Lang

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Night We All Sang Shang-a-Lang

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ray Marshall

It was 30 years ago this week that Newcastle was preparing itself for an invasion of Jocks.

But unlike the Scottish invasions of centuries beforehand, it wasn't the raping and pillaging that worried the locals but the boisterousness of the local Geordies that caused concern.

Because the Scots were the Bay City Rollers who, on a visit the previous month, incited mayhem and ended up with more than 100 fans being taken to hospital.

After that, they had toured the country causing similar scenes at every venue ( and they were due in Newcastle in two days' time to wind up their controversial tour.

Part of their riotous pop act invited the fans to come up to the stage and "touch them", albeit only on the hand or foot. But that was guaranteed to send the fans into a frenzy with the resulting melee risking possible injuries.

A city council committee meeting thought about banning the concert but tickets had already been sold so, after a lengthy discussion, they decided to trust the fans.

Coun Arthur Stabler, a member of the recreation committee, said: "We have faith in the youngsters of the North East. We've played fair with them. Now they must play fair with us.

"Fans must realise by now this is their last chance. If there's any misbehaviour tomorrow night, they have ruined their chances of ever having the group back ( or indeed any other group who might cause this sort of reaction."

Concerns were justified. On the previous night a concert in London ended with over 200 fans having medical treatment, and there was mayhem in Oxford with fights and hysterical fans trying to get on stage. Tyneside was preparing for the worst.

On the morning of the concert the Chronicle ran worrying pictures from the Oxford gig under the headline: This must not happen again tonight.

The Oxford concert had ended in uproar as two members of the group jumped into the orchestra and started fighting with photographers. The incident happened after two St John Ambulance Brigade members grabbed an hysterical girl who had jumped from the front row into the pit. …

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