There is still a lot of interest in Marc Bolan out there, even if he`s not been around for a while… In fact, in my all-time statistics for this blog, the blog article from NME dated November 11, 1972 is in 9th place when looking at the number of views on single articles.
I often wonder where he would have been today if his sudden departure from this world didn`t happen way too early. Unfortunately, we will never know.
Just a touch or sight of Bolan
Steve Peacock, on the road with T. Rex, reports from Liverpool
Marc Bolan grins and says hello, but he looks tired. In fact, all the band and their travelling entourage do, but then it`s the last night of a long tour and there are two shows to do that night.
Liverpool stadium is a boxing hall, or it was until boxers gave way to wrestlers and, on some nights, rock music. The equipment is set up on the ring, and half the stadium – behind the ring – will be empty. It`s not an ideal place for rock music, with every echoey acoustics, but then there isn`t really another good big hall in Liverpool except the Philharmonic, and they`ve stopped doing rock concerts.
The audience for the first house are filing in. They look mostly very young (it`s a 6 p.m. show) and a bit edgy – as if they`re not quite sure what to expect, nor quite what is expected of them. There`s the feeling in the air of schoolkids on an organised outing who aren`t quite sure how to behave; quick backward glances to see if someone`s going to push them back in their seats if they get up and rave.
Down at the front there`s a band of dedicated screamers – some close to tears at the frustration of being ten feet from Marc, Mickey, Steve and Bill, yet knowing that`s as close as they`re likely to get. They`re lip-biters and hand-claspers, rather than arm-stretchers. They came later.
The whole thing`s a bit tense in the first house, but it loosens up with the last few numbers. The band`s warmer then, punching out the hits and the “Summertime Blues” encore, and standing out in the audience you could feel the energy flowing. They`ve got a lot to get out, these kids, and it`s beginning to come now, but there`s still a block somewhere, and as the set ends you feel neither they nor the band quite made it.
Back in the dressing room everyone`s a bit more lively. It`s warmer in a physical sense and in atmosphere; it`s still essentially a musician`s waiting room, but this time you feel they`re building up to something, rather than hanging around, almost impatient to get out there and get it over.
The feeling`s different out in the hall too. The people coming in are still young, but a bit older than the last lot, and there are more of them. They seem more at ease, noisier, more alive. The girls gather in groups and chatter excitedly – there`s a lot of giggling – and the blokes move in in gangs, swaggering a bit, shouting to each other over the hall. Just before the lights go down, one guy stands up on his seat at the back of the hall to cheers from his mates, waves to the crowd, and drops his trousers, waving his arms around to a mime of exaggerated potency. A strange moment.
Bob Harris – the phantom autograph signer – takes the stage and gets some nice things going with the audience, starting off with the Who`s “Let`s See Action” and building through various moods to Rod Stewart`s “Maggie May”. Bob`s been doing a lot of the dates on the tour (the ones he couldn`t make B.P. Fallon did the opening spot) and later he said that he felt it was a good audience when it felt right to play Cat Stevens as well as the harder things. The electricity is building up.
Bob announces the band, and they bound on stage – Bill Legend, Steve Currie and Mickey Finn first. Pause. Then Marc. The place erupts with screams and cheers and clapping and shouts. Rock on. The joint was rockin`. The band`s playing well from the start a lot better than the first house, the people are stomping and round the stage – at the front and at the side – girls are leaning forward as far as they can, arms outstretched, trying to touch, trying to touch.
Will he notice me? Some of them scream a name, over and over again, some of them throw rings, pendants, anything, some of them have fingernails painted bright red, bright green. Will I stand out?
From the stage it`s a sea of faces and arms waving, pleading, pushing forward. It`s rare to see a couple – at the back maybe, but near the stage it`s mostly girls, with groups of blokes either dancing in the aisles or standing on their seats shaking shoulders and heads, arms up, flashing peace signs with the beat.
The band retire, and Marc sits crosslegged to sing. “Spaceball Riccochet”, “Cosmic Dancer”, “Deborah” with Mickey. Three or four times, girls make it over the edge of the stage and lurch towards Marc, grab him round the neck, hang on for dear life until they`re dragged off and gently but firmly pushed back into the crowd.
The band come back for the final push up – “Ride A White Swan”, “Hot Love”, “Get It On”. I`m beginning to get a bit scared. The bass cabinets have already been pushed over once, a spotlight has been toppled from the PA cabinets, and I`ve got visions of them tipping over on top of people. It doesn`t happen.
“You want more?” asks B.P. “Gimme a T”… and so on. They come back. “Summertime Blues” it is. It`s a good way to end – hard rocking but loose enough. You think back over the music, separating it in your mind from the whole thing, and you realise that without thinking about it you`ve been hearing some great playing.
Marc`s still out front, but his guitar playing is much less flash, much more part of the band than it used to be, and the rhythm section is really strong. Steve Currie, particularly, had been playing some excellent bass, and the combination of Bill and Mickey is just right.
Back in the dressing room, the group have gone, and so have most of the autograph collectors. Four girls are left, wandering around, confident they`ve every right to be there. They don`t say it, but you feel their attitude is “we pay their wages so…”
They`re picking over the debris on the table – empty bottles, cigarette packs, bits of paper. “Who smokes these?” One of them is holding up an empty cigarette pack. June, she`s told. “Marc`s June? Does he smoke them too?” No, we don`t think so. Disappointed, she drops it back on the table.
A really classy ad from Zeppelin. So famous they didn`t need their name in it all, just the symbols.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ray Charles, Roger Daltrey, Bell & Arc, Ornette Coleman, Rory Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Felix Pappalardi, Van Morrison, Mr. Fox.
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