In last month’s UNCUT, our writers, friends and favourite musicians reminisced about their favourite gigs.
Well, in this month’s issue we’re looking back on the worst gigs we’ve ever seen – including The Stone Roses, Bob Dylan, Kevin Rowland and David Bowie – with rare photos from the shows too.
We’re also going to publish one of the worst gigs every day, with online exclusives, so feast your eyes on this, and be glad you weren’t there!
Sale Polivalenta, Bucharest, Rumania
April 2, 1988
Ceaucescu’s still in power. The Rumanians haven’t seen a British band live since The Boomtown Rats, seven years earlier. In a venue the size of Wembley Arena (where Ceaucescu has his rallying speeches), Furniture, brought here as “cultural exchange” by the British Council, play songs such as “Brilliant Mind”. This was the hit they had before Stiff Records collapsed and the band’s career momentum was thwarted by a three-year court wrangle. Here, no exaggeration, Beatle-mania is re-enacted. Yet there is to be no standing: it’s the law. So singer Jim Irvin announces that if everybody doesn’t stand, the band will stop playing. In the balconies, those furthest away from party officials stand. Emboldened, those on ground level start dancing. The police wade in and begin hitting people over the head.
I am wandering around to soak in all this culture. Two guys the size of trucks lift me up by the underarms, carry me awhile, then hurl me outside on the concrete. Irate, I tell them I’m a British journalist. They pick me up again, lug me outside the perimeter, and dump me harder, their eyes saying much. I learn what fear is.
Really, it shouldn’t have surprised us. From arrival we have been shadowed by men in overcoats from Cold War Movie central casting. We leave the hotel, they follow. We cross the road from the dumpling shop to the condensed milk store, they follow. As “press”, I am under surveillance 24/7. At least I’m not the photographer, who finds that carrying a camera is like waving an Uzi. On the last day, we get the hell out of Dodge and visit Dracula’s Castle, for relaxation, drinking so hard and fast that we throw up in Transylvania. People tell me Bucharest has changed since. I’ll take their word.
plus WERE YOU THERE?
Not even UNCUTs war-weary gig-hounds have been to every show in history – but you lot probably have.
Email Allan_Jones@ipcmedia.com to share your memories, of the ones we’ve published or any which we have missed, and we’ll publish the best in a future issue!