Music Scene

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Music Scene' page

1972 a great year at The Dome

By Paul Clarkson

Fabulous groups

As 2012 is coming to an end I wanted to take this opportunity to register what a great year 1972 was at The Dome for music fans. We had some fabulous groups play in 1972 and luckily I kept my ticket stubs. I turned 15 years old in 1972 so it was a good age for me and my friends to be. Some of my friends didn't like these sort of groups as they were too heavy, they preferred the mainstream pop, this was okay but back then, whatever music you were into sometimes made a difference to who you hung around with and where you went socially.

Music and fashion

Music guided your fashion tastes, Carnaby styles or the nearest retailer of tye-dyes and flared jeans, what you watched on TV - Top of the Pops or The Old Grey Whistle test, or whether you listened on the radio to The Top 20 on a Sunday afternoon or Sounds of the '70's at 10pm on a weekday. I always believed that the Radio bosses liked my music as they broadcast the programmes I liked on VHF (now FM) and not AM.

The top bands

As you can see by the ticket stubs, we had some top bands that year, Pink Floyd was a great gig to be at as it premiered 'Eclipse' or what everyone now knows as 'Dark Side of the Moon', this was the gig where the equipment broke down during 'Money' so they came back in June and played two nights. I went to the second night, I knew what to expect this time and made a point of being in the centre stalls; the price went up by 25% but I don't think anyone minded! 

A rare performance

Wishbone Ash were always a favourite for fans at The Dome, very clear and clean guitar playing and excellent live, they came twice in '72 playing again on 24th November and the price went from 50p to £1.10. Again, nobody seemed to mind as it was a sell out. ELO had just formed and the night they played The Dome it was about a quarter full which may have been due to Brighton & Hove Albion attracting 33,000 that night as they won promotion. A few people missed a treat as we saw a fabulous rare performance with a line-up that included Roy Wood sporting a long white wig and round dark glasses, before he left to form Wizard.

Three heavyweight bands

Then there were the three heavyweights, Led Zeppelin, Free and Deep Purple. What a three months that was. It was very exciting - quite a hit on my wages from my part-time job I had, but well worth it. I have been a fan of Free ever since I heard the LP 'Fire & Water' in 1970, the line up didn't include Andy Fraser as he had formed Sharks who came to the Dome in 1973 as support to Roxy Music.

Forty years ago yesterday

The replacements were Tetsu & Rabbit on bass and keyboards. They did not disappoint and were excellent, as were Deep Purple who were reported to be the loudest band in the world at the time. Of course the one everyone was talking about was Led Zeppelin, forty years ago yesterday as I write this. What a gig to go to at that stage of their career and at The Dome as well. I will never forget that moment when the lights dipped and you could see the outline of Robert Plants hair, then a sole light was on John Bonham as he went into 'Rock & Roll'.

Awesome talent

Of course there were other good years, I was a big fan of Genesis when Peter Gabriel was with them and saw them at the Dome on the 1st November 1971 for 50p supporting Lindisfarne. They came back twice in 1973. Rory Gallagher also made a couple of appearances during 1973 and 1974. I saw Curved Air a couple of times, they were a good live act but the gig of theirs that I do I remember was on the 28th April 1972, when a young Gary Moore supported them with his band. I was in the front row (seat A20) and Gary was playing right in front of me and my friends, he was an awesome talent.

We were very lucky

People I speak to now say how lucky we were to see these acts so cheap. I like to point out that I had a friend who worked full-time and only earned £9 per week which, when you work out the percentages to salary and costs these days it is not that much difference. The cost is irrelevant, If you were to ask a young Led Zeppelin fan now, and there are many of them, how much they would pay to go in a time machine and go back to 20/12/72, I would bet it would be in the hundreds, even thousands if they had the money, so yes on that basis we got it cheap!

An absolute gem

As for today, I think the Dome is still a wonderful venue, an absolute gem. There are some good concerts to be seen there now but the amount of gigs has dwindled but I think we were very lucky to see so many top acts in such a short space of time.   

 

This page was added on 27/12/2012.
Comments about this page

What fabulous concerts, Paul. I envy you. I could kick myself for not seeing these bands when I had the chance. However, I DID go to two gigs at the Dome in 1972. The first was to see America (Horse With No Name) in the spring, but best of all was the Emerson Lake & Palmer concert in November. WOW! What a show.

By Janet Beal (29/12/2012)

Hello Janet, Yes, I was very fortunate to see so many good bands at that time. I was fortunate that I had a nice little part-time job after school so I could pay for my hobby. I saw America as support to Family on the 17th November 1971, it cost 75p, they were excellent and deserved to come back to do their own gig. I didn't mention that I saw David Bowie in 1973 when he did the Ziggy Stardust tour. I queued up all night with a friend for tickets and it was well worth it. I'm so glad that I can write about it and hope there is a lot of response as this was a special era for the Dome and this site is a fabulous place for it all to go on record.

By Paul Clarkson (31/12/2012)

I have seen many great concerts in the 70's at the dome with every body shouting 'Wally' before the bands came on. One concert comes to mind in 1974; I went to see Golden Earring play as the had Radar Love out at the time. The support band was the band I wanted to see mostly because it was Lynyrd Skynyrd who were touring the UK from the US; and yes, the support band were better than the headline band.

By Michael Brittain (31/12/2012)

The period 1971-1973 was a memorable time for bands visiting Brighton. I recall seeing Genesis, Family and King Crimson more than once at the Dome, as well as the Groundhogs, Budgie, Deep Purple, Free, Led Zeppelin, Curved Air, Uriah Heep and Stackridge. Can, Amon Duul II and Robin Trower played at Sussex University, and Man at the Top Rank Suite of all places. No doubt I'll remember other bands I saw after I post this! Regrettably, for some reason I now can't recall, I managed to miss Pink Floyd - also regrettably, I did see Golden Earring at the Dome (well I saw the first few songs, then got chucked out by a bouncer for making some remarks about the way he was shoving audience members around). Oh what it was to be young.

By John Wilkin (01/01/2013)

I also saw many of the bands mentioned above, others I saw, so far not mentioned are Steve Miller Band, John Mayall and Van (The Man) Morrison!

By Peter Groves (02/01/2013)

I did see Golden Earring on the 12th December 1973 for 85p but I don't recall any support act so they may have come back in 1974 or my memory is playing tricks. The only time I saw Van Morrison was in 1993 when Richard Gere made an appearance on guitar for some of the encore. One of my favourite memories was seeing and meeting Rory Gallagher (12th Feb '73). He was a fabulous talent and remains to this day one of my favourite guitarists. After the gig a mate of mine who worked behind the scenes got me in the stage door and down to the dressing room where I was able to have a chat with Rory and get some autographs. He told me that the next day he was filming for 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' which was aired the next day. It was a great experience to see him the next night on tv, I tried to explain to my parents as he came on tv that I had spoken to him the night before but they didn't see what the fuss was about!

By Paul Clarkson (02/01/2013)

I have been retired twelve years come summer, so I was no spring chicken 'back in the day' when I saw my fellow countryman Van Morrison at The Dome. I note that he appeared in 1993, so that must have been the year. I don't think I was aware how privileged I was to see him perform live.

By Joe Reid (02/01/2013)

Van was on at the Dome long before 1993, I cant remember the first time I saw him there, but 1970's I'm sure. He's probably played it every years since then, I seen him so many times there, but nowadays the prices are so expensive I wont go again! Shame!

By Peter Groves (02/01/2013)

I have just checked the Golden Earring website, they played the Dome 12th December 1973 and 28th November 1974 with Lynyrd Skynyrd as support in 1974. During that UK tour, Lynyrd Skynyrd supported them on all 16 dates, to me with was like a double top bill concert. Another stand out concert was ex Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower, I went on the off chance because someone work, recommended he was worth seeing.

By Michael Brittain (03/01/2013)

I've recently posted my old gig tickets ('79 - mid 80s) on the Facebook Brighton Past page, but my Police for £2.25 seems pricey when ELO was 65p! What a great and rare collection.

By Nickie Preston (10/01/2013)

To Nickie...have you got the link to the facebook page as I'd love to see the tickets. I do like to keep any memorabilia like tickets, the old Dome one's look great but nowadays they are printed as you buy them and don't look as good. I did obtain quite a few autographs over those years including all of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Free, Wishbone Ash and Rory Gallagher but unfortunately my Mum threw them away when I left home to get married thinking I didn't want them!! I suppose it was just as well I put the tickets in a safe place or else they would have gone the way of the autographs as well!

By Paul Clarkson (12/01/2013)

I too saw many of those concerts at the Dome. Happy happy days - I remember bunking off school to queue up for Bowie tickets in 1973. Other names that haven't been mentioned were Rory Gallagher, always good value, and the highly entertaining Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. One particularly weird experience was going to see Kraftwerk, not long after the Autobahn album had been released. I went with three mates, and (no word of a lie) we made up 25% of the audience. We were all invited to sit down at the front, and got one of the best value concerts I've ever been to. So much for Brighton being cool - I bet there are thousands who wish they'd bothered to go to that one! There were always lots of great (and not so great) bands to be seen in Brighton - The Stranglers, Jam, Elvis Costello, Smiths, Joan Armatrading, Pogues, John Otway, Ultravox, Frank Zappa, Police, Captain Beefheart, Kevin Ayers to mention a few. And Pilot and The Average White Band at Brighton Tech were less than memorable...

By Marc Turner (28/02/2013)

Hi Mick, yes I was at that Golden Earing consert in 1974 at teh Dome. Lynyrd Skynyrd were support and amazing. Friends are jealous that I saw them as I believe the plane crash that they were on was withiin a few years of that gig. I also saw Wishbone Ash 1975/6 - they were the loudest band I have ever heard, so much so I stuffed tissues in my ears and we had to leave before the gig ended as I felt so much pain in my ears!

By Belinda Lumsden (02/06/2013)

Great post, Paul. 1972 was indeed a great year at The Dome. I was there for both appearances by Wishbone Ash, Rory Gallagher (22nd March) and Pink Floyd (29th June). For me, the low point was Led Zeppelin on 20th December. This may be somewhat controversial, and bear in mind I was a great fan in those days, but this was one of the few gigs I have ever walked out of before the end. For a start, it was so loud it was physically painful. The only songs I enjoyed were ‘Bron-Y-Aur Stomp’ and the start of ‘Dazed and Confused’. I thought the rest of it was terrible over-indulgent noise. I’d be interested to know if anybody else felt the same. The highlight of the year was the legendary appearance of Captain Beefheart on 29th March. There is a great review of this concert here: "www.beefheart.com/brighton-dome-29th-march-1972-review-by-benjamin-horrendous". I agree that The Dome is still a great venue. In more recent years the highlight for me was Jeff Beck with his ‘Live at Ronnie Scotts’ band – and it was his birthday as well.

By Chris Dawson (26/07/2013)

Hi Chris, You're absolutely right about the volume, it was very loud that night and distorted. Any other band would probably have not been received so well but after the hour long delay to see them and the fact it was actually 'Led Zeppelin', I think they got away with it. Did anyone else hear the rumour that the reason the band were late was because they wanted to watch 'Colditz' in their hotel room? I thought the same about 'Deep Purple', they were so loud (and I was in row G) that it was uncomfortable but this was 'Deep Purple' and they were in our home town at the Dome, so we were just pleased to see them.

By Paul Clarkson (28/07/2013)

I enjoy reading these comments. I didn't see many of the shows mentioned, being too busy or too poor, but my middle-aged son tells me of his good musical times. Captain Beefheart was the first he saw. While he must have been very young and still at school he played truant to go see Mick Jagger. I'm not sure of the venues, but he obviously had a great time. Peter Groves, I see you mention the Dome prices, and how it's a shame you can't go any more. But you enjoyed it all when you were young, when it mattered.

By Joe Reid (30/07/2013)

Oh yes ... the Led Zeppelin concert. We were in the second stalls row, about 10 feet form the left hand stack. I couldn't hear for about two days. Funny thing though ... my mate Simon smuggled a cassette recorder in, to tape the concert. When we played it back about a week later, the whole two hours of tape was just a mess of distortion. He swore he'd recorded it at minimum volume too! Oh well. I seem to remember Robert Plant saying they'd been held up by the fog on the road from Seaford. Seemed a bit weak at the time, so maybe the Colditz story was true.

By Marc Turner (31/07/2013)

I really enjoyed reading Paul's piece on the music scene and the subsequent posts on this page, a golden era during which my girlfriend (now wife of 37 years) and I were both at college in Brighton. We too were huge fans of the Dome as a venue and remarkably our eardrums have also lived to tell the tale, for instance agreed Wishbone Ash and Budgie were loud, but did anyone else see Uriah Heep? I swear the walls were shaking! The Beck, Bogert, and Appice concert was sublime, and the fact that Jeff Beck has since been acclaimed as one of the greatest ever electric guitarists just goes to show that I'm not looking back through rose-tinted specs! Lesser-known but still amazing were Be bop deluxe formed Bill Nelson, such an underrated musician. We've never since lost our appetite for live music, though much more of a jazz or classical genre these days. Recently saw the Natalie Williams band at the Hoochie Coochie Club in Newcastle, an absolutely sensational gig - thanks to everyone for their posts which brought back so many great memories.

By Colin Woods (06/03/2014)

My first gig was King Crimson in '71. It should of been Mott the Hoople but they were banned after trouble at the Albert Hall. I remember thinking how great ELP were at the time, but years later heard a bootleg and thought it was rather boring. Saw Genesis with String Driven Thing and it was only half full. Chris De Burgh played there and got most irate when his backing band went down better than him during their solo spot. Biggest mistake though was walking out on Captain Beefheart, I thought it was to weird (I was only fifteen)...what was I thinking?

By Mark (06/12/2014)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.