Mark Arbuckle: Glasgow, May 2021
Inspired by the recent Apollo posts I’ve decided to share some of my own gig memories.
On 12th of May 1976 myself and my friend Peter attended The Rolling Stones concert at The Glasgow Apollo.
I don’t remember too much about the gig but apparently it wasn’t their best as it was beset by sound problems all night.
It’s what happened after the gig that is etched on my mind however.
As we were leaving there was an altercation on the street right outside the main doors.
Peter and I decided to cut along Renfield Lane to avoid whatever was happening. Just as we got to the side door it burst open and a figure hurtled out, slipped on the cobbles and crashed to the ground. I reached down to help him to his feet.
‘Scrag-dab Groog Slubdabahoo!’ spluttered the man and I suddenly realised that the skinny figure I was propping up was a totally wasted Keith Richards!
Almost immediately a black limo screeched to a halt in front of us and a very large man jumped out, removed KR from my arms, opened the back door and threw him onto the back seat!
He grunted ‘Thanks man’ jumped into the car and sped off! The entire incident lasted about 40 seconds!
Peter and I just stared open mouthed at each other and then burst out laughing!
A few weeks later, on 5th June 1976 I was very fortunate to be asked to be part of the security team at ‘The Who Put The Boot In’ all day gig at Celtic Park.
My brother was friendly with a guy (MR) who booked all the bands for Glasgow Tech and he was asked to provide some bodies for the day.
MR was very well known in the UK music industry and even had Pans People at his 22nd birthday party at the old Albany Hotel, where I danced with my long time crush, the gorgeous Cherry Gillespie……but I digress.
My brother and I and 4 other friends duly turned up at Celtic Park at 8.00am and along with 60 other ‘security’ guards were given a briefing on our duties for the day.
We were issued with our yellow ‘Harvey Goldsmith’ security jackets and split up into teams of six.
We were then taken on a tour of the ground’s fire exits, toilets, catering and first aid points.
We were also shown the No Access areas and told that in no uncertain terms that the large, bulky figures sporting the blue ‘Rock Steady’ jackets were the REAL security and we were to assist them whenever asked to!
Our team of six was then told to report to the front of the stadium where the crowds had been gathering for the last few hours. We were to assist the Police confiscating the fans’ alcohol before they entered the stadium! ‘Either drink it where you stand or give it to us!’
We had to open and empty the beer cans and smash the glass bottles into large brick bins. The smell of alcohol was eye watering! People were attempting to consume their entire kerryoot there and then! Especially the ones at the back of the huge queues as the word quickly spread.
I watched a skinny wee guy down a bottle of vodka in the five minutes it took him to get to the turnstile!
I doubt if he saw much of the day’s entertainment!
Though I imagine quite a lot (hunners) of half and quarter bottles of alcohol were missed by our untrained searches and smuggled into the stadium.
(I’m also sure quite a few made it into Yella Jaikets’ zipped pokits!)
After about 2 hours confiscating booze, I was partnered with an older guy and sent to guard the pylon on the right side of the stage.
We were there to prevent anybody trying to climb up it, but as you couldn’t see the stage from there, nobody did! After a boring half hour my partner announced that he was ‘Offski’ ‘F#€K This’ were his exact words.
I later found out that he was ejected for drinking. I lasted another 15 minutes then abandoned my post and decided to have a wander back stage. Little Feat were on stage and I was enjoying Lowell George’s superb slide guitar work.
I was talking to a long haired denim clad guy next to me who turned out to be the bass player (Frank O’Keefe… I had to google him) of The Outlaws who had already played their set.
A man approached us and said to Frank ‘Excuse me, this is Alan Longmuir of The Bay City Rollers….’Alan also plays bass’ Frank stared right through him, shrugged a ‘So what?’ and returned to talking to me! I felt really sorry for Alan Longmuir.
A Rock Steady Security Guy shouted ‘Right you! Follow me!’ So I did.
I followed him down a back staircase and emerged outside in a courtyard.
A few weeks before the gig a Sunday newspaper ran a competition to win a gig ticket and the chance to meet Keith Moon and help him smash up a replica of the organ used in Rock Opera, Tommy!
There stood Keith Moon dressed in a leather bikers jacket with tasseled sleeves and brandishing a sledgehammer!
After posing for press photographs, cackling Keith dealt the first mighty blow to the poor keyboard sending black and white keys flying in all directions! Then he handed his sledgehammer to me and said ‘Your turn’ The competition winner and I then set about the helpless instrument with glee! After 15 minutes our ‘Appetite for Destruction’ waned and we put down our weapons. Keith reappeared and invited us onto The Who’s tour bus for a drink. We were greeted by a stunning 6′ 2″ woman dressed in a black leather basque, fishnet stockings and thigh length leather boots with 4″ stiletto heels! Oh and she was carrying a whip!
The bus had been converted into a fully functioning bar with beer pumps, spirit optics and high stools! We took our seats and Miss Whiplash served our drinks. I had an ice cold beer (very welcome after our exertions) and a Jack & Coke. I did feel a pang of guilt for all the poor sods that had had their carry outs destroyed earlier…but not for long.
Keith was laughing and talking nonstop and it was obvious that he was already quite drunk and had probably partaken of other various substances. It was around 4pm and The Who weren’t due on stage for at least another 5 hours!
Keith offered us a second round but I declined and said I’d better, very reluctantly, get back to work. The competition winner (we never did introduce ourselves) left the bus with me. We were both still on a high after this amazing encounter with one of the legends of rock!
I returned backstage and watched SAHB’s amazing set.
Nobody questioned why I was there and I had a brilliant view!
The crowd went wild at Alex Harvey’s mad antics and Zal and the rest of the band pounded out song after song!
SAHB’s elaborate Vambo set then had to be dismantled and The Who’s much heralded outdoor laser light show (the first in Scotland) was set up.
The crowd were getting a bit restless by the time The Who took the stage about 9.30pm but they played a magnificent set.
However the laser show didn’t really work as intended as it was still pretty light until around 10.30pm.
Then the show was over and I met up again with my brother and his pals as we queued up to be paid.
The deal was ‘Hand in your Yellow Jacket and get paid £1 per hour cash or keep the jacket and get zero. Now if I’d known then that eBay would exist in the future then I would’ve kept the jacket and sold it now for £500!
However I took my £14.00 handed out by Harvey Goldsmith himself sitting in a little wooden booth.
HG was beaming as he handed over the little bundles of cash obviously calculating the tens of thousands that he’d personally made from the tour!
I can’t even remember how we all got home from that exhausting but exhilarating day!
Now this last story may not be true…..It was told to me by an older guy who regularly attended gigs throughout 70’s
Fun and substance loving band Dr. Hook were partying hard with their crew and local security at The Central Hotel after their gig at The Apollo.
One of the band overheard a local guy mentioning ‘Hocken-Shoe-Gal!
and in their spaced out, inebriated state the sound of this, strange, mystical place must’ve appealed to them and they decided they must visit, so they enquired how to get there.
The local guy suggested a taxi but the band insisted on travelling ‘like the other pilgrims do’
‘Then get the No. 64 bus from under the bridge’ They were told, so off they went to Argyle St. and got on the No. 64 bus….
Unfortunately they boarded it on the wrong side of the road so instead of travelling east to the magical, mystical Auchenshuggle, they headed west through Finnieston, Partick, Whiteinch, Yoker, Clyebank and arrived at the large concrete terminus of Dalmuir West!
The band were very confused and didn’t appreciate these surroundings at all! They clambered back on the bus for the return journey back to the city centre to continue their par-tay! Hahaha
True or Not… It’s a great story!!