I’d love to say my first Apollo, Glasgow memory is of Rory Gallagher standing front and centre of that high stage on the evening of 2nd March 1973, tuning his guitar before launching into ‘Laundromat.’
Unfortunately, I can’t. Instead my first recollection is of ex Colosseum member Dave Greenslade in the guise of his new band, erm … Greenslade, boring me rigid as the strangely inappropriate support band.
Still, Rory and the lads more than made up for the purgatory I’d endured the previous forty minutes or whatever.
Throughout the remaining years of The Seventies, I’d get to as many Apollo shows as my meagre finances and other interests would allow. Suffice to say, I now have a great many exciting and happy memories from gigs in the hallowed hall – though some of these may be a tad addled by Carlsberg Special and Newcastle Brown Ale.
Rory (five times over); The Sensational Alex Harvey Band; Lynyrd Skynyrd (twice); Man (two or three times); Jethro Tull (twice); The Runaways; Black Oak Arkansas; Ozark Mountain Daredevils; Baker Gurvitz Army; Ted Nugent; Queen; Devo and Gary Numan all spring to mind. I’d have to check my ticket stubs for others.
Rather surprisingly though, one of my most enduring memories surrounds a show I was not even at.
It was in the summer of ’78 and for some reason, I’d been up town for a drink with a couple of pals on a midweek evening. Even more surprising, we were still (relatively) sober as we made our way down West Nile Street to catch our bus home. As we passed Renfrew Lane at the back of The Apollo, we noticed a bit of a commotion.
We waited and we watched. Suddenly a blacked-out police van turned out the lane, followed by a horde of screaming and shouting fans. We watched as the van ignored the red traffic lights and eventually sped away from even the fittest of pursuing diehards.
Then, just as were getting back on our way, a chauffeur driven, black, limousine smoothly purred out Renfrew Lane. Only a few savvy fans who hadn’t been suckered by the decoy police van were in pursuit.
As the car slowed to a brief standstill right by us before turning left up the hill, the passenger, wearing a black fedora hat, leaned forward in his seat, smiled and waved.
David Bowie! David Bowie waved. To us! There was nobody else around.
Sure, I liked David Bowie – didn’t everybody? But I certainly wouldn’t have classed myself a ‘fan.’ And yet – Holy crap! There I was, a twenty year old bloke, feeling like a fourteen year old female Bay City Rollers fan. I suppressed the urge to scream and politely waved back.
Isn’t it funny how fate and circumstances shape the future? As a result of that spontaneous and momentary personal interaction, I became fan. Consequently David Bowie managed to sell several more albums than he would have done, had I not been passing the Apollo that night in 1978.
I bet he was so glad he took time to exchange pleasantries!