Thursday, 2 June 2011
I made it to The Top
A recent visit to the West End found me walking down Wardour Street past the site of The Marquee. To any young 'uns reading this, the legendary London was torn down in the early 90s. The only reminder that 90 Wardour Street W1 once played host to some of rock and roll's most famous, and infamous, luminaries is the blue plaque name-checking Keith Moon.
I have many happy memories of nights spent in the tiny Soho club. Anyone who's been (and if you were there, like me, you really must be a dinosaur) will remember the corridor from the main doors leading to the bar on the left. Once in the bar, through the glazed wall/window you could see when the support band were about to pack up and vacate the stage in readiness for the main turn. That's when everyone would pile in and form a scrum in front of the stage. A blind eye would be turned when it came to fire regulations, so despite the venue having an official capacity of 700, there would often be 1000+ sweaty bodies in there. And there certainly was in October 1983 when ZZ Top (even then, a stadium act in the States) came to town. As a warm up gig for their Eliminator tour, the Texan beardies descended on The Marquee - a venue so small that the band would have played in places with dressing rooms bigger than it (and what they would have made of the broom cupboard where they got changed is probably unprintable). Here's my ticket.
I've got a button badge somewhere in the loft with the strapline 'I made it to The Top.' I don't know what ' be in your seats by 7.45' meant...it was strictly standing only. Looking back, three things stand out when I think about that night: seeing Thomas the Vance in the bar, being close to tears when they played La Grange and chatting with Garry Bushell who was reviewing it for Sounds; my music paper of choice. Good times.
Pickin' on Tush!