David caused a rather nice surprise on Saturday when he made a guest appearance at Bombay Bicycle Club’s final night at London’s Earls Court. It was Earls Court’s final night, too; the bulldozers will be rolling in soon to demolish the iconic venue, replacing it with – surprise, surprise – luxury flats.
You tried, valiant Save Earls Court campaigners. Hard luck.
Although I’m sure that pedants everywhere will be secretly glad to see the back of a building that obviously should have had room for an apostrophe amidst its red lettering, music lovers will mourn the loss of a venue that has played host to many a legendary, bootlegged gig.
Pink Floyd, of course, performed Dark Side of the Moon here in May 1973; The Wall in August 1980 and again in June 1981. Their record-breaking run in October 1994, which culminated with P.U.L.S.E on CD and DVD, unfortunately can never be mentioned without remembering the seating collapse which injured some and infuriated many more.
There were so many other memorable gigs at Earls Court besides these, I’d love to know if you were fortunate enough to attend any of them. Perhaps Led Zeppelin in ’75, or the Rolling Stones in ’76? Queen, maybe Genesis, in ’77? Supertramp in ’83? Elton John in ’93? Oasis in ’95? The Who in ’96? R.E.M in ’99? U2 in 2001? Metallica, perhaps even Radiohead, in 2003? Surely Roger Waters in 2007…?
The Brit Awards and World Music Awards have also been held at Earls Court down the years.
The old place witnessed many a sporting event too, everything from gymnastics to wrestling; it was an Olympic venue in 1948 and most recently hosted the volleyball in 2012.
There have been Boat Shows, Motor Shows and Ideal Home Shows, even a Peace Rally by the British Union of Fascists in 1939, said at the time to have been the largest indoor political meeting ever held, with some 20,000 in attendance.
It really has a remarkable history, but back to Saturday.
David joined Bombay Bicycle Club for ‘Rinse Me Down’ before performing Pink Floyd favourite, ‘Wish You Were Here’.
Guitarist Jamie MacColl introduced David as follows: “This man gave me my first guitar and was one of the first people to play this venue, and by my count has played here more than 27 times.”
If you recognise the name, the late singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl, who we always hear (thanks to ‘Fairytale of New York’) and remember with such sadness at this time of year, was his aunt. A good excuse, I hope you’ll agree, to reacquaint yourself with two of her songs, ‘No Victims’ and ‘You and Me Baby’, on which David provides guitar.
In other news, you might be as impressed as I am to learn that Jamie MacColl’s great-uncle was the late, great Pete Seeger.
And if that’s not enough trivia for you on a Monday (seriously, how much do you want?), his grandfather, Ewan MacColl, among other things, wrote the Grammy Award-winning hit song ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. I never knew that.
So farewell, Earls Court. Thanks for the memories. You will be missed, especially when the million-pound, glass-fronted penthouses spring up and Londoners see the super-rich, who take so much from their great city and give so little in return, dancing on your grave.