There is very little information available regarding Bob Marley and the Wailers‘ performance at New Bingley Hall, Staffordshire, London on June 22, 1978. However, I have compiled what is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive profile of the show on the web. I have included a concert review by Penny Reel, published in NME on July 1, 1978. I have also included a detailed profile of the show wriiten by British DJ Chris Poppin and originally published at www.bobmarleymagazine.com.
There exists an audio file which circulates as New Bingley Hall, Staffordshire. The problem with the recording is that it may actually contain audio from a different performance altogether. It is my understanding that the Staffordshire show has been mislabeled for years, and traders are not fully confident that the audio is representative of the show. I have therefore decided not to include it as one of the goals of this blog is to present historically and factually accurate information and labeled media.
Bingley Hall in Birmingham was the first purpose-built exhibition hall in Great Britain. It was built in 1850 and burned down in 1984. The International Convention Centre now stands on the site. During its life, it was used as a venue for the Birmingham Dog Show, cattle shows, chrysanthemum shows, circus, boxing, cinema, and in its later days for popular music concerts.
Bob Marley: Bingley Hall, Stafford
By Penny Reel, NME, 1 July 1978
BETWEEN I AND I, a writer’s relationship with his reader is a balance of equal power: the former dictates terms, but only at the latter’s discretion – where a page may be turned at any moment’s whim.
In the presentation of this particular review, I might abuse this premise with inclusion of any number of irrelevancies. I could, for instance, recount that the three coaches detailed for the record company’s guests – press, photographers, and EMI reps – departed Island’s St. Peter’s Square HQ at 5.30 pm and, due to the consistencies of the rush hour traffic, had crawled no further north than Watford some two long hours on.
To which would be added that only two of these arrived at their destination; the third, the one carrying the hapless EMI reps, disgruntedly gave up the ghost.
And furthermore, those two that completed the journey only made it at the expense of Steel Pulse’s 40 minute set – leaving one cynical observer to remark that Island were, perhaps, releasing the Brum Klanners from their contract (No we’re not – Island Records) – and midway through Marley’s own stage act.
Less than an hour later, it would be added, the same pair of charabancs were heading back to the capital for the small hours disembarcation of their respective passengers.
By way of further embellishment and finer detail, a summary description would be given of the more rowdy jounalistic element in concerted lament of King Sounds’ ‘Spend One Night In A Babylon (And You’ll See What I See)’ by way of comment on the travelling arrangements – although, it must be confessed, the exact relationship twixt this honourable record company and the harlot of the Ancients was never made fully clear, at least not to the understanding of this reporter.
Neither forgetting to mention the want, nay need, of one particular scribe on a rival music publication for such pain-relieving aid as a Phensic could reasonably administer, and the chemical consumption of same to the delight of his fellow travellers.
Nor that, on arriving at Bingley Hall, in the wasteland of a deserted countryside, we witnessed those other Babylonian ravens – the British Police – in descent on individuals of darkskinned hue for the purpose of fairly thorough and totally insulting search, curse them.
Such, I say, could quite easily form the bulk of my copy in lieu of a concert of which I saw a mere portion, but of such I will forsake exposition for the sake of my readers’ patience.
I arrived midway through Bob’s performance of ‘Heathen’, and made my way backstage for the introduction of ‘No Woman No Cry’, ‘Lively Up Yourself’, ‘Jamming, and by way of a single encore, ‘Get Up Stand Up’.
Never has a lyric been more appropriate; “You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all the people all the time” and “Now you see the light stand up for your right.”
This was followed by a brief chorus or two of ‘Exodus’/’Punky Reggae Party‘ to the self absorbed posturing accompaniment of the I Three by way of extra farce, and the Natty One hopping off stage for the last time, leaving behind the voluminous cascade of applause.
And then, finally, yes me frien’ me de pan street – or rather field – again; and the depressing interminable journey back to London. Spend one night in a Babylon yard and you’ll see what I see – Positive Vibrations!
© Penny Reel, 1978
Please click HERE to read a detailed profile of the show by British DJ Chris Poppin, who attended the show.