The Stiff tours were a highlight of the late 70s rock calendar. These amazing events featured a selection of artists from Stiff records, travelling up and down the UK dropping into concert halls, university student unions and your local theatre. The first tour was known as the Live Stiffs Tour or 5 Live Stiffs, and took place in late 1977. My ticket stub from the gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall is here on the right, I've been trying to work out what the title for that concert was! Perhaps it was "The First Stiffs' Tour" ?? Who knows?
This first extravaganza boasted a stellar line-up of the new wave aristocracy with a young Elvis Costello with his fine Attractions, Ian Dury and the magnificent Blockheads, the crazy, wild and 100% authentic Wreckless Eric, The Jesus of Cool Nick Lowe (featuring rocker supremo Dave Edmunds) and ex Pink Fairies, Motorhead (and great Lewis leather jacket) Larry Wallis.
A bunch of mates and I caught the tour at this Middlesbrough Town Hall gig. At the time punk was really taking off around the UK, and the old town hall was packed. I remember seeing Elvis Costello outside talking to a group of kids; my mate Norm recalls him giving them a penny for the guy.
We witnessed some great music with wonderful performances from Elvis and Ian Dury that night. Ian stole the show; he was at his height at the time, performing material from New Boots and Panties!!: "Sweet Gene Vincent," "Billericay Dickie" and "Clever Trevor." The gig ended with everyone on stage performing Dury's "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." Amazing!!
The tour called at Newcastle Polytechnic a couple of weeks later. I enjoyed the show so much, I went along again, this time with Marie. Marie has a better memory than me on this gig, and can recall us chatting to Elvis Costello in the union bar. She swears that Captain Sensible was with him, holding court to a few of us, in a typical mad mood, and show off that he is, he ate an entire packet of crisps, including the bag, all in one go in front of us. I do have a vague memory of meeting the Captain, but couldn't be certain that it was the same night as the Stiffs tour. I wish I had kept a diary…
A bargain at £1.50