The First Time: David Jarman – Fleetwood Mac, Paris Theatre, London, 1969

As a self-confessed live music junkie, the first live gig I ever went to in 1969 was always going to be one that has lived on in my memory. My dad was a BBC recording engineer, and knowing my burgeoning love of music he asked if I’d like to go to a recording for BBC’s radio ‘In Concert‘ show, suggesting Fleetwood Mac – the original version with Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

The recording session took place at the Paris Theatre, Lower Regent Street, London, the precise date is lost in the mists of time, the BBC live recordings double album shows two main set dates, in March and October, I suspect the latter. I particularly remember a storming version of ‘Oh Well’–and how loud they were–as well as songs from the gentler end of their catalogue, including ‘Man of the World’ and ‘Albatross’. I took an autograph book more in hope than expectation, I didn’t get to meet them but my book was passed backstage and a few days later dad brought it home, with the full band’s signatures. It resurfaced from an old suitcase of random belongings from my parent’s house a few years ago, having been thought long lost.
This was the start of many live shows at the Paris for me–the BBC website reminds us that “The Paris Studios in Lower Regent Street London were in use by BBC Radio from 1946 to 1995, and were the recording venue for some famous programmes. The theatre was originally the Paris Cinema, which opened in April 1939 to a design by Robert Cromie. Its name referred to its focus on French-language films; it didn’t last long due to World War II when it was taken over by the government. By 1946 it had been acquired by the BBC as a recording studio, where it’s small capacity and low stage gave it an intimacy ideal for recording comedy programmes; I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, radio versions of Dad’s Army, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were all recorded here. The Paris Theatre also saw some notable live performances from The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Queen and Pink Floyd amongst others.”
I was too young to have seen these famous artists, but as well as that first gig I saw the likes of Status Quo, Rory Gallagher, Brinsley Schwarz, Man, Tony Joe White, Country Gazette, and countless more–often two gigs a week, all free. This was a great way of being introduced to new music, as BBC Radio had an eclectic booking policy.  And my thirst for live music has continued ever since!

About David Jarman 116 Articles
Long time fan of Americana genre, from early days of Ry Cooder, through to today's thriving scene. Regular visitor to USA ( Nashville/Austin/Memphis/LA ) live music junkie, I play guitar, mandolin, harmonica, plus vocals, run monthly jam session in Broadstairs
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