I was delighted to be able attend a celebration of Pete Shelley’s life on the evening of Friday 21st June 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert featured Buzzcocks (and an array of special guest singers) with support from The Skids and Penetration.
Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley passed away suddenly on 6th December 2018, aged 63, leaving this already arranged gig as an opportunity to pay respect to the unique song writing talents of the Manchester icon.
It would dismissive and rude of me not to squeeze in references to High Wycombe in this article. Buzzcocks may never had played High Wycombe but that was the place, back in February 1976, that Shelley (then named Peter McGleish) first witnessed The Sex Pistols. The rest is history.
Meanwhile, support acts, The Skids and Penetration both did make it to play live in High Wycombe – Richard Jobson and his merry Scottish band treading The Nag’s Head stage in June 1978 for their first appearance outside of Scotland and London. Penetration also sampled the delights of High Wycombe Town in June 1978 as they took a break from supporting Buzzcocks on their UK tour.
So, fast forward more than 40 years to the Royal Albert Hall in 2019 and it seemed almost surreal to witness all three of these acts on the same night and on the same stage.
It was perhaps apt that Penetration kicked off with their Buzzcocks cover, ‘Nostalgia’. It set the tone for an evening that proved that Shelley will be remembered as one of the greatest pop song writers of his era.
Penetration – set list
- Come Into the Open
- Free Money
- Silent Community
- Don’t Dictate
- Shout Above the Noise
- Beat Goes On
Richard Jobson is a great frontman and the latest version of The Skids he has assembled is able to do admirable justice to the impressive back catalogue of classics from the late 70’s and early 80’s. We even got a run through of, according to Jobson, the ‘worse ever Skids song’ in the form of ‘TV Stars’.
Skids – set list
- Of One Skin
- Kings of the New World Order
- The Saints Are Coming
- Working for the Yankee Dollar
- Scared to Dance
- Hurry On Boys
- A Woman In Winter
- Circus Games
- TV Stars/Pretty Vacant /What Do I Get?
- Into The Valley
Buzzcocks came on stage to an ever-rotating backdrop of band and Shelley memorabilia – just in case you got bored with the music. However, from the opening guitar riff of ‘Fast Cars’, sung by Buzzcocks original Steve Diggle, there was little chance to draw breath.
The guests started to take stage from the fifth number in – The Damned’s Captain Sensible attempting to the take on Boredom with the assistance of an oversize lyric sheet!
Former Buzzcocks John Maher and Steve Garvey joined the line-up for the short and sweet ‘Love You More’, with vocals coming from Penetration’s Pauline Murray.
You can see from the set-list below how the remainder of the evening panned out – all the guests adding their own unique style to the songs. The versions may not have been perfect but this was more about the remembering the songs rather than the performances.
Buzzcocks – set list
- Fast Cars
- A Girl From the Chain store
- Boredom (featuring Captain Sensible)
- Love You More (featuring Pauline Murray))
- Why Can’t I Touch it (featuring Peter Perrett)
- Fiction Romance (featuring Richard Jobson)
- What Do I Get? (featuring Dave Vanian)
- Something’s Gone Wrong Again (featuring Dave Vanian)
- Time’s Up (featuring Thurston Moore)
- Noise Annoys (featuring Thurston Moore)
- Sixteen Again (featuring Tim Burgess)
- You Say You Don’t Love Me (featuring Tim Burgess)
- Harmony in My Head
- Orgasm Addict
- I Don’t Mind
- Ever Fallen In Love (featuring all the guest vocalists)