The City Hall , Newcastle Upon Tyne

Friday 21st April 1967

On 21st April 1967 the Walker Brothers tour came to Newcastle City Hall. Also on the bill were the Jimi Hendrix Experience , Engelbert Humperdinck , Cat Stevens and two support bands the Californians and the Quotations. The tour had opened in London three weeks earlier on 31st March at the Finsbury Park Astoria and this was where Jimi had famously set fire to his guitar on stage for the very first time. There were two shows - a matinee and an evening performance.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience were in the middle of the running order so only had a short set of around 15 to 20 minutes. At the opening night in London they played only five songs - Foxy Lady, Can You See Me, Hey Joe , Purple Haze and ended with Fire. It is likely that a similar set was played here at the City Hall.

Engelbert Humperdinck's guitarist left the tour after just a few shows and Noel Redding was hired to replace him. Noel would do the set with Jimi Hendrix first then have to stand in the darkened wings playing guitar with a very long lead while Engelbert was on stage (they would not let him stand on stage with the band). He was paid an extra £2 per night for this. Noel said "I wonder if anyone in the audience ever guessed where the lead guitar was coming from?"



      Official tour programme.

    Available to buy in the foyer.




      Poster from an earlier night on the tour

   (the City Hall poster was the same design)


The running order was ....

The Quotations
The Californians
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Englebert Humperdinck


The Quotations
Cat Stevens
The Walker Brothers



Backstage at the opening night of the tour at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London

(L to R ) Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Gary Leeds (Walker Brothers drummer) and Englebert Humperdinck
One of the roadies for Jimi at both his City Hall shows was Lemmy Kilmister who later went on to form Motorhead. Lemmy knew Hendrix's road manager at the time Neville Chesters who was sharing a flat in London with Noel Redding. They needed an extra set of hands for the tour with the Walker Brothers so he offered Lemmy the job. He toured with the Experience for about a year.


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"I went to see Hendrix at the City Hall, I think in 1967. I was a schoolgirl and went to the 'matinee' performance...too young for the evening gig!! He didn't smash his guitar up in the afternoons, saving it for the evening performances, when he used to throw the remnants into the audience. But he still played with his teeth, bounced it off the floor and raked it across the loudspeakers. If I remember rightly, people like Cat Stevens, The Walker Brothers and such like were on the same bill. Several huge stars would play at the same gig in those days. I was in the 6th row and it was stunning! Never to be forgotten!! Nowadays, when I tell very young people about this experience, they almost don't believe me and, when they do, they are in awe of the fact that I was there and saw the great man live and so close-up. I can't quite believe it myself!!!"

"I can remember just staring at him in wonderment. Loving every minute. I went to the afternoon gig. In those days, bands played in the afternoon and then did it all over again in the evening. I can still see him in my mind's eye, working away at that guitar, either with his teeth, scratching it on the MASSIVE amplifier or down on the floor. Wonderful."


Les Edgar remembers "I remember having a blinding headache because the noise was so intense from all of the screaming girls in the audience! As for Hendrix, I remember it was very difficult to hear what he was playing because of the screaming but that for the short time he was on he did some amazing show boating playing behind his head, with his teeth and that he did some somersaults on stage and I seem to remember him crashing into Mitch Mitchell’s drums. There were also lots of Jelly Babies being thrown onto the stage and he was throwing them back into the audience which of course was greeted by even louder screaming and girls scrambling to find said thrown Jelly Baby."



The Venue


Newcastle City Hall ,

City Road ,

Newcastle Upon Tyne


The City Hall was opened in 1927 as part of the redevelopment which also includes the City Pool. A Harrison and Harrison Organ was added in 1928 to give Newcastle its first dedicated concert venue. The pipes of the fill the back of the stage area but are sometimes hidden by a gigantic curtain when bands are playing.

The City Hall has hosted concerts by major British Orchestras featuring conductors such as Sir Malcolm Sargent and soloists as Yehudi Menuhin and Kathleen Ferrier. The 60's saw the cultural explosion of pop music and the hall was soon playing host to "package tours" featuring The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as Newcastle's own "Animals". Many shows featuring five or six acts on one bill could be seen for 10/6 (52p) or less.

The City Hall has continued to host almost every rock and pop "great" since the 60's as well as seeing the first tours of future legends. Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's the City Hall has maintained its position as one of the best and most used 2000 seated venues in the country, and one of many artists favourite gigs.



On the opening night of the tour in London, backstage before the show Chas Chandler was looking for a way to grab more publicity than the other acts on the bill. Jimi had joked "Maybe I should smash an elephant". Music journalist Keith Altham then said "it's a pity that you can't set your guitar on fire" and Chas's eyes lit up. He immediately sent a roadie out to get some lighter fluid. Jimi performed the stunt during his final song , Fire. This was the first of only two times in his career that Jimi set fire to a guitar , the second time being at the Monterey pop festival two months later.

Once the instrument had been set on fire on stage at the Astoria, Jimi Hendrix was rushed off the stage and taken to hospital for burns on his hands. While he was undergoing treatment, the burnt guitar was collected by roadies and taken to Hendrix's press officer Tony Garland's offices. Garland then collected the guitar, and stored it in his parent's garage in Hove, and it lay there untouched until Garland's nephew uncovered it in 2007. The instrument was auctioned at the Idea Generation Gallery on Thursday 4th September 2008 and sold for £280,000.




Further Reading

NME Review of the Walker Brothers Tour opening night in London