Saturday, 7 February 2015

When The Who failed to impress the crowd at The Talk in Norwich

It was the first time EOB, named by readers of the Evening News, had played a full-scale gig in their home city for more than 40 years and original member Phil Wade said later: “We started with So You Want to be a Rock‘n’Roll Star? which ends quite suddenly. 

“There was a second when everything went quiet, then there was a roar from the audience that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. We knew from that moment that it was going to be all right.”  

With a full house, music from the 60s being played by the Gemini Disco “boys” David Clayton and Steve ‘Dr Vinyl’ Burns, this was a night when the clock was turned back to the swinging 60s which also raised more than £1,000 to be shared between Big C and EACH. “We owe a big debt of gratitude to David Clayton and Derek James for being so kind with this crazy scheme,” added Phil. 

“We’d paced ourselves for the set which lasted about an hour and a quarter. It well so well that we ended up doing three encores. We were shattered – completely drained. But so happy with our performance and how much everyone was enjoying it all,” he said. 

Fifty years ago when one of the biggest bands in the country came calling it was a different story at the Oak Street hot spot and memories of the night come from Steve Moore, now living in Australia.

“Back in 1965 at what was then the Industrial Club we went to see The Who, who had just released My Generation. Keith Moon was absent (suffering from nervous exhaustion) so Viv Prince of The Pretty Things stood in,” recalled Steve.

“As a dedicated Mod the gig was a must-see, so I went with three mates plus Nick, my elder brother. The Who relied on massive feedback, deafening volume (a huge stack of Marshall amps, if memory serves), and swearing at the audience. 

“Overall they were pretty bad – so bad in fact, that my brother wrote a whingeing letter to the Record Mirror, who ran it as a lead letter under the headline ‘The Who – Painful Sounds’,” said Steve. But that wasn’t the end of the story. 

A short time later Pete Townshend was interviewed by one of the pirate radio stations. Asked about the letter he said those five guys from Norwich could go and, er, ‘fade away’ as you might say (you get the meaning). 

“We also received a letter from Shreveport, Louisiana, from the President of the Rolling Stones fan club in the USA who agreed with us and reckoned The Who looked ‘evil,’ added Steve. 

“Anyway, the whole affair spooked Pete Townshend and it was a long time before they appeared in Norwich again. If they ever did, that is,” he said.

As for EOB, well, someone has suggested recording Steppin’ Back in Time, a song written by Phil Dimitri for the gig and the name of the concert, so I will have a feeling that’s not the last we hear of them. 

“The crowd loved it and I can’t imagine this will be the last time they play together – they’re too good,” said David Clayton. 

Thank you for all your memories of The Talk, now celebrating its diamond anniversary, and please keep them coming.
• Drop me a line at or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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