I saw him LIVE! March 20th 1958 at Liverpool Philharmonic Featured

Discussion in 'Buddy Holly's fans' social room' started by daisymaeholly, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. daisymaeholly

    daisymaeholly Lead Admin Staff Member Administrator

    I lived in Chester at the time and was 17 years old. My friend and I had been to see other great stars before so though my father was a bit uncertain about us going, we managed to convince him that we'd made it there and back safely before. I would say that later, he absolutely refused to let me see Jerry Lee Lewis because of all the publicity about his 12 yr old cousin/wife!

    I've heard a variety of versions of that event but can only tell you what I saw with my own eyes that night.

    There were two houses, 6.30 and 8.30 and I believe that John Lennon and others were queuing for the second house. Never saw him though! HEEHEE.gif

    1958 poster.JPG

    So we got tickets at the local booking office, terribly disappointed that we couldn't get front stalls, only front row balcony. However, we'd been in the balcony before and knew that it was usually quite close to the stage so we weren't too unhappy! So imagine our disappointment when we got their to find that, being a theatre designed for orchestral performances, the balcony was miles away from the stage and people on it didn't look much different to tin soldiers at the other end of a billiard table! Not only which, about two thirds of the stalls were completely empty! Just a couple of dozen rows at the front were occupied and, bizarrely, the semi-circle of seats intended for the choral situated behind the stage! These were all occupied too and when we asked a member of staff, learned that they were all Americans from a local USAF airbase! shrug2.gif Who on earth would want to sit behind the stars while they were performing?

    So the show started at the appointed time. As was usual in those days, there was the obligatory supporting cast of Des O'Connor as compère and comic, a crooner called Gary Miller, the Tanner Sisters, also singers, and Ronnie Keen and his Orchestra - a kind of wanna-be Glen Miller type outfit! All fairly mediocre from our point of view! So you can imagine we were pretty impatient by the time the boys were introduced.

    They bounced out onto the stage to a tumultuous greeting, Buddy carrying his guitar. He went to plug it into the amplifier and then tried a few cords - nothing. He looked around the amp, pulling and pushing things - still nothing. Then the picked up the electric cable which ran across the front of the stage and over the edge. He followed the cable hand over hand to the edge of the stage then held the end of it up in the air - it wasn't even plugged in! Somebody ran out to do the necessary and found that the plug didn't fit! (We had a myriad of different plugs at that time and it wasn't at all uncommon to find you'd got the wrong plug!)

    We heard Buddy discussing with someone at the side of the stage about what to do and somebody said something about having to get a sparks to change the plug. So the boys all trooped off stage and back came the supporting cast to entertain us while we waited.

    Eventually this little old man came and sat on the front of the stage with his box of tools and started to change the plug! Unfortunately, he got engrossed in Des O'Connor's delivery and sat there watching until Des pleaded with him to get on as they were 'dying' up there!

    So after about 40 minutes the boys were able to come back again - to another even louder greeting! - and get on with their set.

    I've since heard this incident described as an amplifier fault, a guitar fault and even a broken string! But I knew what changing a plug looked like as I could do it myself and that was definitely what happened! Most likely the amp had a 13amp square pin plug and the theatre only had 15amp or 5amp round pin plugs! That's very much what it looked like, anyway.

    The songs Buddy sung were all his favourites as we had expected. Joe did a stunning bit of acrobatics with his double bass, laying on the floor and even holding the instrument aloft on his feet whilst still playing up a storm. Jerry did a drum solo which was terrific and Buddy jitterbugged around the stage as only he could do. We were ecstatic with it all!

    However, about half way through, while he was announcing a song, all the Americans - who were virtually on stage, remember - suddenly got up and left. Since there was about thirty or more of them, they made quite a racket, the seats banging as they flipped up, the people gathering up their shopping and coats and talking! I mean, who could be so rude to a performer! Poor Buddy had to stop speaking as they made such a disturbance and when they were mostly gone and peace began to reign once more, he lamely shrugged his shoulders and said "Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go"!

    End result of all this was that this performance overran by about 45 minuted and our last train was about to leave. Every other time we'd waited at the stage door to see the stars but this time we just couldn't. We had a bus to catch from Birkenhead to Chester and my dad was going to meet us off the bus and take my friend home. There would be hell to pay if we missed the train or bus. But we made it okay and with some precious memories to keep forever.

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