More memories of Colston Hall

Little Stevie Wonder – Tuesday 23rd March 1965

“As a regular visitor to the Colston Hall I was well aware that it was against the rules to stand up or jig around and you could be approached by the security men if you did so. However if you sat in the back row downstairs you could put the seat up and be a little more active to the music. This was our preferred place in the hall and we were there for the rather poorly attended Tamla Motown Show. Part way in a rather big man brought a young lad in and sat with him at the end of our otherwise empty row. The lad was clapping his hands and enjoying the event to the full. They left after a while but we were surprised to see that when the announcer cried “Now on stage it’s Little Stevie Wonder” we had been sat next to him for half an hour.

Back in the late 50s we used to go to the Colston every Sunday for the trad jazz nights. I also saw, amongst many others, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis (when the audience stormed the stage), Pink Floyd, Count Basie Orchestra and many more. The Colston Hall was a big part of my life time in music and entertainment.”

Al Read

Making a Murderer #teamjustice

An early introduction to rock ‘n roll at Colston Hall (1960s)

The Colston Hall holds many fond memories for me, even the occasion when I was chucked out for dancing! (That was Mott The Hoople, about 1971.) My first gig was there,  Jethro Tull in 1969, rapidly followed by many more. I queued for hours one day, skipping school to try to get tickets to see The Stones, but in vain as they sold out well before I got a chance.

I think these early gigs were usually 10/- and then 50p after decimalisation to get in. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Usually me and a few mates would travel by the 14 bus from Kingswood, returning the same way. The gig would finish at a reasonable time (they always started on time, too) and the bus service ran till quite late. I had been there before all this, as part of a school orchestra from my primary school (St Johns, Clifton, around 1964). I think I played the triangle.

Andrew Clayton

Fond memories of our Producer Uncovered courses

Newlyweds get a shoutout from Elvis Costello, 1987

Back in 1987 on our wedding night, we decided against the normal formalities of a party with a dreadful DJ and went to see Elvis Costello at the Hall. Quite a few of our friends came along as well, so it was a very sociable occasion. Elvis was promoting his ‘King of America’ album and well into the set he announced that two crazy people were spending their wedding night at the gig. He then launched into ‘I’ll Wear It Proudly’ from that album and dedicated it to us. Unbeknown to us, some friends had managed to get a message backstage to Elvis. it was pretty amazing to have Elvis Costello playing a song for us.


Queueing for Deep Purple

Strummer slides down the stairs, 2001

After the demise of The Clash, I was dubious about going to see Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. I’d seen the Clash at the height of their powers, why would I want to see a pale imitation? I was though, talked into going to their gig at Hall in November 2001. Come the evening of the gig, I was still anxious about what the evening would bring forth.

On entering the venue I nipped off to the ground floor toilets, just to the left of the old box office. As I approached the wide staircase with its long central banister, I looked up I saw the unmistakable figure of Joe Strummer himself, looking great and chatting to a few folks. Suddenly he jumped up, so his rear end was delicately balanced on the smooth and shiny banister. Then with an elegant whoosh and a manic grin, he swept down the stairs, nodding at me briefly as he made his way towards the entrance. It was clear that this wasn’t some washed out old rocker on a nostalgic trip. The gig was a triumph. So sad then that just over a year later, Strummer had died. I’m still so pleased that I have a great final memory of the man at the Colston Hall.


Meatloaf’s Massive Motorbikes, 1980s

Taking chances on the Quo and Captain Beefheart (1972 & 1973)

My friend and I went down to see Status Quo – we didn’t have a ticket, but thought we’d go anyway, and yes, sure enough, we got in via a side door which came out by the Gents! No one stopped us, or asked to check a ticket and we didn’t get chucked out! As soon as the Quo came on stage, everyone was up out of their seats dancing anyway, so it didn’t matter that we didn’t have a seat.

Captain Beefheart was at the Colston Hall one night. I knew from listening to John Peel’s radio show that he sometimes went along, so I took myself down on the bus, no ticket, but someone was outside with a spare one, so I got in. Can’t remember if I had to pay for the ticket, or whether he just gave it away, I think maybe the latter. I went to the side of the stage while the roadies were setting up and made enquiries; sadly Peely wasn’t there this time, but the roadie let me watch the concert from the side of the stage!

Annabel Marshall

Variety is the spice of life: Songhoy Blues to Philip Glass

Love blossoms at Paramore, 2017

Paramore at Colston Hall was my first gig at the venue and my second time visiting. I came with a colleague from work (it was a top secret date), he’d never seen paramore before and had only ever been to one gig! Safe to say he loved it as much as I did and that evening when we got home he asked me to be his girlfriend.


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