from Simon Raywood................................ Bridlington Spa
The first gig I ever went to was The Jam at Bridlington Spa on the Farewell Tour in December 1982. I went with my best mate Nick, and we were both 13 years old. We'd been fanatical about The Jam since 'Going Underground' and had every Jam single, album, 12 inch, and Jap import they ever released.
We'd previously tried to get tickets for both The Trans Global Express Tour and The Bitterest Pill Tour that same year, but they'd sold out. So when we sent for tickets for The Farewell Tour I didn't hold out much hope. I can't describe the feeling I had when my Mum woke me one morning to tell me two tickets had come to see The Jam in concert. A week before the gig it was touch and go whether Nick could go at all after he fell out of a tree and broke his colar bone! However, we managed to persuade his Mum he'd be fine if he wore his big parka and sat at the back! My Mum and Dad gave us a lift the 50 miles to Bridlington. It was my sisters birthday the same day as the gig, so she came along and they all went for a meal whilst me and Nick went to the gig.
On entering the venue we made straight for the front of the stage. The space in front of the stage where Paul usually stood was already full, so we took up position right against the barrier just in front of Bruce's microphone. I remember looking around before the lights went down and seeing hundreds of people dressed just like me, in their Fred Perry shirts and bowling shoes.
A band called Apocalypse were the support, who included in their line up Tony Fletcher, the guy who ran the 'Jamming' fanzine at the time...but they were pretty crap really. Then came that unforgettable ritual before every Jam gig when John Weller introduced the band "Put your hands together for the best fucking rock and roll band in the world.....THE JAM!!!! Paul came sauntering across the stage with a mug of tea and the place erupted. I must admit I can't remember the opening song...I think the euphoria of it all got the better of me.
It could have been 'The Birdy Song' for all I cared....this was The f***ing Jam! I do remember they played most of my favourites, including 'The Modern World', 'Going Underground' & 'Set The House Abaze'....awesome. Throughout the gig the crowd were going mental, and several times I noticed we were wedged in so tight that my feet hadn't touched the floor for an entire song! Poor old Nick's arm was taking a right battering against the barrier at the front...but he just sang his heart out with the rest of us. The best moment of the gig for me was when Bruce looked down at me during a song, smiled and winked. For a 13 year old kid that was magic!
The last song they played that night was 'The Gift' which disappointed me a bit because it was never one of my favourites. Afterwards they took one final bow and then disappeared offstage forever to the loudest ovation I've ever heard. I had mixed feelings as we left the venue and stepped into the cold night air. I felt happy that I'd just witnessed my all time favourite band, The Jam, but at the same time I felt sad that I'd never ever be able to see them play again. I couldn't help feeling I'd missed out, and somehow wished I'd been born earlier!
When we met up with my Mum and Dad outside they told me they'd seen the last five or six songs! They'd been waiting for us at the door when one of the bouncers asked them if they wanted to go inside! My sister was the only 9 year old in our school to have seen The Jam in concert! She still ribs some of my mates about it now - the fact that she saw The Jam and they didn't!
Two days after the Bridlington Spa gig The Jam played for the last time in Brighton...the rest is history. For me, nothing or no one has touched them since.
Simon Raywood - March 2002.