My first time seeing The Jam was on September 27th, 1982 at Edinburgh Ingliston Exhibition Centre on The Bitterest Pill tour. I was 15 years old. The gig was extra special as I only found out I had the chance of a ticket a couple of days before as an older friend had bought 4 and someonone had to drop out. We travelled with a work colleague of my friend and for some strange reason I can remember he played the cassette of a live album by Bob Seger which was pretty far removed from The Jam. At the venue we had to go through metal detectors which was a bit of a surprise for a country boy from Berwick Upon Tweed. I remember all the people with parkas on who must have been melting in the heat! Support band was The Questions who got a reasonable response from the crowd with their recent single Price You Pay and fact they were on Weller’s label.
When The Jam came on it was a different matter as the crowd swayed and pushed and I remember thinking that I had gone from one side of the stage to the other in the melee.
The set list was obviously amazing with everyone singing along and jumping about although unsurprisingly Bitterest Pill didn’t get an outing 🙂 Paul was his usual reticent self on stage in terms of taking to the crowd but I remember someone had thrown a toilet roll on the stage and he said “Cheers, I’ll use it on my arse later”. There were the regular chants of We are the Mods through the gig. In all too short a time it was over and we exited sweaty, bruised and ecstatic. I purchased a t shirt and programme on the way and we headed off back to Berwick. Next day was a day off school on account of the late night and the fact that there would be no way of concentrating whilst reliving the night before.
I had first got into The Jam proper in early 79 with the When You’re Young single although I had been aware of earlier ones and especially The Modern World which was regularly used as an ident on Radio Luxembourg. My friend was an even bigger Jam fan than me with a bedroom plastered with posters of the band and was always the first to buy the albums. I made a mixtape of their songs which I played so much that whenever I heard a tune on the radio or wherever I could remember what came next on the tape. The Jam breaking up was monumental to everyone our age given how much they meant to us and probably like a lot of people I drifted away from them as I got older to the point where I sold all my records to the second hand shops as cd’s came to prominence and it was only in the mid 90’s I ended up with a full collection of their albums again.
I did follow The Style Council and 27 years after my first solo Weller gig I still catch him each tour and even made a trip to the USA in 2014 to watch shows in Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis. Have also been to see From The Jam 5 or 6 times. Only this week I was giving The Gift full blast on the car cd.