Strawbs story – 1974 by Philip John – Mott Road Crew Live


supplied by Philip John

Philip John… London Gardens,home of The London Knights Ice Hockey Team !
First time we’ve played in an ice rink. The line up for this show had been changed due to Queen having to drop out. The Strawbs were topping the bill as they were in the charts with ‘Part of the union’ followed by us then Blue Oyster Cult were opening. The Cult weren’t too happy about this as they’d just brought out their new album ‘Secret Treaties’ and the top track ‘Career of evil’ written by Patti Smith who was also the lead singers girlfriend at that time was getting a lot of radio play.
Anyway before we started the load in the staff covered the ice rink in straw mats. This stopped it being slippery but didn’t do much for the chill factor.Still everything went off OK and once the show started I headed off to check out BOC. Got to say they were a great heavy rock band with biker overtones. Eric the singer came on in full leathers cracking a 10 ft bull whip and they really got the crowd going. Mind you I couldn’t help but notice that once the hall filled up the place began to fill up with clouds of vapour and I wondered if the Cult had a dry ice machine back stage. On further investigation it turned out to be the ice floor warming up .
Mott went on next and went down a storm even though they were partly obscured by the clouds of moisture rising from the floor. I began to think we were rather lucky not to have been topping the bill that night. Blue Weaver who was currently sharing keyboard duties went back stage to catch up with the guys from the Strawbs, seemed he’d spent a few years on the road with them before he’d joined Mott. They were also getting a bit worried about the steaming ice but thought they’d go ahead and play anyway.
Well by halfway through their set they were almost totally invisible . Great clouds of vapour had enveloped the audience and the stage. Occasionally a spare hand or guitar neck would become visible soon to vanish leaving us with with this strange disembodied music floating through the mists.
When the show finished the management opened all the exits and the vapour clouds slowly dispersed. Fortunatly every one saw the funny side of this and as we all got paid there was no problems.
I believe The Stones also played this gig, can’t imagine they were as easy going as our lo

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