I drove up on a baking hot day, and allowed plenty of time so that I could get there early. I booked myself into the cheapest guest house I could find (about five minutes walk away and a snip at GBP15 a night), and set off for the venue, only to find the queue was already half way round the car park, and they were all Japanese! The Yellow Monkey have flown some 600 of their fans over specially for the gig!
Inside it wasn't too bad, some people preferring to sit at the sides, but most were standing. First up was Michael Chapman - just him and an acoustic, a pleasant way to start the evening.
Next were the Rats, with Geoff Appleby as special guest. They did some of their own material, but the set included Life's A River, and they closed with I Feel Free (the Cream number Mick played back in the Ziggy Stardust days).
Glen Matlock was next on, with his band the Mustard. The set included Hot Water, My Man (dedicated to Mick), Ghosts Of Princes And Towers (the Rich Kids single Mick produced), Different Worlds, and they closed with the Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant. Good set!
I said it was hot, and it was like an oven in there, and I couldn't find the bar!!! (I've since learned there was one upstairs, where it was even hotter). Instead I found a stand selling over-priced small bottles of fruit-flavoured spring water. Well it'll have to do... Next was John Shuttleworth, who has just done a spoof rockumentary on UK TV. A nice bit of light entertainment.
Next were Mick Jones and BAD. I'm not familiar with their material, so I didn't get their set list down. A competent set, but I'm not overly fond of their music.
The surge of fans to the front told me who would be on next (did I say they were all female?). The Yellow Monkey didn't disappoint. They have "pretty boy" looks but play good, hard-hitting rock. They did some of their own material, but had opened with Angel No. 9, and closed with Suffragette City. Another good set! (I have since learned this caused problems for Joe Elliott and the Spiders, who were planning to perform both songs as well).
Colin Lloyd Tucker was next. He lives on some tiny island off the east coast of England; I know many people didn't much like him, but his music was nice and relaxing - allowing us to cool down after the Yellow Monkey's set. Had a guitarist and percussionist backing him - he was on the harmonium for most of the set. Did a nice duet with Maggie Ronson.
Steve Harley was next. Did most of the set with just a female pianist backing him, but some guests (I forgot to make a note of who) joined him for Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile). Good extended singalong at the end.
The Spiders From Mars were on next, with Joe Elliot again on vocals and Phil Collen on guitar. The set list was Watch That Man, Hang On To Yourself, The Supermen, Five Years, Moonage Daydream, Ziggy Stardust and Suffragette City. Brilliant set!
The show was running late, by now it was well past midnight. The Wildhearts were billed to appear sometime, both in the programme and on the t-shirts, but alas they didn't. I have since heard they may have split up.
Final act was, of course, Ian Hunter, with his by now familiar touring band. They opened with Once Bitten Twice Shy, then did Boy (the first song Ian and Mick wrote together). Michael Picasso was dedicated to Minnie Ronson (Mick's mum). I could see a few people waiting in the wings - one looked familiar, no it can't possibly...
All The Young Dudes closed the show, again with a cast of thousands. And was that David Bowie off to one side helping out with the backing vocals or was it a lookalike?
I've since learned that it was a lookalike; David was gigging in Dublin that night - surely too far away even with a private jet to get to Hull for 00:40. Anyhow, an excellent way to close the nights proceedings.
And that was Saturday...
The dedication of the Mick Ronson Memorial Stage took place the following day, on Sunday 10th August, in the Queens Gardens. These are located in the centre of Hull. This was an all-day affair.
I got there early (10:30), and the plan worked - not many people there (tho' it filled up later), so I was right down the front. The Queens Gardens, together with the nearby Prince's Quay shopping arcade, is on land which was reclaimed in the 1930's (previously there was a dock here). Indeed, a plaque nearby tells us that the Memorial Stage is built on the very spot where Robinson Crusoe boarded his ship for his ill-fated voyage in Daniel DeFoe's classic tale.
The proceedings opened at midday, with a short formal presentation from the Hull council director of leisure services and the Lord Mayor. Kevin Cann, Maggie and Minnie Ronson also made some nice speeches, and there was a special award presented to the Yellow Monkey for all their efforts.
A mixture of local bands and "name" bands played throughout the afternoon. A Bowie lookalike made an early appearance performing Rebel Rebel. The Grip turned in a strong set which included the Pistol's Pretty Vacant. Glen Matlock again performed a good set (he too played Pretty Vacant, but said later The Grip's version was better), and the Rats did as well. I enjoyed Eddie And The Hot Rods' set. It must be some 20 years since I last saw them, but Barry Masters (vocals) hasn't changed a bit. Geoff Appleby made a guest appearance (stage centre). They did a mixture of new and old songs, covering OBTS and closing with (what else?) Do Anything You Wanna Do.
But it was murder in the heat, we were all beginning to wilt. Eventually the stewards started chucking water over us, and finally someone found a hose-pipe, and between sets they spent their time spraying us with water. This helped a lot. They also handed out cups of water to anyone who asked.
The Yellow Monkey again played a good set (I was surrounded by screaming teenage fans - brilliant!), playing Ziggy Stardust, Moonage Daydream, one of their own songs and closing with Love Me Tender (with Maggie Ronson on backing vocals).
I'm sure there were more surprises later on, but I'd decided beforehand to head for home after the Yellow Monkey's set, so that was it. A loooong drive home, I arrived worn out, needing another weekend to recover from the weekend. But that was brilliant...