It was just a day like any other – well, almost. The Stiff Records live tour was arriving in Leicester, playing at the University in an old hall that looked like it was straight out of The Good Old Days. Five acts were teased – Larry Wallis, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Wreckless Eric. Something for everyone.
The place was packed. It was a party packet packed with new wave pop. Nick Lowe we knew from the terrific ‘Bowi’ EP (so-called as Bowie had released ‘Low’), Larry Wallis had the perfect riff on ‘Police Car’, Ian Dury’s career had just blown up with ‘Sex And Drugs And Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Elvis was an awkward prophet in a suit and Doc Martens and Eric was the bringer of the magnificent ‘Whole Wide World’. How could they fit it all in to one revue-styled show. Easy!
Nick Lowe played less than a handful of tunes and Larry joined him for his solitary ode to transportation before Elvis took the stage to announce that he’d be delivering double bubble because Eric had been too reckless and was unable to perform. What? That said, his set included a storming cover of Eric’s global hit and the whole shebang was brought to a fitting climax by Dury, whose Blockheads and assorted cast members delivered a sturdy singalong that culminated in a seemingly endless ‘Sex And Drugs’ raga. Perfect. However, it would be a good 30 years before I’d get a chance to see Eric live.
Dave Henderson, Editor-In-Chief, Fire Records