Leeds Festival, Live at Leeds, The Brudenell, Church – there’s a vibrant live music scene in Leeds in 2019. Each month, you don’t have to look far to find a great gig. Of course, we still get some of the world’s biggest artists gracing our stages, but in this roundup, we’re taking a look back over the archives and some of the most iconic gigs that have ever taken place in Leeds.
Many people across the region will have their own, personal memories of these occasions. We’d love to hear about your own experiences of these events in the comments section.
The Who – Leeds University, Valentine’s Day 1970
Fans of The Who will undoubtedly own a copy of the classic Live at Leeds album, which is one of the most celebrated live albums of all time. It was at a gig at Leeds University where Townsend, Daltry, Entwistle and Moon lined up and played the Tommy rock opera live for the last time. It’s such a legendary gig in fact that it was honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque in 2006.
The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Damned – Leeds Polytechnic, 6th December 1976
Before breaking America in the early 1980s, The Clash visited Leeds several times. The Anarchy Tour of 1976 was one of the defining tours in the history of punk music. The line-up, including punk icons The Damned and Sex Pistols is enough to make modern punk fans sick with envy. By all accounts, the Leeds gig was a tremendous affair and undoubtedly inspired a generation of punks in Leeds.
Queen - Elland Road, May 1982
Over 40,000 people packed out Leeds United’s stadium during a hot bank holiday weekend for one of the most memorable gigs in Leeds’ history. The eccentric performance attracted many locals who still remember the concert fondly. They utilised a £1 million sound system which apparently made surrounding houses shake. The gig ran over the allowed timescale, but Queen didn’t care about the fine, they wanted to deliver an unforgettable performance, which they did.
Nirvana – Duchess of York, October 1989
Although the Duchess of York is long gone, many in Leeds will remember it as one of the best venues in the city. Over the years, it welcomed many relatively unknown bands, like Coldplay, Blur and Muse. Nirvana, who’re now the defining band of the grunge era visited the Duchess as a fairly unknown group as a support act. Stories of the gig are legendary and it’s said that frontman Kurt Cobain spent the night on a sofa upstairs.