Paul Robertson discusses the day that the Bay City Rollers came to Stevenage
Paul talks about the day that he worked a Bay City Rollers concert, and how they coped with the massive crowds that came to see the band.
The charts used to come out on a Tuesday lunchtime. So every Tuesday night we used to have a top line band there and this particular night the Bay City Rollers were booked and course when the charts came out I said they gone straight in to no. 1 and I said this to Jack Jarvis I said Jack, Mr Jarvis, I never called him Jack, Mr Jarvis, I said “that group we got on tonight they’re in at no.1”, “nah”, I said “they are” and when they had a group there, if they were really, really popular they used to put like a fence around the front of the stage with a pit in it and the supervisors, the bouncers of the day, used to stand in that pit to protect the group and to sort the crowd out like, look afterthe crowd. And of course that used to take nearly all day to set that up properly so Bert was the Maintenance Manager there, lovely fella Bert was his name. And I happened to be there and he said “well we’ll have to build this, this fence” so Bert says I ain’t got time to do it now, we’re open at 6 o’clock, in them days was quite an early opening. By 6.30 they’re all piling in. So we put the fence up, we put it, butted it straight up to the stage, so there was no pit. So, that’s alright, ok, we’ll deal with that. But by about half past five there was a queue that went all the way round Stevenage nearly to get into the Mecca ‘cos of the Bay City Rollers. But this was a big crowd. It went a way down past the bowling alley. So, I said to Jack Jarvis I said this is gonna be a busy night tonight so he got extra staff in, frantically phoning from his office to get more people in. And when the group turned up we put them in the dressing room out the back and I was onstage and , in them days you used to get free records. All the record companies used to send us loads of, loads of records and we used to give them out and we used to throw them like Frisbees, used to throw ‘em out into the audience. And then I got the lovely job that I used to have, was introducing the group. And this particular night with the Bay City Rollers, introduced the group, the group came on, ding ding started up and within minutes of them starting the girls were trying to climb on stage, because it was easy for them. There was no protection to the band so the bouncers came out and formed a human wall in front of the audience. So you couldn’t see the band anyway. There was a human wall of supervisors and bouncers. The band were playing behind quite happily, but the girls were all fainting because of the pressure on them so they were pulling them over the top of the railings and carrying them backstage and then out the side entrance back into the dance hall again. And but the girls got wise to this and I was standing on the wings and I see this girl, I remember absolutely she looked as though she was out for the count, completely fainted. Soon as she got her feet on the ground she came alive and she pounced on the group right, and everybody else thought this was great so all the other girls started doing this, pretending to faint and then as soon as they got on the stage they were jumping on the Bay City Rollers. It was really funny.