Legendary Gigs In & Around The Wrexham Area
Going to concerts is an amazing experience. Seeing your favourite bands live in the flesh is a feeling you can only describe by actually being there. Some of these moments will stay with you for the rest of your life, and you look back at them with fond memories. In the history books, most gigs considered “legendary” would happen in places like London, New York, Los Angeles or Manchester. But that’s not necessarily the case.
We’ve also had our fair share of historic gigs around the area, ranging from The Rolling Stones to Stereophonics to PJ and Duncan. We’ve decided to take a look back at some of the most legendary gigs that happened on our doorstep.
Wrexham has seen it’s fair share of gigs as well, with a great selection of music venues to offer a good night. First off, let’s take a step back into the 80s for the Wrexham Rock Festival. This event took place on July 24th 1982 and featured hard rockers Motorhead as the headline act. The band brought their ‘Iron Fist’ tour to the Wrexham FC pitch for a day filled with heavy metal antics.
People who attended the gig have talked about the chaos that ensued after the band played, with fans going crazy after organisers had tried to turn down the volume of the band, despite them having a reputation for being one of the loudest bands in the world. A wild but crazy day indeed.
Now this next gig wasn’t actually in Wrexham, but it’s not far off. Britpop giants Oasis took to the stage at Buckley’s The Tivoli on 31st August 1994. This came just 2 days after the release of their huge debut album “Definitely Maybe” and tickets were a mere £6. The gig gave the band the chance to showcase some of their songs that would go on to be anthems such as ‘Live Forever’. The band grew too big for venues of that size soon after so anyone in attendance was lucky to see the band in such an intimate environment.
Another staple on the Wrexham music scene is The Central Station venue. Having played host to hundreds of bands over the years, you’d be surprised at the amount of huge artists that played there before they hit their stride. Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro have played the venue 3 times in the past, but their most notable show was on 28th October 2004. The band, now known for their hit singles ‘Many Of Horror’ and ‘Bubbles’, played to a sweaty crowd of fans in support of their 3rd album, “Infinity Land”. It’s hard to imagine the band playing to such a small crowd, considering they now play arenas across the world and have headlined the Reading & Leeds Festival multiple times.
Electronic hard rockers Enter Shikari have also played the venue on various occasions over the years, but it was their show on 26th February 2016 that had fans going wild. After the band had achieved large success with the release of their first few records, they treated Welsh fans to a tiny intimate show, despite having the ability to sell out venues much bigger. As you can imagine, lots of fun was to be had after the band powered through songs like ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ and ‘Arguing With Thermometers’. You’ll not likely to find the band playing venues of this size again, but they are unpredictable so you never know.
This brings us to 2016, where Stereophonics played the Glyndwr University Racecourse on their ‘Keep the Village Alive’ tour. Taking place on July 2nd, this concert marked the biggest gig held in Wrexham for 34 years, presumably since Motorhead played the same place. Fans were ecstatic to see the Welsh band at the Racecourse and shifted around 20,000 tickets for the show. The fans were treated to a 28-song set from the band, blasting through classics such as ‘Dakota’ and ‘Have A Nice Day’. Support came from another Welsh band, Catfish and the Bottlemen, who have been enjoying a steady rise to rock fame.
Back in the 60s, Chester was a very popular town for touring bands to pass through. Being a host to bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and even The Beatles, Chester saw plenty of great music in those years.
Fast forward to our first notable gig on this list, with The Prodigy playing at The Northgate Arena in 1994.
The electronic legends played a show at the leisure centre on March 18th, 1994 in support of their album “Music for the Jilted Generation”, which featured the single ‘Voodoo People’. Tickets were only £10 back then and support came from a number of different DJs, with the event going on until 2am. Imagine being able to see the techno legends for only £10!
The Northgate Arena played host to many huge bands back in the 90s, including Morrissey on 11th December 1997. Known for being the frontman of 80s indie band The Smiths, the singer played a set of mostly solo material with a couple of songs from his former band thrown in there. Skip forward a few months and the venue managed to get Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers for a show on 16th September 1998. Fresh off the release of the single ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’, the band played 20 song set which included hits like ‘A Design For Life’ and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’.
Bringing it to the current century, rock royalty Iggy Pop and the Stooges played a huge show on the Chester Racecourse as part of the Chester Rocks Festival in 2011. Taking place in the middle of summer on 3rd July, Iggy lost his shirt in quick succession (classic Iggy) and the band roared through a set filled with songs from The Stooges and Iggy’s solo material. They even invited fans up on stage during the song ‘Shake Appeal’. The band proved they could still rock up to this day. Other bands on the line up included Feeder, I Am Kloot and Leftfield.
These are by far not ALL of the legendary gigs that have happened in these areas over the past 50 years, just a few of the highlights. Were you lucky enough to attend any of these historic events?
Be sure to check out anymore you can find and look out for any footage of these legendary moments online.