"1975 Rollermania comes to town"
1975 Sunday July 13th - Rollermania in Bristol
Hitched-up baggy trousers, basketball boots, tartan scarves, police, shrieking girls and near riots . . . you've guessed it. Rollermania was in town. It came three times to Bristol in the summer of '75. There was the day they opened the box office at the Colston Hall for the forthcoming Bay City Rollers show. Then there was the dress rehearsal on May 29th when the band should have appeared but didn't. And then there was the real thing when the squeaky-clean popsters finally made it to Bristol and brought the house down.
The girl at the head of the queue at the Colston Hall when they opened the box office on May 8th was 16-year-old Rosemary Knight from London who'd spent two days there. She'd already queued and bought tickets to see Rollers shows at Wolverhampton, Coventry and London and was going to see the band eight times on their '75 tour.
The queue veteran told the Post:' 'The only trouble was when some silly girl started saying that they were opening the box office early. Everyone started pushing forward and I was pushed into the glass door. ' 'The door broke on my knee but I wasn't hurt. Everyone's been very friendly here. I just wanted to see the Bay City Rollers. I'll go anywhere to see them.'' But she didn't see them on May 29th when they were due. Lead singer Les Mckeown was involved in a fatal car accident in Edinburgh and the gig was postponed at the very last minute. 'News of the cancellation was flashed to the 100-strong police contingent detailed to safeguard possible troublespots.
'Police and ambulancemen at the city hotel where the group was due to stay, and the Colston Hall, relayed the news to fans. 'One officer said: 'They just wouldn't believe us. A few of them were crying and decided to go home but the diehard fans thought it was a ruse'. 'He pointed to one forlorn-looking 10- year-old girl in full tartan and ankle-length Rollers' gear and said: 'Just try to convince her that they aren't in Bristol. She simply won't believe it is true.' ' The show was re-arranged. The night the Rollers came to Bristol seven girls were taken to hospital from the Colston Hall—five were treated for hysteria, two for minor injuries—and another 40 were treated on the spot by the St John Ambulance Brigade while teeny and sub- teeny mayhem ruled.
The Post's Pop reporter, one James Belsey, wrote: 'The Rollers arrived on stage to the strains of the elegant Blue Danube waltz. 'The band smiled, waved, grinned, pranced around like puppets and danced like humans mimicking pogo sticks. 'They sang 'Shang A Lang', 'Be My Baby', 'Shout', 'Keep On Dancing' and, inevitably, finished the chaos with 'Bye Bye Baby'.
'They turned out some respectable guitar breaks, had a tight vocal sound and Les Mckeown radiated their cleaner-than-clean image with superb aplomb.
'Derek and Alan Longmuir, Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood followed suit. 'The girls sang and screamed and fainted and the harassed, hot ambulance staff were rushed off their feet ferrying limp bodies to the safety of quieter corners. 'Music wasn't the point of the evening —it was a great big shouting, yelling, screaming, fainting thrill for the girls.' Later the final shrieks echoed away, the hall was cleared and it was all over.
And Rollermania was over almost as quickly, as things turned out.