Those who were there - including Peter Hook and Mark E Smith - offer their recollections of a pivotal night for the city's music scene...
NEW ORDER‘s PETER HOOK, The BUZZCOCKS‘ HOWARD DEVOTO and THE FALL‘s MARK E SMITH are among the names set to feature in a forthcoming television documentary charting the SEX PISTOLS‘ legendary 1976 Manchester show – a gig that is said to kicked off the whole MANCHESTER scene.
The performance, at Manchester Free Trade Hall on June 4, was attended by own a clutch of people, amongst them Morrissey and Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, but subsequently thousands have claimed to have been in attendance.
The documentary, ‘I Swear I Was There’, to be broadcast in the UK on May 31, is said to be the definitive account of the seminal show. It features previously unseen footage and a recreation of the gig.
“It was absolutely bizarre, the most shocking thing I have ever seen in my life,” recalls Peter Hook. “They looked like they were having such a fantastic time, I just thought we could do that. Literally, the next day I went and bought a bass guitar for £35. I got home and thought ‘What the bloody hell am I going to do with this?!”
The show was promoted by The Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto after reading the Pistols’ first ever review in the NME.
The gig had such an impact that a month later they played Manchester again, this time to a full house. They were supported by The Buzzcocks and Slaughter And The Dogs. “If the first gig was the detonation, the second was the cloud and noise everyone knew something was going off,” Devoto says.
However, one person not impressed by the Pistols was Mark E Smith. “They were alright, but I remember thinking we can do better than that,” he says.
A book, also called ‘I Swear I Was There’, is being published to accompany the programme.