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Kajagoogoo: Tour of Ireland

February 29, 2016

It is sometimes surprising what forgotten Kajagoogoo facts are out there, waiting to be re-discovered and enjoyed again by a new generation of Kajagoogoo fans. Today’s article came to be simply as an offshoot of another (yet to be added) page being developed for the site.  About a year ago, my investigations took me to Ireland, more specifically Belfast and Dublin, and the events that took place there in the summer of 1983.  I came into contact with a very friendly and also very helpful man called Mark Crockard, who back in ’83 was a member of a band called  ‘Motion Pictures’.

Why is that of interest to KajaFax?

Well, Motion Pictures were the act that played support for Kajagoogoo on the Irish leg of the White Feathers tour of 1983….

Newspaper Advert Belfast Telegraph

The history of it all is as follows….  Kajagoogoo’s final White Feathers tour date in Britain was on May 31st at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, after which they headed off to Europe to tour Germany, Belgium and France.  By June 24th, they were back in Northern Ireland to play the Maysfield Leisure Centre in Belfast.  The following night, the guys travelled into the Irish Republic to play the St Francis Xavier Hall in Dublin.
Mark Crockard recalls those shows vividly and was very happy to discuss the summer of 1983 and life on tour with Kajagoogoo;

“…one from the archive, ha ha ha... Note that we are draped in our backcloth – the 'M' from MOTION PICTURES is showing...”

“…one from the archive, ha ha ha… Note that we are draped in our backcloth – the ‘M’ from MOTION PICTURES is showing…”

“We were an aspiring young band in the Duran/U2/Haircut 100 mould and had record company interest from CBS, A&M, Virgin and EMI.  Through our Manager (Mark Walmsley, of the Bankrobbers, a Belfast band who had been signed to EMI) we got the support slot to EMI’s Kajagoogoo.  With youthful enthusiasm we probably arrived far too early…I’m sure maybe 2pm.  We had a lot of time to hang around doing nothing except talk to the crew and see the whole show being setup.  They were a great bunch of people, however I did pick up from them that Limahl was a bit of a handful, and that Jez’s headphone foldback was incredibly loud – yet he wanted it louder!
As we all waited for Kaja to arrive, we spent the time playing football with the crew, as it was a Leisure Centre after all and marked out for it.  We didn’t really have much contact with the band but they didn’t seem unfriendly.  I suppose the body language indicated a certain distance between Limahl and the rest of the band; there was clearly more camaraderie between the others.  They seemed pretty happy, as of course they should be – they were riding the wave of success!

 The crew gave us a good soundcheck and (as far as I could tell) gave us a good light show as well. The Kaja fans gave us a huge scream of a welcome.  All in all, it was in a very small way the realisation of a dream for every aspiring young musician; big stage, lighting and PA, roadies that led you to the stage with torches, and a screaming receptive audience.  We were a 4 piece band – singer/guitar, guitar, bass & drums, but were augmented for these two shows by a sax player.

I remember that there was a delay to the start of the show as the crowd was so excited and pushing forward that the whole stage was moving.  The promoter had gone on stage to ask the crowd to move back and asked us to do the same after we started.  We probably played for 30 minutes or so, and then it was time for Kajagoogoo who of course got an even louder reception.  We were able to get changed and go out into the audience and watch the show which was very slick – if not my personal cup of tea.  Nick in particular had obvious talent as a bass player of note and has gone on to prove it.

The next day, it was time to get packed up into a van hired by Mark Walmsley and along with Seamus O’Neill from the Bankrobbers, travel down to the Dublin SFX.  SFX is a cooler and more recent abbreviation – in those days, it had its uncool long title of St Francis Xavier Hall.  You have to recall also that 1983 saw some of the darkest days of the troubles in Northern Ireland so it was actually surprising of Kaja to risk coming over, as many bands did not bother.  Obviously, money also talks – but they probably didn’t have to do it.  Another piece of relevant history worth noting is that the journey from Belfast to Dublin was, in those days a tougher journey than it is now.  Maybe 5 hours through lots of small towns and villages compared to a 2 hour journey by motorway today. 

So a trip to Dublin was quite a rare thing and an adventure for us.

I don’t remember anything remarkable about this second gig.  It was pretty much a re-run of Belfast in every detail.  I recall that as we climbed in to the van on top of our equipment and drove out of the SFX car park that the van was besieged with people banging on the side of it.  ‘Picturemania’ began and ended in about 60 seconds.

With the conflict in Northern Ireland, it was very common to be stopped by the Police or Army and be questioned. Indeed the van was stopped by the Army as we re-entered Northern Ireland and we were questioned.  It should have been straightforward, as the band were all from the quiet town of Bangor.  However, Seamus O’Neill from Belfast and the presence of an Englishman (Walmsley), meant we were held for a while for identity checks on everyone (and the van) were done by radio.

And that was the Kajagoogoo story!”

A great personal recollection from Mark. He wasn’t finished there however, as he also found these fantastic newspaper articles which we are able to share with you now:

**click on the below thumbnails to open the gallery and  links to the full size image**

A massivethank you” goes out to Mark for the incredible time capsule that is today’s article which I thoroughly enjoyed – fond recollections of those two memorable days!

We all know the Kajagoogoo story to date, but what of Motion Pictures and Mark?  Well, Mark currently plays in a rather special Van Morrison tribute called Celtic Soul.

The roadie from the ’83 Kajagoogoo shows also plays in the band!

http://www.celticsoul.co.uk

You can get the latest information on Celtic Soul from their facebook page HERE.

and also see them on You Tube HERE.

Thanks you for visiting KajaFax!  Remember, if you were at those Irish gigs back in ’83 and have any photos or memories of those times, please let us know!

Send your pix and thoughts into us at admin@kajafax.com

2016 KajaFax

 

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