Happy 80th birth­day to the Apollo

Glossop Advertiser - - News -

MANCH­ESTER’ S Apollo theatre – one of the city’s best-loved in­sti­tu­tions – is cel­e­brat­ing 80 years of un­for­get­table en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing some of the big­gest names mu­sic.

The Art Deco land­mark re­mains a favourite of con­cert-go­ers and mu­si­cians alike de­spite the pass­ing of the years. A in ●● young Johnny Marr used to climb the drain­pipes to watch the bands for free and years later con­fessed there was nowhere he’d rather per­form. The venue on Stock­port Road in Ard- wick was opened as a cin­ema and va­ri­ety theatre by movie ac­tress Mar­garet Lock­wood – in be­tween film­ing Al­fred Hitch­cock’s The Lady Van­ishes – on Au­gust 29, 1938.

The Grade II-listed build­ing sur­vived the Sec­ond World War – three Luft­waffe bombs det­o­nated not far away in 1941.

It was taken over by As­so­ci­ated Bri­tish Cine­mas in 1943 but it be­gan to host pop con­certs in the 1960s, no­tably The Bea­tles, who ar­rived twelve min­utes late for their 1965 gig as their tour bus had been stuck in fog. With a ca­pac­ity of 3,500 peo­ple, it be­came THE place to watch bands in the 1970s when it hosted rock and pop be­he­moths like ACDC, Queen, Ge­n­e­sis, Bruce Spring­steen and The Rolling Stones.

In 1977, David Bowie played key­board and sang back­ing vo­cals at Iggy Pop’s gig. The Jack­sons brought their Des­tiny tour to The Apollo in 1978 and The Jam in­tro­duced some punk for their vis­its in 1978, 1979 and 1982.

U2 first per­formed at the venue in 1980 as did The Who, who didn’t dis­ap­point fans ex­pect­ing to see their habit of smash­ing gui­tars on stage. Spring­steen brought his River tour to The Apollo in 1981 and the fol­low­ing year Fred­die Mer­cury joined El­ton John to per­form three duets.

Manch­ester favourites The Stone Roses per­formed in 1995 while Prince played two nights in 2002.

The venue was used for a num­ber of scenes for 24 Hour Party Peo­ple, doc­u­ment­ing New Or­der and Happy Mon­days gigs.

It wasn’t just mu­sic – in 2002 Peter Kay played the first of 16 shows over the next three years. The Arc­tic Mon­keys filmed their ‘live at The Apollo’ DVD there in 2007 and, two years later, Mor­ris­sey cel­e­brated his 50th birth­day with two con­certs. By 2010 new spon­sor­ship ar­rived and the venue be­came the O2 Apollo. And in 2012, Johnny Marr re­vealed it was his favourite venue. He used to shin up the drain­pipes with his mates to sneak in and watch the bands.

Paul Si­mon per­formed there – per­haps for the last time – in 2016.

The Stock­port Road venue has a ca­pac­ity of 3,500 con­cert-go­ers and it was the big­gest venue in Manch­ester be­fore the Arena opened in 1995.

Clock­wise from top left: Peter Hook in 2005, The Apollo, the Rolling Stones fans in 1966, David Coverdale with Whites­nake in 2004, Ian Brown and The Bea­tles in 1963

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