The Aylesbury legend, Heroes
inductee and FA Cup winner always tried to play a free concert in his
hometown in the 1970s in venues including Bedgrove Pavilion.
With John very much on the up,
Friars assisted in promoting free gigs from 1977 to 1981 and they were
all very very different.
1977 gig details
This took the form of a regular Friars gig in
December 1977 and with Willy Barrett taking a short sabbatical, Bletchley
band Scratch backed John and also support from Ken Liversausage. The first
500 attending the Radiator and Stiffs gigs got first dibs on the tickets.
The plan was to present this concert of Thursday November 10th but it got
pushed back to Tuesday December 6th and good timing and Cor Baby was about
to smash into the charts
1978 gig details
"Let's make this the big one for Otway" he used to
say and this was Friars biggest ever gig. David Stopps wiped his schedule
clean (no other Friars gigs took place in August 78) to ensure this
massive open air gig in Aylesbury's Market Square on Sunday August 13th
went without a hitch. In the end, the crowd was estimated at anything up
to 20,000 and the weather held out.
The plan was to make a film documentary about Friars
but Central decided the Otway story was too good to miss and Otway -
Stardust Man was broadcast throughout the ITV regions in late 1978.
from this gig 1
from this gig 2
1979 gig details
This was again in December after Christmas and took
the form of the Hostelry Tour where he played five sets in five Aylesbury
pubs. The only downer was that The Bell in the Market Square declined
permission for John to play which was a shame given close associations
with both John and Friars.
More photos from these pub gigs
1980 gig details
Again just after Christmas, Free Otway 80 took place
in the Maxwell hall on a Sunday lunchtime (technically meaning that Friars
had only ever presented two Sunday gigs and both Free Otway gigs). The age
restrictions had been thrown out and anyone could come along. The bonus of
this one was that old sparring partner Wild Willy Barrett performed with
1981 gig details
Again just after Christmas and perhaps the most
unusual one yet when Friars presented, after Gryphon in 1973 at Stone
Parish Church, only the second gig in a church, this time St Mary's in the