1991 first ever UK tour dates

LONDON Hackney Empire

Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Feb 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Feb 1991 © Terry Hurley

Feb 2, 1991. Charity gig in aid of Homerton Hospital, Hackney. KM (assisted by Elliott Randall & Phil Rambow) with Frankie Miller & band: ‘Brown-eyed Handsome Man, That’ll be The Day, There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Ship’. KM with Ron Wood & the Wilfs: ‘Neon To Dust, Walk Right Back, Sugar Bee.’

Kirsty with Ron Wood at Hackney Empire, Feb 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty with Ron Wood at Hackney Empire, Feb 1991 © Terry Hurley

ALBANY NY (Cancelled). Source: Di

Spring 1991

releasedMay 1991
‘Walking Down Madison’ single released on Virgin.

releasedMay 1991
‘Electric Landlady’ album released on Virgin.

LONDON Fleadh, guesting with the Pogues

June 2, 1991

Top of the Pops

June 6, 1991. Kirsty’s final appearance on the show as a solo artist, this time with ‘Walking down Madison’. The show was compered by Mark Goodier.

BBC Radio 1, Nicky Campbell Show

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June 26, 1989. ‘Chip Shop, Walk right back, Darling let’s have another baby, A new England’. Phil Rambow (guitar), Lu Edmonds (guitar?), Billy Bragg (guitar), Guy Pratt (bass). Later released on ‘What do pretty girls do?’

releasedJuly 1991
‘My Affair’ single released on Virgin.

THURLES Féile Festival

August 3/4, 1991 guesting with Billy Bragg and (separately) The Pogues. The Wonderstuff and the Happy Mondays also played so Kirsty was positively surrounded by chums.&nbsp, She was interviewed by Lorraine Kelly on TV-AM just prior to this weekend.

LONDON GLR

August 27-29, 1991. Kirsty did three shows for GLR Radio, no record of content. Source: TH

LONDON Town & Country

September 23, 1991. Private show for Virgin executives only. Bet she loved it.

LONDON Mean Fiddler

Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley

September 25-26, 1991 (no support). The first proper solo gigs! Same set both nights, the photos and reviews are from the 26th. Set Lists: ‘Walking Down Madison (slow version), Fifteen Minutes, Days, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, My Way Home, Children of the Revolution, Halloween, A New England, Lying Down, Free World, All The Tears That I Cried, Dancing in Limbo, All I Ever Wanted, My Affair, Walking Down Madison, We’ll Never Pass This Way Again, They Don’t Know, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Chip Shop.’

NME Review from 5 October, by Dele Fadele

“So that’s what you look like!” Kirsty MacColl exclaims, faced with an altogether too respectable crowd of 30 and 40 somethings, then launches into an eerie, sparse and spine-tingling version of ‘Walking down Madison’. For someone who seldom treads the boards, she sure knows the right devices to stoke up an audience. She can be cutting, sharp, witty, acerbic and always observes situations with a sharp eye for detail. If only she wasn’t so bogged down in the boredom and drudgery of the everyday, there could be a Nobel Prize yet.

Kirsty with Elliott Randall at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty with Elliott Randall at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley

“OK that’s facetious, but this is generally a medium-sliced size of enjoyment with plangent highs when it could be ‘all’ highs. Certainly, the hand picked and efficient backing band are often too clinical and measured, straining to reproduce musical memories rather than re-interpret and make some of their own. And the drummer is particularly guilty of bringing the more Latin tunes – with dizzying percussive pitter-patter – down a notch by being resolutely leaden and straightforward. But, on the favourable side there are horns sharp as scythes and Ms MacColl’s delightful voice.”

“When Kirsty hits the higher register or subsides into a gentle scream you sit bolt upright. And when she wavers between shifting sands of violins, keyboards, drums and bass beating a military tattoo or wrestling with a vague Irish melody, you know why her singing voice is in so much demand in the industry. But let’s not forget the wry and acute – if sometimes too realist – songs. ‘Days’ is fluffy cloud pop with an autumnal edge, while ‘Children of the Revolution’ is spooked and wired with just traces of a latent Happy Mondays influence.”

Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, Sept 1991 © Terry Hurley

“The bracing classic trio of ‘Don’t come the cowboy with me Sonny Jim’, ‘They don’t know about us’ and ‘There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis’ are diverse – almost routinely – and rather funny as well, with pathos bubbling underneath in places. My affair echoes Brazilian metropoli with humid, dense percussion and the dance version of ‘Walking down Madison’ is only marred by the screeching and wailing of the gung-ho guitarist.”

“Kirsty MacColl should get here more often as she certainly has more to offer than some of her simpering compatriots who’re merely content to be ciphers for a masked Svengali. She’s got the guts, the songs, the jazz, and the faraway rhythms. Why hang on to them when you can spread them around?”

Terry's Mean Fiddler ticket, 26 September 1991
Terry’s Mean Fiddler ticket, 26 September 1991

Guardian Review by Robin Denselow:
“Kirsty MacColl may have been writing and recording for 12 years, but she’s still something of a genial enigma, largely because it has taken her so long to get round to live performance. Her career thus far has been low key but colourful, starting out as the teenage composer of the charming singalong ‘They Don’t Know’ (later a big hit for Tracey Ullman), then moving on to record her own hits like the whacky burst of rockabilly, ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’, while constantly being asked to duet with famous friends like the Pogues. Meanwhile, largely unnoticed, her own writing has been developing and maturing. She is not a novelty singer or a folkie (she’s the daughter of the late Ewan MacColl) but a mainstream rock artist with bravely eclectic taste, and the planned autumn tour should have confirmed her new status. But it’s been cancelled – thanks to the recession, say her record company – and all she’s allowed are two tantalising shows at the Mean Fiddler.”

“Which is tragic, for this was a memorable live debut, if with a very shaky start. She came on looking as vulnerable as the late Sandy Denny, then gradually gained confidence to match Denny’s humour and ability to find unexpected power just when it seemed she’d be swamped by the band. And this band is very special – an eight piece that included Steely Dan guitarist Elliott Randall, grinning wildly as he unleashed some scorching solos, and a tight Latin brass section who doubled on guitar and fiddle. They changed track constantly, to match her very different songs, from the thoughtful ‘Walking Down Madison’, to a Latin dancer, ‘My Affair’, or the country-tinged ‘All I Ever Wanted’. Not all her new ballads were quite this strong, but she topped up with songs from Bragg, the Kinks and the Smiths (a belting version of ‘You Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby’) and of course her rocker about chips and Elvis.”

Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at the Mean Fiddler, 1991 © Terry Hurley

Cancelled dates at Chippenham Gold Diggers (Sept 29), Manchester International 2 (Sept 30), Leicester Polytechnic (October 2) and Reading University (Oct 3).

releasedOctober 1991
‘All I Ever Wanted’ single released on Virgin.

LONDON Borderline

November 24, 1991. Kirsty was a surprise unannounced guest at a Borderline gig for Children in Need, sponsored by GLR, which also featured Alison Moyet, Sam Brown, Voice of the Beehive, Squeeze, Tasmin Archer, Ian McNabb and Thomas Lang. According to Mick via twitter, “[Kirsty] was really pleased that, even so, most of the audience knew the words to her songs.” Highlights were broadcast on GLR, though its 4 hours were condensed to 2 on air.

MILTON KEYNES Woughton Centre

Ad for the Woughton Centre, 6 December 1991
Ad for the Woughton Centre, 6 December 1991

December 6, 1991 (support: The Forget-Me-Nots). The December tour lineup (until the 22nd) was KM, Mark Nevin, Pete Glenister, Dave Ruffy and Gary Tibbs.

Set list: ‘Children of The Revolution, Days, Mother’s Ruin, The Last Day of Summer, Free World, You Just Haven’t Earned It yet Baby, Still Life, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, Angel, Happy, Tread Lightly, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, A New England, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop.’

Please note Terry’s ticket number!

Terry's Woughton Centre ticket
Terry’s Woughton Centre ticket

NEWCASTLE Riverside

December 7, 1991.

Poster from the Riverside
Poster from the Riverside

Framed poster from John’s personal collection.

LONDON Borderline

December 8, 1991.

LONDON Mean Fiddler

December 10, 1991 (support – The Forget-me-nots). Set list: ‘ Children of the Revolution, Last Day of Summer, Mother’s Ruin, Free World, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Still Life, My Affair, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, Angel, Tread Lightly, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, Happy, A New England, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop.’

SHEFFIELD Leadmill

December 11, 1991

NORWICH Waterfront

December 12, 1991

COVENTRY Tic Toc

December 13, 1991

LONDON Borderline

December 15, 1991 (no support). ‘A New England, Children of the Revolution, Mother’s Ruin, Last Day of Summer, Innocence, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Still Life, My Affair, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, Angel, Tread Lightly, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, Happy, Free World, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop.’

CAMBRIDGE Junction

December 17, 1991. KM, Mark Nevin, Pete Glenister, Dave Ruffy, Gary Tibbs.

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1. A New England, 2. Children of the Revolution, 3. Mother’s Ruin, 4. Last Day of Summer, 5. Innocence, 6. You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, 7. Still Life, 8. My Affair, 9. Fifteen Minutes, 10. Don’t Come The Cowboy…, 11. Angel, 12. Tread Lightly, 13. Train In Vain, 14. Walking Down Madison, 15. Happy, 16. Free World, 17. Dancing in Limbo, 18. They Don’t Know, 19. Chip Shop.

NORTHAMPTON Irish Centre

Ticket from the Irish Centre in Northampton
Ticket from the Irish Centre in Northampton

December 18, 1991 (support – The Forget-me-nots). Set list: ‘A New England, Children of the Revolution, Mother’s Ruin, Last Day of Summer, Innocence, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Still Life, My Affair, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, Angel, Tread Lightly, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, Happy, Free World, Dancing in Limbo, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop. ’

Kirsty at the Irish Centre, 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at the Irish Centre, 1991 © Terry Hurley

Kirsty with Mark Nevin at the Irish Centre, 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty with Mark Nevin at the Irish Centre, 1991 © Terry Hurley

BRADFORD Queens Hall

December 20, 1991. “Some freezing cold, wet December night … ” GH.

Ticket from Bradford, 20 December 1991
Ticket from Bradford, 20 December 1991

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1. A New England, 2. Children of the Revolution, 3. Mother’s Ruin, 4. Last Day of Summer, 5. Innocence, 6. You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, 7. Still Life, 8. My Affair, 9. Fifteen Minutes, 10. Don’t Come The Cowboy…, 11. Angel, 12. Tread Lightly, 13. Train In Vain, 14. Walking Down Madison, 15. Happy, 16. Free World, 17. Dancing in Limbo, 18. They Don’t Know, 19. Chip Shop.

DUBLIN Olympia Theatre

December 21, 1991.

LONDON Borderline

December 22, 1991 (no support) with Special Guest Shane MacGowan! Set list: ‘A New England, Children of the Revolution, Mother’s Ruin, Last Day of Summer, Innocence, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby, Still Life, My Affair, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy…, Angel, Tread Lightly, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, Happy, Free World, Dancing in Limbo, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop, Fairytale of New York’ (featuring Shane). ‘“Erasure’s Andy Bell was in the audience, and backstage.“’ TH

THE GHOSTS OF OXFORD STREET (TV)

December 25, 1991. Includes a version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ sung with Shane. Copies are in circulation.

LONDON Hackney Empire

Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley

Poster from the Hackney Empire, December 1991
Poster from the Hackney Empire, December 1991

December 29-31, 1991. These 3 shows featured KM as part of a superb line up with Zap Mama opening the shows, Billy Bragg topping the bill and Phill Jupitus compering.Lineup: KM, Mark Nevin, Dave Atherton, Dave Ruffy, Gary Tibbs.

Bragg: ‘Richard, Little Time Bomb, St Swithin’s Day, A Lover Sings, Honey I’m A Big Boy Now, The Few, The Man In The Iron Mask, Levi Stubbs Tears’, KM & her band: ‘A New England, Fifteen Minutes, Don’t Come The Cowboy, Train In Vain, Walking Down Madison, Free World, They Don’t Know, Chip Shop, Fairytale of New York’, KM & Bragg duet: ‘Darling Lets Have Another Baby’. Jupitus as Porky the Poet: ‘Bestiality’, Bragg: ‘Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards, The Warmest Room, Sulk, Accident Waiting to Happen, Help Save The Youth Of America’, Everybody: ‘Auld Lang Syne’, Billy Bragg: ‘You Woke up my Neighbourhood, Greetings to the New Brunette, Body of Water, North Sea Bubble, Must I Paint You A Picture, Mother of the Bride’, Bragg with KM on backing vocals: ‘Cindy of a Thousand Lives, Sexuality’, Bragg: ‘Between The Wars, A New England, Billericay Dickie’, Everybody: ‘A Message To You, Rudi’, Bragg: ‘A13, Trunk Road to the Sea.’

Kirsty and Billy at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty and Billy at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley

Photo by Terry Hurley, who recalls “The guitarist who stepped in for Pete Glenister for these shows was Dave Atherton of a band called The Adventure Babies. Kirsty said that Dave stood in at ‘24 hours notice’ so Pete must have had some urgent commitments or fell ill or something because Pete definitely played the 22 December gig at the Borderline (I was there!)”

David Sinclair wrote in The Times, “‘Let’s remember the hostages who are home at last’, said Billy Bragg as the seconds ticked away to midnight on New Year’s eve. ‘The Birmingham Six, the Tottenham Three … hostages of the British legal system.’ A mighty roar went up, then it was the bells courtesy of Radio 2, which seemed bizarre, given that the show was being broadcast live on Greater London Radio followed by an up-tempo pseudo-skiffle version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

“Bragg’s year-end shows have become a tradition, and like other regular seasonal rock shows by Lindisfarne, Gary Glitter, Marillion it has become a relaxed and unchallenging ritual. There was a comedian, called Porky [Phill Jupitus], who made fun of Americans and Northerners and parodied Bragg’s song ‘Sexuality’ by turning it into a hymn to the joys of bestiality. And there was, of course, Bragg himself, the perennial song and joke man with a shopping list of familiar political slogans.”

“And then there was Kirsty MacColl, seeing out a year of ups and downs which brought a chorus of acclaim for her album ‘Electric Landlady’, but a rude shock when her record company initially declined to underwrite her touring costs. It has to be said that, as a live performer, MacColl is not the best advertisement for her own work. The woman who pulled off the barely imaginable feat of providing a romantic foil for Shane MacGowan on The Pogues’ song ‘A Fairytale of New York’ is apparently a retiring personality, and at Hackney her stage presence was low-key to put it mildly. With her competent four-piece band, featuring guitarist Mark Nevin (formerly of Fairground Attraction), ranged in front of the scenery flats for the pantomime currently in residence at the theatre, it all looked cheerfully makeshift. But after a tentative start with ‘A New England’ (written by Bragg) and ‘Fifteen Minutes’ an unappealing moan about how awful it is to be a pop star, the mood of orderly bonhomie gradually brought her out of her shell.”

Poster from the Hackney Empire in 1991
Poster from the Hackney Empire in 1991

Her voice, with its clear vowel sounds and pronounced folky lilt, teased out fresh nuances from the old Clash song ‘Train in Vain’ which segued, falteringly, into ‘Walking Down Madison’ the standout track from ‘Electric Landlady’. As Nevin coaxed a polite shrieking noise from his guitar and wah-wah pedal, MacColl reminded us that ‘It’s not that far from the sharks in the penthouse … to the bag lady frozen asleep in the park’ a message which seemed to capture rather well the pessimistic spirit in which this new year will have been greeted by many people.”

“Wisely sticking to the more uptempo material from her varied portfolio, she rocked out with ‘Free World’ and set off at a lively canter through the rockabilly swing of her first hit ‘There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip shop Swears He’s Elvis’. By the time she ended the set with the Johnny Moped song ‘Darling Let’s Have Another Baby’ performed as a vaudevillian duet with Bragg, she had generated considerable warmth. The only major disappointment of the night was Bragg’s failure to join her for ‘A Fairytale of New York’ which MacColl bravely sang by herself.”

Highlights:

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1. Train In Vain, 2. Walking Down Madison, 3. They Don’t Know, 4. Fairytale of New York, 5. Darling Let’s Have Another Baby

Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley
Kirsty at Hackney Empire, Dec 1991 © Terry Hurley