THE ELEMENTS were conspiring against Altered Images from the moment they took the stage of Cambridge’s cavernous Corn Exchange. The sound went immediately out of the windows, into the alcoves and up to the roof – anywhere except down on the dancefloor. Still, Tich’s snare drum cut through the murk with sufficient clarity that at least there was a beat.
Sound problems aside, Clare and the boys doused the crowd liberally with good humour and things picked up nicely until the lights failed! Clare plummeted into a hole in the stage, badly twisted and bruised her leg and promptly fell into a swoon.
The band valiantly launched into an instrumental while Clare took first aid in the dressing room. Half-dancing, half-limping he returned and finally the show was on the road.
Jim and Tony’s dual guitar rhythms were as tight as ever while Johnny’s bass surged through the floorboards into a thousand cranked-up Cambridgians. Supercharged versions of ‘Pinky Blue’, ‘Insects’ and ‘Happy Birthday’ more than compensated for the earlier problems and the traditional, singabopalong to their agonising massacre of ‘Song Sung Blue’ left everyone in high spirits.
Their hundredth gig, Tony’s nineteenth birthday and a good time was had by all – except Clare who was later seen nursing an outsize bruise just below the bottom of a brand new pair of bloomers that she’d bought that afternoon at Marks and Spencers. Honest.
© Johnny Black, Smash Hits, 26 November 1981