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Dandy in the Underworld

Marc Bolan & T Rex

20th March 1977, Locarno, Portsmouth

The importance and historical signifigance of this concert cannot be underestimated as it turned out to be the last ever UK concert by T Rex. Along with the Hanley and West Runton gigs, this was added to the tour schedule after the initial tour dates had been released to the press.

The tour itinerary suggest that only 128 tickets were sold in advance, though I expect many more turned people up on the evening and paid on the door. One notable attendee at the concert was Harry Feld (Marc's brother). The concert is also memorable for being the only concert on the tour where The Damned joined T Rex on stage for the 'Get it On' encore.

A good quality 'soundboard' recording of this concert exists however the first two songs are missing from the original tape ('Jeepster' and 'Visions of Domino'). Several songs were used from this gig on the T Rex 'Live 1977' CD release which was primarily the London 'Rainbow' concert, but with the final three songs coming from the Portsmouth gig due to the original 'Rainbow' tape being incomplete.

The Locarno was later renamed The Ritzy but closed a number of years ago. The building was then used as a Mecca bingo hall. In recent years the building has been converted into a PureGym. The inside layout of the building appears to have changed extensively.

Set List:
Jeepster, Visions Of Domino, New York City,

The Soul Of My Suit, Groove A Little, Telegram Sam,

Hang-Ups, Debora, I Love To Boogie,

Teen Riot Structure, Dandy In The Underworld,

Hot Love, Get It On (with The Damned)


Venue: The Locarno,
31 Arundel Street, Portsmouth

Sound check: 4,30pm

The Damned on stage: 7.30pm

T Rex on stage: 8.45pm

Marc wore: Yellow jacket, Dandy t-shirt

and white trousers


Click on the link on the left to view the Tour Itinerary for this gig.

Photos from the concert

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The venue

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Memories of the Concert


I went to the Portsmouth gig on Sunday 20th March, this was the first time I had seen T Rex perform live on stage although it was not the first time I had met Marc. I first saw Marc at the 1968 festival of music held at Godshill on the Isle of Wight, I had not heard of him before and his music was new to me. I managed to get back stage, and was taken to the side of the stage by none other than 'Arthur Brown' of 'Fire' fame, and there was this man sat crossed legged on the stage (two flat bed lorries really), I sat and watched him for a while and when he came off he gave me his autograph, this was on the back of a 1968 poster, unfortunately I don't have it any more. I know I was lucky to meet him then, but at the time I was not a fan so it did not mean anything to me.

Anyway, I paid my £1.50 for my ticket, which I got through Radio Victory. Unfortunately as you went through the door they tore the ticket in half, which I still have, all tucked away in the envelope it arrived in with its Radio Victory complement slip. My half does have the date, price and the words ‘Marc Bolan’ on it.

On the day I proudly made my way to Portsmouth. When I arrived I was the only one waiting at the door, I was worried I had got the wrong date, so I checked my ticket, no, it was the right day, After about 20 minutes other people started to turn up although most as these seems to be into The Dammed as they were mostly punks, where were all the Bolan fans I thought, but as time wore on I could see them starting to mingle in amongst the crowd.

Once in I was right at the front, camera at the ready, I took some good photo's, which I still have, In one of them Marc is looking right at me, I don't know if Marc thought I was the press but he did like the camera's. I had two of the photo's blown up, one black and white and one colour to the biggest size you could get at the time, I still have them on display to this day.

The Dammed kicked of the gig, who I must say were good, Marc followed, he of course was bloody brilliant, at the end both bands did a bit together.

I then met Marc was at the end of the Portsmouth gig. I was standing near to the stage exit, it was not planned, I just wanted to get a few shots of the stage from each side, Marc passed by me as he left the stage and as he did so he turned and asked if I had taken enough photo's, I just said yes thank you, he then asked if I had enjoyed the show, this time I said it was 'bloody brilliant’, 'good' he said, I then asked if he would sign a drawing I had done of him, which he kindly did, but not with his name, he signed it from 'T. Rex' why he did that I don't know, but it's still a special treasure for me. I am sure we would have talked more but sadly I had to rush off to catch the last ferry back to the island. If I knew then what I know now I would never have left.

I would like to say that I could remember every song he sang, but I can't, I do have a pirate tape made of the gig, but that would be cheating.

Not much of a memory I suppose but to me it was the best day of my life.

Stewart Mariot

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45 years ago today, I was a 14 year old girl, who woke up, very excited, at the thought of going to see my idol, Marc Bolan, for the second time (the first being Hastings Pier Pavilion in 1975) at Portsmouth Locarno.


My Auntie Molly, had set my hair in perm curlers, the day before. I slept in them all night and Christ was it bloody uncomfortable, just to have Bolan hair on the day.

Sunday 20th March 1977. It was Mother’s Day, in fact.


I can distinctly remember waking up that morning and looking at all my posters of Marc Bolan, on my bedroom wall (that my wonderful cousin Kevin had put up for me, coz my Dad wouldn’t let me put posters on my wall and because Kevin was the youngest son of his eldest brother, my dad wouldn’t  have dared bollocked him!) and thought to myself, I’m gonna see him (Marc Bolan) tonight again, in real life! I was so excited!


We set off early that day, Kevin, me, his friend from school and now a very dear friend of mine, Clive Hancock and my school best friend Sharon. My hair was perfect, tanx to Auntie Molly, my corkscrew curls just like Marc’s.


It was a very wet day and upon arrival in Portsmouth, the heavens opened!  Kevin took us into a pub (remember I was only 14 at the time) and bought me and Sharon a lager and blackcurrant.


When the rain had eased, we made our way into the city centre, to Portsmouth train station, and it pissed down again.  We met some fans who had followed the band for the entire Dandy tour. They had recorded every gig on their cassette players (a revolutionary thing at the time!) and we listened in awe.


We arrived at Portsmouth Locarno rather early, in the vain hope of seeing Our Main Man before the gig. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.


Upon entering the Locarno, I had my bag searched by some hard-nut of a bouncer.   He found my Kodak Instamatic 126 camera (complete with flash-cubes) and said, “you’re not gonna use that, are you?”. To which I sheepishly replied “No” but secretly thought, of course I am!!!


We were let thru the doors and I found myself at the very front, just behind the barriers. I wasn’t gonna move for love nor money. Marc Bolan was gonna be stood right in front of me. I would’ve killed anyone who tried to get in my place.


The Damned came on. Dave Vanian was staring into my face. As a 14 year old girl, I was rather frightened, he looked like something from a horror movie. It was all very exciting!


And then Marc came on. Here He was right in front of me, belting out all the favourites and the new songs from Dandy In The Underworld...I was in ecstasy.


I noticed lots of people taking photos. So out came the Kodak 126, in went the flash-cubes and I managed to get pictures of my idol. Marc could see me taking them and even posed for one!!!!! What a night to remember!  And it shall stay with me till my dying day.


Unfortunately, this was to be the last UK gig that Marc ever played.

Sandra Riddle

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Photos by Sandra Riddle

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