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Richfield Avenue.  Reading 
August 28-30th 1987.


Alice Cooper .


All photos on this page © Greg Gregori

Hi all

just came across your awesome web site while researching Reading Rock Festival 1987, I shall explain why later.

I was fortunate enough to be invited along on the Sunday by a very good mate and a close member of Alice Cooper's crew, who not only was kind enough to get me in on a backstage pass but also a press pass to boot!

As a keen amateur photographer the prospect of having full access to the photo pit for the day was the icing on the cake and so arrived ready and armed with my Olympus OM10 camera and five rolls of film.

We arrived some time in the afternoon and as I recall just before Zodiac Mindwarp were due to play.
The atmosphere back stage was pretty relaxed and sedated with hospitality tents and a bar or two laid on.
Out front of stage were an army of hardened heavy rock fans standing a thousand deep ready and waiting for their next head banging instalment courtesy of ZM.

I made my way to the pit, photo pass hanging from my neck like some magic pendant casting burly security men aside with no questions asked.
Enter ZM the crowd rushes forward up against the barriers screaming, there must be a few bruised if not broken ribs here today.

I look up just over my shoulder and see plastic bottles of god knows what and empty beer cans flying pass my head, health and safety is pretty much non-existent, this is heavy metal mayhem and the only thing between me and the crowd is the barrier and ZM, yes we are ready to rock.
ZM gave a blistering performance and I remember a lot of dry ice being used for a smoke effect during their set, this played havoc with my ability to focus my camera on any shots worth while, but I did manage to shoot a whole roll of film during their performance.

Who ever thought up of having The Stranglers opening for Alice Cooper in my mind is a bloody genius, I had already seen them live a few times in previous years and have always been a fan. They were never too far away from controversy and trouble, many of their gigs would end up with smashed seats and auditoriums, so they can handle what ever Reading throws at them.

Which brings me nicely to my next recollection, an other plastic bottle comes flying pass high over the mob and lands at the feet of The Stranglers bass player Jean Jacques Burnel, so what does he do?

He takes the screw cap off and has a swig, realises something is not quite right here, spits out the contents and utters a few choice words. Suddenly the penny drops for me, the buggers are filling up the bottles with piss!

Another roll of film taken and The Stranglers will be coming off soon, so time to head back stage for a beer and a burger and if I am lucky, I might get a few shots of Alice arriving.

As I passed down the side of the stage heading towards the rear The Stranglers are coming off.

© Greg Gregori

A huge bloke must be weighing in at 20 stone at least is hurled through the air and rolls down a stage ramp in a heap, a very angry Jean Jacques is pursuing throwing punches and karate kicks at this man mountain, he may have been a roady or perhaps security, I never did find out and I am still kicking myself for not being quick enough to take the picture!

It's time for the headliner and once more I made my way to the pit, this time round I was accompanied by a lot more photographers, all of which were pro's and probably shooting for music mags and the like.
I remember feeling quite inadequate with my 50mm lens, these pro's had a serious amount of cameras and kit to their disposal.

What a classic ! © Greg Gregori

The crowd behind me by now had thickened, bodys pressed hard along the length of the barrier chanting Alice..... Alice.....Alice.....

Curtains up and the mob go wild to the opening few chords and then a sudden surge of more bodies appearing from nowhere are hanging over the top of the pit.
Alice is now on stage the band is slick and he is bitchin, the crowds are in the palm of his hand and he knows it.

As always AC gave a fantastic performance and he even stared right down into my lens a few times (was probably planning on stabbing me through the heart with his cane).

I came away with my five rolls of film and my ears bleeding that day, my love of photography and live rock music combined and for me personally was and still is my favourate time spent at a festival.

Still have'nt explained how or why I came across this wonderful site, well three of these rolls of film I shot 24 years ago lay in a box unprocessed, I only had the colour rolls developed and forgot about the black and white ones.
I had no idea they were of Reading 87, so when I came across them only last week I decided to develop them at home using my old skills and to see what or if anything was on them.

I had expected the films to be ruined after 24 years, but to my amazement all the shots came out.
So I knew the Stranglers and obviously AC but could'nt remember the other band, a quick search on google for Reading 87 brought me to your site and a look at the line up for the Sunday confirmed Zodiac Mindwarp.

I hope you and your visitors enjoy them as much as I have and carry on with the good work.

Best Regards
Greg Gregori

Alice in full flight © Greg Gregori


Can we get a witness ?

We need more info on this and the other Reading festivals, we are now in the curious situation of having better documentation on some of the earlier festivals, so c'mon goths and headbangers, get yer photos out and fire up whats left of the aging braincells .Send your recollections and scans to us NOW ! !! Contact us

External Links

Reading in the 80s to date- Fat Regs excellent site covers Reading from 1982 onwards .

Photos of Reading in the 80s at the Reading Musuem.

The early festivals.

You can find out the complete line ups of the first festivals if you follow the links below .

Festivals 1965-1990

Most of these have fairly complete documentation .But new contributions of any sort are always welcome regarding any of the festivals.
Richmond 1965
Windsor 1966
 Windsor 1967
Sunbury 1968
Plumpton 1969
Plumpton 1970
Reading 1971
Reading 1972
Reading 1973
Reading 1974


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