Poignant Send-Off For Earls Court Music Venue

Chris Lockie
By Chris Lockie Last edited 47 months ago
Poignant Send-Off For Earls Court Music Venue

Image by Martin Stitchener via the Londonist Flickr pool

It's certainly been one of the more polarising music venues in London since it opened, with some fans appreciating its cavernous acoustics and others bemoaning a distinct lack of soul. Either way the arguments are now over, as Earls Court has played host to its final gig. Now the wrecking balls are moving in to put an end to a concert and exhibition hall which originally opened in 1887 was rebuilt in 1937, and will now be turned into somewhere that mayor after mayor will have to defend repeatedly over a lack of affordable housing.

Much has been written about the weird, wonderful and woeful concerts put on at the venue since its 1970s heyday. David Bowie, Oasis, Michael Jackson, Queen, Elton John, Led Zeppelin and countless others have made audiences cry tears of joy, hilarity and pain at various stages of their career, with just about as many things going wrong as going right for each of them.

The final show at the venue was by Bombay Bicycle Club and it's nice that the venue ended with a band from London. The Crouch End quartet have enjoyed a gradual build-up of success over the last eight years, culminating in their first number one album this year, called So Long, See You Tomorrow. Despite their own success, though, they will forgive us for highlighting a specific part of their show at Earls Court — the moment at which guitarist Jamie MacColl said: "This man gave me my first guitar and was one of the first people to play this venue and by my count has played here more than 27 times".

The act perhaps associated more than any other with Earls Court is Pink Floyd, and the band's guitarist Dave Gilmour joined Bombay Bicycle Club on stage to perform one of the Floyd's most famous (and best) songs, Wish You Were Here, in a fitting tribute to the venue. And in a less than shocking turn of events someone filmed it on their phone, which under normal circumstances would deserve ejection from the venue via the back doors into an alleyway containing no CCTV, but in this case deserves our hearty thanks.

Here's the video, and it's lovely.

Pink Floyd themselves have just released what purports to be their final album, the mostly instrumental The Endless River, though we'd predict a few more raids on those packed vaults in the years to come. At any rate this wasn't about the band but the venue, and the above provides a fine send-off for a venue which will now stubbornly take many years to shift, not due to open as residential property until some way into the 2030s.

Last Updated 15 December 2014