On Air Now
The Evening Show with Dan O'Connell 7pm - 10pm
25 December 2023, 08:00
Radio X looks back at some of the live shows that have taken place on the Big Day.
On Christmas Day, entertainment closes down and we all have to stay at home or visit our family, right? Well not always. Musical history has also seen the odd live show take place on December the 25th.
Here are a few of the Christmas Day shows of the past...
One of the most famous Christmas Day gigs was when the Pistols - then at the height of their controversy in the UK - performed a benefit for striking firefighters at a club called Ivanhoe's in Huddersfield. There were actually two shows - one for the grown-ups in the evening and a "matinee" for kids in the afternoon, which included cake, party food and evening a pogoing competition.
There was also a disco, which saw surly bassist Sid Vicious dance to tunes by Boney M and such like with the kids. John Lydon later called it "one of the highlights of mine and Sid's career". It turned out to be the last Pistols show until 1996 as they split a few weeks later while on tour in the US.
Never Mind The Baubles - Christmas '77 with The Sex Pistols
John Lydon must have been desperate to get out of the house at Christmas, because a year after that legendary Pistols show, his new band Public Image Ltd made their live debut with two shows at London's now defunct Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park - on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, 1978.
Such was the fearsome reputation of the former "Johnny Rotten" that trouble began almost immediately the headliners took to the stage. "There were waves of people just steaming into each other," one eyewitness told the PiL site Fodderstompf. "Rotten got involved verbally, then people started gobbing and canning the stage. Best Christmas I ever had."
Public Image Limited - Live in London 1978 [Full Concert]
"Laughing" Lou Reed was not the sort of person you'd expect to be doling out the festive cheer, but the former Velvet Underground man appeared on Christmas Day 1979 at the Bottom Line in New York's Greenwich Village. That year, Reed had released a solo album called The Bells, but was generous enough to deliver a version of White Christmas, according to one eyewitness.
Come with us to Crocs at the turn of the 80s, the Essex hotbed of New Romantic fashion and electronic music located in Rayleigh. Yes, that really is a crocodile in a small pool in the entrance. Apparently, the budding synth pop trio performed a Christmas Day show here at the first Christmas of the decade, but further details are scarce.
According to Setlist.FM, they played their debut single Dreaming Of Me, which they'd recently recorded, plus its chart-bound follow-up, New Life. 1981 would see the Mode storm the pop charts with their single Just Can't Get Enough.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Slade, would it? As 1975 drew to a close, the Wolverhampton glam stompers were trying to crack the States. They'd released a respectable film - Slade In Flame - and had recorded their next album at New York's Record Plant that summer.
But the single In For A Penny stalled just outside the Top 10 at the same time as a ditty called Bohemian Rhapsody was making its way up the chart... Slade reportedly performed a show at the Kiel Center in St Louis on Christmas Day and while there are no setlist details, you'd hope they played THAT song.
On Christmas Day 1975, you could be at home in the UK watching the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid on BBC-1... or over at the Showcase Theater in Detroit, watching the Godfather Of Soul performing the first of six nights of "The Future Shock Show". Brown and his crew performed two shows every weekday night of the run, plus three performances on Saturday and Sunday , proving he really was The Hardest Working Man In Show Business.
If you didn't fancy Monopoly with the family, you could have always have snuck out of the house and headed down to the famous Whisky A Go Go club down on "the Strip" in West Hollywood, California. There you would have seen the hair metal pioneers showcasing songs from their yet-to-be-released second album Shout At The Devil. Amongst other things, we imagine.
This one's a mystery. The new wave icons, fronted by the amazing Debbie Harry, stayed at Great Keppel Island, just off the coast of Queensland, Australia at Christmas 1977, where they played three shows at an unknown venue. Their track In The Flesh had gone stellar Down Under, meaning an Australian tour was required before the release of the band's second album Plastic Letters early the next year.
Before Mötley Crüe took up residence, the Whisky was the haunt of Da Brudders Ramone. The band had recently released their excellent album Road To Ruin, which features the classic I Wanna Be Sedated.
Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated (Official Music Video)
Did MCR play The Shrine in Los Angeles on Christmas Day 2004? The band were still touring their second album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge right up until the end of the year and had play KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas earlier that month, so there's no reason to doubt this listing...
There's something deliciously perverse about the prospect of Gerard Way singing tracks like Thank You For The Venom on the day of comfort and joy.
Thank You For The Venom (Live 2004 Japan)