Throwback Thursday: The Who, Coed Eva Community College, Cwmbran (January 1966)

Following recent Throwback Thursdays highlighting 1960s South Wales gigs featuring The Fabulous Fortunes supporting The Beatles (Abergavenny, 1963) and The Rikki Allen Trio supporting Tony Sheridan (Aberaman, 1960), I’m indebted to Lyndon Evans of South Wales 1960s band, Now and Then for reminding me of Newport band Pieces of Mind supporting The Who at Coed Eva Community College on Monday January 31st 1966.

The Who, Roger Daltrey, John Entwhistle, Pete Townshend and Keith Moon had already scored three UK top 10 hits during 1965 including I Can’t Explain, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere and My Generation. The London-based band were widely known for their charismatic stage act from Townshend’s on-stage guitar destruction to Moon’s energetic drumming.

The Who gig which featured Newport band, The Pieces of Mind in support was originally booked by promoter Maurice Wright to play a Youth Centre in Newport. However, the rise in success of The Who meant that the gig would need to be reslocated to a larger venue.

The original poster for The Who’s concert at Coed Eva, Cwmbran from January 31, 1966. The poster has been signed by all four members of The Who. Photograph: Pieces of Mind / John Reardon
The Pieces of Mind Support The Who At 1966 Coed Eva Gig

RNB and rock band, The Pieces of Mind were formed in Newport, South Wales in 1963 and subsequently  built a huge following in South wales and Germany over the next six years.  Lead vocalist of Pieces of Mind, John Reardon recalls supporting The Who at Coed Eva Community College in 1966 along with fellow South Wales band, the Right of Man.

“The ‘Who Concert File’ by Joe McMichael and Irish Jack Lyons still mistakenly shows the venue as Newport. It wasn’t, as I was there on stage at Coed Eva playing with the Pieces of Mind and the Right of Man as the support acts. The singer of the Right of Man, Anton Roelands, would later join Andy and me in the Waterfield ISE group.”

“The version of the Pieces that played was Adrian, Phil, Percy and myself. I can’t remember much of the gig, other than we played ‘My Generation’ just as members of The Who arrived at the side of the stage. They probably thought we were extremely cheeky to do this, but it was something we did quite often when supporting ‘name’ groups.”

“Obviously when they played it, our version was made to look quite amateurish, despite the fabulous bass solo from Percy. When we finished our set and went backstage to the dressing area, which I believe was the gymnasium; The Who seemed to be entertaining numerous girls, many of them within the toilets at the end of the room.”

South Wales band, The Pieces of Mind supported The Who at Coed Eva, Cwmbran on January 31, 1966. Photo: The Pieces of Mind / John Reardon
Memorabilia From The Who’s 1966 Cwmbran Concert

John also recalls Maurice Wright arranged for The Who to autograph several My Generation album covers which could be sold for 10 shillings, just less than the ticket price of 12 Shillings and 6 pence. John still has one in his collection obtained at the gig by his girlfriend, Jackie. The Who also autographed posters obtained by Adrian and John Beardmore. One poster was reproduced for a T Shirt design which was sold at the The Pieces of Mind 50th anniversary gig in 2013.

The Who headlined a show at Coed Eva Community College, Cwmbran in 1966. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Their Generation – Fan’s Experiences At The Who’s 1966 Cwmbran Gig

John heard several recollections of fans in attendance at the 50th anniversary gig that also attended the 1966 Coed Eva gig headlined by The Who.

“I heard many stories from people about the gig. Jerry, the 14-year-old younger brother of our drummer Phil, was in the gymnasium and managed to speak to all 4 of the group, who he said were very friendly.”

“A really enterprising story was from Geoff Cartwright, who worked in a factory in Caerleon, called Brades, who made garden tools for Spear and Jackson. It was his first job after leaving school. At the time of the concert he was friendly with a person who played for a local band and who also worked with him in Brades. His friend mentioned that if you joined the local weightlifting class there was a good chance of being asked to assist with crowd control.”

“The actual evening was a bit of a blur for him as they were positioned right in front of the stage. He said whilst they had the best view, they were supposed to be looking out to the audience. However, his outstanding memories were of Keith Moon smashing his drums up and throwing them about the stage and Pete Townsend wrecking his guitar by banging it against the stage floor. He said the girls in the audience were going mad and he had never experienced anything like it. Afterwards they were guarding the dressing room and Keith came out in a fur coat and was quite chatty.”

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