On this night many years ago, a friend offered me a ticket and transport up to that night's gig at the De Montford Hall in Leicester. Then, I was living in Ealing and Raj Lamba, a big fan at the time, was based in Finchley, so we were well placed for the shortish trip north for the gig.
Parked up, Raj and I found a pub near the venue and met some others that we knew from gigs around that time and had the traditional couple of pints. Inside the venue, I remember chatting to a lad called Sean, an associate of Steve Tyas I think, who was showing off his latest Stranglers related tattoo.
From the venue bar, we punters diffused into the venue during the support slot set, which was completed as I recall. After they vacated the stage, there was the usual to-ing and fro-ing from the bar ahead of the headline.... but this was somewhat prolonged and the usual stage time was missed. Eyebrows were raised as the wait was prolonged without any further explanation. Eventually, someone came on stage (the band's tour manager?) to explain that as a result of the venue receiving a coded message indicating that the IRA had planted a bomb within or in the vicinity of the venue, the hall had to be evacuated and the gig was off.
The Modus Operandi of a coded warning was typical of the IRA campaign at this time, but what sunk this gig was the fact that the IRA had detonated a device at a military recruitment centre in Leicester only 3 days before (20th) in which two people were injured. This too represented a typical tactic, further recognised coded messaged warnings in the immediate aftermath of a genuine bombing. This invariably resulted in a full scale security response, with the maximum level of disruption and fear, with minimum effort expended. Concerning the De Montford Hall, this was to prove to be just that, a false and yet highly disruptive alarm.
Subsequently, the Leicester date was rescheduled to 15th March, which I had to miss due to an exam the following day.
We drove back from Leicester to London in little over an hour!... and in silence. All I gained from the day was this set list.
Set list from the abandoned gig
Leicester De Montford Hall
23rd February 1990
Mully has since assured me that he was nowhere near Leicester at the time!!