Realistically, the first time that I could have feasibly have seen the Damned was in 1985, on 'The Big Tour' (Phantasmagoria). The trouble was I had my biology 'O' Level the next day and my parents put their collective foot down. Mates went which pains me still.
I did see them on the 10th Anniversary Tea Party in Finsbury Park the following year and then regularly thereafter until now.
In that time there have been some brilliant gigs, not least the low key(!) bash at the Royal Albert Hall. But for me, the peak that will never be bettered was a 'secret' warm up gig that the band did at The Square in Harlow the day before the 'Smash It Up' all-dayer in Birmingham.
The date of this warm up gig was 8th February 1996.... the 'Alright Jack and The Beanstalk' line up was no more.... Rat was replaced and Captain was back in the fold.... not only that but Paul Gray was on bass duties.
The set on that night, as now, heavy on the Paul era material... which to my ears is as good as it gets.
Just look at how happy and shouty I was on the night.... not to mention more hirsute!
The full gig can be found here.