Christie made headlines when fans
rioted in Zambia
at one of their shows. This article reprinted from The Chronicle,
Bulawayo, April 5, 1972.
The calm before
the storm: the bands clown around on arrival in Zambia.
BRITISH POP BANDS FLEE ZAMBIA AFTER RIOT
TWO British pop groups, Christie and Edison
Lighthouse, fled Zambia on Monday night after a terrifying
experience with about 8000 rioting African teenagers in
Lusaka on Sunday.
The bands' manager Brian Longley, and a Christie
player Lem Lubin, said in Victoria Falls yesterday that
Mr Longley was knocked unconscious as they urged a frightened
Zambian bus driver to ram the steel gates of a stadium and
dash for freedom.
The bands got out with only a quarter of their
equipment usable. The rest "blew up" in electrical
shorts and explosions in drenching rain before the crowd
Trouble started at the fourth concert in Lusaka
on Sunday night in the open-air Independence Stadium.
Because of the rain, the performance was suspended
for an hour. But when it resumed, the equipment started
"sparking and banging off".
There was danger of players being electrocuted,
Mr Longley said.
He told the crowd that if he could get cover
for the players and if the audience was willing to stand
in the rain, the show would go on.
He then appealed to the police to bring a police
lorry and tarpaulin to the centre of the stadium. But he
got no response, he said.
"By this time it was pitch dark. Even
the amplifier had failed. Everything had blown up."
The calm after the storm:
Happy to be safe in Rhodesia. Paul is on the left,
Jeff and Vic on the right, and Lem in the middle.
Mr Longley said he decided to leave the stadium. He crowded
his two groups and crew and all the instruments into a Zambian
coach and told the driver to drive off.
At the outer gate, the crowd was rioting wildly;
the tall, steel gates were locked. Mr Longley said he shouted
to the driver to ram the gates.
"Then something crashed on to my head,
and I don't remember anymore." Mr Longley had been
knocked unconscious by a bottle thrown into the bus.
Mr Lubin urged the driver to ram the gates.
The bus burst through, followed by a hail of bricks and
bottles. "Four of our players received cuts from flying
glass," he said.
The bus drove to Lusaka police station and
a police car took Mr Longley to hospital, where he received
12 stitches in the head.
On Monday, Mr Longley received a threat at
the Intercontinental Hotel, and felt the best thing to do
was get out of Zambia.
Lem Lubin reflects on the incident here.
As reported in a local paper
FANS of these four young
men converged on their Jeppe Street, Johannesburg
hotel yesterday and blocked the street for half an
hour. The four? Members
of the British pop group Christie, who arrived in
the city yesterday with fellow British group Edison
will open at the Johannesburg City Hall on Friday
and they will be in South Africa for about 10 days.
shows Lem Lubin, Vic Elmes, Paul Fenton and Jeff Christie.
Zambia's loss was
Rhodesia's gain as the groups performed at Bulawayo and
Salisbury in the country, as well as The Herald Swinging
Miss show, a welcome bonus for the organisers as it led
to an increase in ticket bookings.