The Magic Highway


The Great Escape!
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.


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 rioted.
   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 Lighthouse.
   Both groups will open at the Johannesburg City Hall on Friday and they will be in South Africa for about 10 days.
   The picture 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.

Headlines from various other papers