1989 - Going Going Gone
After years of going-going, the Apollo has finally gone. It was a cold, sticky, broken-seated, and fungus-encrusted dump, to be sure, but nothing has replaced it as a living theatrical venue for the seeing and hearing and feeling of yer rock'n'roll inter-communal gig experience.
Nothing has usurped the warm esteem in which the old Apollo was held by the stars who looked forward to playing there. In its absence Glaswegians continue to be denied access to performers of a stature equalling that of the reborn city.
In pop and rock terms, Glasgow's miles behind Edinburgh's Playhouse when it comes to attractingall the big names on a regular basis. I cannot bring myself to mention that other place . . . the antiseptic Scottish Execrable Clydeside Cock-up (cry ''yeccch'' to the SECC).
Prompted by a recent spot of looking-back with erstwhile Apollo manager Russell Gilchrist, I can only look forward in the hope that there will one day be a proper replacement for the Apollo, somewhere slightly scuzzy and happily down-at-heel where you can feel you're a part of whatever is happening on stage.
Russell was last week prevailed upon to dig out the old autographed visitors book covering his 12-month spell at the Apollo's helm in 1977-78. He also found a much-coveted ''Apollo pot,'' the inscribed earthenware jar presented to those artists who achieved a complete ticket sell-out.
There were gloopy messages from the Commodores, an oddly-fulsome epistle from David Bowie (''we wondered how he found the time to write so much -- and so neatly . . . every night of his four-night run, he was always out of the building and into a limo before his band had finished playing''), and photographs of sundry semi-forgotten rocksters looking hirsute and gormless.
In 1978 the Apollo began its seven-year-long downward spiral when its then-lessors announced their intention to turn it into a bingo hall. With the end apparently nigh, the cream of rock'n'roll vied both to ring down the curtain and write the most fitting epitaph for the heap.
Bob Geldof said it best, as he has the occasional habit of doing. Before he went on to rather more important things, like saving lives and feeding the world, he led his Boomtown Rats into the Apollo and into the pages of the visitors book.
''The only thing that should happen to the Apollo is that it be torn down by rock fans brick by brick while a rock band play Scotland the Brave at 50 thousand watts . . . F*** bingo, long live rock.''
What a fitting way that would have been for the poor old hole to go ...
David Belcher - Glasgow Herald, March 7, 1989
It seems fitting that even as a pile of rubble the Apollo managed to attract hundreds of fans to the site, many of whom took pictures and left with souvenirs; bricks and chairs seem to have been the most popular. There is even a story that a rock star (Robert Plant) sent five pounds to the demolition company and asked them to pour a large whiskey over the site as a final goodbye.