IT still reads like a misprint: classic rock band The Who, at the absolute height of their fame, played Auchinleck Community Centre on April 26, 1969.

Pete Townsend, Roger Daltry, John Entwistle and Keith Moon were touring their rock opera Tommy and the ‘Leck gig event was sandwiched between performances in Glasgow and Dunfermline.

Just four months later, The Who would headline a slightly bigger venue – the Woodstock festival in August 1969, where their performance was immortalised on film.

Sadly, there is no footage of the Who in Auchinleck Community Centre – but the audience certainly loved it.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: A ticket for the Who gigA ticket for the Who gig (Image: Newsquest)

Ray Lorimer, who was aged 17 at the time, was there and remembers the event starring the foursome, who were famed for their headline grabbing antics of smashing guitars, drum kits and hotel rooms.

He told music writer Richard Houghton a few years ago: “The community centre was packed, it was a Saturday night and the teens came in from all over Ayrshire.

“The Who were unbelievably brilliant and I can still remember I Can’t Explain, My Generation, Substitute, Happy Jack and I Can See For Miles being blasted out.

“The noise was deafening and the atmosphere in the absolutely packed centre was incredible. I also remember vividly them smashing up their kit, which was just unbelievable.”

Richard, who has written histories of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, said: “The Who only played Auchinleck once and it’s quite remarkable that they should play such a venue when they were already a global act that had played major festivals and had had a string of top 10 hits. It sounds like it was quite a show.”

Another fan who got in touch with the writer was James Nicholl, who said: “I was there along with my girlfriend Catherine Andrews, my twin brother and his girlfriend Grace McNiesh. It was a fantastic evening, the Who were brilliant and they smashed up their equipment after the gig.”

But was this the greatest rock gig ever played in Ayrshire?

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Specials in Ayr on the Two Tone TourThe Specials in Ayr on the Two Tone Tour (Image: Newsquest)

There are some classic to choose from – from the heyday of the Pavilion in Ayr and the Magnum in Irvine, Radio 1 roadshows coming to Irvine beach park in the early 2000s and giants of classic rock playing Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park in the same area.

Here, we present an in-no-way authoritative list of some of the greatest rock concerts held across the county.

And we can start again with Auchinleck Community Centre where The Move – led by future Wizzard star Roy Wood, played in December 1967.

Ayr Pavilion had an amazing run of shows from the late '70s to the early '90s. One of the highlights for many was when the Two Tone Tour rolled into town in 1979 – with The Specials, Madness and Selecter on the bill.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Smiths at The MagnumThe Smiths at The Magnum (Image: Youtube)

Into 1980, the Piv brought some of the  biggest stars of the New Wave/Post Punk era to Ayr: the list includes Elvis Costello, Magazine, Bauhaus, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan.

In the years that followed, New Order, The Fall, Faith No More, Iron Maiden and Primal Scream would hit the stage there.

Rivalling the Ayr venue for big gigs, Irvine’s Magnum Centre brought The Jam, Thin Lizzy, The Clash and The Smiths to town.

Some bands who would become hugely popular also hit the Ayrshire stages. Wet, Wet Wet played a charity concert in Barrfield, Largs, before they even had an album out. 

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: A ticket for Oasis in a tentA ticket for Oasis in a tent (Image: Newsquest)

Big gigs in the '90s included Oasis, supported by The Verve, in a tent at Irvine harbourside. And the Waterboys famously played in a big tent in Lamlash on Arran.

By the early 2000s, Irvine was added to the Radio 1 Roadshow tour – with gigs headlined by Ronan Keating and The Manic Street Preachers.

And some of the biggest stars of the '70s, including Rod Stewart and Elton John, entertained at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Patti Smith at CulzeanPatti Smith at Culzean (Image: Youtube)

The Burns an’ a’ That festival in South Ayrshire brought some legendary names from the annals of rock to Culzean Castle in the 2000s – first punk poet Patti Smith, then Lou Reed.

Were you at any of these shows? Were they as good as you’d hoped for?

And what obviously classic performances have we missed off this list?

You can expect another article on Ayrshire’s deep connection to the rave and dance music scene at a later date.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: A bootleg CD of the Clash in IrvineA bootleg CD of the Clash in Irvine (Image: Unknown)