01/12/1990 ‘The First Freedom’ Boardwalk, Manchester

In September I’d spoken to Boardwalk owner Colin Sinclair about launching a new Saturday night when his club gained a big balcony and an increased capacity (to 440) in December, and the plans all fell very nicely into place. I extricated myself from the Hacienda in October. Dj Tin Tin came on board as the other resident DJ. The playlist was 85% house or something, with a bit of St Etienne or whatever thrown in. The first night got lots of great press in NME and City Life etc and lasted five years. The playlist became 100% house pretty soon, and the best era was probably when we played a lot of Italo piano type stuff, although visits by DJ’s like Erick Morillo, Pete Heller, and Robert Owens were also highlights.

Through the 1990s the Boardwalk was one of a number of smaller venues that rocked. We know it wasn’t all about the Hacienda don’t we?!

We didn’t often have big name guests, especially in the first few ‘Freedom’ years. But there were a number of local DJs who played sets at ‘Freedom’ who were all great to work with and when you realise I was playing the same club every Saturday for five years, it’s obvious having a team of regular DJs as well was crucial in keeping me and the crowd fresh. So, hats off to Tin Tin, Paul Adams, Elliot Eastwick, Miles Hollway, and Herbie Saccani.