The A.R.M.S. (Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis) was the concert held on September 20th 1983 at Royal Albert Hall, London — conceived by The Small Faces and The Faces ex-bassist Ronnie Lane — in support of Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis. Due to the audience success and “good vibrations” caused among musicians, The ARMS was expanded eventually to nine more concerts in different cities across USA.
Ronnie Lane — unfortunately casualty by this disease — gathered on stage for the first time three great guitarists and The Yardbirds ex-members, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, who were accompanied by other distinguished musicians specifically by Steve Winwood (The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, along with Eric Clapton, Go), Andy Fairweather Low (Amen Corner, and guitarist for Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings), Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones), Kenney Jones (Small Faces, Faces, and The Who, after Keith Moon’s death in 1978), and Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones).
The concert was split up into three main parts with three above-mentioned guitarist as core.
A first part with Eric Clapton who would perform Everybody Oughta Make a Change (Sleepy John Estes), Rita May (Bob Dylan), Lay Down Sally (Eric Clapton, Marcella Detroit, George Terry), Ramblin’ on My Mind/Have You Ever Loved a Woman (Robert Johnson/Billy Myles), Cocaine (J.J. Cale). Immediately then Steve Winwood joined Clapton and company to play Man Smart (Woman Smarter) (King Radio – Norman Span), Road Runner (Bo Diddley), Take Me to the River (Al Green, Mabon “Teenie” Hodges), Slowdown Sundown (Steve Winwood), and Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood).
After intermission would come the turn for Jeff Beck with songs Star Cycle (Jan Hammer), The Pump (Tony Hymas, Simon Phillips), Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/Led Boots (Charles Mingus/Max Middleton), with surprise included at the end since Steve Winwood and Andy Fairweather Low joined him to perform Hi Ho Silver Lining (Scott English, Larry Weiss), song not intended for Jeff Beck’s performance.
Jimmy Page appeared then to play at first his Prelude (Chopin) and would count on Steve Winwood and Andy Fairweather Low again, to perform City Sirens and Who’s to Blame, both themes written by London’s guitarist for the soundtrack of Death Wish II by Michael Winner, and would finish with his Stairway to Heaven in instrumental mode.
And to give an end to the evening, what better than gather everyone on stage where would sound Tulsa Time — written by Danny Flowers but popularized by Clapton on his album Backless —, and Layla (Clapton and Jim Gordon for Derek and the Dominos.)
To top off, Ronnie Lane thanked the audience and the rest of his teammates their cooperation and along with the rest of the musicians that accompanied all the above-mentioned ones — Chris Stainton, Ray Cooper, Kenney Jones, James Hooker, Fernando Saunders (bassist of Lou Reed) —they performed the emotional Goodnight Irene, the popular American folk song first recorded by twelve-strings virtuoso Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly.
Watch full concert here,
In Memoriam of Ronnie Lane (1 April 1946 – 4 June 1997).