The ARMS Charity Concerts were a series of charitable rock concerts in support of Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis in 1983. The first (and initially planned to be the only) event took place at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1983, with subsequent dates occurring in the United States, with slightly different lineups of musicians.
Royal Albert Hall ARMS Concert
The idea for hosting the concert was envisaged by Ronnie Lane, ex-bassist for The Small Faces and The Faces, himself a casualty of multiple sclerosis. The concert featured a star-studded line-up of British musicians, including Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, John Paul Jones, Andy Fairweather-Low, Bill Wyman, Kenney Jones and Charlie Watts. The concert was particularly notable in the fact that it was the first occasion on which Clapton, Beck and Page, each a former lead guitarist for The Yardbirds, had performed together on stage.
The set list for the ARMS Charity Concert was as follows:
Everybody Oughta Make A Change
Lay Down Sally
Ramblin' On My Mind/Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
Man Smart Woman Smarter
Take Me To The River
Gimme Some Lovin'
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/Led Boots
Hi Ho Silver Lining
Who's To Blame
Stairway to Heaven
Clapton, Beck and Page each performed sets, with Andy Fairweather-Low and Steve Winwood also performing songs. Clapton, with Fairweather-Low, Bill Wyman, Chris Stainton, percussionist Ray Cooper, Kenney Jones, James Hooker, Steve Winwood and Fernando Saunders performed a selection of blues and rock numbers, each one culled from one or more of his albums - "Cocaine" and "Lay Down Sally" from Slowhand, "Rita Mae" from Another Ticket and "Everybody Oughta Make a Change" from Money & Cigarettes.
Jeff Beck's set consisted largely of instrumental rock jazz-fusion numbers, though he did (to both the surprise of his fellow musicians, the audience, and indeed, himself!) perform his 1960s hit "Hi Ho Silver Lining". Jimmy Page's set was made up, first, of three numbers taken from the Death Wish II music he had put together for director Michael Winner earlier that year. The set ended with "Stairway to Heaven", which evoked a great cheer from the audience.
After Page's set, the entire cast of musicians gathered on stage to perform "Tulsa Time", a blues rock/country number from Clapton's album Backless, and then, what is arguably Clapton's most famous song, "Layla". In each number, Clapton, Beck and Page each shared lead guitar duties, and, notably in "Layla", each performed a different, and unique guitar solo.
At the concert's end, Ronnie Lane appeared on stage. Expressing thanks not only to the audience, saying that what had been achieved was 'terrific', he also thanked 'all the boys on the stage too', and then led the musicians in a rendition of "Goodnight Irene".
U.S. ARMS Concerts
The ARMS charity concert proved so popular with both the audience and the musicians that the decision was taken to perform a further nine concerts in the USA. The US dates included Joe Cocker, who notably sang lead vocals on "With a Little Help from My Friends", and Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page each shared lead guitar duties on "Stairway to Heaven". While Ronnie Wood appeared in New York, he did not appear at all of the US dates. They played in San Francisco at the Cow Palace.