The New Barbarians played two concerts in Canada and eighteen shows across the United States in April and May 1979. One of which was in Oakland, Ca. in the Coliseum Arena where the Golden State Warriors have played, May 1979. In August 1979, the band also supported Led Zeppelin at the Knebworth Festival 1979.
The group was formed and led by Rolling Stones and Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood, primarily to promote his latest LP Gimme Some Neck. The line-up included Rolling Stones member Keith Richards, bassist Stanley Clarke, former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, Rolling Stones confederate and saxophonist Bobby Keys and drummer Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste of The Meters. For the Knebworth show Clarke was replaced on short notice by bassist Phillip Chen, who had to learn all the songs in one day.
The band played a mix of classic rock & roll, R&B, blues and country music, along with Ron Wood solo material and Jagger/Richards songs. Wood sang lead on most numbers (with Richards, McLagan and Clarke providing back-up vocals), as well as playing guitar, pedal steel, harmonica and saxophone.
The New Barbarians debuted as the Rolling Stones’ support act at two charity concerts to benefit the CNIB at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium near Toronto, Ontario on 22 April 1979, fulfilling one of the conditions of Richards’ 1978 sentence for possession of heroin. The band’s eighteen-gig US tour followed. They made news in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when fans rioted, apparently due to their expectation that the show would feature “special guests”, who did not appear. Another line-up of the New Barbarians – with Andy Newmark, Reggie McBride, MacKenzie Phillips and Johnnie Lee Schell replacing Clarke, Modeliste and Richards – played a “make-up date” in Milwaukee in January 1980 to help the promoter recoup the cost of the damages caused by the riot.