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Thursday, 27th February 2003

London/Brixton, England - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - Generation X By Darren

Well let me think this through, what can you say about last nights gig?

Due to train delays - we got to BriXton Academy just as Ricky Warwick was well into his set. Bit sad to miss 90% of it but I did see him close up in Sheffield. Caught the last half of "Ending is Better" just in time to see his rock and roll acoustic guitar riffing at the end. He got a great response so I'm sure this was just as good as all his other sets with Leppard. Apparently Vivian joined Ricky for one song on guitar (Three Sides).

The Darkness well I must admit I do actually quite like them even though I didn't write much on them in Sheffield. Other than a few choruses where Justin goes way too high and screechy they are a solid rock band. The fact that their new single - politely introduced by him as "Get Your Hands Off My Woman". Not sure about his tiger skin leotard type suit tonight. Once again he spoke quite a bit to the crowd saying how the Leppard band and crew had "bent over backwards for them" only "not in the adult type way". Also how sad they were for the tour to be ending. He did the crowd walkabout again on the roadies shoulders. A nice set and they got a great reaction. I think they work better in smaller venues.

OK Def Leppard. You only need to know the name really to know it was good but how good? - Let's just say that these gigs were just mere warm-up shows Dublin (x2), Belfast, Newport, Portsmouth, Wolverhampton, Sheffield (well maybe not that one...), Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow, Ipswich - warm-ups to the main event.

Following 'Coma' and bang on 9pm "We Will Rock You" started and we were transported to a Queen gig as everyone did the double hand clap in time to the music and you knew this was going to be LOUD. Swiftly followed as usual by the "Disintegrate" intro on the PA plus strobe lights. I had a prime position in line with Joe's mikestand and a few rows behind us the mixing desk. With the sloping floor you get a decent view anywhere if you are reasonably tall. The front stage section has a classical style big white archway with the main stage inside. The Roof being black it looks as if you are outside when the spotlights are on. The seating upstairs overlaps the floor by 15 feet or so. The stage set up was exactly the same as Sheffield and pretty much the same size just no room around it - a very tight fit. Being dead center and only 20 feet or so back you get the coolest view of the lightshow. Barring the lasers it was as good as 1992. Well actually tonight there wasn't a gig played anywhere that was better than this.

"Let it Go" opened and this again sounded great. I'm sure it will stay here for many years to come as Rock Rock did (not played tonight). After a great crowd reaction the band ripped into "Action" and the singing started. This was easily 10 times louder than Sheffield - maybe more. Party time. Another HUGE ovation at the end and "Make Love Like a Man" kicks in and Brixton is jumping, stomping, shouting and singing as one. You could see the grins on the guys faces as they heard the crowd.

"Bringin' On The Heartbreak" - finally get to hear this song live (full electric - not the disjointed 1992 version) and what a pleasure it was. The lightshow was great. It really added to the music with nice shades of colour and swirling lights to accent the song.

Near the end Joseph goes off stage right and Sav jumps up on Rick's drum riser and they got ready to launch into "Switch 625" and the crowd all clapping as one as they did this. Very very cool to hear and see this. Vivian and Phil playing like demons and the bass men Sav and Rick pounding out the rhythm which pounded through our chests. It was plenty loud and plenty good.

Another fantastic reaction by the crowd and Joe rejoins the band for...1983...Pyromania album...FFF..."Foolin" - I was secretly hoping for TLFL but when a song is this good who cares?. The crowd singing and reaction really got LOUD during this song. I was already drenched in sweat - in my white UK X shirt (very fashionable I might add).

"You're So Beautiful" preceded by Joe's new album speech "relatively new album X" No mention of the title debate tonight. Once again this song sounded great. These new songs fit in so well amongst the classics. Let's hope they remain in the set next tour. Vocals again very good - Sav very audible and very in tune.

"Hysteria" followed with the great light show continuing. It looks amazing from out front and close up. The reason people label this venue as a dump sometimes must be that mostly tired old rock bands or up and coming acts play here with shite lighting and crappy sound systems. Take it from me this venue is fantastic and this is the best light show and band to ever grace it. "Long Long Way To Go" next, fantastic. I don't think a Leppard ballad in recent years has translated so well to the live show. Spine tingling. During one of the verses Phil guitar cut out briefly but a quick walk over to Stan Schiller (his guitar tech) and he was back into things without anything sounding off key; nicely done. Just when you think the mood might be going down.

Joe "OK that was LLWTG and this is - "SLANG!" and I do believe the floor was moving - no the crowd - up and down, arms up and singing/dancing. The song sounded great - it seems to have got new life on this tour. I think the reaction it got in Sheffield has made the band stick with it since. The nuttiness continued with a new "Four Letter Word" once again pure class. I think what it is that these guys just aren't capable of playing a bad gig, at least not the ones I've seen.

A swift "Promises" followed - amazing reaction again. But then the fun really started as Joe came out front with his acoustic guitar.

He tried to start a speech but we stopped him. Starting from the front, mass applause which then went back over the venue and up to the seats above us and they turned the lights up. Joe looked very happy and said "Yeah that's OK we like it when you take over.". Joe was talking about various things again and playing in London, he then set us a challenge - it's the last night so could we be louder then everyone else. "Two Steps Behind" follows after the guys re-emerge: Phil last with his tech Stan Schiller bringing out his stool for him.

Well people of Manchester and Glasgow I do believe Joe said this after wards "Yeah! very good - the loudest yet and this is the last night so that's it, you win." Did we get a prize for this? Yes 45 more minutes of the best gig played so far in this millennium. "Now" follows and sounds very heavy and very good.

If the night had ended here it would have already been a triumph but they still haven't played the big hits. A great and funny speech by Joe now all about someone who was born in this very city and had been to his first rock concert at this very venue some 30 odd years ago (Deep Purple) and had touched Ritchie Blackmore's hand and been inspired to play guitar that night - Mr. Phillip Collen.

Joe: "and aren't we all grateful that he did!" to much applause. The spotlight falls on him and the song that starts the best album made begins: "Women" and I have to say again it's never sounded so good.

Around this time a fan at the front threw on a Scottish flag (Jonathon, who's reviews and pics are on the site) which got some boos and then someone else threw on a Sheffield United Football scarf - that got some ironic boos to which Joe replied "F**k off" to much laughter and then "It's cruel to laugh at the afflicted.".

"Rocket (extended)" (complete with crowd "oohhhh ohhhh oh ohhhh's"), short Viv intro "Armageddon It" all came and went and went down very well indeed. Next up "Photograph" which was amazing as ever - a sea of hands and a mass of noise. Oh and I do believe stage right there was Mr Q Prime, Peter Mensch (or a very good look-a-like). I noticed he went up behind Rick's kit to watch. You could see him grinning - I think he realised this was a great gig and he had to get a closer look.

"Animal" you just can't hear this song enough live - number 5 tonight for me. Then came another Joe intro and of course it was Rick Allen's turn. But not before some banter by Joe. He talked about being in various cities and that this was the "Regional Accent piss-take tour" then mentioned that this was of course London and someone was here watching them who likes to take the piss out of his Northern accent. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden bassist) was here but Joe wasn't going to point him out cause that would be "rude" so instead he said hello to him in a mock Cockney accent "Alright mate?".

Then followed a lengthy speech about Rick and how they had played the Hammersmith Odeon in 1979 with Sammy Hagar (first London show) then four weeks later four nights with AC/DC and on one night someone celebrated his 16th birthday - Rick Allen.

Joe said "what are ya now...21?" and Rick was again taken by surprise and almost blown back by the crowd reaction. You could hear him laughing on the mikes too. I don't know I whether what he inhales up there is legal but he looked happy again tonight grinning away and pounding out the beat - a true star: no one else plays drums like him and no one else can.

Cue National Anthem "Rock of Ages" and BriXton wanted rock and roll. Joe thanked us all again and mentioned that the Darkness were going into the UK Charts this week and also how great Ricky Warwick had been - they both got a big cheer as did the entire Road Crew. Deafening applause followed and we waited for the encores that we knew we'd get and I already knew there was no way they wouldn't end with only one. You don't end a gig this good without a little something Xtra. Sav again came out front before WL&HC to say "hey you guys have been really fantastic thankyou very much indeed".

"When Love & Hate Collide" was again encore #1 and sounded mighty fine with loud singing. The crowd were almost taking a breather before things got hot again with that familiar question - Joe "OK that's about it but I've just got one thing left to say...Do Ya Wanna Get Rocked?" "Let's Get Rocked" Cue jumping, screaming and shouting. A very cool ending but instead of taking their bows they were off stage very fast as soon as the song ended. No need to wait so see if we wanted more - they already knew but we hailed them back anyway. LOUD cheering followed and back they came. Time to get.

"Wasted". Joe - "OK we're going back to something from our first album." Cue riffing by Phil. The sweat continues to flow. So cool to hear this in London again after hearing it in 1999. It goes without saying by now that the crowd were LOUD. I don't think this show could have been any better. Even a High 'N' Dry side one opening or Die Hard The Hunter. This was a fitting end to their tour and I seriously hope will persuade them to come back for 4 or 5 gigs at the end in maybe Sep/Oct - another 4 years is simply too long. We don't want to see substandard imitators for that long - we want the real thing. As Del Boy would say "You Know it Makes Sense.".

The applause at the end was deafening and once again Frank Noon (there for the last few songs) came out onto Rick's drum riser. Joe - "You want to be in a photograph?" and we all raised our hands as Frank Noon stood on the riser and took a snap or two of us all. Last words from Joe - "Thanks for being part of a great occasion".

In closing I'd like to say a huge thank you to Def Leppard and crew. Amazing. And we hope you enjoyed this show as much as we did.

Fan Review - By Carl

Just wanted to say what a class night, 4th time from 1996 that I've seen them and it gets a better and better. Brilliant venue last night. Just like to add it was Pete Mensch you saw, he was chatting in the mixing desk whilst the stage was being prepared for the Leps, could also see him floating in the wings towards the end of the show.

As ever DL rocked and I was pleasantly surprised by The Darkness after reading some of the reviews. Good fun filled rock just the squealing vocals that put me off. The songs from X fitted very well. Long Long Way To Go seemed to have a few sound problems as did Foolin' bit heavy on the bass it seemed. I didn't really care for Four Letter Word until seeing it live. Until next time...and there better be a next time sooner than 4 yrs!.

Fan Review - By Fiona/Michelle

We both enjoyed reading your review of the gig Darren. Agreed with everything. The only disappointment was no Love Bites, however Women was AWESOME! and so was Phil's bare chest! Been Leppard fans since our teens and meet up for gigs even though we live at opposite ends of the country now. Took 16 year old daughter with us, now she understands what we have been talking about for all these years! Rock Rock til you drop.

Fan Review - By Jonathon Dinnes

I was looking forward to Brixton Academy a lot for various reasons - It was the last night of the tour, and it was at another truly great venue. We arrived in Brixton after a loooooong drive at around 5pm, and I was impressed by the amount of people already queing. When doors opened I got held up collecting my ticket, but managed to squeeze to the front nonetheless. Funnily enough I ended up behind the same pair of girls I was behind at Barrowlands. (I've got loads of pics of your hair ladies!!)

The support bands were solid as always, although the comedy set by The Darkness was getting a little strained by the third viewing. It was cool to see the band hanging out on the right of the stage while the support was on, that was pretty cool. When the band finally took to the stage, I was impressed with the crowd noise - again like Glasgow, much louder than Sheffield with less than half the people! It took the crowd at the front about 5/6 songs to really get into the vibe, but I didnt care cos my one wish of the night came true - they played Bringin' on the Heartbreak!! This was truly amazing, and far and away my highlight of this show. The rest of the gig took a similar format to most shows, and the Lep didn't let us down with an amazing set. Again there was some good banter with the crowd, who were a little inconsistant, at the front at least. There was a strange mix of people, some of whom just stood there and got all p**sed off every time someone even rubbed against them! One guy in particular was being very agressive, and pushing people away if they came anywhere near! Ever been to a bloody Rock concert? Its not the bloody tellytubbies!

When the second phase of the show came on, I didn't really care though, and there was a good crowd around me and we all just got into the great atmosphere. Before Rock of Ages came a special moment for me, as I threw my (Scottish) flag onstage with "Barrowlands 24/2/03" written over it, and Joe picked it up and said something about it. I made a lone cheer, followed by a few thousand Londoners booing, which was pretty funny, all in good humour. after the encore, the band played Wasted again, which was superb as always. I managed to get an embarassment of riches after the show - a used drumstic and setlist. I felt pretty lucky that they played Slang at every gig I attended, and Wasted at 2 of them!

This was easily one of the best gigs i've seen, and a very worthy follow up to Barrowlands. It wasn't quite up there (and i'm not saying that cos i'm from here, cos i'm about the most unpatriotic person in Scotland!!) but the difference is minimal, both gigs were f**king awesome! I was lucky enough to meet Vivian, Phil and Rick after the show, along with Pete Woodroffe, who seemed pretty chuffed at being recognised! I spoke to Vivian and Rick for a while, and was quite chuffed cos Viv told me: "Tonight was great, amazing, but Barrowlands was something else, it won hands down" It felt nice to have been at probably the two best nights of the tour (although from what I hear, Manchester is up there too) and it was great to meet some of the guys. Vivian was really nice, enthusiastic and chatty, as was Rick, who echoed his sentiments.

After the gig, and tour, felt a little bittersweet, cos it was all over for another few years (I hope not!). But it felt good to have been part of this tour, which basically was a rock show that outdid every other band i've ever seen. Until next time, and I very much hope next time is soon.

Fan Review - By Cubbz

This is one of the most awesome gigs that I have ever been to. Luckily, I was on the first row, against the railing, and had a chance to get some good close up pictures. Awesome Awesome Awesome! Cant wait to see them again!!!!!.

Fan Review - By Bryan

What can you say that hasn't already been said about this tour? Def Leppard once again put together a bill that was shit hot. None of these crap support bands on this tour. Ricky Warwick was excellent, having the balls to stand up there and do a set with just an electric acoustic guitar for company is amazing and well recieved by a crowd who wanted to rock!! Highlight of his set was a special appearance by Viv on guitar helping to bolster the sound. Can't wait to hear Ricky with a full band behind him.

If The Darkness had started 20 years ago they would have been huge. They had all the riffs and posturing and then some they've even got the terrible dress sense, pink trousers anyone, all in all a good party band and a great support before the might of Def Leppard.

It was great to see the band enjoying themselves so much. Each one of them had a massive shit eating grin on their face from beginning to end. Everything was so tight and their wasn't a weak link in the set. The new songs slotted in well along side the old standard live tracks with "Long Long Way to Go" in particular sounding fantastic, hopefully the band won't wait so long until their next tour, I don't know if I could stand the wait.


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