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19 November 2002: Levellers - Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK
That's the only word that can be used to describe the Levellers performance tonight. From the very first note to the very last they were entertaining, exhilarating, fascinating and most of all enjoyable.
The lights dimmed and Mark and Simon appeared on their own to treat us to the opening track, "Is This Art". They were soon joined for the next song, by Jeremy, Jon and Charlie, Jon sporting a "Real Pop Idol" shirt and Charlie a marching drum, to form a five standing line up that I'd not seen them do for years!
"Come on" followed and everything becomes harder to remember after this, as all hell broke loose on the dance floor, with the entire venue bouncing up and down as one!
It's quite a difficult task, reviewing a gig, and becomes almost impossible when you want to enjoy every passing second as well, so let me off, for not name checking all the tracks.
For me, the highlight was "100 years of Solitude" and that was purely because I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, after Simon reportedly "had trouble with it" in Europe earlier on the tour, but it turned out to be performed brilliantly. Other highlights were "One Way", "Liberty" (which seemed to have a longer than usual instrumental bit in the middle, and Jeremy enjoying himself with his bass), "Four Winds", "Chorus Line" and "Forgotten Ground"
Prior to "Forgotten Ground" the jack on Marks Guitar kept failing, and out of what seemed like pure frustration, and to a great roar from the crowd, the offending instrument was smashed to pieces, while Jeremy scampered for cover.
The new single "Wild As Angels" received a rapturous welcome from the audience and the band returned the compliment by playing it brilliantly. "Pretty Target" was also received warmly by the crowd, but despite thoroughly enjoying it, I could hardly hear Jon's fiddle, which spoilt it a bit (I'm putting this down to the venue).
Most surreal moment was Mark suddenly pointing straight into the middle of the crowd and saying "'ere, you're Paul Morley". God knows whether it was, but we all cheered anyway!
The second encore (the first was "Liberty" I think) was "Beautiful Day", which I didn’t think they'd play as the support had warmed us up with it earlier, with Mark telling us that it wouldn't be as good, but of course, it was!
The last song was the final song from the new CD "Green Blade Rising", "Wake The World". Simon and Charlie sitting, enjoying the atmosphere and a smoke on the edge of the drum riser, while Mark stands, Cigarette in hand, singing his heart out, with the crowd chorusing every word, Jon sliding out the notes on his fiddle and Jeremy, standing at the back, picking out the bass line.
Like I said, Fantastic!
I just hope, that the band are enjoying themselves on this tour as much as the audience at Rock City did tonight (they certainly looked like they were).
The Levellers move you! They rock, they roll and they play with your soul.
Can't wait until March. See you at Leicester and Derby.
The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the livemusicreview.co.uk team.
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