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10 March 2003: Levellers - Assembly Rooms, Derby, England, UK
At approximately twenty past nine The Levellers took to the stage to rapturous applause from the expectant crowd and, after brief hello's, launched immediately into "Come On". The crowd going wild and the late comers rushing in through the exits to stage front. This was followed by a supercharged "100 Years of Solitude" and then "The Game", each of which brought the audience to new levels of excitement.
After a brief lull while Mark changed guitars, "Pretty Target" was introduced and dedicated to everyone in the audience with kids, Mark forgetting the third and fourth lines and blaming it on Derby's good, strong, beer. It was good to see so many younger faces at this gig, with one young lad perched on top of his Dad's shoulders, pumping his arms up and down to each and every track, and some more up in the seats, "giving it some" as well.
Amongst a few other numbers ("Another Mans Cause", "61 Minutes of Pleading", "Julie", "Carry Me", "Four winds"), we were treated to the site of Boaksey, the Digerido player making a rare appearance, face painted white and sporting bright orange hair. The crowd went wild for a full on, stomping, "This Garden", which was closely followed by the excellent "One Way", with all the band members weaving across the stage.
After this, the band left the stage with Mark telling us that Simon was now going to sing us a song. Simon, dressed in a black shirt with rolled up sleeves open to the waist over a white "Anti-Pasti" t-shirt, proceeded to sing us "When Loves Goes Away" (I'm guessing at the title, as it's a new song) which really mellowed the night out and gave us a brief respite before the full band reappeared.
Their reappearance was greeted with more loud applause and they burst into "Dirty Davey", which they played at such a pace that it was hard to believe they could keep it up. But, keep it up they did with an even faster "Burford Stomp", the crowd bawling out each word with the band, but giving it even more for the chorus "They'll bury us down further in the ground, than we ever dug down for a living, Seven years of fighting for the dead man's shilling".
Mark introduced the next song with the words "This one's a ballad". And true to form, it wasn't, "The Riverflow" played even faster than the previous two numbers, with Jeremy stood on the drum riser, back to the crowd, bashing his bass almost to destruction. To the cheers of the crowd the band left the stage, leaving the audience baying for more.
And more they gave, reappearing for a rousing "Just the One", followed by "English Civil War" (dedicated to Joe Strummer), Simon's harmonica and Jon's violin sounding beautiful together. The crowd loved it! A thumping "Liberty song" was the last number before the band again left the stage.
The second encore began with a rocking version of "Beautiful Day" and ended with the, now familiar, "Wake The World", Mark lighting a cigarette as the first notes from Matt's keyboard boomed out and Jon getting a chorus of cheers and applause as the fiddle part began and looking at Mark, who just waved his encouragement, with a bemused smile on his face. They left us with words of thanks, Charlie on the drum riser, blowing kisses and Jeremy giving his usual "cheers" for a fabulous audience performance.
We thank you, also, for another fabulous night from a fabulous band.
The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the livemusicreview.co.uk team.
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