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Here's Rob Dodgsons review of Def Leppard/Thunder/Whitesnake .


Thunder, Whitesnake, Def Leppard: Liverpool Echo Arena 15 July 2008.



It was to be an early start (6:45pm), as to fit three bands in. As I walked across the concourse to the Arena, I couldn’t help be impressed.


Getting in was done very efficiently, all of the staff being extremely helpful as they smiled at us (unlike the stampede days of the Stadium). We eventually found our seats after stumbling over quite a few people (they really need some floor lighting for us late-comers).


Thunder were already underway and the standing section was filling up fast. .I’m not a great fan of this band (you may hear that statement again later) but they were tight and had the crowd going. Their set list included: “Dirty Love”, “River of Pain”, and “Low Life in High Places”, “Love Walked In” and “The Devil Made Me Do It”. A good, solid (warm-up) set. From where I was sitting, the sound was pretty good but could have been a little louder (standing next to Deep Purple’s pa at the Stadium must have something to do with that).


The interval came and people went to the bar and brought bottles back in (no need to nip to the Cross Keys or St Pauls), others went to stand on the outside balcony at the rear of the Arena for a smoke and a chat – all very civilised!


Next came Whitesnake. An excuse for the floor to fill and the crowd to move forward. It was also the cue for a woman sitting opposite to me to stand up and remain that way for the rest of the evening, dancing, thrusting an arm in the air and being given a new bottle of ale as she run out. On came the strutting David Coverdale, swinging the mike stand and doing more of his fair share of crotch grabbing. The cocksmith soon had the crowd where he wanted them. The set list was:


Best Years
Fool For Your Lovin'
Can You Hear The Wind Blow
Love Ain't No Stranger
Lay Down Your Love
The Deeper The Love (acoustic)
Is This Love?
A Fool In Love
Ain't Gonna Cry No More (acoustic)
Give Me All Your Love
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night


It’s a shame but I have to say that Coverdale’s voice is shot. He only managed to get through the set with the help of the backing vocals and the crowd (who were only too willing to get involved). Yes, it was ALL cliché, but it was good (what am I saying?).


After another break, on came Def Leppard. The huge screen at the back of the stage showing images through the years whilst through the pa there was something playing very similar to the beginning of “In The Evening” by Led Zeppelin.


This is a band that I never really got into, another cliché stadium rock band. What they did was good, tight and had the crowd involved. Personally, I preferred Whitesnake, though I think the crowd was split about 50-50.  Their set included Rocket, Animal, Make Love Like A Man, Hysteria, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Rock Of Ages, Photograph, and Let's Get Rocked.


A lot of people have complained that Def Leppard were too loud and the bass guitar drowned everything out. From where I was, it sounded good. I had a walk around as the bands were playing and the sound changed dramatically as I walked around. The techies at the Arena need to get this sorted.


Overall I enjoyed the gig and so did most of the audience. I suppose the ticket price was reasonable (£39.50) for three bands – did I really pay £7.50 to see Zeppelin at Knebworth?


If you missed it, I’m sure there’ll be other suitable bands coming up in the future. Anyway, there were so many people filming throughout the gig, that you could probably watch the majority of it on You Tube.


To sum up: it was tight, entertaining and grown up. The new Stadium? Well no queuing for hours, no stampede to get in to get the best seats, no sick on the floor and no exotic smells. On the negative side, the Arena lacked the intimacy of the smaller Stadium, the Cross keys was missed and the banter outside wasn’t there. Oh, and no serving hatch to get mammoth butties.


A purpose built stadium that Liverpool has so long deserved. Maybe now we can get some decent bands to the City. We need to petition ACDC to come here on their up-coming tour….over to you guys.






 Take a large pinch of the Feelgoods a little Cream ,some Zep, 12 bar and a ditty from Free and there you have the V8s.  The only thing wrong was the venue, I would rather have had more atmosphere as I think Timo Griffin would have buzzed off the crowd more. However this apart this band ROCKED! Check out their website, find out where they are and GO...The band obviously enjoyed their music and could certainly play.Why they dont market themselves wider I do not know..



First Gig of the current tour,Classic Rock Magazine rave on about this's all true.Call it Classic/Prog/Floydian/Celtic/70's rock...It's real music.Heather looks like a young Sonja Kristina and there's Angela on the Fluit Salad.Visually stimulating,they played a two and a half hour set.Just brilliant...Stand out tracks Evergreen and Passengers.Watch the live DVD,Buy the Passengers CD,Visit the web site.Look out for them at this years Cropredy   Love 'em..... Arfa

PIcture By ArfA!


Arfas been busy as usual...Review of AMY WINEHOUSE.
Sold out gig at Nottingham Rescue Rooms.Saw her on Jools Holland a few months ago and I liked the laid back sound.Sorta Jazzy Blues.The place was packed,sweaty and smokey.The sound was great,her voice is very different,the horn section was brilliant.She played most of the tracks off her album Frank.An excellent gig,Look out for her at various festivals this summer....Glastonbury included

Timo Griffin presents to us HAWKWIND
Hawkwind, The Ritz. Manchester 25/04/04
Anyone familiar with Liverpool Stadium would recognize the facade of The Ritz straight away.
The inside is a different setup completly. ArtDeco 30s dancehall with a fully sprung dancefloor, this place spends most of its life as a nightclub, but its brilliant for gigs.
Accompanied by another stadium veteran Steve Finnighan, we missed the support, Huw, Hawkwinds former axeman.
So it was with a bit of a suprise to see a slimmed down 3 piece Hawkwind take to the stage,
Angela Android opened proceedings using the the vocals of Richard Chadwick, not a number that floats my boat and the inclusion of electric drums didn't make me warm to it.
We were well up the front and all night people around us were calling for the volume to be cranked up. Meybe us old sweats need a few more decibels in our dotage.
Assault & Battery/Golden Void reminded me why I am a lifelong fan of this band, Where are They Now, was stunning.
Out here we are & Sword of the East came and went but things looked up again with solid versions of Psychedelic Warlords & The Right stuff. The Spirit of the age thing featuring the voice of Bob Calvert didnt really work and the iffy version of Wings?? didnt move me much.
The lightshow though was bang on. I was a bit disappointed Brocky didnt play a lot of lead, but his rhythm work was mustard, for me Brock and his bass playing oppo Alan Davey spent far too much time staring into their onstage computer screens ala Tangerine Dream for my liking, and the sound of recorded saxophone leaves me cold.
That said, after a lengnthy shout for an encore the trio came back and treated us to stirling versions of Brainbox Pollution and Brainstorm.
Dave Brock indicated they may be back in the Autumn with dancers and hopefully a bigger line up.
I have seen better Hawkwind nights but it would br churlish of me not to acknowledge the fact that at 60+ Dave Brock still gets a band out on the road and still takes risks (ie Hawkfests) with all the hassle that the job brings, and in Alan Davey they have a vastly underrated bass player, he played a blinder.
I am sure they will be back, I know I will. I owe em that..

KARNATAKA     16 may Rock City Nottingham  another Arfa date
A six piece from South Wales.I hadn't heard a lot from this band but they look good on the web site and got good reviews in Classic Rock Mag.They play a type of folk,classic,prog rock........very 70's.The sound was brilliant...a great atmosphere.The band seemed to enjoy the show.Rachel Jones sounds and looks stunning.They played for 2 hrs which just flew by as there was so much going on.Just bought the latest live Cd 'Strange Behaviour' which captures the show

Above and below pix from Arfa


TOMCATZ, The Plough, Irlam, 5/6/04.
Anyone doing the circuit will tell you the easy money (after cabaret) is knocking out ACDC etc covers, and playing blues can be hit'n'miss.
The Tomcatz get round this by playing blues and classic rock to the highest standard, they belt out a set that covers all the bases. Opening with a terrific Shadowman the band rip through a high energy first set that for me had such highlights as Wellers Peacock Suit, a terrific Rocket to Nowhere, were Roger James powerful vocals impressed. The bands sound is great, with more gear on stage than Pink Floyd they get a sound other bands would envy.
The second set revs up with Run Through Jungle, two Hendrix numbers get the bikers out of the adjoining games room Stone Free and a version of Purple Haze were Phil Bush eclipses The Hamsters Slim, he then goes on to top that during Fleetwood Mac's Green Manalishi.
Not to be outdone, The Tomcatz other lead guitar Dave Woods gives us a version of Miserlou from Pulp Fiction that is so raw and powerful it can strip dental enamel. We are in the presence of some s--t hot axemen here.
The pace doesn't let up, Steppenwolf,Stones,Feelgoods a great version of Costello's Pump it Up, Mick on the drums hammering his way to the venues cellar. You Really got Me, done as it shud be without all that VanHalanesc widdling.
All this driven by our own Lady Joan Bimson who the more I see, the more I am convinced doesn't need rehearsing like the rest of us mortals, you just turn her loose on an audience, you can see she took a little bit of all our fave Stadium bass players,and added some of her own venom.
Great stuff, can't wait till next time.
Oh aye, would they have cut it at the old place..
Timo Griffin.  

Below...Tomcatz..our very own Lady Joan in action.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3 June 11th 2004.
Well  GIMME AN F....started us off as usual..looking really good Country Joe led us through an evening of excellent music, crossing through psychedelia, folk, reggae? and even a wonderful  "1234 what are we fighting for ?" complete with Joe on trombone and the roadie on spoons and accompanied by the whole audience on backing vocals.Joe was in good form and enjoyed his time onstage. A very varied audience I thought ,ranging from young 'uns to the remnants of the summer of love.
Joe was very charming when mentioning his support band who were The Children ,trying very hard to be The Doors I thought..fairly good musicians ,however their attitude when they came off stage was less than respectful to Joe. They seemed to have brought their whole family with them and chose in the main to ignore the true star of the night and play around at the back being generally annoying. Just one thing...Will they be still around and playing in 35 years time?  I think not!
Anyway...we had 4/5ths of the original Fish and well worth it I thought.Come back soon Joe.



THE DARKNESS M.E.N. last year December
Well they were entertaining I s'pose
Every trick under the sun was tried..Riding above the audience on a stuffed tiger was one.Not entirely my cuppa but ok .Still thanks to my mate Martin Page I got in for nowt so it wasnt like I lost anything.Rating 5/10

Deep Purple  Liverpool Stadium 28th February 1973

My first ever gig, not counting Freddie and the Dreamers, plus Hermans Hermits, who I saw in pantomime in the 1960s! I first seriously got into rock music around 1970/1971 and one of the first albums that inspired me was Deep Purple in Rock. I was also a huge fan of Ritchie Blackmore and so was desperate to see Deep Purple live. Liverpool was the nearest big town to where I lived, so when I heard about Deep Purple playing there I got a school friend to get me a ticket. Liverpool Stadium was a bit of a dive, but it did have a great atmosphere. It was actually a boxing stadium with a 4,000 capacity, of which half would be used for rock concerts. It was made famous in the Mott The Hoople song, All the Way from Memphis, immortalised in the line˜from the Liverpool docks to the Hollywood Bowl". It wasnt actually in the docks but still wasnt that far away from them. I remember getting there about half an hour before the doors opened and having to walk all the way round the side as the queue was that long. We didnt know it was unreserved seating! People were drinking bottles of cider (as there wasnt a bar inside), and then throwing the empty bottles against the wall of Liverpool Exchange station on the other side of the street! By the time we got in, we were about three quarters of the way back, but you could still see the stage OK. Nazareth were the support band and I was immediately struck by the drum sound which sounded very echoey in the live setting. I cant remember that much about what Purple played that night. They were touring their Who Do We Think We Are album and it wasnt long before the legendary Mark II line up would split up. In fact this was the last ever UK date for this particular line up “ until they reformed over ten years later. I do remember being amazed to see that Ritchie Blackmore didnt actually play that much, with Jon Lord playing more than he did. Purple didnt come on until about half nine and as there was a train strike on that day, my parents said that would meet me outside at half past ten. So reluctantly I had to leave before the end, but I was now hooked on live music.


 Hawkwind  Liverpool Stadium  14th July 1973

It wasnt long before I was back at the Stadium. This time seeing a band who a lot of my friends were raving about called Hawkwind. It wasnt the gig where they recorded the Space Ritual album, but the next one after that. I think I saw Hawkwind at Liverpool Stadium about three times in all; it was almost their second home. A Hawkwind gig in the early 70s was an experience not to be missed “ non-stop high energy rock music with all sorts of weird electronic noises thrown in for good measure! Not forgetting the lovely Stacia and the drug filled atmosphere!

 Barclay James Harvest   Liverpool Stadium 29th June 1974

By now I had sussed how to get into the Stadium without queuing all the way round the block, so I sneakily managed to get a front row seat. This wasnt the first time I had seen Barclay James Harvest live, but this gig was special as it was the night they recorded their Barclay James Harvest Live album, (as well as at Londons Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). The band were near the end of their tour and were at their peak in my opinion, before all the bickering and splits started. I could swear thats me clapping as soon as the opening chords to Mocking Bird are played!


  ROBIN TROWER Liverpool Stadium 8th February 1975

Another great high-energy gig where the audience were on their feet as soon as the lights went down. Once again I was in the front stalls and had a great view of this master guitarist who had the unusual habit of moving his mouth from side to side as he played the most blistering guitar solos. Lets not forget bassist/vocalist James Dewar (ex stone The Crows) who had one of the most soulful voices in rock, who sadly died of cancer. I havent seen him play live since then, but as luck would have it, hes doing his first UK tour for God knows how long in April and Im going along. (Robin Trower web site:

27.06.2005 (Borrowed from
'Beautiful Dublin, Summers Coming'

What a great show to finish a three-night stand in their home town.

From the opening Mexican waves, aided and abetted by Stage Manager Rocco Reedy, to the surprise finale (when lots of people had already turned to leave), this was a night that will be remembered for a long time.

Come to think of it, if you were the little girl plucked from the crowd during Electric Co, you'll probably remember it for ever.

'What's your name?' asked Bono of his new friend in white hat and green Vertigo t-shirt. 'My name's Paul but people call me're beautiful!'

And with a kiss Bono takes her hat, returning it as the band strike up Beautiful Day - a beautiful version in a beautiful city on a beautiful night. 'Beautiful Dublin, Summers coming.'

How do you follow that ? How do you follow three nights playing to a quarter of a million people - that's one in 16 of the entire population of the country - even Bono isn't sure.

'It's hard to know,' he muses. 'What else you can possibly ask for over the last three nights? We do a job as a band.
We don't feel it' s done. We have some unfinished business...'

Actually, life itself is unfinished business, which is a pretty good cue for 82,000 people to join in with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. As his home town sing the song for him, Bono strolls out onto one of the b-stages while Edge and Adam change instruments in preparation for a song that has rarely appeared on the tour to date - but always won a rapturous reception. Bono, seemingly overwhelmed at the massed choirs of Croke, introduces it: 'This next song is about patience, it's a beautiful song - Original of the Species - for the ones you leave behind. Original of the Species.'

And suddenly the spirits of Ewan McColl and Shane MacGowan are with us.

'Dreamed a dream
I kissed my girl
By the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town...
'Croke Park we're gonna show you what we think of you
For Shane McGowan
Guess we're the lucky ones..'

An ecstatic version of Bad gives way to City of Blinding Lights ( 'Blinding lights brings on the night') with Bono showing some love to the Cusack Stand to an ovation of applause before Christopher Nolan receives a moving dedication at the beginning of Miracle Drug.

Huge anticipation as Larry heads to his floor drum at the tip of one b-stage and Adam saunters down the parallel track. This can only mean one thing, Love and Peace or Else. And if Sunday Bloody Sunday needed any additional atmospherics, it was all in the location and it was all here tonight.
'How long, How long... Eighty years ago in this stadium, a grave injustice, Sunday bloody Sunday, a grave injustice. And because of what has come after that time, our kids will grow up in a different Ireland where we can forget about bloody Sundays.'

Hard to describe the response to this, the stadium shaking as one in response. 'Coexist, enough of these bloody Sundays, say no more, no more... sing for the last night in Croke Park.'

And sing we do, before Aung San Suu Kyi is again feted, in the week of her sixtieth birthday, still under house arrest.
'Freely elected leader of Burma, great leader of human rights, lets sing to her tonight.'

During Streets, Bono sings to Adam, way down the b-stage, with Bono taking a flag and bringing it up on stage - 'Make Poverty History'.

Maybe this next weekend with Live8 and in the following days with the G8 meetings, the world will take a big step in that direction. It's all still to play for, says the singer.

'These decisions are made at the last minute
So still need everyone to get involved..'

And it's time to 'make Croke park into a Christmas tree' as the two boys holding high their Make Poverty History sign remain on stage to underline the moment.

Most nights the sound of the second rendition of Vertigo has been the signal that the show is about to come to a close but tonight, even as many people are heading for the exits to avoid the crush, the band return to the stage with a dedication to friends and family, management, Paul McGuinness, crew and the 'wonderful Sharon Blankson'. And there's still time for Yahweh and 40. What a benediction! What a night!

SPACE RITUAL  Liverpool October 2005
Well they may be old but they can still play!
Some quirky versions of Orgone Accumulator and Silver Machine but otherwise superb. Spoke to Nik briefly and he is well!!  His solo "encore " was amazing and the audience enjoyed the participation on "Bones of Elvis" GO SEE THEM!!!




Im a little pimp with my hair greased back.....