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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Maximum Mash-Chester

Initially a little scrappier than the (superlative-busting) recent shows. It really took until Up The Wall for things to start cooking, the band hammering away and finally beginning to relax.

It was *very* cold in the venue, as a 'musician' myself, cold extremities make for painful playing and maybe this had some bearing on the odd fluff here and there (Rog a tone out in Fools for 8 bars, Big Ian coming in at the wrong point in Lazy, much to the annoyance of Jon who was soloing at the time and Steve dropping quite a few bum notes early on). It's rare for Steve to have an off night, but he just didn't seem too sharp at the start, though during WABMC both he and Jon turned in some mesmerising work which basically underpinned the set, coupled up with Perfect Strangers and then with SOTW - the usual powerhouse - things really began to cook.

Speed King saw Gillan 'surfing' on a trolley across the stage with Wipeout as accompaniment and, before you knew it, they were gone. But only briefly before returning for a rousing Hush and Highway Star. Earlier highlights included the again devastating Child In Time and Mary Long.

Possibly the best crowd of the tour so far, raucous and positive, singing along and fully aware of what/where the band are now with lots of encouragement for Steve in particular, with huge amounts of positive recognition for The Aviator, Ted, Well Dressed Guitar and Up The Wall.

A great show, spoilt only by having to dash off back to work as some tosser had thrown half a paving stone through the window, setting off the alarm. I've relented and am off to Birmingham (and seeing about tickets for Liverpool tonight too). I just can't help myself :^ ) [No surprise there, Mash! :-) Rasmus]


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