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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Martin the wine merchant

Beginning to run out of superlatives now for this lot......

Leaning on the lip of the stage you can really see just how hard the band are working as they drench you in sweat at every turn. Right from the opening thud of Woman From Tokyo, the crowd are up and on their feet, creating more atmosphere than earlier on the tour, and the sound is great. Ted has everyone bouncing along as usual and Well Dressed Guitar and Up The Wall are really gelling nicely now, less hesitant than Grimsby and Harrogate. Morse's fingers are a blur as he strides confidently along the front of the stage, casually accelerating up and down the fretboard leaving Jon to sweat away in the background. Their exchanges during The Baby's Arm Song (Lazy!) are amazing, Jon's work and sound very much the stuff I've been missing for the last 3-4 years.

Fools is getting better all the time, the main man is still Paicey though. He is just a blur, throwing in new stuff here, there and everywhere. Steve's solos in Child In Time have been radically and markedly different each night and the power they've breathed into the number is unbelievable, Steve harmonising Ian's screams to accentuate and lift the song to its crescendo. Staggering.

Perfect Strangers is a majesty to behold, running right up there with Blind Man and Speed King (preceded by the usual pratting about). When A Blind Man Cries is consistently leaving the audiences dumbstruck, tonight being no exception, with Gillan's closing bluesy solo spot bringing the whole place to a stunned silence followed by rapturous applause.

I was a little surprised that they haven't yet changed the set around as rumoured and that the deserving crowd didn't get the three encore treatment that was dished out at Nottingham. This show was just as good and, in a sea of such peaks, another wave this high was not expected. If I'd not been a dumbass and lost my credit cards last night, I'd have bought tickets for Birmingham this morning (and any other show I can chance getting along to).

Right at the end of second encore Highway Star, Steve even offered up his guitar to be twanged by the front row, something I didn't think I'd ever see him do given his sacred approach to his tool of the trade. The guy just seems to be so into what's going on, really having a great time onthe stage with the biggest smiles ever! Oh, and my drumstick magnet worked again (third time in four shows). [Setting up your own merch stall soon, Mash? Rasmus]

As usual, a large number of familiar faces were to be spotted along the first two or three rows (even someone next to me with a Blackmore's Night sweattop on living a bit dangerously). I just hope they had as much pleasure watching the band as I did.

Setlist as Grimsby/Harrogate

Heard on stage: (before Ted The Mechanic).
IG: When we were recording the Perfect Strangers album......
RG: Perfect Strangers?
IG: ...we came across this bloke....
RG: Perfect Strangers!
IG: .....in a bar......
RG: Perfect Strangers. What are you on about?

IG: Actually he was a wine merchant and his name was Martin, but that didn't rhyme very well!


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