Sheffield retro: The night Def Leppard supported the Human League voted the Limit's best gig
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Def Leppard were on the bottom of the bill for only their third gig on Monday, September 11th, 1978. The band line-up was: Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Steve Clark, Pete Willis and Tony Kenning and the band name was misspelled as 'Deaf Leppard' on the poster. Headliners were the Human League. It was free admission.Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot said: “They had these free festivals once a month. You didn't get paid to play but they let everybody in for free so you were guaranteed a full house.” The Limit’s hosting of the UK debut of America’s B-52’s always had to be up there with the best. Q Magazine famously once referred to it as one of the best gigs of all time. The show took place in July 1979.
Siouxsie and the Banshees played just days after the Limit first opened its doors in 1978. They were the first national act to grace the stage. Limit manager Paul Unwin said: “Nobody had ever seen anything like Siouxsie and the Banshees in Sheffield; she’d just got a single in the charts that was ‘Hong Kong Garden’ and she was at the height of the punk scene then.”Andy Smith, Def Leppard’s first roadie, said: “My favourite Limit night wasn't the Lepps funnily enough (too busy working - a roadie's life never stops). No, that'd be Siouxsie and the Banshees. The gang had been to see Thin Lizzy at the City Hall on their 'Thunder and Lightning' tour. Came out and wandered to the 51 stop - only to see a queue outside the Limit. Pleased to learn that Siouxsie was on so we saw that too. And I got up for work next day. And I wasn't late. And I had change from a tenner. Eee lad, them were t’ days...”You would be hard pressed to find anyone that actually went (though hundreds now claim they were amongst the chosen few! ) but their Limit show still made the top ten. Ireland’s U2 performed to 14 people. They were big fans of the West Street venue by all accounts – but at that point the venue’s fans were not big followers of theirs it seems.Sheffield’s own Pulp also made the top ten. Arguably their most famous performance was with Jarvis Cocker in a wheelchair. He’d previously broken his leg following an incident whereby he’d jumped out of a nearby window to impress a girl. It didn’t end that well.
One gig that didn’t make the list, unsurprisingly, was a showcase gig by an up-and-coming duo that couldn’t have been less suited to the Limit crowd if they’d have tried. They were called Wham! – you might have heard of them?
• Content suppluied by Neil Anderson. You read more about The Limit in‘Take It To The Limit’ that’s on sale for £16.95 from www.dirtystopouts.com