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Mike Randle


Day 44 Rainbow In The Storm — John E’s Sheffield Diary
March 19, 2004

John E, Pix by LizzyB

Since I was unwell, I almost gave Sheffield a miss. Then, at the last minute, I decided to abandon myself to the experience. Thinking the train was due to leave St. Pancras at 2.45 (instead of 2.25pm), I caught it with only seconds to spare! Rain had been forecast, and it then started to set in. However somewhere around Leicester, brilliant sunshine broke though the clouds, and a perfect rainbow appeared. I took this as a good omen. Passing through Chesterfield (and the church with the crooked spire), the memories came flooding back. It was here, circa 1969, in a shop called “Some Kinda Mushroom” run by Dave McPhee (an early Love fan) that I bought my first copy of “Forever Changes” It was a rather crackly copy that had obviously been well-played in the shop.

On arrival in Sheffield, a sixth sense, and the driver’s heavy smoking, at once made me realise that I’d stepped into the wrong cab. It soon became apparent that the driver (an elderly man of eastern origin) hadn’t got a clue where he was going. Chance alone helped us find Pizza Express! I then had a leisurely meal, and arranged to meet up with Tina and Lizzy B. Following Tina’s instructions, I asked a young cab driver to take me to the “Censored Rock” bar, which appropriately had an image of Jimi Hendrix in the window. “Oh, I wouldn’t recommend that place!” he warned, “you get a funny mixture of people in there!”. It turned out to be fine by me, however. The barmaid misheard my request for a half of Stella, and gave me nearly a pint, for the same price.

The Leadmill was quite pleasing as a venue…it was smallish with mirror balls on the ceiling and a movie screen, which showed the band on stage. I found a pitch at the front, and met some new people (long- term Love fans who were seeing the band for the first time). There was a guy who vaguely resembled Jerry Garcia, and a couple named Wayne and Jane, who told me they had children named Shane and Elaine! (Elaine again or? I queried). As support, I enjoyed The Yards slightly more than the previous time that I saw them. However with the 10pm curfew, there was no need for a support. A longer set from Love would have been preferred by most of the audience. Love’s set, though short, was very potent. The band kicked off with “Live and Let Live” and stuck mostly to tried and tested favourites such as “Alone Again Or”, “Andmoreagain” and “Seven and Seven Is”. The show gained momentum with “A House is Not a Motel” which was as good as I’ve ever heard it. “Rainbow in the Storm” really gelled. Then “You Set the Scene”, “Singing Cowboy” and “Clark and Hilldale” made a rousing finale.

The gig ended at 10pm sharp. Cages and hurdles were erected that made it look as if the club was being prepared for go-go dancers or circus animals! However, a disco followed and some good Sixties soul and Tamla Motown music was played. I lost track of Tina, who was keeping my bag in her car, but thanks to Hilary and the use of her mobile, I managed to locate her (sorry Hilary, but when I came to say goodbye, you had gone). Having said farewells to the band members, I went to see my friends Jim and Jeannie Devlin in Sheffield, who were putting me up for the night (Jim is to Leonard Cohen what David Housden is to Love). This morning, it was pouring with rain, but by the time I reached the station, it had brightened up, and there was a rainbow over Sheffield. .

Mike Randle


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