City Varieties, Leeds
UK Feb. 16.
Live & Let Live
Alone Again Or
Bummer In The Summer
A House Is Not A Motel
My Flash On You
Your Mind & We Belong Together
The Red Telephone
short jam without Arthur
A Message To Pretty
Rainbow In The Storm
7 & 7 Is
You Set The Scene
Between Clark & Hilldale
Photos: Johnny Was, Gill Oakley & Chris Jones
See also pre-gig photos
From The Leeds Guide: "Love's
Most people who were educated in Leeds will have some memories of the City
Varieties, whether performing a school play or watching a Christmas Panto.
Maybe that’s why this gig was always going to be a little bit special for
us Love loving locals to Leeds. We all know the venue, have known it for
years, and Ali, my girlfriend, reminded me on the run up to this gig that
she trod the same boards as a child that Arthur was to tread that evening.
I wanted to write a proper review of this gig but looking over the other
reviews for other gigs all the superlatives have been used up and I’m crap
at thinking of new ones. For the record it was brilliant, fantastic. A
band and singer on top form, in an intimate venue. Dosen’t come much
better. I can’t remember the batting order of the songs. I can’t even
remember what they opened with its all a bit of a blur. I think it all
seemed pretty constant with the other gigs, most of Forever Changes, some
of Da Capo, My Flash on You, Message to Pretty, all the usual stuff, a few
changes here and there plus the new one. No August though tonight, a
personal disappointment but what the hell I got a mug and an excellent
We hired a box for this gig, thought we’d do it in style and ended up in
one you’d think they normally reserve for royalty, practically on top of
the band. It was nice to see them from a different perspective. The bloke
in white proved to be an amusing sideshow, maybe Love should take him on
as a Bez type figure. It was nice to look down on the crowd and see a
receptive audience, singing along, collectively grinning from ear to ear,
loving every minute of it. AndArthur, he was ‘the smiling good humour
man,’ he seemed to like Leeds an’all. He even shook my mates wife Fiona’s
hand as he left the stage at the end.
Honoury mention to the singer of the Yards who had to play a solo acoustic
set due to lack of space. It must have been pretty intimidating for him
with the knowledge he was been followed by a legend. It took guts and he
pulled it off. Hat off to him.
The City Varieties treats gigs like theatre plays. No meathead security in
their black flying jackets confiscating biscuits, no, we had nice little
old ladies with purple rinses asking politely to check our tickets. And
the bar offered you the chance to pre order your beer so you didn’t have
to queue during the ‘interval’ and they shut the doors when the band came
on. Quaint isn’t it.
Last time Love played in Leeds at the Irish Centre Arthur jumped off the
stage at the end and ordered a bloody mary, I half expected him to jump
off stage and order a choc ice this time, he could have, they were right
next to the merchandising stand. I don’t know how much the band enjoyed
playing such a small venue, in all honesty a venue too small for them, but
any one who was there will tell you just how special this gig actually
was. Especially if the last time you were at Leeds City Varieties was as
the back end of a donkey!
Arthur Lee & Love at the City Varieties in Leeds 16 February 2004.
Before the gig I’d emailed Glenn Povey (Love’s manager) to see if he
could arrange for me to meet the band and take some pix before the gig. At
first he was under the impression that I was a professional photographer
and he was very keen. When he learned that I was only an amateur, he
cooled off somewhat but after chatting to the band, he mailed me back and
asked me to come along to the venue at around 5.00 pm - around 4 hours
before the band were due on. I took my good friend Geoff along with me to
help me carry my kit and arrived at the venue dead on 5.00. We spoke to a
very nice young woman who worked for the City Varieties and she phoned the
dressing room to speak to Glenn. Surprise, surprise - Glenn was out. So I
asked to speak to Dave Chapple - who I’ve sent tons of pix to in the past
(some of which ended up on the FC tour programme, the Australian Tour
programme, and the CD and DVD of the FC concert). Dave wasn’t in either.
Fortunately Mike answered the phone and recognised my name and said ‘come
on up’. We were in.
Once in the dressing room, Geoff and I chatted to Glenn, Mike and Daddyo,
and DC when he turned up shortly afterwards. Rusty came along a little
later, but Arthur didn’t arrive until only half an hour or so before the
band were due on at 9.00.
Shortly after arriving I’d got my camera out and started taking a few
shots. Some of the earliest ones were of Rusty, Mike and Daddyo deciding
on the setlist - which they then wrote on to a paper plate (you can just
make this out in one of my pre-gig shots). As it happened, this proposed
setlist bore only a passing resemblance to the actual running order of the
show. The guys signed a whole load of CD & DVD covers for Geoff and me -
and four of the photos I’d taken of them last year.
Geoff asked Mike how the band had met up with Arthur - and Mike very
kindly explained in considerable detail the events that led up to them
becoming the latest incarnation of Love.
We then had a bit of a political discussion whilst sharing a few beers
(Japanese, but made in Czechoslovakia) and it emerged that the band aren’t
exactly over keen on George Bush. Mike also told us that he’d met Monica
Lewinsky - and that she had come across as a very nice person indeed. (And
if Mike says someone is nice, then they damn well must be.)
Mike then told us about how he’d bought his guitar (the beautiful white
1970s Gibson ES335) from Jackson Browne for $200. Mike then kindly let
Geoff have a little play on it (Geoff plays rhythm in a band called
Doghouse). For Geoff, this was like heaven on earth - not only is he a
huge fan of Love but he’s also a big fan of Jackson Browne. At one stage I
thought he was going to wet himself with excitement! Mike wasn't too
impressed when Geoff offered him £200 for his guitar! Mike also has a
Gibson SG given to him by Arthur which was once owned by Marc Bolan. He
doesn’t bring this out with him any more - it’s just too precious.
The band then started their soundcheck and I took a few more pix before
Geoff and I went off to get something to eat. On the way out we met a guy
at the foyer of the theatre who asked us if we could let him share our box
(I’d already bought tix before I’d got the pass, but Geoff and I wanted to
sit in our box so I could get some decent pix once the band started
playing). The guy’s name was Gerry and he promised us that he wouldn’t
actually take a seat in the box but would wander downstairs to dance so we
agreed to this and Gerry bought a ticket from the box office.
Yup, you’ve guessed it, Gerry was the guy in the white shirt dancing by
the right of the stage (as you’re facing it).
When we came back from a quick drink and some food, Geoff and I went back
to the dressing room where I took a few more pix. By this time Chris
Helme, the support act, had turned up and I took some pix of him both
alone and goofing around with Mike.
Chris then went off to do his spot and Geoff went up to the box to watch
him (Chris used to be in the Sea Horses and he is currently in The Yards).
He played a short but enjoyable opening set (not many people play a Gibson
J200 through a distortion pedal into a Danelctro amp!).
I’d stayed behind in the dressing room waiting for Arthur to appear.
Around 8.30 he arrived and I took some shots of the band posing together.
Some came out terribly, but one or two came out OK (there’s one on the
When the band went on I took my seat in the box, and boy what a great
position it was. I was on the left of the stage and virtually right on top
I took a couple of hundred pix during the show (despite the numerous signs
saying “No photographs” no-one seemed in the least bit interested in
stopping anyone taking pix) and some of them have come out very well
I’ll let Geoff take over for a while, “Just before 9.00 the boys hit the
stage followed by Arthur, to rapturous applause. We were then treated to
90 minutes of outstanding Love classics plus a new song called Rainbow In
The Storm. Mike Randle is an outstanding lead guitarist and Rusty
Squeezebox a brilliant rhythm player. Rusty plays a Jetglo Rickenbacker
through a vintage Vox AC30. Mike plays in stereo through two silverface
Fender twin reverbs. Dave plays an old (beat up) Fender bass through a
vintage Ampeg head and cab. On this occasion Arthur was playing a white
Gibson SG custom through what looked liked a tweed Fender Bassman (last
time I say him he was playing a Squier silver series Strat through a twin
Arthur was on excellent form with lots of spontaneous banter with both the
band and the audience. The setlist (written while we were talking to the
band earlier!) was thrown out the window and Arthur played and sang what
he wanted to! After the encore we went backstage to meet up with the band
again and finally left at about 12:30. All in all a great evening with
great musicians and music.”
As Geoff said, after the show we again went backstage, where I met Keith
Stodart who had videoed the show for Arthur.
I’d brought my laptop with me and so I was able to transfer the pix from
my camera and make a CD of the pix for Dave Chapple (however, he phoned me
a day or two later to say that he couldn’t open the files on his Mac - so
I’ve prepared a Mac-compatible disc for when I next see him).
Soon after Arthur and the band left and that was it.
My, it was one hell of an evening! My only disappointment was that I
missed out on Arthur signing anything for me. However, he apologised for
this just before he got his taxi and said that he would do so next time we
I didn’t get much of an opportunity to talk to Arthur, but I did with the
rest of the band. I have to say that DC, Daddy, Mike and Rusty are some of
the warmest, gentlest, diplomatic and kindest people I have met. They made
Geoff and me really welcome in what was a very cramped dressing room.
I’m really looking forward to seeing them again on Tuesday at Liverpool
(DC’s going to try and get me pass for my son and me).