Gigography‎ > ‎1998‎ > ‎

SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY (16 Feb 1998) Sheffield

Date:  16 Feb 1998
Location: Sheffield
Price: £9
Promoter: SJM Concerts

  • Sleeper
  • Rialto
  • Libido
  1. Firecracker
  2. Statuesque
  3. Lie Detector
  4. Inbetweener
  5. Romeo Me
  6. Traffic Accident
  7. Nice Guy Eddie
  8. Superclean
  9. Dressed like your mother
  10. Please Please Please
  11. Sale of the Century
  12. Delicious
  13. Rollercoaster
  14. What do I do now ?

  15. Miss You
  16. She's a Good Girl
  17. Vegas

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      Posted Feb 13, 2021, 4:58 PM by Vu Nguyen
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      SHEFFIELD University - 16 Feb 98
    SHEFFIELD University - 16 Feb 98
    opening act: Rialto and Libido

    From Ian Davies


         On Monday morning I was suffering post gig withdrawals so at four o'clock we managed to get a pair of tickets for Sheffield and drove the nightmare two and a half hours to Sheffield arriving just in time for Rialto. The place was packed to the rafters and as Sleeper came on I was to the left of the stage in the middle, by the time the band reached Please Please Please I had bounced to the front but had the unfortunate position of having my right ear in front of the bass bins and couldn't hear properly on Tuesday! Again, the band appeared up for the gig and played the same set as previous which was :

    Lie Detector
    Romeo Me
    Traffic Accident
    Dressed like your mother
    Please Please Please 
    Sale of the Century
    What do I do now ?
    Miss You
    She's a good girl
    Just to clear up what Louise says prior to Vegas.." To everyone who has written about us in the last six months - F*** You. To everyone here tonight, thanks you've been brilliant." The first sentence didn't alter, the second did slightly each night. Despite being the best live gigs I have witnessed in years I have to confess at a small disappointment that they didn't do Breathe or You Got Me in the set which is short at just over 1 1/4 hours including the encore. Perhaps next time one support would do with a slightly longer set... if there is a next time.

    by Bill Willmott

    Offended? Yes. Bored? almost certainly. But touched? The Sleeper experience has always provoked many reactions, but emotional engagement was never one of them. And yet here we are, watching Louise Wener awkwardly mum-dance her way around a stage starkly lit by two faulty kebab shop neon lights and somehow feeling genuinely sorry for her. Noticing the desperate edge in her croak as she surveys her downsized public and welling up in sympathy for her. There are those who took perverse pleasure in Ms Wener's spectacular and speedy plummet from grace. Who rubbed their hands with righteous glee at the shrinkage the Sleeper tour suffered and muttered about her "asking for it".

    Well, maybe she did. But then the kingdom of pop would be a far poorer place without the kind of column-filling arrogance and PC-baiting swagger she practically patented. The real tragedy of Louise Wener is the sad fact that for all the eminently quotable bluster and marketing muscle, neither she nor her band of C&A shirt wearers have the substance to follow through. This is the woman, remember, whose idea of a drastic image overhaul is to not play the guitar. Much. Well, well, the Prodigy must really be cacking it.

    So here she is, wearing the same denim jacket and black vest that was nailed to her torso some five years back, practically indecipherable as she ploughs through 'Firecracker', 'Statuesque' and 'Lie Detector'. There is no straying from the musical party line (secondhand Elastica to college ball Blondie and, um, everything in between). No acknowledgement, even, that this is 1998 and the world no longer revolves around Britpop. Sleeper used to be the perfect student band because they wrote about the problems of middle-class England - shagging and suburban boredom, primarily. But they're becoming more and more like the lover you left behind when you sodded off to college, who's desperately wanting to believe that nothing has changed.

    You can see it in the bashful glances that Sheffield's students give each other when Sleeper hit supposed classics like 'Inbetweener' or 'Delicious'. Looks that say "remember when..." rather than "how fucking great is this?" And while nostalgia's all well and good for a night's entertainment, it's not much to build a career on. Louise must be wondering how many of tonight's nostalgia will be back next time. And the time after?

    Really, it would be enough to make you weep if only the boredom and the deaf, dumb and blind guitar solos hadn't already driven you there a long time before. Then, to cap it all, Louise announces the end of the set yelling, "To everyone who's written about us over the last six months, fuck you!" like a spoilt schoolkid in a huff.

    It's downright pathetic and instantly ensures the banishment of every last drop of sympathy we might have held for her. When they fling themselves into a breathless but still inept kicking of 'What Do I Do Now?', the irony isn't so much obvious as inescapable. They bounce off into the night convinced, as ever, that the next hit is just around the corner. Not for the first time, they are horribly, horribly wrong. A new yawn beckons.