Def Leppard's Human League support is voted Limit's most memorable gig - Dirty Stop Outs

Def Leppard's Human League support is voted Limit's most memorable gig

Def Leppard support the Human League at the Limit
The advert for the gig voted The Limit's most memorable

Sheffield’s legendary Limit staged hundreds of gigs in its 13 year reign but what was the all time favourite? Well it ended up being one of the most unlikely pairings in the city’s musical history…

Scores of people voted for their favourite show from the city’s legendary Limit show in a in a recent Facebook poll.

It was actually a performance by two fledgling local outfits that grabbed the top spot and was arguably one of the oddest line-ups in the city’s music history.

But at that point they were just two acts with dreams and perseverance, and they were more than happy to throw their hats in the ring and perform at the Limit’s local band festival – for free.

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.

Sandwiched in between the future global stars were Graph and Ton Trick. 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 Specials at The Limit - by James Melik
The Specials perform at The Limit - pic by James Melik
Amongst other gigs voted into the top ten include The Specials.

The West Street show of the rising stars of 2-Tone was a busy and frenetic affair. They didn’t come alone – Madness and the Selecter  were also on the bill.

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.” 

Paul Neilson said the Banshees’ show was one of the club’s finest hours in the early days. 

He said: “My favourite show of the first few days was Siouxsie and the Banshees – I’d never seen anything like it, they were on fire and The Limit audience were going totally nuts.”

Siouxsie at the Limit - pic by Pete Hill
Siouxsie and the Banshees at the Limit - pic by Pete Hill

Siouxsie’s gig left an indelible mark with many people that night.

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?



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