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Saturday, 13th July 2002

Stoke-On-Trent, England - Media Reviews

Line In The City and a Screaming Success By Hannah Crush

Ears across North Staffordshire were still ringing today following one of the biggest events on the area's music calendar. And 15,000 people will have gone to school or work with sore throats after screaming themselves hoarse at the Live in the City concert on Saturday, when the Britannia Stadium welcomed the likes of Gareth Gates, Hear'Say, the Sugababes and Def Leppard.

The Signal One spectacular took place in blazing sunshine which left many fans in need of medical assistance, but for the most part the event went without a hitch and provided a day to remember for the thousands of pop-lovers.

An hour before the gates opened the stadium car park was already swamped by girls clutching Gareth flags and banners and blowing whistles in a frenzy of excitement.

And at the first sight of a helicopter overhead the screams were deafening, signalling the arrival of the pop idol with the puppy-dog eyes. When he appeared on the stage shortly after the show began the adulation exploded - and even more so when he was presented with an 18th birthday cake and the crowd sang Happy Birthday.

Signal One DJ Russ Morris, one of the event's four hosts, said: "I have never heard anyone scream so loudly as when Gareth Gates - who yesterday secured his second No 1 success with Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake) - came on. It was mind-blowing. The crowd have been amazing and the line-up was the strongest yet."

The pop-dominated line-up kept the audience entertained for almost seven hours, and also included local acts Sheryl Ryan, Emma Nelson and Production G, who won the Signal Battle of the Bands competition.

Nineteen-year-old Emma, of Basford, said: "That was my biggest audience yet and I didn't dare look at them at first. They were wild. It was great to play on home ground, a real buzz."

Joe Elliott, singer of veteran rock group Def Leppard, said his band stuck out like a sore thumb but that they wanted to play to this type of audience.

He said: "This will be a musical education for most people here. They won't have seen anything like it. Seeing Marc Bolan and David Bowie inspired us to learn our instruments and I hope we will inspire others too."

But most of the audience - unsurprisingly comprised mainly of young teenage girls - weren't interested in the intricacies of guitar-playing and preferred to scream at the succession of pretty girls and boys singing uncomplicated happy pop music.

Thirteen-year-old Alex Nicholls, of Longton, went to the event with her mum, grandmother and sister after listening to last year's festivities from her garden. She said: "Last year I sat outside on the step and listened to it so my mum decided to bring us this year. We queued for an hour but it was worth it."

Possibly the biggest success though, was Darius, whose effortless charm left fans swooning. He said: "I loved every minute of it and the audience were wicked."

By The Sentinel 2002.


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