The Borderline, London
July 23, 2000
Fan reports from the Grunts' show in London:
In a word - Fan-bloomin'-tastic!
Absolutely brilliant! It was a really good, quality performance. That man certainly knows how to entertain. And he was enjoying it too, you could tell. No cameras were allowed inside or outside but it was being videotaped.
We arrived around 6pm to queue - and Russell came out around 7pm to sign autographs! Wearing a red "Tonga" rugby shirt, black trousers and a TOFOG baseball cap, he was armed with a magic marker and was very patient, took his time, chatted a bit, asked everyone their name then signed papers, notebooks, t-shirts, someone's arm (!), and spoke to someone's friend on their mobile phone doing quite a passable Manchester accent too. He spent about half an hour with us all and must've signed over 50 autographs, then he quickly stopped - I believe someone tried to take a photo so he went back into the club.
Show started at 9pm and he first of all said hello to people at Maximum Crowe!!! It was a small venue, holding about 250-300 people, just the right size really - and I'd say it was about 90% women. Wearing a black shirt, black vest and black jeans, they started with a new song. In between most of the songs he would tell us a story about the next song, and a few other things too to make us laugh. Halfway through one song he forgot the words so asked the audience, who didn't know, so Stewart got the songbook out to much laughter. When he introduced "The Photograph Kills" he said something like "this is about the last f*ing 8 weeks of my life"! He did have a go at the British weather and British football, cricket and rugby - I don't blame him though! Then, as it was all getting hot and sweaty, he took off his shirt, to lots of whistles of course. And then he really got down to it. He obviously loves his music and really enjoys entertaining! And he is so good, such a good entertainer. I've read articles where he apparently says he "can't sing that well" - oh yes he can! And plays the guitar darn good too. The rest of the band were fantastic as well, mustn't forget to mention them!
And yes, Meg turned up, a very low-key entrance. Kylie Minogue was there too. The show lasted nearly two hours - we had "this is the last song" twice, then they came back on again for just a few more. The time seemed to fly past. All in all a damn good evening! I was really impressed with the music - some really lovely ballads and lots of good old rock & roll.
Once again, thank you for posting the details - I would never have known otherwise and it was a really, really good evening! (Kim G., London)
It was a fantastic atmosphere - much more like a normal gig than I expected.
No screaming women - just LOTS of fun. Russell was clearly having more fun that even us lot. We stayed at the back with the crew which was great because most people had squashed up the front. I stood on a chair & had a great view the whole night. They did over two hours & the encore was longer than the main set. I didn't hear all the banter as clearly as those at the front, but he did make a sarcastic (but light hearted) comment about whether we believed him when he said he'd enjoyed the last couple of months in London.
It's a really cosy venue. Nobody would have had a bad view as it's so small. He started with a ballad that didn't really kick it off, but after that they started rocking. The whole feeling of the evening was fun & cosy. Kylie was there & so was Meg. She actually did a really sweet thing. One guy (& it may have been in her party, I'm not sure) virtually passed out (they said, with just drink) & some guys brought him to the back where I was. They sat him on the chair I had been standing on & Meg was genuinely concerned. It was she who got down on her knees to try to help him. I don't think many of the non crew people would have seen this. She helped him outside to get some air & stayed out there for about 15 minutes. Then she hung around with us for a while then went behind the bar - for safety.
When TOFOG finally finished their last encore (Barry Kable) Russell was the first to leave the stage & from where I was, I could see the corridor he had to go down. He stopped on his route & doubled back when he saw that Meg was behind the bar & leant right over to give her a couple lovely kisses. I expect EVERYONE will tell you about that - though you could only see it if you were around the bar. It was all rather lovely.
T-shirts & caps were thrown into the audience, but only the lucky few got them (& some more than one - which is downright greedy!) I had a really soft spot for Garth.
My lasting memory was of a blissfully happy black clad guy having a whale of a time. The set was tight most of the time & a good time was had by all. (The chedge)
Just pretend', Russell Crowe said, ' That you know this song and not only do you know it but you like it and not only do you like it but it's your f******* favourite song of all time.' Everybody cheered and whistled. 'No, wait for a few notes, you know like in a Sinatra song, and then you shout and cheer when you recognise it.' The band started to sing 'Somebody Else's Princess', everyone hollered and whistled louder than they'd ever done before. Crowe gave it everything, his veins standing out on his neck, the sweat pouring down his temples. He knew that most of the audience were there for him and not his music. He joked and made self-effacing comments throughout about the band. He chatted to people in the audience, handed out his beer, told funny and poignant stories and sang his heart out. By the end of that song he'd won us over and everyone was ready to believe it was the best song they'd ever heard. (by Claire Montell)
Russell delights the crowd at The Borderline
What a night! From a small club in London, the 30 Odd Foot of Grunts played their hearts out. Of course, Russell Crowe was the main attraction for many (the majority) women there. However, I was lucky to be standing with a few people who also knew and liked the Grunts' music. And the website was mentioned by Russell!
For two hours it was sheer bliss. Russell was in excellent voice and the band (Dave, 'Billie' Dean, Garth, Stewart, Dave) were in excellent form (considering that they probably haven't played together for a while). We heard 18 songs altogether, some old and some new, but all of them well put-together and played and sang with feeling, especially the song about Russell's grandfather (Memorial Day) and The Legend of Barry Kable. The Photograph Kills was especially appropriate for Russell's time in the UK!
I can see that the band are going to run out of small venues to play pretty soon, not only due to Russell's growing fame as an actor but also due to the type and style of songs produced. If what we heard tonight was the sum of their previous albums the new album will go down like a storm.
The crowd loved Russell who was on good form and he kept them, including Kylie Minogue, happy and amused. The biggest cheer, however, came from seeing Russell in his vest - luckily no one fainted!" (Angela, UK)
Apparently some had queued outside for a few hours to the amusement of Russell Crowe, who asked affectionately, Why? Given that they knew they had tickets and what time the doors opened. Someone shouted out - Îdedication, we love you Russell.â
It kind of summed up the gig in many ways! The venue was small - packing in around 200. After bumping into a mic stand Russell commented, "this is the bedsit of venues!"
Maximum Crowe got a mention something like ·. Îwe wrote this song yesterday and itâs already on that f***ing website!!â
The crowd was good humoured. Heâs a good singer and heâs got what it takes to get you rocking along. Whatâs Her name, What you want me to forget, Castle Builder and The Photograph Kills, are the ones that stand out. It is partly the sheer force of his personality that means the songs will bite back if you are in danger of thinking theyâre a bit samey·.some of them suddenly get very loud! Nowhere was sung with guts.
He entertained the crowd in between tracks gently wooing us English by saying we could be happier, why did we always lose at games that we had invented, and well· the weather!!! The thing is you know this guy likes people and even being heckled for touching our footie soft spot - he knew we were all on his side. It was a really enjoyable evening - they came back out twice - and it just got better. He really gave it some welly, and was amused himself when Dave Kelly gave a drum finale worthy of Wembley stadium!! At least one guitar could have been trashed in its final moments. Instead he got a look that said.. ãWhere did that come from!ä
It had a very relaxed friendly feel - Iâm gonna tell you a story·âin between swigging his beer, felt like it could go on indefinitely. He had some good banter with the people down at the front, shared his beer and threw some Gruntwear their way.
Some of the lyrics are hard to understand though! You feel he could lead people even further along but stops short. At times you could feel his edginess that we were there to see him do something rather than for the music and he had to acknowledge that somehow. He could manipulate the crowd even more though - especially in getting them to listen to the song intros. Sometimes he didnât cut through, but kind off went over people instead.
He had to remind everyone it was work as usual for him the following day, to get people to go home!!! It was a great evening and good value for a fiver!!!! (Jill Howard, UK)
Memorable quote of the night:
Whilst giving away one of his (at least three) VB tinnies to the audience he said "I expect to see that on eBay for a thousand bucks tomorrow" (Vicky, Plymouth, UK))
Super, smashin, great!!!!!
We located 'The Borderline' club at about 3.30pm and were quite surprised to see that a handful of people had already started to queue for the gig. My friends and I rejoined the queue at 7pm. As we walked around the corner to the club the first person I saw was Russell slowly working his way along the queue signing autographs and chatting away to his fans. The atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed but sadly somebody took a picture of Russell and he retreated away behind the doors of the club.
The band took to the stage at 9pm. The band were fab, Russell's voice was low and gravelly and full of raw emotion. His face was very expressive and boy could he groove. Wiggling his sexy hips in time to the music and tapping his feet he was having a whale of a time and so were we!
He said 'hello' to various friends in the audience including Kylie Minogue and bantered with the crowd inbetween songs. He captivated us with his storytelling skills, referring to his late grandfather who had fought in the war and was sadly missed by him, his father's struggle through a spell of unemployment, but what I found most moving was his reference to the late Daniel Pollock (Romper Stomper). Daniel committed suicide by throwing himself under a train. With emotion and feeling Russell described Daniel's struggle with heroin addiction and how his friends eventually closed their doors on him, one by one. He went on to say that he felt sad about not being able to help Daniel or do anything to prevent the suicide. I think we all had a lump in our throats when he went on to sing 'The Day Dave Hit The Train'
It was a truly fab evening and great fun meeting and talking to fans of Russell and Maximum Crowe of course! (Tara-Weymouth)
"We've got the tickets!"
So yelled my sister down the telephone on Thursday afternoon and so began our excitement about Sunday night's London gig. And we were not disappointed. Well, except maybe when we just missed out on getting Russell's autograph when somebody took a photograph and he disappeared into the club faster than Herod's bullets.
I guess I'm still on the waiting list for the CDs but the fact I didn't really know the songs didn't matter a bit as they were wrung out with such energy and life that it had the whole club bouncing along. Russell's voice was amazing, very powerful and gripping and the vocal harmonies sounded fantastic. (Boy, am I mad at Russell for being able to act and sing brilliantly, it is just not fair!) We were told anecdotes about many songs before they were played and everyone seemed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves. I found the song "The Day That Davy Hit The Train" to be very moving as Russell explained beforehand that he had written it about Daniel Pollock who played Davy in Romper Stomper, who committed suicide some years ago. Many of the crowd seemed shocked and emotional as Russell told us how he felt that he could have done something to prevent the suicide, that he could have helped him, and wrote the song after obsessing about it in a hotel room.
I came away thinking that this is a band who gel perfectly, play brilliantly and if there is a weakness anywhere then it is in the lyrics (which didn't quite flow sometimes). I loved the music and the ambience and I admit I went there for Russell but I would have had a good time even if I was a heterosexual man! (Elaine, Portland, Dorset)
I think not to put too fine a point on the evening, what we saw was a little bit of history in the making. With Russell's dazzling ascendency, I doubt we will have a chance again to see him not only making good music with such openness and humour (and a lot of lung capacity too) but in such an intimate and confidential setting. He is a man very comfortable in his own skin whatever he is doing, and gives 110%.
But the most refreshing aspect of the night was the price - I have never had such a bargain night out in London for a fiver! My boyfriend who accompanied me (more for RC's benefit than mine, I suspect) was equally impressed and also felt pleased that there had been no 'cashing in' - the tickets could easily have sold out at virtually any price.
So applause and accolades all round - this man deserves everything he gets. He is a true "giver." Thanks Russell and the band for a rocking good night! (Virginia)
Russell and the Band made it a night for all UK guys to remember. For anyone there who may have thought 'Oh God another actor who is a Wannabe Rockstar..well they were proved wrong. The guy can sing and my can he entertain!!!...the moment where he took off his black/navy?? shirt & just stood there in his jeans & vest top was a real showman's moment...the crowd loved it!! The stories behind the songs added another dimension and gave us some kind of insight into what makes Russell tick. (Janet)
This had to have been one of the smoothest-run gigs I have been to. The venue was a good choice, apparently down to Dean Cochran, who said that if they were going to play in London, it should be a small intimate place, as Russell told the crowd.
The band were brilliant, considering that they had probably not played together with their vocalist/guitarist for a while, they were very tight. The sound was good. Russell was on top form, and clearly out to enjoy himself, a born showman, interacting with the crowd all the time he was on stage. At one point balling them out for not listening to the 'story' he was telling about 'What You Want me to Forget'. "Shut the F**k-up, I'm trying to tell you a story here about my old man!" He had a dig at the British for not being able to win anything sports wise." You even let the frog's win the Footy, and that's supposed to be your game!" . . . I hope it is not the first and last time we see them play here in England. But that being said, I'm looking forward to Austin! (Jeb)
Russell Crowe is an enigma, he is a non-formulaic talent. Every muscle movement reflects an intricate thought, his reactionary senses are incredible. He mentioned Daniel Pollock (who committed suicide), his father's words of wisdom and unemployment, his band members (who were no lesser "family" to him), and of course, sunnier places with cows roaming the fields.
My impression is that he's the stranger who will sit next to you in a five-hour flight, starts chatting to you and never stops all the way, and leaves you with a crush that will last for a long time. You will always wonder what would have happened if you only had more time with him..... His music is good, anyone going to Austin should look forward to a "rocking" time. I had an unforgettable time. (Amani)
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