Sheffield Limit club line-up featured odd pairing of Def Leppard and Human League

The 13-year reign of West Street’s Limit club offered a veritable who’s who of live gigs down the years – Neil Anderson offers a snap shot of the favourites on the 30th anniversary of its closure.

Saturday, 30th January 2021, 12:00 pm

Scores of people voted for their favourite show from the city’s legendary Limit club 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.

Siouxsie and the Banshees Siouxsie perform at The Limit, pictured by Pete Hill

Def Leppard were on the bottom of the bill for only their third gig on Monday, September 11 , 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.

Pauline Black of The Selecter at the Limit, pictured by Pete Hill

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.”

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.

The Specials at The Limit performed a memorable gig

They didn’t come alone – Madness and The Selecter were also on the bill.

The Limit’s hosting of the UK debut of American 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.

An advert for the Human League/Def Leppard festival line-up

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.”

A Pulp flyer for The Limit

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?

*You can read more about The Limit in the new Take It To The Limit that’s on sale for £13.95 from

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor

A ticket for a matinee show by punk band The Skids