Clifton Park was Disneyland: The Reytons and fans lap up homecoming gig

ROTHERHAM rocked to the sound of The Reytons in a history-making gig at Clifton Park.

20,000 people watched the indie four-piece rip through a 21-song set that marked the high point of the home-town band’s career.

The four-piece of Jonny Yerrell, Joe O’Brien, Lee Holland and Jamie Todd had wanted the occasion to shine a positive light on Rotherham and leave the band with a legacy and it delivered on both fronts.

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"What have we done? This is amazing for our town,” said an astounded Yerrell as he looked across the vast bank of fans, the party mood fuelled by England’s Euros triumph over Switzerland that was played out on a big screen barely an hour before.

Massive stage for The Reytons at Clifton Park. Pictures by Kerrie BeddowsMassive stage for The Reytons at Clifton Park. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows
Massive stage for The Reytons at Clifton Park. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows

A breathless opening of Red Smoke, Adrenaline and Let Me Breathe got the party started and the pace didn’t let up as the band continue to pump out its anthemic, down-to-earth tunes.

Harrison Lesser, the one that rhymes Citroen Saxo and Glasto, was an early highlight, plumes of the aforementioned “red smoke” hanging over the hordes of fans.

“I never want this night to end,” said the front man, casting an eye over to the spot where as a kid he used to have family picnics. His mum was in the crowd.

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The Reytons have earned their success the hard way, grafting on with no record company support and modest radio air play since forming seven years ago.

We're all Reytons aren't we? Fans in the park.We're all Reytons aren't we? Fans in the park.
We're all Reytons aren't we? Fans in the park.

There’s been no dip in quality either, newer songs like the Greasbrough-referencing Market Street and the rappy 2006 sung back at the stage by the audience with just as much gusto as earlier numbers.

The excitement proved too much for some and The Reytons twice had to break off their set to allow security and medical staff to attend to people.

Eight years ago Yerrell had bailiffs on his case as he struggled to make a career in music.

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"One thing this town has taught me is that persistence can overcome resistance,” he told the hordes.

Reytons fans in the 20,000 crowd at Clifton ParkReytons fans in the 20,000 crowd at Clifton Park
Reytons fans in the 20,000 crowd at Clifton Park

“If this thing all ended tonight then what a journey it has been.”

As the sun set, the night air was lit up with a sea of camera lights for Shoebox, the only quieter number in the set

Then came Slice of Lime, the first song the lads ever wrote.

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Two giant limes have been been transported across the country by Reytons fans in tribute, also raising money for the Refuge charity for women fleeing domestic abuse in the process.

Reytons guitarist Joe O'BrienReytons guitarist Joe O'Brien
Reytons guitarist Joe O'Brien

The Reytons did the whole thing justice with a storming rendition, O’Brien, Holland and Todd really tight, before a final kick for home.

Not since the great Marc Bolan and T-Rex trod the Clifton Park turf back in 1971 has Rotherham had a musical experience like this one.

While accounts of that gig remain hazy, lost in the mists of time, it is doubtful it had the same sense of togetherness.

Show-closer Kids off the Estate summed up the mood, band and crowd in harmony.

For one night only Clifton Park was Disneyland.

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