You know that I'm a massive Sleeper fan. The second time I saw Sleeper, they had signed on to open up for Elvis Costello on an eight US tour. According to my ticket stub, with taxes and fees, it was slightly over $30 to see about a 30-minute set from my then-favorite British band.
I had a really fun time in Berkeley that August 30th, 1996. I distinctively remember heading over to my favorite Britpop shop, Mod Lang, early to meet and get autographs for my Sleeper singles and vinyls. I was possibly the first person in line, now that I think about it.
From my poor memory, there were only about ten or so Sleeper fans and some fans got back in line to get more items signed. Louise, Jon, Andy, and Diid, they were more than happy to signed everything though (in fact, if I had known, I would have brought my entire discography for them to sign). The look on their faces, it felt like they were surprised anyone showed up at all. I know the band was big in the UK (appearing on various magazines and weeklies), but in America, it was a struggle for them to crack the US market.
Anyway, according to various flyers, the meet & greet was at 3:30pm, and their stage appearance was 9pm.
I might have also mentioned that I've regretted the fact that we left Costello's set mid-way. I was with friends, and they wanted to leave... so I blame them!
What's interesting to note is that by 1995-1996, Costello was a huge Britpop fan. He had various artists like Lush and Sleeper covering his songs (and in fact, Costello returned the favor to Sleeper by covering their song "What Do I Do Now?")
While obviously many Britpop bands failed to transition to the modern age, Costello proved that he's more than just a fad. He's still actively recording music and playing live shows... with an upcoming US tour. Pump it up, when you don't even need it!
Here is a review of the Sleeper set, originally published by Consumeable. The website is no longer online, so this is for archival purpose. It is written by one of my friends, and having re-read it, I had forgotten that Louise Wener was barefoot on stage! We had pretty bad seats, that's all I can remember.