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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - High 'N Not-So-Dry By Tom Netherland

Eighties rockers Def Leppard took fans back in time at the State Fair.

Living in the past and loving every second, fans turned out in droves Sunday night at the State Fair for Def Leppard.

Despite nasty weather, about 9,000 fans filled the Classic Amphitheater Sunday night for Def Leppard, one of rock's best-selling acts of the last 20 years. For nearly two hours, Leppard screamed as fans screamed along, no doubt recalling a past when rock was rock, not some hybrid which pretends to be (Limp -- and we do mean limp -- Bizkit, anyone?).

Backstage, lead singer Joe Elliott and his four bandmates -- Rick Savage (bass), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Phil Collen (lead guitar) and Rick Allen (drums) -- filed through a smattering of fans and made their way to the stage amid tumultuous cheers.

Though two decades since its debut album, the Brit band looked little worse for wear. Oh sure, Elliott carries a few extra pounds, but time has served him well. But ya know, given the band's often tragic past (Allen lost his left arm in an early '80s auto accident, for example), fans are lucky to even get to see the band.

Still, as shown most particularly by his voice, time appears to have waited on Elliott. Dressed in black (to better hide said pounds), his sandpaper-'n'-scream vocals handled lyrics that by now he could probably sing in his sleep.

Yet as Elliott and band barked set-opener "Rock Rock ('Til You Drop)," you'd have sworn the song was new. And meant something.

The shaggy-haired singer edged to the edge of the stage, held aloft his mike stand and screamed hell-bent for leather. Flanked left, twig-thin Campbell raged like a rat in a cage, his Gibson Les Paul hung low and howling high. Flanked right, tiny Collen did likewise, looking much younger than his 40-or-so years.

Through one hit after another, Def Leppard showed why they've managed to persevere. While many of its peers are mere shadows of their former selves (Hmm, how 'bout Motley Crue, for one?), Def Lep yet lobs ear-tugging rock.

For example, "Promises," from its latest album "Euphoria" recalls a time when no rock band sold more than Def Lep. They didn't sell out, they just sold. Full of life and massive melody, the song carried over well with a crowd weaned on its '80s hits. That's no small feat.

Likewise, how does such a band keep itself interested after so many years of performing the same songs night after night? Easy. Just rearrange a few standbys and -- faster than you can say Fred Durst's an idiot -- you've struck gold once again.

Indeed, the band's breakthrough song from 1981, "Bringin' on the Heartbreak," came packaged as an acoustic ballad. Following a stellar all-acoustic "Two Steps Behind," Elliott & Co. kept it quiet for the once-raging song. They sat on stools, swayed to and fro and looked little like the band that once tore the roof off many a venue.

Ahh, but then Campbell shuffled off stage. Collen and Savage did likewise, leaving but Elliott to strum away. Beyond the crowd's line of sight, Campbell lit a cigarette, strapped on the power and finished the tune in tall -- i.e., loud -- order.

Fans ate it up. Fists flew in the air, fingers forked like devil's horns punctured the night's humid air.

Elliott responded in kind. Hits flew from his tongue tip as he sweated bullets. Delving deep into the band's most successful album, 1983's "Pyromania," Def Lep loped through "Foolin'," "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages." All hits, no filler.

Ninety minutes into their set, they walked off stage, cheers in their ears and smiles on their sweaty faces. Savage held tightly a stuffed leopard and a rose, gifts from fans.

Campbell lit another cigarette, puffed vigorously and wiped away the sweat.

Within minutes, Def Leppard returned on stage for a pair of encores, power ballad "Love Bites" and show-finale "Let's Get Rocked." For the band that first played Richmond 17 years ago on its "Pyromania" tour, Sunday night's show must have seemed like no big deal. And who can blame 'em?

Yet for those who braved the rain, those who've been fans through good years (1980s), bad years (early '90s) and awful albums (1996's "Slang," an ill-fated attempt at grunge rock) Sunday's show proved quite rewarding.

By Tom Netherland @ Richmond.com 2000.


Media Review - Nostalgia And A Turn Toward Minimalism By Melissa Ruggieri

Few bands have endured bad luck and personal hardships like Def Leppard.

But, 20 years of surviving accidents (which claimed an arm of drummer Rick Allen in 1984) and death (of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991), the Lep rocks.

About 7,500 die-hard fans filled the Classic Amphitheatre last night (news flash: actual people in seats at a Richmond concert) as Def Leppard ripped through nearly two hours of greatest hits.

Though singer Joe Elliott's vocals were poorly mixed - his highest screeches overpowered by guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell and the backing vocals of bassist Rick Savage - he maintains his status as a terrific rock frontman.

Prowling the stage in a groovy black velvet overcoat, Elliott waved his microphone stand, jumping jacked up Allen's steel drum riser and stimulated the effervescent crowd to pump fists to the opening "Rock Rock ('Til You Drop)."

Though its glory days brought in-the-round staging and laser extravaganzas, Lep 2K is about minimalism. Aside from stacks of amplifiers and streamlined lights, the only thing begging for attention on stage was the quintet from Sheffield, England.

For a band that relies so much on layered studio wizardry, it was impressive how closely songs such as "Women" and the sublime title track to 1987's landmark "Hysteria" were duplicated.

Always a few rungs higher on the spandex ladder based on its musical talent, Def Leppard reminded naysayers just how good it is with the still-scorching "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages," with drumming wonder Allen giving the cowbell due attention.

Even though Def Leppard has a new album to promote - last year's return-to-the-roots "Euphoria" - the only song it performed from the disc was the three-part-harmony "Promises."

The rest of the night focused on nostalgia. When Campbell plucked the opening notes to (fa-fa-fa) "Foolin,' " out came the lighters, and soon, the obligatory acoustic set, featuring Elliott on acoustic guitar for "Two Steps Behind" and "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (remember that cheap video?).

Although "Pour Some Sugar On Me" has eclipsed Def Leppard's better songs to become its blatantly most popular (and hasn't Shania Twain recorded it recently?), longtime fans no doubt exited the concert vowing "Long live rock'n'roll."

By Melissa Ruggieri @ Richmond Times-Dispatch 2000.