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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Victoria pours sugar on Def Leppard By Mike Devlin

Colour us impressed. And while you're at it, pour some sugar on us for good measure.

Def Leppard's sold-out, hugely entertaining concert Sunday at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre was a thrilling gong show of epic proportions, one that drew as many belly laughs as it did fist pumps.

Fun? Was it ever.

The Sheffield, England, five-piece couldn't have put on a better show during the final performance of its Canadian tour. The set was also cliched to the fullest, but note-perfect in a cultural trainwreck kind of way.

"Hey, Victoria, do you want to get rocked?" asked singer Joe Elliott, with nary a cringe in sight. On cue, out came an audience sign that read: "Yes, we want to get rocked!" The sign-making dude who waited months for that exact moment promptly died and went to heaven. After he high-fived his friends, of course.

The endearing audience-performer interplay -- rarely seen at the new arena, no matter the act -- lasted for the duration of Def Leppard's nostalgic 90-minute, 18-song set. The band was certainly on fire, delivering power-ballads (Two Steps Behind, Love Bites) and classic pop-metal hits (Pour Some Sugar on Me, Let's Get Rocked) in equal supply to a rapturous reaction.

But the biggest competition came from the crowd itself. The people-watching was better than the show itself in spots, with essentials of the Me Decade -- from acid- washed jeans and mullets to teased hair and leopard print outfits -- ranking as the de rigeur accouterments. It was 1987 all over again, and Def Leppard was once again the biggest band in the world. The cruel irony -- or the harsh reality, depending on how you look at it -- was palpable. Younger members of the audience, clearly thinking it was Halloween, were dressed to mock with mullet wigs and vintage-looking rock T-shirts. The elder statesmen and women were sporting similar duds, but with absolutely zero irony. Either way, Langford was king for a day. Culture clashes aside, it was the most attentive crowd yet to fill the new Blanshard Street arena, in a dead heat with the teen crowd that saw rap group the Black Eyed Peas at the same venue July 21. The difference was this raucous bunch also came ready to party, which perhaps explains why beer sales were cut off minutes into the band's set.

Tickets for the show sold out in 45 minutes, and the band's first concert locally since 1983 will go down as one of the most hotly anticipated events in years (everyone from local radio stations to staff at the arena itself have said the demand for tickets far exceeded every concert so far at the arena).

Despite the hype, the resurging Def Leppard didn't disappoint.

The group is on a serious roll at the moment, earning five-star raves for its concerts and selling tens of thousands of copies of its latest two-disc hits collection, Rock of Ages. And it proved precisely why Sunday.

Members of the seminal '80s band weren't for the ages, however. They sported everything from leather pants to an all-white outfit that included jeans, a tank-top and a single leather glove, time-capsule fashions befitting a band whose last hit was a decade-and-a-half ago.

That's part of its appeal, of course. Def Leppard seems unwilling to change with the times, particularly on stage, where it relishes questionable moments such as the guitar duel between shirtless axemen Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen and the same-line, different-town proclamations from Elliott, whose so-so voice was troublesome on occasion. Valid concerns? Perhaps not. You'd be hard-pressed to find a fan who wasn't thrilled. And when members of the band met fans outside for an autograph session/impromptu party afterwards, it further cemented Def Leppard's reputation as a fan-friendly rock band.

"Don't forget us and we won't forget you," Elliott said as the band exited the stage for the final time. If Def Leppard returns next summer, as Elliott promised it would, chances are the clocks will be turned back to 1987 willingly.

By Mike Devlin @ Times Colonist 2005.