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Saturday, 17th June 2006

Sheffield, England - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - Def Leppard In Sheffield YEAH! By Darren

Part one of an epic weekend journey began in Sheffield and what a scorcher it was! The show and the weather - very hot! So hot in fact that some people were laid out on the arena floor after the show (air conditioning not very popular up north in arenas it seems).

After getting to witness an historic moment on Friday afternoon, and watch bemused passers-by ask each other what was going on whilst doing their shopping (dear me!). It was time for the main event on Saturday - they're back! - where they started from. Sheffield. Showing the Artic Monkeys how it's really done.

Kicking off (eventually) at 9:35pm (yep we had to wait a little longer for them to come back than we'd anticipated). The show started in a new way with a very cool graphic on the video screen. An excellent new video segment of guitar amps with the Lep logo and the power switch turning on with sound effects building to a climax after a few seconds before Phil started up the riff to "Hell Raiser". A brilliant opening to the show and the place went nuts. I knew these shows would be good but wondered if the whole crowd would be better than 2003 (reaction wise) but after the first few seconds it was clear that it would be a great show - band and crowd.

Right from the start the band were feeding off the crowd's energy and pumping it back out from the stage. "We Will Rock You" warmed us up nicely with the handclaps briefly turning it into a Queen gig once more (Freddie, (aka Sav), would have been proud).

"Hell Raiser" kicked into gear and sounded superb live, really solid and tight. Rick's drumming on the song is fantastic. Yes, it is on all songs but especially impressive on such a frantic song. Joe. now a spitting image of Jon Bon Jovi - thankfully Joe stopped acting before he started! and he has better songs to sing. All the band sounded great and were running all over the stage as usual. The song translates well to the live show and is a great show opener. Vivian, as mentioned by the European fans, is handling the Justin Hawkins lines. The video screen showing a close up of this, very helpful to those at the back!. The screen was a lot bigger (I'm judging this from pics of course) than last years one used in the USA. To me the footage looked a lot better. Having watched 2 of the 2005 shows on DVD the screen presentation has improved greatly, gone are the cheesy psychedelic/distorted effects and it now features much more of the band LIVE and up close. This works well in an arena show. Lots of cool graphics added but none of the older band video footage (no Steve or Pete).

"Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)" - (a couple of people sadly did just that later on!). The first 'classic' always gets a great response and having this as the second song is like re-starting the show again. Nice to see this as song two which brings back memories of Steve Clark going ape with his Gibson at the start of this song on ITR-IYF. Sadly he couldn't be there tonight! but the song still sounds great and very fresh after not being played for a few years. Would be nice to see them play the album intro again at some point as they did in late 1993. The video screen really started to add to the show by now with some great camera work and close ups of all the band playing and singing. Particularly cool to get close up shots of the guitars being played. However the best shots by far were of Rick Allen, enhanced by incense and smiling away. More of him later.

Following Rock Rock Joe seemed a bit overwhelmed by the crowd response. Took me right back to my first show in London in 1992 (the good old days of promotion and such) where the reaction was similar to this. I only took a few pics at this gig and concentrated on being a fan, and as you can see above the few shots I did get were...average - just to keep up the tradition!f...). Where was I?...Yes a great response and it was great to be a part of what was finally (although Sincerely Sheffield was good) a proper hometown atmosphere and a celebration of Def Leppard, the BRITISH band and back in their home town. It doesn't get better than that. Nevermind all the other riff raff places where they all talk funny!-not proper like-wot-we-do (Just kidding!)

Up next were two "skip" songs, as in two to skip if you are listening to a boot...I mean 'audience recording' of a show (how we had to follow last years tour) but live in front of you, you can't help but react and enjoy them. "Let's Get Rocked" and "Make Love Like a Man" I must say every single song played tonight sounded better than ever. You could argue about the absence of a few 'rare' songs, I would have if you showed me this setlist a few weeks ago but they outdid themselves, yet again. Hard to believe they could top London 2003 but they more than did that. LGR of course has the added bonus of Joe being able to say "Sheffield, Do ya wanna get rocked?!" I think we let Joe and the band know that we did! Joe again lapping up the amazing reaction after a few songs by saying "Listen to this!" and the place got even louder. Taking a couple of glances back from the front rows (2 people back from the front barrier) I was pleasantly surprised to see just about everyone on their feet and clapping. Just how it should be in Sheffield, for fooks sake!.

Kind of strange that after 2003 I thought maybe they are better off playing large theaters since the 3 best gigs were the two London dates and Cambridge but with this kind of reaction another arena tour would be amazing.

"Promises" - somehow this always sounds better every time you hear it live, which is actually the first time we heard it in the UK thanks to TFI Friday. By now the video screen was showing some awesome close ups from 4 or 5 different cameras mounted on and near Rick's drumkit. A shot looking down on his pedals, from the side, from a front cymbal stand looking back at him and a larger side shot as well as other close ups. Had to laugh at the sight of his dirty toenail in one close up. As if you didn't already appreciate what a great drummer Rick is these shots made you appreciate it all the more. He never stopped smiling once and the way he moves his feet on those pedals still amazes you. Seeing his playing up close on a huge screen was one of the highlights of the show.

"Hysteria" - another new segment on the video screen for this song was the Hysteria album cover artwork in graphics form with the electronic lines flashing all over the screen and the alien faces being faded in and out. Looked brilliant and once again the song sounded fresher than it has in a long time. The dual harmony section still sounds haunting and is a great moment in the show (& photo op). The stage setup was pretty basic other than the video screen. A bit of a shame after the big production X light show which was superb. The lights they did have though were used to good effect and you don't really need fancy stuff or make-up (which they didn't have other than Sav's eyeliner). Tonight the band's performance didn't need any flashy crap or pyrotechnics to go with it. If the show had ended there I think we could have all gone home happy - these first few songs thankfully eased the pain of enduring what came before it! (on and on and on.... and on some more). I'll go into detail about the openers later, good acts but playing far too long! Thankfully the show didn't end there, it kept going and kept getting better.

"Love Bites" - was introduced by Joe with a short speech. "Thank you, thank you very much. How ya doin'? I forgot to ask earlier how ya doin'? Everybody alright? Sheffield once again it's good to home. And we can only say that in one place. You know it's Father's Day tomorrow right? I hope you've all remembered. I'm gonna dedicate this to my Dad who's up there somewhere (pointed to the VIP boxes) this is his favourite song that we ever did. How cute is that?!". Another very good version of a classic song. Sounding better than usual and still with the longer ending. A great version.

Phil was introduced before the next song by Joe and said "Than kyou. Than kyou very much. Alright we are, as you well know, a Sheffield band right. But, now there's always a but involved he's actually from Dronfield but we've got honourary Yorkshireman and honourary Sheffield people in this band. The first I'm gonna introduce to you is this man over here. Originally from London but he did live in Woodseats for a while...and he does the accent blindin' mate. From Walthamsow in London Mr. Phil Collen!".

Phil (again sporting his Snoop Dogg bling bling chain) then started the riff to "Let It Go", unusual to hear mid-set when you're used to it as an opener or second song in. Good to have a rocker at this point to re-start things after 2 slow ones in a row and this led us into the best part of the night. Some people come to hear the hits only, others come to hear both and I was interested in seeing/hearing the 'new' stuff.

Joe made a speech about "YEAH!" getting us to chant YEAH! three or four times and the "when we were over that side looking up here" bit. First up in this 3-some was "20th Century Boy" without the female backing singers (thankfully) and of course as you would expect it sounded great. Phil handling the "ahhhhh" vocals and doing a fine job. Not sure if Viv was singing as well because you couldn't see him all night as he chose to wear black so from our position was lost against the amps/side stage blackness (and some people's big 'eads). T. Rex material always lends itself to a party atmosphere and this gig was already turning into one. Maybe everyone felt since they're only doing 2 shows that we should celebrate and enjoy the band while we still can? or just show them that we do know they are British and would like another tour here. Me, I was just enjoying the show for what it was so I'm sure everyone else felt the same. Although if it made the band 'feel the love' as it were then that would be nice! One of them certainly did but that was a bit later on...

Second 3-fer tune was "Hanging On The Telephone" which I loved right away since I first heard it. Their version blows Blondie's version away. I wouldn't agree with anyone who thinks it didn't go down well. It's one of those 'new' ones that isn't really a clap-along more a listen-along and enjoy and show your appreciation at the end. One of the things that annoys you when the band say 'Rock Brigade' etc don't go down well. Listen to the reaction as it ends and you know it did. Phil did a superb job with the distinctive guitar part on the verses ("Ohh why can't we talk again...."). A great song that works really well.

Now for a first and a real surprise. Joe saying that he's been in the band with this guy for 29 years and then introduced "Than kyou very much and to show ya how it's done make a lot of noise on the bass guitar for 29 years we've been together Mr. Rick Savage!". I was then expecting 'Rock On' to start but instead Sav played his own solo. I think just about everyone in the venue was surprised as he hasn't done this before (or so we thought). If you've seen his clip on AT&T he uses his pedals during this almost 2min solo with their keyboard sounds. Not a flashy or fast bass solo like Newsted/Burton/Sheehan but more melodic. He stood in front of his left side mike stand (he's got 2) with the stage lit up in blue and some great split screen shots on the video screen. One close up and one long shot. Solos can sometimes go on a bit but this one was timed just right and created a great atmosphere.

Mr. Savage had the stage to himself and played a loud bass note to end before going up to Rick's riser and starting off 'Rock On' on his own before Rick joined in (and his samples kicked in-also shown on AT&T). A much better way to start the song than on Jay Leno and obviously last year with the taped intro.

The atmosphere created last year was good but tapes just sound wrong! and as they've now shown they can more than handle playing the intro section live. Phil playing great guitar parts as heard on the studio version. Unlike last year the video screen does not show the band's 'morphing' video. Instead was a much cooler video of lots of Sav Union Jack bass all walking along a grey backdrop - like the Hammers in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" film. A very cool effect. Obviously the ROCK ending sounded great but didn't seem as dramatic as on the live videos of last years tour. Another great response after the end of this song. A cool way to play the new songs all together 3 in a row.

So just to recap it was hot! and probably the same as it was in June 1993 - just across the road @ DVS. Luckily they didn't have a roof on or there would have been 40,000 dead Lep fans. Instead we had about 10,000 Lep fans loving the show. "Rocket" was up next and still has the cool start on the video screen with the Apollo 11 take-off shots and astronaut close up. Again showing the great pace of the set, after three 'newies' this classic restarted things again for the final 'greatest hits' section. A clap-along guitar fest that still sounds as great as it first did in 1992. Still one of the coolest parts of the show when the middle guitar duel ends and Phil windmills before the moment when Sav jumps off the riser and the end section kicks in. Massive applause followed (as it did after every song). An unreal atmosphere and a stunning show.

As explained in previous reviews the next 3 songs were all merged into one with the end of "Photograph" cut off, the intro to "Armageddon It" shortened and that one going straight into "Animal". For me the first link worked but the second one didn't. It lessened the impact of the song. The band are obviously warming up for the restricted set length on the co-headline summer tour but there wasn't any here. So they really could have played the extra song parts and had gaps between the songs. Not starting late after two boring opening bands would have helped too. Not that there was anything wrong with the songs themselves! all sounded great. You'd expect no less with three of their best tunes. 'Photo' especially benefited from some great archive shots of Marilyn Monroe (real 'talent' on stage!) on the screen. Just to remind all that the song is at least inspired by her even if he reckons it's not about her. I think it was during this or 'Animal' that Sav came over to the right and posed before running off across to the left like a madman, never seen anyone run so fast on stage.

So with those 3 done and more riotous applause it was time for someone else to get their intro. Rick Allen is usually introduced before "Rock Of Ages" and he usually pretends to say "Gunter, Gleiben, Glouten, Globen". But tonight was a little different. A hilarious moment whilst Joe was introducing him involved Phil 'motioning' when Joe said he was from Derbyshire - use your imagination (...) he was actually looking in our direction at the time, so lucky I knew what he meant!... Last time it was Joe doing that joke, a little more directly.

Joe's Rick introduction - "Oh look at this - listen to this! It's been a long time. We've worked very hard to get where we are today. 1977 he came round to my house, well let me rephrase that he came round to my Mum and Dad's house. I got my own house now back then I just had a little bedroom and he came round with Pete Willis and Tony Kenning and they listened to my Pat Travers albums and my UFO and Thin Lizzy albums and I got the job as the singer before I'd even opened my mouth.

How about that, see it can happen to you too. This is like the best lottery ticket you'll ever win. A year later along came this man over here who's been through so much (cheering started) I'm talking about Ricky Allen on the drums back here, and there he is still doing it after everything he went through he's still there doing it better than ever. We have to in this situation let him introduce at least one song and he always likes to introduce this one in his own special way, Rick..."

Ended and the reaction was amazing. Myself and everyone in the arena clapped and cheered for ages. Rick getting up behind his kit to acknowledge this, beating his chest, raising his arm and at one point putting his hand to his mouth and looking a little misty eyed. Having heard the Donington show I would say this ovation outdid that. Quite fitting being almost 20 years on (it will be in August). I have to say this was the highlight of the show. His Mum must have been in tears in the VIP box. It was even louder than Hammersmith 2003. I think the band were stunned too. They surely will regret not having a full camera crew here & should consider putting all this screen footage together on a DVD at some point.

They managed to compose themselves and kick into "Rock Of Ages". 'playing in the arena loudly' and so were the cheers afterwards. The band took their bows and were clearly delighted with our response to them. Yes 'us lot' still like them and appreciate their music. "We're gonna set Sheffield alite!" And they did! Joe ended the song with "Sheffield! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!".

With the song done the band again took their bows and I noticed Ross Halfin "photographer" behind Rick's kit during the song and now atop the riser. Joe repeated something he said in 2003 when Frank Noon took pics of them. "Hey you guys wanna be in a picture? Look at this camera over here. Look out for that somewhere in a magazine near you. Guys as always it doesn't get any better than this. Thank you see ya!". Shown on page 1 they posed and Joe said to look for it in magazines, with Ross's new 17 page/400 plus Lep pic section there's more of a chance of actually getting to see this one. And if you keep checking Classic Rock.

Encore time: Sav then did his usual spotlight moment speech. "Hey Sheffield, UK you guys have been amazing thanks for having us back!". And if he doesn't mean that every night you know he did tonight in his home town, especially being the only resident in the band.

Joe Introduces Dick Decent - "Thank you. OK now indulge me for a second here. Five years ago me and this man over here had a little side project where we did a tribute to a great guitarist from Hull called Mick Ronson. Who played with David Bowie for a long time in a band called the Spiders From Mars. That project was called the Cybernauts. We'd like to bring the keyboard player from that band up to do this next song with us. Make a lot of noise please from the (laughs) from the black country Mr. Dick Decent on the piano. As ever resplendent in his bare feet. He's gonna help us out on this next one and so are you OK. You're gonna sing this one better than we are yeah? yeah? right.".

"When Love & Hate Collide" - before they came back (after much applause and shouting for it) the roadies setup keyboards on the right side in font of us. Having been here on Friday I knew what was to follow, not the song but the guest at least. Dick Decent of Cybernauts keyboard fame. His keyboard parts weren't that loud in the mix but you could hear his high pitched backing vocals on the chorus which added something to the song. Some very funny moments from Phil before and after this song. Firstly when he came out he looked at the keyboards as if to say "what are they doing here?" and pretended to start playing them. During Sugar he noticed "Dick's" sheet music pages flipping over and went over to look at them and laughed at the front row people. Comedian and guitar player.

What would follow next? yes Wasted was on the printed setlist in 2003 but not played (for reasons already explained) but since I'd already heard this twice in 1999/2003 in London I didn't mind not hearing it this time. Since it was already after 11 you knew that "their only known song" would follow. Yes what a load of bollocks! it's one of MANY known songs. Despite what VH1 would have you believe and BTW guess where it was a hit first? hehe. Yeah that's right - right here. Complete with spitting/demolition women video. Like LGR and MLLAM this song is best appreciated LIVE in person at the shows. Not that it's crap but it's overplayed by radio and overly talked about - as if it's their only big hit. And who says they have no fans in England? read the reviews of this show and you will know that that is - not the case.

So, yes, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - the last song and a great way to end a show. The walls did not come tumblin' down but they might have if the show had gone on longer.

Joe End Speech - "Goodnight! I know I'm gonna say something I've already said but as usual you guys have been so amazing. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And until next time and there will be a next time! Don't forget us and we won't forget you. Goodnight!."

I feel like I've finally seen a proper Def Leppard hometown show, almost makes up for not seeing Don Valley (and there's a full 5.1 DVD of that coming soon too-Lovely Jubbly). So the show was over...no more Lep for a year? 2 years? 3 years? No, sod that! let's go and see them tomorrow in London...YEAH!.

Fan Review - By Ann

Amazing atmosphere for homecoming gig. Rather late coming on stage around 9.30 thought Cheap Trick played a little too long for a support band however established they might be. Highlights were extended versions of "Rocket" and "Love Bites". Some of the new stuff was OK but at the expense of some classics from Pyromania. Was left wanting another half hour. Hope they do a few more shows later in the year after US tour.

Fan Review - By Chris Peacock

Rock on! And did they, starting of with Hell Raiser set the tone for the rest of the night playing 4 songs from Yeah, the last two mentioned, plus Blondie and Trex. Joe's voice was on top form, belting out all the classics, Let It Go, Rocket (full length live version) and Rock Of Ages were the highlights for me. One disappointment, they didn't play Gods Of War! but what the hell, great night was had by all. As Joe said they will be back, hope so, very soon!.

Fan Review - By Sue/Dave Taylor

3 years waiting for this. All I can say was it was well worth the wait. What a wicked gig! Arrived early (cos had front standing tickets) but it was worth it to get right in front of Joe! Started with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (not my thing, didn't get it Joe!), then Cheap Trick for 1 hour, who were good but on too long as we were well ready for Leppard by the time they had finished.

Few technical probs but the lads finally came on stage at 9.30pm, opening with Hellraiser, then Rock,Rock and Lets get Rocked, the band were obviously out to enjoy themselves. Joe's voice was spot on and the rest of the guys were also on top form.Joe and Sav obviously glad to be back in Sheffield and the reception the crowd gave to Rick Allen was nothing short of amazing. New songs 20th Century Boy, Hanging on the Telephone and Rock On went down well with the crowd who were equally as pleased to see them as the band obviously were to be back home.Hysteria, MLLAM, Animal, Armageddon It and Rocket (which was the best song on the night) quickly followed. The band returned to the stage for an encore of WLAHC, and the traditional set closure PSSOM. Managed to meet Phil and Rick Allen after the gig, who were happy to stand and chat with us, sign autographs and have pics taken. All in all a truly fantastic evening-please don't leave it as long next time lads.

Fan Review - By Andylgr

Despite no promo for Yeah and the album bombing in the UK charts the arena had more people there than I anticipated. There were some empty seats at the back. But I’d guess there were around 9000 people there. The support bands seemed to be on forever and the Leps were on later than normal. The stage set and lighting looked identical to the last show at Sheffield Arena on the X tour, but the main addition was a video screen, which other than Don Valley in 93, I don’t think they’ve ever used one before in the UK.

We will rock you was the usual intro and as the band moved to the stage in the darkness, the screen was playing a video of a wall Def Leppard amps being turned up to 11 before they kicked in with Hell Raiser. Which although sounded good wasn't a good choice of opener imo. I’d have liked to hear a Lep tune opening a show.

It was the second number Rock Rock that got the crowd going and I thought it probably got the best crowd reaction I’ve seen it get, it had everyone clapping along and on their feet. This was quickly followed by 2 from Adrenalize, LGR is an instant crowd pleaser as it was a big single here in the UK and MLLAM went down well too, even though I'm sick of hearing it live now!!

The only song from the Leps last 3 studio albums, Promises, was next, which again got a great crowd reaction and is easily a live standard now. The pace was slowed down with 2 ballads Hysteria and Love Bites (which Joe dedicated to his dad). I have to add that I thought Joe sounded really on the ball with Promises and Hysteria. The Hysteria graphics mixed in with the concert footage was a cool touch on the big screen.

Let it Go upped the pace and got the crowd clapping along again. They then did 3 in a row from Yeah. 20th Century Boy was first, which is a great song anyway and seemed to go down well, but the next song Hanging on the Telephone got no reaction at all and I think a Lep track at this point would have worked better. Sav then got his chance for a bit of bass solo, which introed Rock On, my favourite track from Yeah. Great live performance of that song.

Rocket was up next and at this point you know it will be hits to the end of the show. As usual Rocket was probably the highlight of the show. Photograph, Armageddon It and Animal were then played with no break in between. I thought that as the songs flowed in to one another it lessened the crowd reaction for the intros to the last 2 of the 3. But certainly Animal (another big UK hit) got the crowd singing along with the chorus. Indeed the crowd went mad when it finished.

This lead Joe in to a brief speech about Sav, Pete Willis and Tony Kenning meeting at Joe's listening to old records, which lead Joe on to Rick joining the band. Without doubt Rick got the biggest ovation I have ever heard him get at any show. He looked genuinely overwhelmed by it and this only made the ovation bigger as he appeared on the video screen. My only gripe at this point is that I thought Joe should have mentioned Steve too. I was hoping that PSSOM would be up next, if so I knew that we might get something special in the encore. Unfortunately it wasn’t, it was ROA that closed the show.

For the encore Dick Decent from Cybernauts came out on the keyboards for WLAHC, which was another crowd pleaser. PSSOM was the last song played. As usual it sounded great, but I was disappointed we got no Wasted and the show was over.

Pluses. Great performance as usual. Joe sounded better than previous shows, probably because we are only a few shows in to the tour. The video screen was a great addition to an arena gig. The audience reaction was the best I’ve heard for them in a long time.

Minuses. Only 18 tracks with 1 cover version too many. Again nothing special played for their hometown crowd. Only 1 song was performed from their last 3 studio albums. No High N Dry or Wasted that they played at the other European gigs.

Fan Review - By Reds4Eva

Went to watch Leppard in there home town of Sheffield on 17.06.06 I have been a big fan for as long as I remember seen them every time they come home to Sheffield and will continue to see them it was the best concert I have ever been to. loved the bit where he dedicated love bites to his dad. I only have one problem it is I lost my camera with about 200+ photos on and the last 35 mins of the concert on but apart from that it was one hell of a good night and I will always follow the gods of rock.

ps if any one can help with some pics and video of the concert on the 17.06.06 it would be great DEF LEPPARD RULES.

Fan Review - By Suzie Hill

WOW! - Hellraiser was the opening track, and it works really well, and it was obvious right from the start that the band were having a fantastic time and really appreciating the response they were getting. The audience were going wild the whole way through. The stage set was fairly simple, the usual steps and raised platform for Rick's drums, but they were using a video screen with live replay of the show, and occasionally some overlay graphics as well. It was very effective. It would be nice if they could put the show out as a DVD.

Joe's voice was in really good form, the benefit of seeing them at the start of the tour instead of the end. Hysteria sounded especially good. Love Bites was dedicated to Joe's father, as it was his favourite DL song.

Three songs from Yeah! were played as a block, and I thought that it worked really well. Fantastic solo from Sav before going into Rock On, which is amazing live.

As always, Rick Allen was introduced to do the intro to Rock Of Ages, and the ovation seemed to go on forever. They flashed him up onto the video screen and he looked close to overwhelmed. He always gets a great response, but this was the longest and loudest I've ever seen.

The encore was When Love And Hate Collide, with Dick Decent doing a guest spot on keyboard - very nice, and Pour Some Sugar as the final track. It would have been nice to get a second encore, but it was at least 11:15 and the Hallam FM curfew probably didn't allow for it.

Quick word on the supports. SAHB were great, loud and silly. Zal Cleminson and Chris Glen (especially - what a bass player!) were on great form, and Max Maxwell is nearly as mad as Alex, so he makes a great replacement. An excellent update of Framed to start the show, plus Faith Healer and 3 or 4 tracks I didn't know.

Cheap Trick were OK, went on a little too long, and the guitarist is just a bit too fond of himself, but the music rocked, and If You Want My Love and I Want You To Want Me were excellent.

Fan Review - By Robert

I arrived at the arena about 5pm few people were already queueing at rear of venue. I went 4 a few pints 2 the pubs opposite the arena met some nice fans. I was told the gig was sold out by one fan but this wasn't the case I think there was 9000 people there. That was disappointing since this was there home town but HK Management should take the blame for that. The gig itself was awesome. The guys were up 4 it right from the start and played there hearts out. RICK got the loudest ovation have ever heard at any gig I have been to. This was very touchin' 4 him. I only hope they come back sooner than later and they deserve more credit from the uk record buying public.

Fan Review - By Kitten

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!! a truly awesome gig, my first lep concert and believe me it was worth waiting for, what can I say, they rocked the house down, the atmosphere was buzzing there, every song sounded great and the response from the fans was remarkable!! Truly amazing live, they have still got what it takes and I hope to see them back here again really soon.

Fan Review - By Amy

They might not have played it on the PA, but make no mistake, The Boys Are Back In Town!

Def Leppard returned to their hometown and rocked Sheffield Hallam FM Arena with a vengeance. The near-capacity crowd loved every minute of it, and the boys could have had no doubt that they’re indeed recognised as Legends. From the shiny new plaque bearing their name outside Town Hall to the enthusiastic response of the audience at the Arena, the Leps were proudly welcomed home with open arms and rock horns.

We were in the fourth row of the front stands, stage left, with a fantastic view of ‘Flamenco’ Phil Collen. Whilst Phil’s fast fingers and fancy fretboard work were more than enough to provide an evening of entertainment, we were also treated to occasional visits from frontman Joe Elliott and his mate of 29 years, Rick ‘Sav’ Savage on the beautiful Union Jack bass. Of course the Thunder God was keeping the beat atop his drum riser, as his incense flickered but his smile never did.

The concert started off on the high notes of Hellraiser which was received to enthusiastic response. But the joint really started rockin’ when the Leps launched into one of their own, Rock! Rock! Till You Drop. Yeah! This is the kind of stuff that made them world famous. Brilliant as the cover tunes are, it’s the original DL material that’s music to fans’ ears. Even such silly numbers as Let’s Get Rocked and MLLAM are good fun when performed live. Luckily Phil had recovered from whatever cough plagued him in Holland and was able to sing his Cockney Rhyming Rap on the latter with all his usual gusto. He even leaned over and offered Joe a kiss as if to say, "This'll make ya feel a lot better!"

A few songs into the set Joe addressed the hometown crowd and was received very favourably. He seemed genuinely touched by the outpouring of affection as he paused several times to savour the applause before wishing his dad a happy Father’s Day. Joe recalled joining the band all those years ago when Sav, drummer Tony Kenning, and guitarist Pete Willis were just starting out. Although it was a welcome reference to DL’s proud history, Joe’s remarks seemed incomplete without a mention of co-founding guitarist Steve Clark joining in January 1978. As a Hillsborough native, Steamin’ was certainly in the hearts and minds of the Sheffield crowd, and it would have been lovely to have had an opportunity to pay tribute to his many contributions to Def Leppard’s success at their triumphant homecoming.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was when Joe introduced Rick Savage, a rare event in and of itself; but it got better . . .Sav remained on the stage and played a brilliant bass solo. Dressed all in white, Sav cut a stunning figure with the spotlight shining down upon him as he carefully plucked each melodic note of a lovely riff before launching into the rockin’ intro to Rock On with some help from t’other Rick. During his solo and subsequent mad dashes across the stage faster than the speed of sound, Sav’s stage presence is reminiscent of White Lightning -- which would undoubtedly make his old mate SMC proud, even if he’d have cringed at the blue eyeshadow Mr Savage was sporting. Ah well, it’s the Glam look, right?

As to t'other Rick, the Thunder God certainly felt the love in Sheffield. When Joe introduced him just before Rock of Ages, the crowd went mad. There were chants of “Rick! Rick!” for several minutes as he stood atop his kit, hand on heart and clearly moved by the response. We’ve all heard how emotional his comeback was at Donington in 1986, but it couldn’t possibly have been any more heartfelt than the reaction he got in Sheffield 20 years later. Inspiring as a person, awesome as a drummer, if ever there was anyone from Derbyshire who deserved the fans' Love and Affection, it's Rick Allen. Never mind what Joe says about the sheep. :)

Not forgetting the Londoner, Joe also introduced honourary Yorkshireman Phil Collen who addressed the crowd with a jovial "Oh, aye then!” proving even a lad from Walthamstow has earned his spots as a Leppard after 24 years. For all the ladies who are wondering, yep, the shirt came off after the third song. Even the lads gotta admit: Phil looks phenomenal at age 48, fit as a fiddle, or in his case, a Jackson PC. As usual Phil was energetic and engaging with the crowd: smiling, joking with Rick, and attacking his axe as if to say, "I have a whammy bar, and I'm not afraid to use it!"

Setlist contained most of the usual favourites with the exception of BOTH and Foolin' - which just aren't the same without Steve Clark, anyhow. Ditto for Wasted. The band tore through all the crowd pleasers such as Armageddon It and Animal literally without missing a beat between songs. Rocket seemed to be the favourite judging by the thunderous applause. Hysteria was hauntingly beautiful with the bit Joe ad libs at the end. The unexpected highlight was the first of two encores, during which Joe introduced Dick Decent from the Cybernauts who was there to accompany them on keyboards for . . . When Love & Hate Collide. A particular favourite ballad which was 'apparently' a bigger hit in the UK than the US, it was a real treat to hear this one played live. Joe's voice was superb from Hellraiser to the second encore, PSSOM, and he really shone on WL&HC. Not to mention Phil's audible and incredible backing vocals, plus Sav who could be heard harmonising from time to time. They aren’t only brilliant musicians, the boys can sing!

We were lucky enough to travel to London the next day to enjoy the second of the Leps' English shows on the whirlwind Two-Day Weekend Tour. They were equally awesome at the amazing Hammersmith Apollo, with a setlist and audience enthusiasm nearly identical to the Sheffield show. As Joe conceded that night, if they ever thought they weren’t wanted in England, they know better now. Hopefully (British fans' favourite word?) this will mean more proper UK tours in future.

Energy never waned from the band or the fans after the Leps took the stage at 9:30, making it worth our wait through two hours of opening acts and definitely worth a long trip over the pond to see my favourite BRITISH band. (By the way, they sound even better on English soil than Stateside!) Def Leppard proved they are indeed Legends of Sheffield, loved the world over but never forgetting their roots. When Joe closed the show with his usual "Don't forget us cos we won't forget you," the Yorkshire crowd roared with enthusiasm as if to say, "We'll hold ya to it, mate." Next time can't get here soon enough - y'all come back soon now, ya hear?.


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