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Saturday, 17th June 2006

Sheffield, England - Media Reviews

Leppard under cover By The Star

WHO says hard rockers can't be big softies? Not prodigal sons Def Leppard who wore their hearts on their sleeves as they returned to their hometown for a night of emotion and efficiency.

"It's Father's Day tomorrow, I hope you've not forgotten," said lofty singer Joe Elliott in a pause between the tunes. "This is for my dad who is up there somewhere - it is his favourite."

Aside from dedicating chugging ballad Love Bites, Joe also managed to make his band blush. Rick Allen - the enduring musician who surely remains the world's only one-armed drummer - was given an unrivalled reception as he was singled out.

The former Dronfield lad's bare feet also came in for special examination as a camera within his adapted drum kit showed how he's able to still play a key part in one the UK's biggest rock exports.

Some 60 million album sales into a career well into its third decade and Yeah! - an album of Leppardised versions of vintage songs that inspired them - has the quintet back on the road.

They demonstrated the musical symmetry by opening their set with Hell Raiser, the song by '70s glam rockers Sweet that Joe reckons could have been a Leppard song.

The likes of Rock On by David Essex and Blondie's Hanging On The Telephone didn't sound too incongruous either.

In the audience some very bad dancing had a few calmer fans clutching their drinks and loved ones closer. And beyond the bombastic boppers the Lepps in covers mode could have been a very expensive wedding band - albeit one that almost filled the Arena.

But Joe, the two Rick's - Savage on the bass - and guitarists Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen blasted anthems Pour Some Sugar On Me, Animal, Rock Of Ages, Hysteria, Make Love Like A Woman and a medley led by Photograph to remind us all why they were one of rock's superpowers.

But Joe is grateful as well as humble. "Don't forget us," he says as the car park beckons, "and we won't forget you." Ah, bless 'em.

By The Star 2006.

Def Leppard: Sheffield Hallam Arena By Steve Cummings

"Not of course that they were ever going to fail in their own backyard of course with crowd totally onside from the moment the house lights went down prior to set opener 'Hellraiser' to the moment they went back up with Elliot's "Till next time and there will be a next time" still resounding around the arena."

By Hardrockhouse 2006.


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