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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Fan Review - Sparkling In Sheffield By Darren/DefDazz

Well looking at the Glasgow setlist last week I must say I wasn't so impressed - wot, no Let It Go?, no Mirror Mirror?. After seeing the band play a rock-only show for 200 people in Islington, I was at least hoping that I, and everyone else would get to enjoy Mirror Mirror and it's all-round kick arse-ness (yes, it's a word!). But as with 2006 (no big stage/screen) it's one thing talking about/thinking about Lep online, and then there's being at the show itself.

And what a show it was! Arriving for the event in Sheffield to the soundtrack of - Classic Leppard. Stagefright ending just as we pulled into Sheffield Station. Got to be a good sign.

Black Stone Cherry

First up for the nights proceedings were Black Stone Cherry. No blackness, no stones and no cherries on stage but they were quite a decent and tight band. The frontman hindered by being tied to the mikestand, singing and playing guitar but they made quite a racket in their short set. Animal from The Muppets was impressive on drums. The blonde lead guitarist (looking quite like a certain dear departed local) was the star of their show. They got quite a decent response from the 80% (at that time) crowd. Smart move to mention they'd played their first headline show in the UK at Sheffield Corporation and giving shouts out (man) to Whitesnake and Def Leppard. "I know y'all got some Mad love for Def Leppard!" - yeehaw! Yes, they're from Kentucky. I think you can say they were much better than SHAB in 2006, then again that would not be hard!

Whitesnake

After a dramatic entrance David Coverdale (not looking his age apart from the wrinkles on his face) bounded on to the stage and thrust forth on the Thrust Stage. I wasn't sure what to make of them before the gig. The 1987/88 bootlegs with Vivian in the band were mostly crap. Cheesy stage banter and "'eres a song for ya!" before every song. Age and a long layoff (until recent years) has improved their live performance. The sound was not that good - very screechy. But then they were definitely a support act so that explains it. The new songs were pretty good but the old ones were much better. I didn't know most of the ye olde tunes. David certainly used the walkway/thrust thing to good effect and a lot of Whitesnake fans were in attendance. There's more sing-a-long stuff going on in their set. Maybe a smart move by Coverdale to make up for the lack of production. They had two logos on the center of the video screen surrounded by the red curtain images.

Some funny banter with the crowd happened as well as a box of (I think) Yorkshire Tea thrown on stage. I always thought he was from Newcastle before the run up to this tour. But it turns out he's originally from North Yorkshire. So almost a local (old) boy. The band were tight and good players. Of the two guitarists Doug Aldrich stood out as the better player. He co-writes the songs and is the main lead guitarist so you'd expect that. Again from a distance looks a bit like Steve Clark - minus the stage moves of course. No one else can move like that.

Here I Go Again, Still Of The Night got the biggest cheers and sing-a-longs. The way they paced their show - with dual guitar solos and band introductions (each member walking down the thrust to get an ovation, other than the drummer) made it appear that they played longer than Leppard. But sure enough Sheffield Arena's stage times proved to be almost spot on. They were finished just after 9pm. And then a 40-min or so wait until the main event.

Def Leppard

Coma has thankfully been ditched from the pre-show intro music. About time too! The new standard opening PA tune is AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)". And like Islington the increase and volume and BASS really gets you in the mood for Lep. As the red curtains moved across the big (huge!) screen dry ice pumped out and the crowd went wild. I hadn't been paying attention to what was behind us but a quick glimpse back and yes - Sheffield Arena full up. Even the cheap seats at the back. And I think the executive boxes were also full up (but more of those later).

We have the stage, we got the crowd, the lights, the cameras (fancy new digital borrowed for the event), the action (not played tonight) - Let's Rock!

And rock they did but not before the new show intro. Kind of wish I hadn't watched it on high def DVD but seeing it for real was a thrilling experience. Starting out with all red then as the National Anthem plays (no opera singers like the football!) it pans out to reveal a Union Jack Flag. Crowd going spaz - including this Englishman. Then before you know it the band pics, song and album title text is flying at you on the screen. To the soundtrack of Vivian's Adrenalize era guitar solo on tape. Easily the best show intro I've ever seen live (and I've seen Alanis walk out on stage in tight leather pants! *sigh*). And as the video ends the booming voice says "THAT WAS THEN - THIS IS NOW!". Guitar feedback plays and the red curtains wash over the screen with The Sparkle Lounge writing appearing as the band make their way on stage.

Joe creeps up the thrust in the darkness and then - Guitar! Drums! And Apollo 11 takes off and the stage lights up. Yes, the only complaint you could possibly have in 2006 was AFTER the shows were over and you saw a bigger, better stage used elsewhere. Well, they only went and brought the f**ker with them this time. The thrust and two levels of ramps on top of the cabinets are one thing but the real addition (as quite of few of you already know - how's the weather in Uncasville today? raining? hehe). Leppard proved in Islington, not that it needed proving, that they can put on an awesome show with virtually no stage show or lightning. But give them a big stage and some extra effects to work with and you've got a great spectacle. Yes it's back to the days of 1992, not In The Round but 'flat'. A similar experience - so much going on and not knowing where to look from one minute to the next but enjoying every moment of it. Yes, it could stand to be 30mins longer but this was already shaping up to be another great home town show.

I think Rocket has been majorly improved by mixing it up slightly and having the band (but mostly Sav on his own it seems) singing the "whoah whoah oh oh, oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh" parts. It gives the song a new freshness and so does placing it as the set opener. Mixing the NASA footage with cool effects - yes, it's not changed much since 2006 and I've seen the whole thing in detail on DVD but seeing it live is much, much better.

With almost no pause for breath they are straight into 'C'mon C'mon' (out soon on 12" picture disc kids!). Playing it live 6 or 7 times since Islington has improved it, and it was good enough in May! Great vocals by Joe, excellent backing vocals as ever and Rick Allen pounding away on those drums. Not many Whitesnake fans sang it but everyone in the arena cheered as one. Well, actually I wasn't really concerned with what anyone else thought! but there was plenty of noise after it ended. Some brilliant new effects on the screen including images of Steve Clark as a guitar playing angel. This was the first of a few songs not played in recent years (or in this case not released until this year) which therefore had new images up on the screen.

Again no pause and they kick into Animal and now things started to get really loud. A mass sing-a-long and clapping. As you would expect! Great to see the new graphics and band morphing scenes up close. Sav (as noted elsewhere) was mostly using the ramps on his own. Making use of all his mikes/pedals. Probably just appreciating having room to move this time unlike Islington where he had to be careful not to smack Joe in the head with his bass.

I enjoyed seeing/hearing Nine Lives LIVE again. The studio version isn't one of my faves from the new album but seeing it live it really comes - to life. Black and white scenes plus assorted clips from the video featuring some country geezer in a hat! Who, unlike Mutt (tee hee hee) is busy elsewhere with his wife...Keeping the faith - as it were.

Well Make Love Like A Man wouldn't be in my ideal setlist - OK it's not totally rubbish, but there are better uptempo songs to play. I gave in and even sang along to every word. I'd still drop it but another 'looks bad on paper' song up next was actually much improved.

When Love & Hate Collide. No Dick Decent on keyboards this time but a really effective lighting arrangement along with great use of the black and white alternative video version really helped this song. One of the visual highlights of the night, quite stunning looking up close (check out the pics). Lots of blue mixed with white and green/yellow lights. And the red curtain lit up around the video screen. The definitely got what they paid for when they invested in some long-overdue stage effects. Of course anyone who's seen any other reasonably big band since 1993 (when Lep toned down their stage show production) will know most of them have been using videos screens and massive lighting rigs all this time, so it's nice to see Leppard incorporating that back into their show. And!....finally....sticking it onto a plane and flying it over here. If it ain't worth doing in Sheffield, it ain't worth doing anywhere else! And now they might even take it to Wollongong!

The first introduction of the evening next for Joe's mate Rick Savage. Who Joe introduced by telling a little story. Or actually he thanked his parents for allowing Sav up to his bedroom in 1977. He must consider changing the way he tells the story... But when thanking his Mum and Dad he took the time to point them out - right side as you look at the stage - in the executive boxes. Not so much a box as the have open top halves looking down at the arena. Turning around as one we could see them as specks waving back. My fellow concert attendee had the pleasure of meeting Joe the previous evening as he dined with them and his wife Christine. So maybe next time I should stay at the ******** instead. When looking back at my pics you can see Joe looking up at them throughout the show, including after Two Steps Behind ended, with a big smile on his face.

Sav's solo was special to see for one of the first times ever (6th and 7th to be precise) in 2006 and now with the new stage it really adds something. Nice touch as he moves from one spot to another. The end when he lifts up the bass and ends it with a big thud sound is cool. You really feel the bass hit you. Rock On follows and sounds great again. Not played in Islington so it still seemed new having only seen this in 2006. You could be picky and argue for Promises instead of this but personally I got sick of Promises in 2006. The ending is still a cool part of the show and especially now with the YEAH! logo flashing on the screen.

Much like WLAHC, Two Steps Behind on paper (text on a screen...) doesn't sound so appealing before the start of the show. But - like that song it seems fresher with the new stage setup and actually being here to see it. Yes, I sang along to this one as well (and grabbed a few more pics). Some amusement before it started as Joe mentioned some old bands and Vivian started to play a Budgie song (the band, not the bird). The rest of them seemed to think this was quite hilarious so Joe joined in and mentioned something before starting a bit of Sweet Home Alabama.

Sav moves away (to wash off the running eyeliner? - dear me.) Joe, Phil and Vivian (all now on outfit number 3) started to play Bringin' On The Heartbreak and the stage is bathed is red and yellow lights. We all sang along and Joe seemed happy enough with the response. The first of many mentions of what it means to them playing their home town. Although much of the crowd were from elsewhere! but still. You can't get to hear Joe saying "this is our home town" anywhere else. Which is one of many reasons why as a Leppard fan you really should see them here at least once. Or better yet - often. Fifth time for me this evening and third full show.

NO NO NO! - no...not that song. But the big crescendo-like ending to BOTH. It really isn't the same without Switch 625 but since they already played it in 2003 it was nice to at least see the acoustic/electric version for the first time in person. Joe can't scream/shout the chorus as he did in Denver 1988 but - like the rest of the show - he sounded pretty good to me.

And now the best part of the show. If you've not seen them that often - and I don't think I have (some people have seen 15-100 shows!) then you can't possibly not enjoy the Hits ending. Five in a row - Hysteria, Armageddon It, Photograph, Pour Some Sugar On Me and Rock Of Ages ('not' introduced again by Rick Allen). If you didn't sing along or have a good time, well it begins with F or T :) and you really shouldn't even be here.

HYS/A IT/Photo are pretty much identical to the recent versions with the same footage show/or live feed on the screen. But once again to see it live for yourself is great. PSSOM needed to be reworked at least slightly and once more the new(ish) version sounded awesome. Islington was good but with the big light show added it doesn't seem as tired - then again it always sounded tired in recent years on audience recordings, when you see it live it's a different thing. Rock Of Ages - a great set closer as always.

Screen shows a big Union Flag and DEF LEPPARD logo and the encore chanting begins. Joe had said before the song (during another home town speech) that he didn't care about curfews, they'd pay any fine if they had to. But as it turned out that didn't mean anything extra or different - only the show going about 5mins past 11pm.

Bad Actress - Slightly reworked from Islington and sounding great at the BIG show almost two months later. They have better rock songs but this doesn't seem out of place. Nice to see a new song added in the encore slot. Again - new song new video screen stuff but was too busy singing/clapping to notice. Do You Wanna Get Rocked? - We'd rather be Wasted but all right then! If the setlist won't be changed but you could make one suggestion - I'd swap places for this song with PSSOM. But it worked well as the last song again. Crowd goes wild - but you have to get a few pics of that Union Flag on the screen, and as you can see I did. it is a UK site after all!

So there you have it. We are nearing 30 years since the debut show in this very city. Any band that can still rock a full arena at this stage of their career must be doing something right, even if they need to lengthen their set by 20-30mins.

Everybody, Everywhere C'mon C'mon!.


Fan Review - Good Evening Sheffield...do ya wanna get rocked? By Amy

As always it was brilliant to be back in the Leps' hometown for this monumental occasion. I flew in from Michigan on the Saturday and spent the weekend in Sheffield prior to the concert. After paying homage to the Legends by visiting their star in front of Town Hall earlier in the day and having visited Steve's grave in Hillsborough the day prior, it was time to see if the hometown heroes could still put on a show as awesome as they did in 2006.

Arriving at the Sheffield Arena well before the doors opened, my concert-mate and I were fortunate to score stands in the second row at the end of the thrust stage. Aptly named, as David Coverdale would soon prove. We truly had a bird's-eye view (no pun intended) and the most up-close experience I've ever had at a Leppard concert. Well worth the 3,800-mile trans-Atlantic flight, this.

The openers, Black Stone Cherry, were quite good; but having already stood on our feet for nearly four hours, I had no idea how we'd survive until the headliners took the stage. Ditto for Whitesnake - surprisingly good live despite relatively new band members, but let's get to the Leps. I must give David Coverdale credit, though, he is indeed "not bad for 56" as he boasted. Making full use of the thrust stage, his mic stand, and a few female admirers in the front row, DC is a charismatic front man, Yorkshire Tea and all. His "'ere's a song for ya" intros did get a bit old, but nevertheless. In addition, new axeman Doug Aldrich was downright brilliant! Wielding his Les Paul expertly, he reminded me a bit of the late great Steve Clark, especially during his acoustic version of the beautiful track, The Deeper the Love.

Now for the piece de resistance, the one, the only, DEF LEPPARD! Funny how all the fatigue from the last five or six hours just melts away as soon as the curtain drops and the guys appear in front of a dynamic backdrop. The stage and screen presentation were absolutely fantastic this time, adding even more excitement to an already exhilarating show. The way Joe, Sav, and Phil dash across stage, you'd never guess they were a day past 25. Apparently rock and roll keeps ya young!

To be honest, I must say Joe sounded better this time than any of the 9 previous times I've seen/heard him. He's recovered from his respiratory infection in fine form, his voice sounding stronger than ever. "Dressed to Kill" in his English country gentleman t-shirt, he truly seems larger than life, especially from the second row. Fortunately for us, Joe also made good (but less suggestive) use of the thrust stage and at one point even doused the sweaty crowd with droplets from his water bottle. Now there's a front man who cares about his fans. As usual, it was hard to see much of the Thunder God, but we knew he was there, keeping the beat. Ever smiling amidst his incense and sunflower, this guy just gets better and better. Fun to see Rick wearing his Hysteria t-shirt in a nod to the glory days. He received another thunderous and well-deserved hometown welcome, as did t'other Rick in the band.

Sav dazzled in all white, striking an especially Steve-like pose in his Rock On opening solo. Other than Joe's slightly dodgy introduction of him as "the guy my parents let into my bedroom 30 years ago...to see my record collection," Sav projects true rock royalty. Despite his notoriously introverted off-stage nature, on stage he is genuinely engaged and engaging with the audience, a real joy to watch. There is no finer bass player in the world, and it's gratifying to see Sav revel in his moment in the spotlight in Rock On (an otherwise useless addition to the setlist), during Rocket; and as he sings along with all his might to all the classics like Hysteria and WLAHC, a treat to hear in England as it's never on US setlists.

You didn't think I forgot the best part, did you? The reason we arrived early for second row and stood stage left? Loud and proud from London Town (although introduced this time as an honorary Yorkshireman from Walthamstow), Mr Phil 'Flamenco' Collen! Whether shirted or not, Phil shines brighter than the sun, with a presence 10X Bigger Than Love and certainly larger than his fifty-and-fit-five-foot-seven physique. This one's for the ladies: the shirt disappeared this time after only the FIRST song. Yes, it was indeed hot in Sheffield Arena. What can I say, he's as brilliant as his bling on every song and utter, stutter, and stammer fun to watch. Full of smiles, high-fives, and rock-star poses, Phil could be a one-man band. For his first moment in the spotlight, Joe leans over and hands Phil the mic to solo his Cockney rhyming rap in MLLAM. Phil, of course, does so with gusto; and rewards Joe with a cheeky kiss! I don't think this went down as well with the blokes in the audience, but to admiring females, we were all a bit jealous of Joe for a minute.

Guitar-wise, Phil added particular flair in the reworked ride-out to Hysteria. Again, WLHAC sounded even better live thanks to his heartfelt and ever-so-slightly countrified guitar licks; perhaps a sign of influence from Nine Lives co-star Tim McGraw. You can tell Phil's part in writing Nine Lives, as he plays it enthusiastically and expertly. We were treated to an appearance from one of his favourite Hysteria-era guitars, the Jackson Bela Lugosi. Seeing Phil gesturing to a tech to "turn out the lights," I tried to snap a picture of Bela glowing in the dark; but it didn't turn out. I did get lots of other great shots of Phil, capturing his on-stage intensity beautifully as he gazes down at his guitar and smiles out into the crowd.

The setlist had a few hits and a few misses. As aforementioned, WLAHC was a treat for me to hear live, as were the new songs from Sparkle Lounge. MLLAM is also rarely featured in America; and with Phil singing lead if only for a few seconds, it's one of my favourite live songs. Hysteria is superb with the reworked ending, and the classics like Animal, ROA, Photograph, and PSSOM never fail to disappoint. I don't see how they can play these songs so many nights in a row, for so many years, and still have the energy they bring to these rockers. God bless you, boys.

I would like to see them add more High 'n' Dry and earlier songs such as Another Hit and Run or Let It Go. Although I love Switch 625, I am glad they didn't feature it this time. It's not the same without Steve, and I'd say the same of my other favourite, Love Bites. I didn't miss that in the UK setlists. Another song that's fun to hear live, even if it's a bit of a yawn on record, is Two Steps Behind. Seeing four guys on stools playing acoustic guitars, Master Tuner Joe included, that's what makes a concert a concert - something you have to experience in person. Especially with the thrust stage, TSB allows them to "get closer" to the ever-appreciative fans in the audience and provided for some great photo ops.

Of the new songs other than Nine Lives, C'Mon C'Mon was probably the best live version. It was accompanied by a very entertaining montage on the video screen complete with faces of friends and family members; see London review for highlights on that. Another funny video segment was the new backdrop for Animal, showing each of the current five members as an animal. Sav of course was named a Savage Beast. Whilst Bad Actress seemed a strange choice for the encore, Let's Get Rocked went down very well and closed the show with a bang (so to speak). The energy these guys bring to an otherwise silly song is positively infectious and left the full house at Sheffield Arena rocked and satisfied. Joe holding the Union flag with Sav, Rick, and Phil surrounding him will be my lasting memory of not only this concert but their devoted return to their home country. Until next time, and there better be a next time!


Fan Review - By Stephen Deary

As a long time Lep fan (over 25 years), I made the journey over from Canada to the UK to see relatives and see the guys on their home turf so to speak. I was fortunate to get tickets for the Sheffield show. Let me say I have seen all the Leppard tours since Hysteria and this gig was the highlight for me. Of course I enjoyed other tours as I heard songs you just don't hear anymore (Don't shoot shotgun, All I want is everything, Paper Sun, etc) but this gig was the home town one and it rocked. I enjoyed the fact that I finally was able to hear "When Love and Hate Collide" live as this song doesn't get played in North America. In addition I enjoyed hearing the 3 songs from Sparkle Lounge especially Bad Actress as we don't get the dueling solos from Phil & Viv on Rocket anymore. I could go into details on the songs but Darren has done that perfect as he always does. It was too bad I missed the chance to meet Darren. I was in the 3rd row standing on Phil's side, and Darren was at the end of the walkway. I guess you can say I wasn't hard to miss as I was wearing a Red hoody with "Canada" on it. A fact that wasn't missed by the guys as Phil and Sav gave me the thumbs up and nods of approval when they saw me. Before the gig I managed to take in the Sites at Sheffield (Don Valley, City Hall, etc, and pay my respects at Steve's grave (I also left a small Canadian Flag at his memorial to represent the Canadian fans). All and all a great night to remember and one that I would like to repeat if they tour the UK again on their next release.

So as I was about to close that chapter on my trip, little did I know I was about to have an even bigger highlight of my UK trip. While in Birmingham I had the privilege of meeting Huwey Lucas (the other guitarist who auditioned after Steve's death besides Vivian). We talked for about an 1/2 hour and I can honestly say that the guy is a first rate bloke and would have fit in nicely with Def Leppard if they would have went that route. It was great to hear from him about the details behind his audition and his meeting with Q-Prime through the process. Huwey had many great things to say about the guys and wished them nothing but the best. For me this was such a cool meeting as I still have the Rolling Stone article that first talks about Huwey in it. As Darren mentioned in his review if you ever have the chance to see Def Leppard in their home town do it. I plan to take his advice and do it more often.