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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Def Leppard + Whitesnake + Black Star Riders @ Birmingham Genting Arena – Saturday 12th December 2015 By Rich Ward

It must have seemed like Christmas had come early for classic rock fans with this triple bill line up rolled into town for a sold out Saturday date at the Genting Arena. Those arriving early enough would also have had the opportunity to catch local bands Piston and Daylight Robbery warming up the crowd in the foyer.

The Black Star Riders benefit from the Birmingham show falling on a Saturday night, as the early start of 6.45 doesn't prevent them playing to a packed arena. They make their 45 minute set count keeping it punchy and focusing mainly on BSR material while throwing in a couple of Thin Lizzy tunes for good measure. 'All Hell Breaks Loose’ opens proceedings before segueing into 'Are You Ready'. The celtic rock feel of 'Kingdom Of The Lost' thunders along with Gorham and Johnson’s twin guitar and concludes with Ricky Warwick belting out a Braveheart scream of 'Freedom!'

'Finest Hour' sounds glorious and it’s good to see the Black Star Riders on a stage of this size. More than worthy openers and while closing on ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ may be somewhat predictable, it’s no less enjoyable. A superb performance that left us wanting more.

With David Coverdale revisiting his early years on the latest Whitesnake release, The Purple Album, it pretty much guaranteed a set that would lean heavily in favour of the Deep Purple tracks. While the album may have received a mixed reception, the familiarity of the tracks in a live setting certainly elicited a favourable response. Kicking off with ‘Burn’, it’s a tour de force and any misgivings I had about Coverdale’s voice are silenced (for now) – he sounds pretty good. He also appears in good health and humour as he struts around the stage and gyrates with his mic stand as only David Coverdale can. It’s not just his Purple past that is being celebrated; ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ is played out with the screen backdrops displaying large photos of the much missed Mel Galley & Cozy Powell amongst other photos of that era of the band.

'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City' sounds impressive and Reb Beach is certainly no slouch when it comes to the solos, especially on ‘Mistreated’, although considerably heavier and more embellished than the original. The same can be said of ‘You Fool No One’ where Tommy Aldridge’s drums seem more about power than recreating that wonderful drum pattern of Ian Paice.

An undoubted highlight of the set was 'Soldier Of Fortune' which was just David and Joel Hoekstra on acoustic guitar and some minimal keyboards. This is when you realise just how good Coverdale’s bluesier vocals can sound. This continues on into ‘Is This Love’, it’s only when he tries screaming that his voice shows its age and limitations, and none more so than on ‘Fool For Your Loving’. And therein lies a problem; his biggest songs such as ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Still Of The Night’ which conclude the set are the ones people want to hear, but as he still chooses to play them in the late 80s style, the cracks will show. Personally I’d love to see an acoustic tour at some point in the near future, as I feel this would play to Coverdale’s strengths. However, you can’t deny that he remains the consummate frontman, and his band are excellent which ensures that they put on a memorable show which went down a storm. Splendid stuff.

With Def Leppard's self titled 11th album hitting the stores last month, it's surprising that there's only 2 new songs in the set. Effectively it's a greatest hits set that carries on the nostalgia theme, but I guess they are only giving what the majority of the punters want to hear. They open with ‘Let’s Go’ with neon signs creating a bar themed back drop and then it’s straight into one of their finest songs; ‘Animal’. The lighting is superb and two screens either side of the stage ensure everyone in the arena can see what’s going on with the show.

Guitarist Vivian Campbell is introduced as the 'man who puts the fast in Belfast' before he launches into the riff of 'Armageddon It'; bombastic stadium rock at it’s best accompanied by an array of somewhat depressing statistics flashing across the screens.

'Two Steps Behind' gives the band a break while Joe Elliot performs it on acoustic guitar, inviting everyone to sing along and “join Def Leppard for 4 minutes” suddenly making the massive arena seem quite intimate. It reminds me that the last time I saw him in Birmingham was performing in the slightly smaller confines of the Roadhouse for a benefit show for former Leps keyboard player Dick Decent. How time flies.

Things ramp up again with 'Rocket' and Elliot is then given a short moment of respite during the instrumental 'Switch 625'. 'Hysteria' is suitably nostalgic and the screens are used to show plenty of footage from that period. ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ sounds immense and the singing and dancing continues as they finish their set on a high with ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’.

There’s still several obvious options for the encore but they plump for 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Photograph' which serve to be the icing on the cake rounding off the Leps’ set nicely and bringing an excellent evening of classic rock to a close. The house lights go on and ‘Kings Of The World’ plays out as the fans make their way out of the venue and back to 2015.

By The Midlands Rocks 2015.

Media Review - Whitesnake & Def Leppard @ Genting Arena, Birmingham, 12/12/2015 By Eli

Def Leppard returned to the UK after 4 years, headlining a tour with David Coverdale’s Whitesnake, with very special guests Black Star Riders at their UK leg of the 2015 World Tour. The show was highly anticipated by the fans and ticket sales were the evidence of their popularity. With doing a double-headlining show with Whitesnake and Def Leppard was awesome enough, but the fact that they also got Black Star Riders to open for them gave an extra reason not to miss that concert.

Black Star Riders may be a bit less known as they only formed in late 2012 as a continuation of Thin Lizzy, and have released two albums under that name – All Hell Breaks Loose (2013) and Killer Instinct (2015). Their music is relatively heavy, with very similar sound to Thin Lizzy. As they were the special guests, they did a relatively short set of only eight songs, but ended with the well-known Whiskey In The Jar that surely got the crowd going and ready for the headliners. It was great seeing the Thin Lizzy guys rocking the stage with both their newer creation as well as some Thin Lizzy classics. Ricky Warwick has excellent vocals, with such low sound you feel it as much as hear. The double guitars do their magic as they did in Thin Lizzy! T’was really good to hear them live, first for me! Will definitely go when they are in town again.

Next one on was Whitesnake. I saw them live once before in 2008 with their Good to be Bad tour, and I loved them. That was the beginning of my Whitesnake fascination, especially concentrated on Uriah Duffy.. As much as I remember, they were great. Seeing them again this time was honestly a bit of a disappointment, but one I was prepared for. From different friends of mine I had heard that Coverdale is not what he used to be, 64, as he kept on telling at the show. Well, yes, and it shows. I hate to be blunt about this, but I honestly think they are a great group, one that should be named directly after Coverdale, not Whitesnake, but a great band nonetheless. Their songs are great, but the vocals… Are unrecognisable live compared to the records. He has completely changed his singing style to accommodate for that loss, and I would now describe it as screaming rather than singing. A lot is delegated on to the rest of the band as backing vocals, which provides the only singing taking place there. It is a shame to hear what they have come to, especially with such great musicians like Reb Beach (of course, Winger!), or still the good old Tommy Aldridge on the drums. Now he proved he is as crazy as ever – evidence from his bare-handed drum solo. I was a bit sad not to see Doug Aldrich, but Joel Hoekstra musically filled his part well. It was seeing Michele Luppi on the keyboards, I could have sworn he is the twin brother of another Italian friend. They all seemed to enjoy it well enough though, and Coverdale made full use of the catwalk extending from the stage to the middle of the crowd, where he kept on telling people how much he loves them. Also a wardrobe change quite a few times over the show, with a different jacket at least, if nothing else.

The setlist could have been better. Even with Whitesnake ‘growing out of’ Deep Purple, having five songs as Deep Purple covers in their 13-song setlist seems a bit excessive, I mean, they do have 12 studio albums released – should be enough to choose from? To my delight they did do another cover which they have already previously made their own – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City. Lovely! And their few classics like Is This Love and Fool For Your Loving.

Overall, the sound was nae too bad, and the lighting was made quite interesting indeed, but no lighting or sound can mask the lack of Coverdale’s singing voice. I fear that might be my last Whitesnake concert I wish to attend.

Def Leppard was highly anticipated act of the night, judging by the number of DL shirts were worn by the people in the audience. I saw them live also in 2008 back in Estonia with largely overlapping setlist actually. Anyway, that was the beginning of my Def Leppard obsession (you can see a tendency here). What I find very admirable about them is the fact that besides Steve passing away all those years ago and getting replaced with Vivian, they otherwise still have the near-original line-up (since 1982), which is hard to come by nowadays with bands that have been around for as many decades as they have. For the show they expanded the stage further, building a kind of podium for Rick Allen, having stairs leading up to it. They had a huge cover with their logo hiding the stage whilst it was built, giving a nice wow-effect when it finally was uncovered with the intro sounds from their new Let’s Go song. Whit that they also started their set, doing the song in its full length. I think most fans can agree with me that they can do much better than Let’s Go, as it is quite literally a tweak in Pour Some Sugar On Me with different lyrics and done. Another new song they did Dangerous is already a much better song on the new album. But as typical to bands at such status, they mostly still concentrated on their classic hits, thus of course Hysteria, Animal, and Photograph were played. Songs I was particularly happy about were Rock on, Let’s Get Rocked, and Rock Of Ages. The fact that they did the instrumental Switch 625 was amazing also. Great background visuals were used, showing photos of their original line-up both on and backstage was lovely to see. One thing I could not quite put together was why Armageddon It was accompanied by socially pugnant facts, like amount of children dying in starvation, and amount of overweight people in the US, money spend on xyz etc. How did the two connect is still a mystery to me. That is not to say either was not great! I like that song, and I think the issues they mentioned in the video are definitely something to think about. The visuals included also a screenful of light bulbs, all sorts of signs you can imagine to see in LA, or just live feed from the gig.

One of the most disturbing parts of the show with being in the front was the bass. It was quite literally deafening, and you felt more than you heard. It was much better at the back, therefore to sacrifice the space close to the stage or make do with hearing mostly the bass? Well, I stayed in the front. It was wonderful seeing Rick blasting away on the drums, barefoot as always. Phil Collen looks as good as he did 20 years ago, if not even better now. Vivian looked a bit shaken, which can be expected considering what hell he has gone through recently. Rick Savage and Phil Collen both still demonstrate a wide range of beautiful (bass) guitars they possess, some more patriotic than others. Joe still jumps around and sings like he did 30 years ago. Some great outfits were worn, top hats, or the always-shirtless Collen. Rick Allen had a UK-flagged cover on the shirt for his missing arm, but that smile, man, that smile was just so warming and genuine I could not start smiling when the camera showed him bashing away at the drums. A story of a true survivor, I find it so incredible. Such a lovely bunch of guys. Great solos were done, many a guitar picks were thrown and a good list of songs was played. Minus the bass, they were grand!

By Eli's World Of Rock 2015.

Media Review - Def Leppard, Gig Review. Genting Arena, Birmingham By Admin

It is entirely possible to believe that the structure that holds the Genting Arena together had only just stopped quaking from the previous visit of Metallica, that the combined forces of Black Star Riders, Whitesnake and now Sheffield’s finest Rock act Def Leppard were about to dislodge the settled dust and explode it down to its constituent atoms, that Metallica, for all their glory, were just a warm up act a few years back up the line for what was about to explode in the centre of the Midlands.

Dust rarely gets the chance to be swallowed whole, it seldom gets the chance to be seen to be in the same company as prestige, quivering hearts and a sense of accomplishment all being bowled over, all being lovingly blasted to smithereens in the music of a band whose ethos goes everywhere before them, who just could make anybody rock their heart out, from toddlers experiencing the world with bountiful expectant eyes and open mind to the scattering of closed off and featureless stone gods whose time has been and gone, Def Leppard truly do get what it means to throw a party in which everybody is welcome to attend and devour every last morsel on offer.

For Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Allen, Rick Savage and Vivian Campbell, this was a night when Birmingham’s fierce and arguably worthy reputation of the capital of Rock was to be tested, that they wanted the audience to whom if possible would turn the Birmingham suburb of Alum Rock into a sub section of the Metal genre if possible, to truly get down deep and dirty and take the band on a spin, a daze of emotions.

As the band opened with the songs Let’s Go, Animal and Dangerous, that powerful link between the N.E.C. in which ever commercial guise it aspires to and the history of Rock performance in the country was soon adhered to and given yet more credence as the sound bounced off ever seat, every yard of flooring and somewhere in the minds of the poets and Rock lovers, dust quaked and burst into flames, a small brief candle shimmering brightly above a sea of faces wrapped in awe.

With tracks such as Love Bites, Armegeddon It, Rocket, Hysteria and the musical equivalent of the line “Something wicked this way comes”, the resplendent and beast like Let’s Get Rocked all making their peace into the audience’s souls, arguably the last great night of the year of Arena Rock in the area was of immense satisfaction.

A night of Rock cool, of wonderful oblivion dressed in high octane guitars, Def Leppard pounded Birmingham to its very core and it was a night in which from start to finish should be considered beautiful.

By Liverpool Sound And Vision 2015.

Media Review - Def Leppard, live at Genting Arena, Birmingham, December 12 2015 By Adrian Hextall

It was always going to be a tough job. Black Star Riders, who opened the show in Birmingham had played a storming set of classic Thin Lizzy and modern BSR material. Whitesnake then followed with a set encompassing ‘Burn’ era Purple material with the classic Whitesnake anthems of the 1987 period. Def Leppard then, had to come out of the gate, all guns blazing each and every night of the sold-out 10 date UK & Ireland tour. To give you a sense of how they delivered on tour, our review of the Birmingham show is also followed by coverage of the Belfast arena show from Karen.

To review your favourite band objectively is always a difficult task but thankfully Def Leppard make my job relatively easy. The juggernaut that is the Def Leppard touring machine is a polished, slick efficient unit that perfectly synchronises the visuals with every track in the setlist providing one of the most polished performances you’re likely to see on stage these days. The effort required to change a setlist to encompass new or alternative tracks is mammoth and as such, the tracks are mirrored every night on the tour. The recent U.S. audiences didn’t even get to hear tracks off the new, critically acclaimed, ‘Def Leppard’ album until the end of the tour as the visuals were not initially able to be inserted. The UK and Ireland crowds however, coming onto the world tour on the back of the U.S. dates, are more fortunate. As such, ‘Let’s Go’ and the excellent ‘Dangerous’ now make appearances early on in the set and slot seamlessly in amongst classics like ‘Animal’ and ‘Love Bites’.

With the welcome inclusion of ‘Undefeated’, one of the studio tracks from the ‘Mirrorball’ release proving that the band do not have to stick to the classic late 80s era tracks to please the crowds, the band rapidly hit their stride and the grins rarely leave the faces of Vivian Campbell, Rick Savage and Rick Allen for most of the evening. Allen, hidden behind his customised drum kit is perched high on a riser in front of the immense video screen setup and it’s only when the cameras cut to him that we see his smiling sweaty face as he pummels his kit.

Elliott and Collen, the Jagger and Richards of melodic hard rock, know how to work a crowd and make the most of the walkway out into the arena floor. For the first two songs, we’re also alongside them taking photographs for the article and Joe Elliott it has to be said, appears to be a little camera shy. As we wait eagerly at the end of the runway for him to stride out, he spots us (several times) smiles, whirls around and goes back to the main stage. As we follow him, he waits and then switches once more, pacing past us to get to the crowd. It’s all part of the game however and by the end of song 2, we’ve managed to get enough shots to use and the gallery can be seen below.

Spectacle of course is what Def Leppard bring to the table these days. The video screens for a lot of the show present a backdrop that could easily place Birmingham in the middle of Las Vegas. Neon lights, signage and stunning visuals link perfectly to the songs and the end result is the slickest performance imaginable. For those who bemoan the fact that the setlist never changes and that it’s over produced, think back to when ‘Hysteria’ was released. It’s an album of pure perfection, polish and production. That ethos has been the foundation of everything the band has done since so its no surprise it all looks and feels so impressive.

‘Two Steps Behind’ sees Joe pick up the acoustic guitar and wander down the runway into the middle of the crowd. The arena sang their voices hoarse and then the band return for ‘Rocket’, again making use of the video backdrops.

Hit after hit follows and the main set closes with ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, the song that nearly didn’t make it onto ‘Hysteria’ but is now widely regarded as one of the band’s best. For those fans that always moan abut “the older stuff” not being played, ‘Pyromania’ era classics are held until the encore and elicit a huge response from the crowd. With the outro being ‘Kings of the World’, again from ‘Mirrorball’, the band depart and the packing begins to move the convoy to the next venue.

With all of the kit, lighting and visuals needed for such a show, keep an eye on the road this winter. What you think is probably the Coca Cola Christmas Trucks might just be the Def Leppard tour gear moving across the world.

By My Global Mind 2015.

Media Review - Whitesnake and Def Leppard, Genting Arena, Birmingham By Kirsten Rawlins

Heavy metal legends Whitesnake and Def Leppard teamed up in Birmingham last night for an incredible night of nostalgia, sing-a-longs and some good ol' rock 'n' roll.

Thousands of rock fans - of a variety of ages and backgrounds - poured into the Genting Arena for the double header to remember.

Without a doubt, the star of the show was superb Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale whose phenomenal vocals were up to the same incredible standard as when the star was in his heyday. Constantly adapting his voice according to song style, David mastered both rocky, gravelly growls on hits including Still of The Night and soft yet strong, velvety vocals on songs such as Is This Love.

His deep, rolling voice was perhaps best displayed during the band's stunning rendition of Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City, which touched the hearts of every fan in the room who faithfully echoed David's words as his powerful notes filled the venue, above the sounds of heavy riffs and solid beats.

Needless to say, the crowd were mesmerised - and were in the palm of David's commanding hand throughout - clapping and waving their arms on demand and belting out lines on favourites including Fool for Your Loving and Here I Go Again.

"I'm sixty f***ing four - what's that all about?" laughed David, to which a woman in the crowd screamed 'and still gorgeous!'. And she was right - he looked amazing, and sounded even better.

"Thanks for the hospitality Birmingham, merry Christmas," he added.

"Be safe and happy - and don't let anyone make you afraid."

Next up were the highly-talented Def Leppard who donned union flags aplenty - and were clearly happy to be back touring in the UK.

Kicking off their set with thrilling hits including Animal and Love Bites, the Leppard lads quickly had the crowd pumped up once again - as fans sprung to their feet and threw their arms in the air as they sang and danced along.

And the band sounded excellent. Fronted by none other than star singer-songwriter Joe Elliott who, having reached the age of 56, retained his excellent showmanship skills and led the heavy metal band with ease. And, while his voice was not comparable to David Coverdale, he still sounded superb.

A special mention must go to the incredible Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen who, despite having lost his left arm in a car crash in 1984 - is still going strong and remains to this day one of the most inspirational figures in rock. And his performance last night simply reflected his talent and bravery.

"Seriously guys, this room is huge - and it's f***ing full," laughed a stunned Joe.

"Rock and roll is not dead, it is living. And it's living here tonight."

And with thrilling renditions of hard rock classics Hysteria, Lets Get Rocked and When Love and Hate Collide, we were all Armageddon It. And they were simply superb.

"Until next time - and there will be a next time," bellowed Joe.

"Do us a favour, don't forget us and we won't forget you."

There's not much chance anyone could forget last night, Joe - and we can only hope you and David return very soon.

By Native Monster 2015.

Reviews from the 2015 Birmingham, England Show.