Birmingham, England - Media Reviews
Rock legends Def Leppard brought rock back to the West Midlands with a gig at Arena Birmingham.
The English rock band, formed in 1977 in Sheffield, was heavily involved with the British heavy metal movement and performed hits from their iconic Hysteria album on Monday.
Def Leppard played in Birmingham for the first time since December 2015, and marked the first ever playing of the album in full.
Def Leppard are due to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. The band was supported by Cheap Trick.
Joe Elliott was on lead vocals, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell on guitars, Rick Savage on bass and Rick Allen on drums.
Rick 'Sav' Savage, before the tour, said: "After many requests from fans in the UK, I'm delighted we can bring the whole 'Hysteria' album to arenas across Britain and Ireland this year.
"From 'Women' to 'Love and Affection' plus many other faves thrown in for good measure. Oh, and our old pals Cheap Trick will be there also to help with the celebrations. We can't wait."
The hit 1987 album Hysteria was the album which saw Def Leppard take over the world with hits including Animal, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Armageddon It and many more.
Fans took to Twitter after the gig saying the band were ‘amazing’.
Caroline Groom tweeted: “Def Leppard were amazing last night. You guys still rock.”
Mia Mills tweeted one word: “Amazing.”
By Express And Star 2018.
The opening statement of my review may not be strictly professional and could sound a bit too cheesy, but is true and comes from the heart: this concert gave me true and pure happiness. My review could have consisted of two words only: pure class.
Def Leppard’s concert at Arena Birmingham was part of the final stage of the UK leg of the Hysteria 2018 tour. There were hardly any surprises about the gig being absolutely epic. Bands with such history as Def Leppard’s are nothing short of brilliant; they know how to deliver an astonishing performance and gift their fans with a truly unforgettable experience. It is therefore only natural that the Arena was full to the brim and buzzed with anticipation. The atmosphere could be felt even from the outside of the building, and once inside, the energy could be felt pretty much on a physical level. The organisers couldn’t have done their job better. Each detail was prepared carefully, down to the music used to warm the audience up. The last track played before the band was due on stage was Leppard’s cover version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’; a perfect introduction for what followed. The timer counting down to the start of the concert brought the excitement of the anticipation to an even higher level, making the band’s appearance on stage explosive and impressive.
The crowd that had gathered to witness the iconic band perform their landmark 1987 album Hysteria was fantastic. How the band responded to them, in turn, was also amazing and genuinely heart warming. Joe Elliott made it clear how much the band appreciate their fans who had only recently shot Leppard into the Hall of Fame. In his words, “Not that we are big headed or something but…”, this is a hell of an achievement and he made sure he showed his gratitude. His stage behaviour was friendly and warm, he kept checking on his fans on each side of the Arena, encouraging their reaction, cheering and hands up. He spoke to us and generally appeared genuine and down to earth. The ongoing interaction with the audience was also facilitated by the “bridge” added on to the stage allowing the musicians to dive straight into the crowd and establish closer contact.
The performance was an absolute pleasure to watch. The quality of the overall package (light, sound and venue) was brilliant, the lighting work being a particularly beautiful masterpiece. The videos played on the stage back screen reinforced the messages conveyed in socially poignant tracks such as ‘Gods Of War’. Most of the video material accompanying the music was a piece of art in itself. The compilation of images took us back in time with photos from Def Leppard’s history and archive live footage from Hysteria’s original years. Tribute was also paid to Steve Clark.
Joe and company did not stand still for a minute. They played Hysteria in its entirety on an outbreath, engaging the audience in what was an explosive stage performance from start to finish. After taking a short break, they played a few of their “other” tracks and, somehow, the 1 hour 40 minutes came to an end as if in a blink of an eye. I didn’t want the show to end, being mesmerised and fully absorbed by the magic they spread. In my times, I have seen some of my very favourite bands and have enjoyed all those concerts immensely. This one, however, was very special to me. It felt like the biggest and best live performance I have ever witnessed, of the highest class possible. Long live Def Leppard!
Earlier Cheap Trick opened the show with a 40 minute set playing the obvious big hits; ‘Surrender’, ‘I Want You To Want Me’, and ‘Dream Police’. However, what made this more memorable was having Roy Wood join them for ‘California Man’ and a romp through ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ just to make sure the crowd were well and truly warmed up and in the Christmas spirit. Hopefully a headline tour in 2019 will be on the cards.
By The Midlands Rocks 2018.
Lemmy used to say “Don’t give the public what they want, give them what they need”. Those words rang around my head for most of tonight, in honesty, but never more so than when Roy Wood strode out with Cheap Trick here. Straight way, I’m thinking: “he’s gonna do it, isn’t he?” And he does – the snowman duly brings the snow and all that. But after “California Man”, which at least reminds that everyone here can knock out a glam classic. Wood’s presence does provide some focus in Cheap Trick’s set though, and although I have to be honest and say they are my favourite band of the two tonight, I’ll also need to say that they’ve had better nights than here. Some of the greatest pop rock songs ever, yes, but there seems something missing. Even in the usually mighty “Want You To Want Me”. “Dream Police” is better, “Surrender” is one of those things that is impossible to resist – stick anyone, anywhere, and they’ll be going ‘mommy’s alright. Daddy’s alright’ by the end – and “Goodnight Now” does see Rick Neilsen” get his five necked guitar out. At the end Robin Zander suggests he’ll see us next year. When he does, I fervently hope it’s as a headliner like they should be, but good God, that it isn’t December.
“We’re here,” says Joe Elliott to 15,000 of his nearest and dearest, “to celebrate an album that came out on 3rd August 1987”. And that’s basically all you need to know.
“Hysteria” made Def Leppard megastars. Like every other 12-year-old rock fan I bought it too. I am staggered how much of it I still know – despite, in truth, not listening to it for 20 years.
It’s like this. “Hysteria” is Def Leppard in microcosm. When its brilliant – “Armageddon It”, “Animal”, and the title track, it is amazing. When it’s bland, its bland and when its forgettable it is forgettable.
But that’s kinda the point. Def Leappard have made a career out of the odd absolute knockout blow. Come on, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” who doesn’t know that? There’s a woman next to me who is having the time of her life for five minutes and that’s what this is for. Whatever critical moment of your life it was the soundtrack for can be recalled, if you want.
After they’ve done with it all, they come back for five more and again, it’s a mixed bag. “Action” by Sweet? Yeah they’ve done it, but why play it here? “When Love And Hate Collide” was sentimental crap back in the 90s (even if one of my mates did think it was about every girl he knew – he’s in the gig tonight too) and it’s not much fun now either – but Christ, its chest beating, soaring and testosterone fuelled.
But then, in typical style, they pull out “Lets Get Rocked” and the whole place gets it, “Rock Of Ages” crushes and then “Photograph” is put simply, the best arena rock song ever written.
I saw something on Twitter the other week to the affect that the likes of Coldplay and U2 were no ones favourite band but managed to connect enough with a few songs to fill stadiums so people could watch them do those numbers.
Are Def Leppard the rock equivalent? They are about as dangerous as a night round your nans drinking warm milk, but isn’t that their charm? To paraphrase the a man we quoted at the start, they ain’t born to raise hell, but they know how to do it, and they do it real well.
By Maximum Volume Music 2018.
Few would begrudge Def Leppard performing their 1987 album Hysteria in full. After all, it is their best-selling record (25 million copies worldwide), with seven hit singles culled from the 12 tracks on the album. The first half hour of their Arena Birmingham show felt like a greatest hits event as the band chose to play the songs in the order they appear on the record – and six of those seven singles just happen to be the opening tracks on the album!
So it was a breathless beginning as 59-year-old frontman Joe Elliott stormed through the likes of Rocket, Pour Some Sugar on Me and Armageddon It. Impressive lights and lasers and spectacular visuals projected on a big screen at the back of the stage complemented the music, although at times it was difficult to know what to watch – the archive concert footage (including a moving tribute to the band's late guitarist Steve Clark), newsreel clips or the band on stage.
Select the band and there was then the choice of watching Elliott strutting on the walkway into the audience, guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell searching for the spotlight as they swapped solos, bassist Rick Savage who seemed to dance around every inch of the huge stage, or powerhouse drummer Rick Allen, the musical miracle who has never let the fact that he has only one arm stop him from being one of the world's top sticksmen.
Leppard pride themselves in their 'no filler' policy so the non-single songs still sounded great, even if the fan excitement levels dropped slightly after the initial burst of energy for the opening numbers. The likes of Gods of War, Run Riot and Love and Affection appeared as fresh and relevant as they did back in '87.
This Hysteria run-through was first seen in 2013 when Leppard had an 11-show residency at the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It's been a long time coming to the UK but it was worth the wait. The Birmingham show was near the end of the tour and Leppard, who will be inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, ran like a well-oiled machine. Elliott still found time to share some personal memories with the crowd, like playing Birmingham Town Hall in 1980.
With the Hysteria album successfully performed some more big guns were wheeled out for the encore. The Sweet's Action was thrilling, the power ballad When Love and Hate Collide was the cue for torches to be waved by the fans, Let's Get Rocked and Rock of Ages got things rocking (obviously!) again, before Photograph sent everyone away happy and looking forward to Def Leppard's headline appearance at Download on June 14, 2019.
Earlier, the show's support act, Cheap Trick, lined up a festive treat by inviting Birmingham music legend Roy Wood to join them on stage as they warmed up the crowd for Def Leppard. The former Move, ELO and Wizzard multi-instrumentalist led Cheap Trick through California Man and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – what more could we want at this time of year?
By Weekend Notes 2018.
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