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Friday, 14th November 2008

Auckland, New Zealand - Media Reviews

Def Leppard in Auckland By Jeremy Redmore

It was a sit-down concert but Def Leppard got fans out of their seats in no time. Reviewer Jeremy Redmore checks out the iconic '80s hair metallers in action.

Def Leppard front man Joe Elliott ended the band's Auckland show with the words, "Don't forget us, and we won't forget you".

On that basis his band will not be forgetting the fans who packed out Vector Arena in a hurry.

Returning for their first show in New Zealand in 16 years, the British Gods of '80s rock music took the same fans who listened to their records 20 years ago on a whirlwind nostalgia tour through their greatest hits.

The band were under no illusions as to what songs the crowd wanted to hear as they played hit anthem after hit ballad over an hour-and-a-half on a stage stacked with guitar and bass cabs and a two-metre riser for one-armed drummer Rick Allen.

Singer Elliott started the show to a frenzy of applause as he uttered the famous beggining to Rocket: "Guitar! ... Drums!".

From then on the crowd were treated to what could have been a concert straight out of the late '80s - minus a few strands of hair on guitarist Phil Collen and drummer Allen.

Luckily, Elliott, bassist Rick Savage and guitarist Vivian Campbell still manage to sport impressive mops of classic heavy-metal hair.

Campbell provided one of the crowd-pleasing highlights of the night by breaking into Crowded House's Better Be Home Soon on his acoustic guitar.

That came before the band brought the whole arena wildly to its feet with Pour Some Sugar On Me, a true highlight of the evening.

Def Leppard ended its main set with the fittingly titled Rock Of Ages, proving their songs have been able to last 31 years.

A three-song encore followed, ending with one of their most successful singles ever in Let's Get Rocked as the stage's elaborate lighting and visual displays hit their peak.

As the band congregated at the front of the stage to salute the crowd and sign off on their world tour, one got the feeling that this show would be talked about for a long time among fans who had come out to experience the revival of one of the greatest British rock bands of all time.

By Stuff 2008.

Def Leppard at Vector Arena By Scott Kara

Step inside, walk this way and prepare to be Leppardised. As Sheffield's favourite hair metal sons arrived on stage at Vector and cracked into Rocket the sold-out crowd rocketed to their feet - and they stayed that way for 90-minutes of pomp'n'roll.

This was stadium rock 80s-style, people.

Any thoughts Def Leppard might be hair metal has-beens - because, let's face it, 1983's Pyromania and 1987's Hysteria were the band at their best - were blown away as they made their first appearance in New Zealand in 16 years.

As an example of Def Leppard's enduring pulling-power, many in the crowd would have barely been born when Hysteria came out.

While they played some songs off new album Songs From the Sparkle Lounge, like Nine Lives, this was a crowd-pleasing greatest-hits set, with special attention paid to those two classic albums mentioned earlier.

It was a draw between Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me for the best sing-a-long. Even the most hardened ballad hater could not have resisted belting out "you're bringing me to my knees".

No band does microphone sharing quite like Def Leppard, with rough-looking, hard-strutting singer Joe Elliott and guitarist Phil Collen teaming up many-a time.

And they're still a no-shirt-required-type band with guitarists Collen and Vivian Campbell both getting their tops off.

Elliott's paunch is a little bit larger these days and he stays covered. Not so bass player Rick Savage, who wears his flab with pride, and his mane of blond 80s heavy metal hair is pretty well intact.

Then there's one-armed, barefoot drumming machine Rick Allen up back on his own platform, hammering away franticly.

Elliott's voice is still powerful and he hits the notes that matter (like the ones in Hysteria) - although it's lost some of its piercing clarity that made Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me so anthemic.

But after this many years of throat-shredding gigs he's savvy and lets the crowd take over a number of times, and the rest of the band are in fine voice.

The end of the show comes with two highlights: Pyromania's Rock Of Ages and the Motley Crue-style romp of Let's Get Rocked from 1992's Adrenalize.

We were put through the "Leppard meat grinder" - to borrow a phrase from Elliott - during this, the last show of the band's world tour, and we loved it.

It tasted even better with a bit of Sugar seasoning on top.

By The New Zealand Herald 2008.


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