South Yarmouth, MA - Media Reviews
Def Leppard @ Cape Cod Coliseum By Boston Globe
Australia's heavy metal sultans, AC/DC, send you on a sonic rush down the 'Highway To Hell'.
England's metallic pop phenoms, Def Leppard, are more optimistic: 'We're gonna take you up to heaven and never bring you down'.
This upbeat credo - together with a salubrious persona and melodic, agile music - clearly distinguishes Def Leppard from the sluggish, darkly melodramatic heavy metal bands of old.
The kids obviously crave this new positive noise.
The group's 'Pyromania' LP continues to burn up the charts.
Saturday, a throng of nubile youth responded to Def Leppard's harder 'n' faster set with an uproarious enthusiasm that had the Coliseum bursting at the seams.
Lead vocalist Joe Elliott (fully recovered from a throat ailment that forced the postponement of eight consecutive gigs) visually epitomised the band's hot but healthy image.
Unlike the archetypal British frontman, he looked neither surly nor sexually ambiguous.
Dressed in Union Jack T-shirt, glove leather pants and red leg warmers, Elliott worked the crowd more like an American cheerleader at a New Year's Day football game.
Taking full advantage of his cordless microphone with cocksure strides about the stage and the rear scaffold high above the drum riser.
Except for 18-year old drummer Rick Allen, who held the bruising guitar attack together like crazy glue.
Elliott's cohorts also exemplified the whirling dervish school of rock performance.
Guitarists Steve Clark and Phil Collen bounced around like figures in a video game, nearly outmaneuvering their individual spotlights.
Bassist Rick Savage usually stayed close to the drum throne, feeding off Allen's incessant bass drum pulsations and electronically treated snare cracks, but did make frequent dashes to the stage front mic stand just in time to add harmony to the rich, four-part choruses.
Def Leppard's performance was executed with seemingly unfeigned enthusiasm and bravado.
In keeping with the economy of modern heavy metal, guitar solos were short and flashy, and complemented the arrangements.
Assorted songs included AM-FM hits like 'Photograph' (dedicated to Marilyn Monroe) and 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak'; power-rock anthems (the audience chant during 'Rock Of Ages' was deafening); and an eardrum saving ballad or two.
And the multicoloured hues of the back-lighting enhanced the summer fun atmosphere.
Thankfully, the one omission from Def Leppard's hard rock alloy was heavy metal's major negative element - boredom.
By Boston Globe 1983.
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