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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Leppard A Spotty Surprise By Edmonton Journal

British metal band puts raw edge on old hits at predictable Blind Date

Edmonton nightclub magnate Paul Vickers stood outside the Thunderdome Friday night, grinning like a cheshire cat.

He knew who was about to play his club as the mystery act for the Molson Breweries Blind Date concert. And he wasn't about to tell.

"Let's just say that this band is the biggest band to play a Blind Date yet in Canada. We're crushing everybody."

Bigger than Metallica (who played a Toronto Blind Date in June)?

"Oh, yeah."

Give Vickers high marks for being a great hype-meister - even though he proved dead wrong.

Def Leppard, who took the Thunderdome's stage in front of 700 people, is hardly bigger than Metallica, or even Soundgarden, the group which kicked off the promotional concert series June 15 in Vancouver.

And that, coupled with the fact that you'll be able to scalp a ticket to see Def Leppard tonight at the Edmonton Coliseum for, say $15, made for a rather dull surprise.

Concert-goers, who won tickets for the surprise gig through local clubs and radio stations, would have been better off with the Goo Goo Dolls, the New York power trio which was originally booked to play Edmonton's Blind Date in July.

Sources say Molson's cancelled the Goo Goo Dolls (who recently played Ottawa's date) after an American music-industry magazine revealed on the Internet that the band was booked to play Edmonton's secret show.

Organizers are taking great pains to keep bands and venues a mystery until the night of the show.

But anyone with a keen eye could have guessed Def Leppard was Edmonton's date.

For one, the group played Calgary Thursday night and had a day off Friday before tonight's Coliseum show.

Tour buses lined up outside the southside club were another hint - a band flown in for a one-off show wouldn't have had them.

And once you got in the club, a quick peek at the four microphones and drum kit on stage ruled out any group with fewer than Def Leppard's five members, like the oft-rumoured Foo Fighters or Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Most of the Thunderdome had the secret pegged too.

As two local radio DJs killed time making brutal jokes about Rita MacNeil's weight, the free beer-fuelled crowd chanted "Leppard! Leppard!"

The veteran British metal group took the stage to a roar and, to their credit, played a fine set, churning out hit after hit with a raw edge that's sorely missing from their painfully overproduced studio work.

Old hits like Armageddon It and Photograph, laid bare and powered up to an ear-splitting 11 through the amps, were a welcome change from the lite-metal gloss that covered the band's recent abysmal albums, Adrenalize and Slang.

The band wisely stayed away from those records and concentrated more on songs from Hysteria and Pyromania.

Lead singer Joe Elliott, who tossed back drinks he bummed from stage-side fans and low-fived the audience members crushed in front, was in relaxed form until someone threw a glass on stage.

"Any more glass on stage, we leave," Elliott snarled before theatening to tear the guy's head off and call the cops on him.

They didn't leave, of course, and finished their set in front of dozens - if not hundreds - who'll likely see them all over again tonight.

If you're bummed that you missed the chance to see them at a small club like the Thunderdome, don't be.

The way Slang's plummeted off the charts, you'll probably get the same chance on their next tour.

By Edmonton Journal 1996.

Media Review - Blind And Def By Mike Ross

Dates don't always work out like you want them to - especially if it's a Blind Date.

There were some long faces at the Thunderdome last night after the Molson mystery band turned out to be Def Leppard. Holy redundancy - the band is playing at the Coliseum tonight!

Andrea Sutherland, one of about 700 contest winners in attendance, said she would've preferred "pretty much anybody but Def Leppard," though she admitted it was still "kind of neat." Others just left the bar in a snit.

A couple of fools were apparently so disappointed that they started heaving drink glasses at the band, prompting singer Joe Elliott to launch into several enraged, expletive-laced tirades, at one point even threatening to leave the stage.

"If anyone is not enjoying themselves, come up on stage right now," Elliott snarled after stopping drummer Rick Allen in mid-beat, directing a threat at the glass-throwing moron: "I will tear your head off, s--- down your neck, then we'll report you to the cops and you'll go to jail ... we deserve better than that."

Of course they did.

To their credit, Def Leppard still managed to deliver a satisfying rock 'n' roll show for the faithful crowd of fans crushed to the front of the stage (if you can believe it, crowd surfing even broke out during Pour Some Sugar On Me). While clearly out of their element, the Leps plowed through their catalogue of hits like the pros they are. Songs like Rocket and Rock of Ages were ... oh, I won't go on - just read the review of tonight's concert in tomorrow's Sun.

In any case, Def Leppard hitting the stage was kind of an anticlimax to the whole thing. Only a club's worth of people caught the show last night, but the whole town's been buzzing about it for months.

Blind Date is a brilliant and diabolical idea. It flies in the face of how music fans relate to their favorite bands - they buy tickets, spend weeks in anticipation, know what they're going to get and generally leave the concert satisfied. Not knowing what you're going to hear beforehand is an alien concept to rock 'n' roll.

There were a lot of hard-core Def Leppard fans at the Dome last night, and yes, it was "kind of neat" to see such a famous band playing on the same stage Trooper will occupy on Monday. But for a good number of lucky winners, Edmonton's Blind Date was a disappointment. You can bet that Joe Elliott and his crew won't remember it as one of their best gigs, either.

By Mike Ross @ Edmonton Sun 1996.