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Saturday, 21st December 2002

Cedar Rapids, IA - Media Reviews

Def Leppard delivers goods By Diana Nollen

Walking into the Def Leppard concert Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Center was like tripping into the Twilight Zone. The "Rock of Ages" band apparently has become the "Rock of Aged" band.

Reserved seating? Don't the organizers know hard rock audiences aren't reserved?

"Classic rock" radio DJs introducing the evening? Is Def Leppard now Muzak?

No 18- to 25-year-olds in sight? Just their parents?

And as an opening act, Irish folk-rocker Ricky Warwick, with nothing but an acoustic guitar? He sang more eloquently than he spoke, using profanity as adjectives for everything including Christmas. Bah, humbug.

But then a wonderful thing happened. The lights started swirling, the music rose to a deafening din and 4,949 people started screaming like teenagers. The 30- to 50-somethings on the floor stayed by their chairs, but no one sat on them. A few even stood on them.

Fists pounded the energized air as ardently as the night before, when nearly 8,000 kids crammed the arena for a heavy metal marathon.

Def Leppard fans may be older, but they obviously were ready to get rocked. And the band obliged. With the opening crash of "Let it Go," the British band that formed in 1977 was off and rolling. It's fueled by rock steady guitars from Phil Collen and Viv Campbell, relentless rhythms from Rick Allen on drums and Rick Savage on bass, and a voice from Joe Elliott that's outlasted his melted metal peers from the '80s.

Despite having the new "X" disc to promote, Def Leppard gave the crowd plenty to roar about. As the familiar strains of hit after hit hit their ears, fans started screaming, dancing and singing with abandon.

Vintage Leppard included "Bringin' on the Heartbreak," "Foolin," "Too Late for Love," "Rocket," which launched a flurry of fists and yells, "Photograph," "Armageddon It," "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Rock of Ages," "Love Bites" and "Let's Get Rocked."

Fans were treated to a preview of coming attractions from "X," a collection of radio-friendly tunes that stands to put the band back on the airwaves. Tight harmonies and easy-to-grab hooks will reel in the fans, and just might snag their kids, too. That's a tougher sell.

By Diana Nollen @ Cedar Rapids Gazette.


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