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Tuesday, 26th August 2003

Allentown, PA - Media Reviews

Def Leppard warms up crowd of all ages at the Fairgrounds By Kat Main

Eighties rock icons Def Leppard proved that their music is the rock of ages Tuesday night at the Allentown Fairgrounds.

Playing for crowds of mothers, fathers, grandparents and children, the band -- even though a little long in the tooth -- eventually brought the crowd to a frothing intensity. Opening with "Let it Rock" from the 1983 record "Pyromania," the hair metal icons burst on stage with a dizzying light show.

But that wasn't enough to warm up the crowd, at first.

After two songs and a few guitar solos, the crowd of all ages began to pump its fists and itching hands formed in the traditional rock 'n' roll "devil horn" salute.

Just when the crowd really started to get pumped, Def Leppard took it down a notch with it's rock ballad "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" which included an instrumental departure from Joe Elliott's vocals and a drum solo from Rick Allen.

Accompanied by his band mates and a brilliant show of lights, Allen's drum kit appeared as a bright spot of liquid metal on the no frills stage. Allen showed no sign that his passion for the band's music had diminished.

From there Elliott took a small interlude to thank the crowd for coming.

"It's good to be back in Allentown," he said. Elliott went on to say that he and the band were sorry that they had missed WZZO's charity soccer game but they would make it soon and the station should look forward to losing badly.

A hard rocking "Foolin'" followed the interlude with "Hysteria" and "Too late for Love," rounding out the set.

As the scent of fried food wafted over the crowed on a cool late summer breeze, the band introduced a song off of their new album "Now." Titled "X", the new album commemorates the tenth the band has released their 25 years together.

Taking a time out, Elliott also wished his band mate Vivian Campbell a happy birthday, as two women brought Vivian a cake bright with candles. Led by Elliot, the crowd serenaded Campbell with "Happy Birthday," as the guitarist smiled and planted a big kiss on his longtime band mate. After a few more songs, the band leapt into "Pour Some Sugar on Me," their hit off of the 1987 album "Hysteria." Recuperating from the raucous hit, Elliott took time to thank his fans.

"As long as you are still out there, we'll still be up here," he said as he motioned to the stage. The band finished with the haunting slower paced "Love Bites," to a crowd that clearly wanted more.

By Pennlive/The Express-Times 2003.

Def Leppard rocks fair's opening night By Becky Bowman

Band impresses Allentown crowd with energy, effects

In 1983, Def Leppard hit the big time and played Allentown for the first time.

Tuesday evening, the band opened the Allentown Fair for the third time, producing a two-hour set for a crowd of 4,167 tame but responsive fans. The band still has plenty of bravado to parade, with bassist Rick Savage's big hair and a busy smoke and lights show.

By night's end, guitarists Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen were shirtless. Rick Allen, who has drummed with one arm since 1985, enjoyed a firecracker-like spotlight. The fairgrounds grandstand stage resembled a 1980s MTV video set.

Def Leppard started out heavy, exuding its British metal vibe as it roared through ''Rock Rock (Til You Drop)'' and other fuzz-guitar tunes. But its gentle treatment of ''Two Steps Behind'' and smoother vocals on songs like ''Love Bites'' seemed to please the fans. Love might have brought vocalist Joe Elliott to his knees, but his vocals brought fans finally to their feet.

The band was not ungrateful for the support.

''Allentown!'' Elliott shouted. ''Time after time, year after year, it never changes.''

''Allentown!'' Elliott shouted. ''Time after time, year after year, it never changes.'' To show its appreciation, the band covered Badfinger's ''No Matter What'' before launching into its final song, ''Let's Get Rocked.''

Because of its tour schedule, the band couldn't participate in its usual charity soccer tournament this year with classic rock radio station WZZO.

Tuesday's opener Ricky Warwick played a 25-minute solo set on his acoustic guitar, bringing up Campbell to guest on a tune called ''Don't Waste Away.'' Warwick's sound was lighter than Leppard's, but his endless tattoos and macho strumming antics made a solid segue.

By The Morning Call 2003.

Media Review - STILL ROCKIN "WITHOUT DROPPIN By Carl Noone Jr.

Let me be the first to say that the now-derogatory term "Hair Metal" does not apply to EVERY band from that infamous era in our musical history books. And let me also be the first to say that some bands have actually gotten BETTER as they got older and lost some of that hair. Def Leppard is one of those bands. Sounding fresh, tight, and full of vigor and energy, these 5 Brits rocked the Allentown Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening like a band half their age, and did it twice as well. Having seen them perform in the exact same place 20 years earlier, I walked away totally impressed with the near-virtuoso performances of all five members of the band as they blazed through 25 songs during a 2-hour and 10 minute tour de force.

Opening with a blistering rendition of the hard rocking "Let It Go" from the early High and Dry CD, Def Leppard proceeded to stun everyone with a greatest hits set that was performed with perfection and grace. The mature chops of guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Cambell (of DIO fame) blended well with an in-tune voice of Joe Elliot, while Rick Savage helped them pick all the precise moments to let out that perfectly-pitched scream. Early in their set, the hits such as"Rock, Rock Till You Drop", "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", "Foolin'", "Hysteria", and "Too Late for Love" had the entire crowd on its feet, singing every word, almost note for note. A selection of songs from their most recent CD, X, followed, and included a notable "Four Letter Word" and VH-1 video hit "Now". A stunning, all-acoustic version of "Two Steps Behind" proceeded, and gave one-arm Wonder-drummer Rick Allen a break from the kit.

The HYSTERIA hit "Rocket" was propelled to another level with an extended jam in the middle that saw the band segue into "My Generation" by the Who for a few bars. Without hesitation, they pounced their way through "Photograph", "Animal", "Armageddon It", and the ever-popular cheese fest "Pour Some Sugar On Me", nestled in for good measure, before ending the night with now-heavily-sampled classic "Rock of Ages". The overall sound quality was surprisingly loud, yet clean and crisp, with almost no distortion. And the space-age lighting rig did what it was supposed to do....add to the performance instead of BEING the performance. Reds and blues at all the right moments added the warming feel on this cool night just as they were intended. And the fans wanted more of it.

The crowd cheered on, forcing Def Leppard back to the stage. Now almost 2 hours into a memorable show in front what seemed like 5 to 6 thousand, they started an entire encore set that included "Love Bites" and "Let's Get Rocked", with a historical second-ever live performance of the Badfinger early-70's hit single "No Matter What You Are" sandwiched in between to mark the end of an excellent performance by one of the 80's die-hard kings.

By lehighvalley2night 2003.


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