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Monday, 4th August 2003

Halifax, NS, Canada - Media Reviews

Young, old and mulleted love Def Lep By Keith Bonnell

There are places in life where cynics belong. A Def Leppard concert is not one of them. Four thousand head-nodding, hand-waving, air-guitar-playing fans brought down the house last night as the hard-rock journeymen kicked off their Canadian tour at the Halifax Metro Centre.

The band hit the stage strong, starting with the classic 'Let it Go', and finishing with three other upbeat songs from their 1981 High 'N' Dry album before finally addressing the crowd. "Oh yeah!" called out lead singer Joe Elliott. "Good evening, Halee-fax! How's everybody doing?"

Everybody, it seems, was doing just fine.

"They're just a true rock band," gushed Nichole Arsenault of Truro. The 26-year-old spent $200 on three shirts, two posters and a bandana, and had driven to the show with friends, arriving 21/2 hours early. "I think they look better now ... then when I was a kid," she said.

Def Leppard is touring to support its 10th album, aptly named X.

Elliott was battling a bout of strep throat, and his vocals were overwhelmed at times by the throbbing bass and drums. But the crowd, an eclectic mix of the middle-aged, the young and the mullet-wearing faithful, lapped it up. When the band broke into its accoustic hit 'Two Steps Behind', lighters filled the arena in true '80s rock style.

Those in attendance proved that 35- to 45-year-old white men don't make the best dancers.

However, one man did the best air-guitar solo anyone could expect of someone in a yellow golf shirt, dropping to one knee in the aisle to let it all hang out.

Burly newcomer Ricky Warwick of Ireland performed a tight, hard-strumming acoustic set to open the show, and was well-received. But the crowd came to show their spots for Def Leppard.

Def Leppard has been together nearly 25 years, and last night, the group transported an audience back to an era when guitar rock and denim reigned supreme. Clad in a sleeveless black shirt and leather pants, Elliott deftly played to the crowd, carrying his mike stand back and forth across the stage. Beside him, guitarists Viv Campbell and Phil Collen sounded as crisp as ever.

Tunes like 'Photograph', 'Armageddon It' and 'Make Love Like a Man' had the crowd screaming. After a frenzied roll of songs, the band hit its 1987 favourite, 'Pour Some Sugar on Me'. The ovation that followed was surprisingly sincere and uncontrived; even the band seemed taken aback.

"This is why Canada is, per capita, our biggest market in the world," said Elliott, as the applause continued. "Wow." To make the evening complete, one enthused fan even tossed a bra on stage." She's even left her phone number on it," Elliott said with a smile.

By Halifax Daily News 2003.


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