Seattle, WA - Media Reviews
It was a rock 'n' roll reunion for the class of 1984 at Key Arena on Thursday night, with British pop-metal icons Def Leppard performing two decades of hits for the near-capacity crowd in the lower bowl.
With a nod to the old days before sound technology made multi-amplifiers obsolete, the stage was back-lined with stacks of Marshall amps. Although only stage props, they evoked the spirit of excess that was so much a part of '80s rock.
"I was dismayed to find that you can't fish out of the Edgewater Inn anymore," rued singer Joe Elliott in his introduction to "Now," one of two songs performed from the band's latest album, "X."
Although his voice has lost some of its clarity, and he is becoming somewhat pudgy around the middle, Elliot's rock star moves were intact. Striding the stage like a runway model, he was connected to the music and the audience was connected to him.
The concert got off to a rocking start with a body-jolting version of "Let It Go," from 1981's "High and Dry." One-armed drummer Rick Allen pushed the beat through "Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)" and "Make Love Like a Man" until guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell slowed the pace with a melodic intro to "Bringing on the Heartbreak."
Three- and four-part harmonies added a melancholy theatricality to ballads such as "Too Late for Love."
"If your voices are in good shape and you are game for a little sing-song, join us on this one," invited Elliot on the acoustic "Two Steps Behind."
Thrown off by the singer's out-of-time guitar strumming, the crowd didn't quite blow the roof off the place, as Elliott had hoped.
After a long jam on "Rocket" that briefly detoured into Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," the main set climaxed with three songs from 1987's "Hysteria."
The bass drum kicks and slashing guitars of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" left the crowd screaming for more.
Elliott returned to the stage and talked a bit about the importance of Seattle in the band's history.
Then Campbell and Collen, both shirtless, finished things up with a blazing version of "Rock of Ages" before encoring with "Love Bites."
Ricky Warwick, ex-singer of The Almighty, whose solo release, "Tattoos and Alibis" was produced by Elliott, opened with a half-hour of acoustic rock.
By Post Intelligencer 2003.
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