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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Def Leppard's metal still mighty By Jeff Miers

The '80s loom large. And why not? For anyone in their mid- to late 30s, this was the decade when so much was decided. Political awakenings. Perhaps the genesis of a sense of family and love relationships. But God forbid that your taste for music was forged during the Reagan years. Drum machines for drums; arms for hostages; big hair for talent - it wasn't the friendliest of times for anyone who believed in the promise of the '60s. Though Def Leppard started out in Sheffield, England, copying the twin-guitar harmonies of Thin Lizzy and the angular muscle of Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, the music Wednesday was of a different stripe. This was "pop metal," a friendlier version of the sound that was electrifying Britain and haunting independent record stores in this country, circa 1980.

Def Leppard pulled a large crowd to Darien Lake, and there's no doubt that co-headliners Journey had something to do with the number of people willing to brave the cold. But clearly, it was this British fivesome - unchanged, pretty much, save for the loss of original member and guitarist Steve Clarke - that was responsible for bringing metal to the folks who would've never been receptive to it. Def Leppard played a close to flawless show to an audience ranging in age from 15 to 50. The group pulled from throughout its career, and there was, as a result, an interesting mix of music. The blatant AC/DC-infused hard rock of "Let It Roll" sat snugly against the post-Mutt Lange mega-overdub choir of vocals informing "Women." The power-ballad "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" had a brief but friendly chat with "Foolin'," a hard rocker from "Pyromania." And at different points throughout the show, tunes from the band's recent album of covers - the excellent "Yeah!" - brought an immediate sense of historical context to the gig.

Singer Joe Elliott delivered the full-voiced goods, his husky throatiness adding to the grittiness of the gig, while the twin-guitar team of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell did harmony a la Thin Lizzy and shredding a la post-Van Halen equally convincingly. The rhythm section of Rick Savage and Rick Allen did what it always does - played like a machine, tightness never even being an issue.

By Jeff Miers @ The Buffalo News 2006.