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Sunday, 18th June 2006

London, England - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - Def Leppard In London YEAH! By Darren/dltourhistory

So after 4 hours on a HOT bus (more Veggie than Attack) we arrived in Victoria and promptly bumped into a Japanese fan on the street who we had seen the day before In Sheffield, who had travelled all the way from Tokyo!. Not a bad way to spend the weekend really is it? 2 Def Leppard shows.

The doors for this show were at 7pm so I was hopeful there would be shorter set times for SAHB and CT but alas....they were not. Both played the same length sets. Cheap Trick played "The Flame" which was cool, a really great song and the only one I've heard of before.

We bumped into a nice family of 3 Lep fans who we'd met at the previous night's show and in Loxley (Steve's place) the day before. You can see their son's "rock" hands in the Sheffield pics in front of Phil - with the red and black/white armbands.

'Coma' came on the PA at about the same time, well actually maybe 5 mins earlier then yesterday. So - yes the show started at 9:30 and if that was strange on Saturday it was more strange on a Sunday. But who cares? - let's rock. Had a vantage point a little further back this time which was good to take in the whole scene and not be deafened by the support bands bass which was way too loud. Leppard's sound mix was superb though and crystal clear - guitars, bass, drums, backing vocals and Joe's own vocals. All of them sounded great and in great spirits. How could they not be after last night?!. A night at the bar (according to Halfin) for Joe/Sav didn't seem to have affected them much.

"Hell Raiser" - again started the show (the same set as the night before-almost!) and it's interesting to see a show two nights in a row, almost did this in 2003 - twice but they were a week and 3 days apart and different sets each time. To see the same show twice in the same place would be a bit crap but in two different types of venue in two very different places it was interesting.

The "Odeon" is large theatre that fits in about 5000 fans (seating upstairs and standing downstairs) or GA for most of you. Like the night before WWRY got the party started before the impressive video sequence. Looks even more impressive from a little further back. Nice to see some interesting visuals and extra presentation which they could have easily afforded since 1996. The Slang and Euphoria tours were pretty basic from that point of view. Would still be nice to see some lasers (even Peal Jam have them now!), if only the type used in any nightclub would still be effective. PSSOM without lasers is just wrong! even if the purple lights mimick that effect. Not sure whether ramps and that type of stuff is needed - especially on an Amphitheatre tour. So it will be interesting to see what type of thing they use this summer. And then whether it makes it back over this way.

The band put in just as strong a performance as Sheffield the night before. Vocally as strong as ever, as you would expect. Musically spot on "as ever" and covering all of the stage. Sav on top form with his trademark posing, looking out over the crowd.

The singing was very loud again tonight - not quite as loud as 2003 but still LOUD. As Phil says the "hometown" gigs are always more impressive. "Hysteria" again sounded impressive and those visuals really add something to the song, being a fan from that era it always sends a chill down the spine to hear that one played live. Still thankful to have become a fan just as that album was released. I can't see how I would have been a fan had I discovered them after that. Once more Phil 'n' Viv went center stage for the dual harmony part. The crystal clear sound always helps enhance the experience. Great job done by the crew on this. None of the problems mentioned from last year, but then those shows were outdoors. Another ballad to follow and thankfully just the three tonight and three of their best. Unlike the last two tours where they played the less-than-impressive 'new' ballads which to me on record always sound like pale imitations of these 3.

'New' songs section again and once more the most interesting part. Being the same show Joe again gave the same speech (I'll wait for the 'recording' to come back and add the speeches in-can't remember them...or much else!) and got more of a reaction with the YEAH! chant this time. A couple of looks up to the circle seats (what you could see of them from our viewpoint) showed everyone to be up on their feet and cheering/clapping. Just like 2003. No extra encouragement (or swearing) needed from Joe. Still clearly in a good mood as of course was Phil with this being his "hometown", originally anyway. Yes, happy about their induction into the Walk Of Fame on Friday.

Back to the show! "20th Century Boy" started off the cover song section again and got a great reaction. They've picked 4 of the best songs to play in amongst all their best known tunes. Would've have been nice to hear 'No Matter What' but the 4 they have played are much better so it wasn't missed at all. This one gets more participation during the song than the following one but then it is a T. Rex tune.

"Hanging On The Telephone" - next and once again I really enjoyed this song. Sounds as good as it does on the album, a great rocking song with melody (Def Leppard's trademark sound). Joe ended it by saying "Oh to be Debbie Harry". Once again the video screen showing great close up shots of all the band and really enhancing the show - more so in a smaller venue like this. The fact that this venue is smaller shows how impressive the Sheffield gig had been, it really was a large theatre atmosphere in an arena - without a round stage in the center.

"Bass Solo Take 2" - I was looking forward once more to hearing/seeing Sav's bass solo and he didn't disappoint. The same solo as in Sheffield and again a lot of the crowd unaware of last nights gig were surprised to see it. Managed to capture 15 (OK-ish) pics from this gig, not bad for only 17 left on a low quality setting and got a shot of the start with the blue light. Not one of the pics do the view justice (must get that zoom camera) but you get the idea. Sav taking center stage at a Lep show. And I know there's more than a few Sav fans who'll be happy about that...(hehe). Rick then taking to the Thundergod's riser to start off "Rock On". Great to hear Sav's bass playing on it's own for a few moments to appreciate his skill which hasn't really been showcased on it's own before other than the Slang videos. Sav's backing vocals were also as impressive as ever at both gigs. Always fun to spot who takes which vocal parts. the video screen footage again was a cool addition to the music (hope to have some footage of this up soon). And the 'rock' ending still blows the roof off - actually might have been an idea given the heat.

"Rocket - YEAH!" - Just as cool as the night before. Phil's performance on this was really impressive but then it is his favourite. Nice large shot of the Earth on screen with individual close ups of Phil 'n' Viv during the DUEL. I still always expect Sav to jump right into the front rows when he jumps down for the end section. Still a thrilling moment and this song always seems to get one of the best responses of the show. Hammersmith, a sea of hands waving, in the air!

The 'triple play' next (shame they didn't play each song in full) and this time "Animal" didn't seem to suffer from the lack of a pause before it. It sounded awesome (when does it not?) and once more a pleasure to hear my first Lep tune played live. 9th time for me tonight and 19 years on from having first heard it (has it been that long?). Hopefully to be heard again next year for a certain album's 20th anniversary and a playing of the full album. Sheffield seems like the appropriate place!.

Can't recall exactly when it was but Joe gave a speech. Saying that "We are a British band, have always been a British band and will always be a British band." And that the last two London gigs have been better than any reaction they get in the USA. And the British (well, England at least) response at these gigs has been amazing for them. Having been to these shows I have to agree!.

OK so you know what follows AN-I-MAL right? No? well get the hell off this site then!...Yes Richard Allen "Thundergod" gets his introduction. It wasn't as loud or as long as it was in Sheffield but it was just as cool a moment. Once again I think he got the point that the fans still appreciate the job he does on the drums and the example he sets. And with that done they "rocked this place down to the ground". "Rock Of Ages" seems to have been given new life since last year.

Normally you'd say "Only 3 from Pyromania! WTF?!" but really nothing was missed. You have to commend the choice to drop 'Foolin'' and 'Two Steps Behind' - let's face it Foolin' has been in the set since February 1983 at every full electric gig played. It's been due a break. TSB? well again the only acoustic song played since mid 1993. If this were a longer show then it would be time to play another song, S.M.C followed by BOTH would be my choice. With shots of Mr. Clark on screen as a tribute. Also no place for an EPIC like GOW but again nothing was missed. If this were a tour for a NEW studio album then you'd hope for at least 4 of them and that's what we got along with some of their best 'hits'. You can't ask for more than that really...well maybe the band backing Alanis on "You Oughta Know" as an encore?...

So the band lapped up the applause once more and we wait for an encore.

From our side you couldn't see "Dick's" keyboards being set up so we weren't sure if he'd make another appearance (that's him on any shots you see from the Sheffield Legends ceremony BTW). But sure enough when the band came back Joe went into his Cybernauts speech and Dick Decent was introduced by Joe and I think most of the crowd were expecting a big name guest based on Joe's build up (Mr. Brian May please!) but then seemed a bit shocked. Joe had also introduced him by mentioning the Mick Ronson Memorial gig that took place right here in April 1994.

When he came out he had a few technical hitches on his keyboard and Joe said "Are you ready? you're not ready. It helps when guests come out and they don't know what they're doing! I have to become a comedian." Or something like that.

"Do you wanna hear a joke?". Then Viv made a bit of an idiot of himself by saying "Joe I've got a joke for you. Sheffield United back in the Premiership.". Even the crowd thought it was a lame attempt, hehe. I think Viv forgot who he was talking to. An almost sackable offence you'd think and lucky for him he didn't say that in Sheffield! Joe retorted instantly with "I've got a joke for you, name some teams from Belfast!". He seemed a bit annoyed actually, well done Vivian!. Then Joe got in his joke "How do you turn a duck into a soul singer? (after some guy at the front shouted the punchline out..) Shut up! Pull on it's feathers and it's Bill Withers." Yes, crap but it was quite amusing at the time. Visited their stadium again over the weekend, well the building nearby and the Sheldon Hotel Pub where they used to have band meetings - 'Historia'.

"When Love & Hate Collide" - once more appreciated by a pretty person and everyone else. Dick Decent's keyboard string parts were far more effective I thought tonight and his vocals blended in better. Maybe it helped being a bit further back. I can't remember this song sounding so good live as it did at both of these shows. I know it's their biggest hit here but it did sound a bit tired in 2003.

"Pour Some Sugar On Me" - Maybe it's best to have this song last as if to prove they indeed have more than this song in their catalogue. Needless to say it kicked arse again and the show ended on a high. The song never fails to get a crowd going (myself included) at any show. I'd still prefer lasers but like I said before the lighting they did have was used well and no one really gave a ' sheet' about that. Another GREAT show and a really great way for (at least some) of their biggest English fans to enjoy the band live, at long last. They won't find a more appreciative bunch of fans anywhere this year - unless they nip Down Under maybe or head back to Japan. And by the tours end hopefully it will include our friends in Canada and "us" again!.

Two great shows, Sheffield being the better one but London was almost as good as the two shows here in 2003. Joe's comments about the UK were welcomed but hopefully these will be backed up by a full UK tour next year and the record companies/promo people get a clue and start to promote the band 'properly'. Cause there won't have been a better act playing these two venues this year by the time it ends.

No promo people here at all but there are lots of fans and lots of fans came from all over the UK/Ireland and Europe and from the USA.

Many thanks to Joe, Viv, Rick, Phil and Simon for the chat. Rick Nielsen for the 3 guitar picks (thrown from the stage) and last but by no means least my fellow Lep/Man-Raze fan.

As Joe likes to say: There will be a next time (next year would be good).

Fan Review - By Vishnu

Def Leppard are the first rock band I started listening to, eight years back, and Vault, my first album. Ever since, they've been my favourites and seeing my heroes live, my dream. And it all came true last Sunday at Hammersmith. Mikes put in place for the boys by the technicians, before they were on stage I could see them behind the mikes!!

The sure "raised hell" when they came on stage...and we "rocked on till we dropped"!! "Promises" sounded as good as it always does on the cd; my favourite part of the show was the "Photograph", "Armageddon It", "Animal" medley...always thought that the songs had something in common. Had the greatest moment of my life when Viv, after a superb solo waved at us and threw his plectrum at me...couldn't believe it for a while and all I could say was "***** Hell"!! I wish they played "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" too...well, maybe next time...Def Leppard rocks!!! Long live Rock N' Roll and Def Leppard!!.

Fan Review - By Richard "Rick B" Borowski

Another Great Gig At The Hammersmith Apollo, The Guitar Dual Was Great On "Rocket", The New Songs from "YEAH" Was Really Thudery Such Heavy Bass From "Rick Sav". The Animation Was Brilliant For The Hysteria Song, And The Marching Guitar's Was Excellent For "Let's Get Rocked" It Was Like Pink Floyd, The Way How It Was Done.

I Really Hope That They Get To Play In The round Again Like The Adrenalize Tour From 1992, So That I would Like To Attend, Viv, Phil and the Thundergod On Drums "Rick Allen" Don't Really Change That Much and they Still Look Great On Stage.

Fan Review - By Planet Queen

Seeing the guys at Hammersmith completes a personal circle: first time was in 1986/7 when Steve was still alive. I don't remember much of that night, other than it being so loud my then boyfriend (now hubby) got a headache and we left as soon as the gig ended. Steve's shape throwing was inspirational and I don't know how he managed to play his guitar was so low. The Carling Apollo, as it is now mistakenly called is not huge, being overshadowed by the Hammersmith flyover, but it is legendary due to the bands that have played there. Most would have played it on their way up the greasy fame ladder on the way to playing Wembley and conquering the USA.

Anyway, here we are in 2006 again, this time with two teenage kids in tow and boy is it hot inside. We briefly caught TSAHB on our way outside, I never got into Alex Harvey and apologise to anyone expecting a review of their set. To be honest there seems little point now Alex Harvey is gone but I suppose you could say that about a lot of bands. With seats up in the circle we decide to stay in the cool breeze and also miss most of Cheap Trick. (Despite encouragement that we should go in and watch- next time, when it's cooler!) Just catch the last two songs which seem ok, lead singer is a friendly and laid back kind of a guy. If it wasn't for the kids I'd sit in on the support but they get bored waiting for Def Lep and prefer to stand outside posing.

Up in the circle it is so hot we could be in a sauna and my daughter and I wonder briefly as 'We Will Rock You' comes on what the hell we are going to look like post gig when we are meant to be at our most fragrant and attractive.

The crowd erupts as the guys come on and in our part of the circle, everyone gets up pronto. This is quite simply the LOUDEST gig I've been to in a long time to the point where Joe just lets the audience carry the vocals on some of the better known songs. The sound is good, sometimes the mix is a little off compared to Sheffield but the acoustics in the venue are superb and as Darren said, it's all crystal clear. Having the screen with real-time video increases the rapport and it's great to see the guys having as much fun as we are. The things you never get to see like Ricks' feet on the drums and close-ups of guitar work give an appreciation of just how skilled these guys are. The support acts were good but Leppard are in a class of their own.

Opening with Hellraiser is spot on, it was meant to blow your socks off even when Sweet did it. I was worried about 20th Century Boy as T. Rex is very close to my heart. I don't know how Joe manages to sound like Marc coz God knows it ain't easy, but he does and the git has me in tears: there I am back in 1972 aged 11 at a T.Rex gig on the 22nd of December at the Sundown in Edmonton. Gives me the shakes just thinking about it. I would have liked to see Viv doing the solo on Thin Lizzy's 'Don't Beleive a Word' or Bowie grace the stage once more at the Hammy to do 'Drive In Saturday' but I could wallow in nostalgia forever.

The important thing for the ladies is that there are no backing vocalists to spoil the view. All the guys look luvly, Phil came on with something barely covering his top half and a bit of bling or it could have been his Auntie's best beads. Auntie must've nicked them back as it all comes off as usual (the tart); Joe has a good tan from somewhere but how the hell he keeps the leather trousers on in the melting heat I don't know.

Phil got an extra mention as London is his home town, Joe did a crap take-off of a London accent: A few miles away from Walt'amsteow' (not Memphis a la Mott). Rick looks touched again with the enormous cheer he gets and his usual grin gets wider. Despite the crowd getting louder as the night went on, there are still no extra encores. Hammersmith is quite residential so I guess they're limited. Dick Decent taking a while to set up: wobbly stool, leads not plugged in correctly, etc. gives one of those opportunities for ad lib entertainment I love. The guy with the punchline for Joe's joke must've been pleased with himself for leaving Joe speechless for a record half a second. We would've happily listened to rubbish jokes all night but the show goes on. Leaving PSSOM til later is a good move: although not as big in the UK as in the States it's brilliant live.

Getting out of the heat is wonderful, other people spotted are Paul Cook and Simon Laffy from Man-Raze, Paul left early as he was tired(!), various family, and WOLFIE who looks serious when he' s dressed. One of the best nights by far, let's hope they come back for some more later in the year.


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