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Wednesday, 16th December 2015

Cardiff, Wales - Media Reviews

Def Leppard + Whitesnake - Cardiff Arena, 16/12/15 By Alex Harris

It’s like an 80s revival night in Cardiff. The double denim is out, the patches, the leather jackets, the long hair and amongst all of this is the odd terrible Christmas jumper. There’s no denying that tonight is dominated by an older age but it’s delightful to see such a variety.

It’s a packed house for the show tonight and many are anxious to be taken back to their youths, twice in one night.

It only takes Whitesnake seconds to dominate the stage. Frontman David Coverdale is captivating, his showmanship really shines through tonight. You have to admire a man whose vocals thirty plus years later is still rolling strong. He manages to cover a variety of harmonies through out the lengthy set.

The band frequently engage with the crowd in their own spaces whilst David does his best to get them to sing along. “This is fucking Cardiff, C’mon”, many do, and many just dance in their own space like no ones watching.

What strikes me is it’s just as 80s now as it was back then. Guitarists smile to the camera, pull their collection of rock faces and stances and make sure to give each other assurance. A highlight of the night came from Tommy Aldrige’s drum solo where it descended from sticks into hands and was something I don’t think many in the arena had ever quite witnessed. It was glorious to watch.

“Merry fucking Christmas” David ends their set as he puts on a Christmas hat someone’s thrown to him from the front row. He also embraces the crowd with a quick message to be safe and happy. Smiling away, you can see why the love what they do.

The arena is buzzing. There’s a gigantic queue for the bar, people are trying their best to get the best spaces and it seems nearly every other person has bought a programme or tour shirt.

The set up for tonight is full of visuals. A large amount of lights fills the stage whilst each member gets their own spotlight. Live screens to the side along with screens dominating the stage make it feel vast but surprisingly don’t drown the band out. It feels proportionate and adds to the arena experience.

As the curtain drops Def Leppard appear serious and decked with unions jacks all over. Their outfits, gear, flags, you name it.

The metal veterans start strong and all don their own style. Perhaps not so much 80s cheese smiling at the camera as Whitesnake but they move around enough to show they’ve been in this industry long enough.

Throughout the night singer Joe introduces each member and brings them up the walkway – it’s a little awkward at times but breaks up the set nicely.

Def Leppard seem to still retain most of their heyday spark but it doesn’t seem to rise above Whitesnake’s force and swagger. Per usual with most bands of this stature their older songs get the best of audience who sing their hearts out along with the band.

Mid set sees Joe play Two Steps Behind acoustically and chat with the crowd about about sports. He laughs after asking about football, of course we’re more rugby fans with lovely loud voices. What’s also charming to note is that drummer Rick Allen had the hashtag #cymruambyth written in view of the camera on his set up.

I find myself drifting off the front of the stage at times to watch the skills of drummer Rick. His performance is tight and mesmerising.

They keep the set flowing by throwing in a little bit of everything. It keeps the crowd engaged even as they play some not so known work and keeps the atmosphere high.

With lengthy sets from all the bands it’s felt like two major shows in one, a massive performance tonight for all. Everyone leaving can honestly say they’ve had a blast and most will go home feeling 17 again.

As double headliners go, this was top rated.

By Soundscape Magazine 2015.

Def Leppard And Whitesnake: Age Is Just A Number By Jon Stickler

It was Cardiff’s turn to rewind the years on Wednesday, with Whitesnake and Def Leppard, two giants of British arena rock, hair flicking their way through sets at the Motorpoint Arena.

Black Star Riders got proceedings underway with a short blast of hard-rock action drawn from their sterling two albums, ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ and ‘The Killer Instinct’. Led by the exemplary frontman Ricky Warwick, the band formerly known as Thin Lizzy thundered through old and new cuts, including Lynott classics Jailbreak and set closer, Whiskey In The Jar.

Embracing a sell out crowd, Whitesnake hit the stage to the smoldering opening licks of Burn. Led by the big-haired David Coverdale, the band shone the spotlight on their latest release, ‘The Purple Album’, a collection of reinterpreted songs from the rock lothario’s time as the lead singer with Deep Purple, alongside the usual Whitesnake classics. Powering through The Gypsy, Mistreated, You Fool No One and Solider Of Fortune, the Purple cuts rubbed shoulders with the hysteria-inducing Bad Boys, Love Ain’t No Stranger, Give Me All Your Love and Is This Love. All without a wisp of dry ice.

During a set that was as tight as Coverdale’s jeans, the mic twirling and crotch thrusts stopped just momentarily for a thundering drum solo from Tommy Aldridge before guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra displayed serious flair in riffing out Fool For Your Loving and Here I Go Again. Still Of The Night brought the curtain down on another blistering shake with the ‘Snake.

Despite being at the shitty end of middle age, headliners Def Leppard were in good shape for a band that has racked up 38 years since becoming one of the leading lights of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Oiled up guitarist Phil Collen looked as slick as the band’s next 90 minutes, which was peppered with tracks from their multi-million selling back catalogue, from the recent Let’s Go, lifted from their latest LP, to the golden years that churned out their monster hit singles.

Riding a euphoric reception, frontman Joe Elliott rolled out the songs from yesteryear with Animal, Armageddon It, Rocket and Hysteria all packing the same clout they did three decades ago. Their immortal ballads continue to soar live with Love Bites, When Love And Hate Collide and Elliott’s solo acoustic rendition of Two Steps Behind seeing everyone hug it out for huge singalongs.

With the loudest cheer of the night reserved for guitarist Viv Campbell, whose spirited attitude while battling cancer has seen further hero status bestowed on him, the band also tipped a cap to David Essex via a triumphant version of Rock On. Allen and Savage hammered out a raging five minutes of drum and bass before launching into Switch 625, the video screens throwing back to the band’s younger days with vintage clips and images for the euphemistic anthems Let’s Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me.

Never a band to leave you wanting more, before the crowd could even take a breath, they returned to pump the fists one last time through Rock Of Ages and Photograph. The wild, youthful energy of ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Pyromania’ may have fallen by the wayside in favour of delightfully cheesy banter, but no band nearing 40 years of treading the boards can still pour their hearts into a performance like Def Leppard.

By Stereoboard 2015.


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