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Tuesday, 5th May 2015

London, ON - Media Reviews

Media Review - Def Leppard rocks the Bud for faithful fans with big hair, big runway and plenty of big hits By James Reaney

The rumble that shook downtown London sometime after 8 p.m. on Tuesday was a delightfully deafening Def Leppard bringing the 1980s back.

The British rock band and about 7,100 fans who knew all the words communed at Budweiser Gardens on a night for big hair, a big runway, big hits -- and a big hint.

"We may see you sooner than you think. You never know," lead singer Joe Elliott shouted during the encore. That possibility and more Elliott talk about a new album and tour encouraged the fans, who were up on their feet and happy to be part of the finale of Def Leppard's Canadian tour.

The band had finished the main set with 1987's Pour Some Sugar On Me, prompting an enormous rumble of singalong.

The song before was a thunderous Let's Get Rocked, a 1992 hit. Not quite the 1980s, but close enough.

"Do you want to get rocked London?" Elliott asked. The question and the shouts it brought on could have applied to almost any Def Leppard hit on this night.

The big production had plenty of imaginative designs and projections. There were also vintage images of the band as Hysteria in the main set and the encore finale Photograph were played.

They were indeed Sheffield, Yorkshire, lads back in the day.

Still, the sweetest image was as fresh as Tuesday. Drummer Rick Allen survived a horrific 1980s' car crash but lost an arm. Allen stayed with the band. His drum solo thundered and the fans cheered. Allen then flashed a V-for-Victory sign and his smiling face was seen beaming through the cymbals on the big screen. It may be remembered as the best live image at the downtown London arena of 2015.

Def Leppard had played Rock, Rock! (Till You Drop), Animal and Let It Go in the early going of its 80-minute main set.

"Here's a number you may remember," Elliott teased in introducing Foolin' from 1983's Pyromania.

Of course, the fans remembered as the band cruised mid-set with arena-shaking volume.

Def Leppard has always known how to fly its rock flag of choice -- the Union Jack.

Elliott had Union Jack-styled scarves on his mic stand, which accompanied him during the encore for final, dramatic swirls. Elliott also had a small Maple Leaf flag worked into his stage T-shirt.

Allen had huge Union Jackemblazoned headphones and another British flag design from shoulder to torso on one side of his stage wear.

Bassist Rick Savage had a stylized Union Jack on his instrument for much of the night. It was not the traditional red, white and blue, but had its own touch.

Meanwhile, Phil Collen had a flowing scarf-like "Jack" on his guitar, the better to flow with. Fellow axe-slinger Vivian Campbell seemed the only flag-free Leppard. Never flagging, the two guitarists traded solos and had the runway to themselves when it was time for Photograph.

Opening on Tuesday was Trapper, led by St. Marys singer-songwriter Emm Gryner and Canadian rocker and guitar hero Sean Kelly.

Forest-raised Gryner, an old friend of Def Leppard's Elliott, recently asked him and the band about playing on the tour. "The nicest guy in rock 'n' roll. He just said, 'Yes.' Let's hear it for Def Leppard," Gryner shouted to Tuesday's crowd.

The set had new Trapper tunes, covers and a Trappertooled visit to Emm Gryner's 1990s' hit Summerlong, complete with Emm's brother, Frank Gryner, soloing.

Emm Gryner strapped on a big-on-her bass guitar for Summerlong while Trapper's bassist worked the camera for future video possibilities.

Trapper finished with British band The Outfield's Your Love, a big hit from the 1980s.

By London Free Press 2015.


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