Nottingham, England - Fan Reviews
Def Leppard In Nottingham Rock City - Live Review
Actually the name of a famous venue here. Not far from the arena and (almost) played by Def Leppard in March 1983 (before it was postponed and moved elsewhere).
Yes, another Def Leppard concert. My first in exactly four years (to the day). And as it turned out one of the better ones in recent years. I'd decided after 2011 and another (supposedly "home town") gig that (wasn't) I'd have to go somewhere else to see them. At least to try to make something about seeing a Def Leppard show "new". Why Nottingham?. Why not?. Actually the reason is it was the longest show of that six show tour with 18 songs played. The setlist on this tour though means that was no longer an issue.
Def Leppard - The Main Event
Last PA Songs before Lep started - Queen - Brighton Rock and AC/DC - Shoot To Thrill.
Me - "They start after this song.", Sister - "How do you know that?". Me - "chuckle".
I gave my sister a little history on the band's recent years on the way up to Nottingham. Including Vivian's illness - and that they'd played in Grantham in 1978...(one of the train stops) - fascinating stuff!.
I've been reading all the comments about how the sound at Lep shows this year is way too loud. And remembering how much I didn't enjoy the 2011 show - based on it being WAY too loud. I decided I'd have to think about maybe getting ear plugs. I always thought proper ear plugs would make it sound crap but it turns out it improves the experience. And the sound quality!
01 - Intro/Let's Go
The first song on Def Leppard's new album DEF LEPPARD. Making it's live debut - for me at least. Never before heard or seen in full other than a few photos and 5 seconds of audio. First time seeing and hearing the intro with the curtain and the red lights/DL logo coming out of the screen before exploding in the album cover design. Good decision to not be exposed to this before the show. It really made it seem like something "brand new". And with so much of the setlist already known and seen, that was refreshing.
The song sounded great live. Not quite the same as on the record from a backing vocals point of view but with hundreds of vocal parts blended together on the album it would have been hard to do!. They've always managed quite well on the Hysteria songs.
Great to see it make it's full live debut. Apparently it's been rehearsed 20 times already at some needless, pointless, thoroughly incidental and ultimately forgettable shows before this. (It's true if "I" believe it!...).
Personally I would have still had the 'Disintegrate intro' or waited to lift up the curtain as the band kick into the song. The curtain going up moment seemed a little anti climactic - doing it before the band were fully visible on stage.
LOUD - This show redefined LOUD.
02 - Animal
Up next my favourite Def Leppard song and the first one I ever heard back in July 1987. The first time seeing the 2013 VIVA! Hysteria visuals. It looks as impressive in real life as it has done on videos and photos since March 2013. Yes, when they only tour the UK every eon (or 4 years), quite a lot of things are already out of date.
03 - Undefeated
Not my favourite on record or to listen to on live recordings and I don't really care for the whole Mirrorball era of the band (or 2004 to 2008 either) but this sounded great in the arena. Nothing compares to being at a show and experiencing the power and the volume (especially without your ears hurting!) instead of just watching a YouTube clip or listening to a live recording. I didn't think it sounded this good in 2011 but was probably still wondering if my ears were about to pack up for good after Motley Crue. That and wondering if I'd had a heart attack when they decided to open their set unexpectedly with a quick burst of Pyro (what the f**k?!).
Joe Elliott - Phil Collen Intro
"Thank you. Good evening Nottingham. How ya doing?. Can we hear some noise out there?. Can you give a big hello please to the Black Star Riders. A big hello to Whitesnake. How about a big hello for this boy here. All the way from the East End of London. Mr Phil Collen. Introducing a track from the new album. This one's called Dangerous."
04 - Dangerous
The live premiere of Dangerous (see above...;)...). aka Joe Elliott's most hated live song (see all recent live videos on YouTube for details - ouch!). Of course you have to remember Joe has about 5 different illnesses currently - anything from bronchial pneumonia to a cold/flu and a sore throat. He sang well for most of the show but struggled on a few high notes so probably still has the sore throat or some other issues. All the more reason to stop these silly December tours!. June will do next time.
The song as with Let's Go sounds great live. Very cool drumming from Rick and great guitar work. More importantly though - something new!. And a new song from a new studio album. That hasn't happened since...2008. And my sister doesn't realise how rare it was for us to have heard/seen one of those new songs in 2008 (at Islington Academy) - namely - 'Hallucinate'. It's only live performance at a full concert. I had hoped one day she would get to see the full show to go along with the club show and tonight was the night. Someone else was supposed to be there too but wasn't (long story!).
Joe Elliott - Love Bites Intro
"Thank you. Thank you very much. That's from the latest album. This one that we're about to play. You may remember it from way back when."
05 - Love Bites
And speaking of guitar work. One of many highlights was getting to see Vivian play his solo in this song. Suitably with an almost purple backdrop behind him (#CampbellTough). My first time seeing him (of the band) since his cancer diagnosis in March 2013. He played better than ever and being almost directly in line to see him playing his solo and then glancing up at the screen to see him smiling at the front rows after it was a special moment. The first time I can remember where Joe introduced the song before it started.
Joe Elliott - Vivian Campbell Intro
"Thank you. What?. I don't know why it's so quiet out there. I don't know what the fuck's going on. I've even brought my friend down here. But still no noise. Yeah. That's the way to do it. Look at this boy here all the way from Northern Ireland. The boy who in fact puts the fast in Belfast. Will you make some FUCKING noise for a very happy and healthy Vivian Campbell!."
06 - Armageddon It
Cool visuals even though the figures on the screen are clearly nonsense!. A noticeably louder cheer than the other songs when Vivian's solo started - another cool moment!. And once again, with everything that's happened over the last three years, a special moment to witness with the introduction. Although given his recent good news more of a celebratory feel on this tour leg! (Ole!).
Joe Elliott - Rick Savage Introduction
"Thank you. Thank you very much. Well it's been a while. I think we were here in 2008. Funnily enough with Whitesnake. Good things do happen twice. This is a great tour that we're doing and it's good to see so many people in here tonight. In the year 2015 when the whole world is telling us that rock is dead on its arse. It fucking well isn't as far as I'm concerned. What about you. What do you think?. Well I'll tell it like this here's the thing. 38 years ago I met this guy for the very first time. I had a great record collection. He came round to my Mum and Dad's house and he went I'll have some of that my friend. And 38 years later, having decided that we had a mutual love for certain kinds of music, we're still best fucking mates. Can I introduce you please to Mr. Rick Savage."
07 - Rick Savage Bass Solo/Rock On
After an unexpected - until I saw some of it a few shows ago on periscope (oops!) - Rick Savage introduction. The song hadn't had any intro before the UK leg - well, it might have but I didn't see or hear it!. This was a great part of the show. Much better sounding than recent years - 2006/2008 - actually the only previous times it's been played here. So not as old sounding as it might be for the US fans where it's been played almost every year since 2005.
This song highlights the show now has taken on an almost theatre type production level. Easily the best production the band have had on a UK tour. Apart from maybe the Adrenalize In The Round staging/lighting.
Joe Elliott - Pre Two Steps Behind Speech
"What?. Why is it so fucking quiet out there?. Is there a noise ban in this building?. Come on you don't want to be the quietest crowd on the tour surely. It's kind of between you and Newcastle right now. So it's your choice. I can't invite you any more easier than that. You wanna make some noise or not?. (deafening roar) You wanna do some singing?. How about let's try this. Do you wanna sing?. How's ya singing voices?. Here's an offer you can't refuse all right. How about everybody in this building, everybody in this building joins the band for the next four minutes?. What do you think?. You can tell all your friends tomorrow you were actually in Def Leppard. All fucking 8,000 of ya. What do you think?. You wanna do it?. Alright well if you know it, sing it. Two Steps Behind."
08 - Two Steps Behind (acoustic/Joe Only)
Joe was half joking in his little speech by the way. (I think!). It was a bit different to normal with just Joe but didn't sound too bad. Probably Joe's favourite of the night as it's the easiest to sing with no high notes.
09 - Rocket (Single Version)
The best on screen visuals of the night. And all of the Hysteria songs got the best reaction. I was looking forward to seeing the screens for this and it did not disappoint in person. Probably the best visuals at a rock show (outside of Nine Inch Nails' Lights In The Sky tour of 2008 of course! - see YouTube).
10 - When Love & Hate Collide
This sounded better than I expected. It had become a bit boring at the last few shows. From a personal preference point of view, I would have had them do a little intro mentioning the VIVA! Hysteria film and album release since they were last here. Then say "and here's a song we have never played in the UK since the Hysteria album was released in 1987" - and then play 'Love And Affection'. But they didn't - of course they did use the visuals for that song from 2013. This time the song sounded great. Perhaps the time between tours worked to its advantage. Anyway it didn't sound boring at all. It's been just over 20 years since it was their biggest UK hit so maybe it deserved to keep its place in the set after all.
11 - Switch 625 (Instrumental)
If I had to pick a highlight - after explaining why all 16 songs were the highlight - then it would have to be this. The now famous Rick Allen moment being the highlight of this performance. Enhanced more than ever by the video screen close ups and Rick's own playing up to the camera. A "lovely moment" according my sister who captured the moment (see photo). I think everyone in the arena agreed, including me.
Rick's hashtag for the evening. Turns out the Boat Club was located 15-20 mins south of this venue on the other side of the River Trent (between a famous football stadium and cricket ground). Played here in September 1979 - their first show in the city. And also twice in 1980. One of the few places they played 'This Ship Sails Tonight' in - and possibly one or two other songs we've never heard of (unless the other three new songs played on the December 1980 club tour were 'Lady Strange', 'When The Rain Falls' and 'Medicine Man' - now I'm getting into setlist trainspotter territory...).
As for shows in Nottingham - it appears they come in threes. 1979/1980 - three shows at the Boat Club. 1983/1987/2003 - three shows at the Royal Centre. 2008/2011 and now 2015 - all three of these shows have been at Capital FM Arena.
12 - Hysteria
My sister cried a bit to this one. I guess that sums up the historical visuals. Later on saying it reminded her of "when we were little kids". Hopefully not suggesting we are now "old"!. Once again I was enjoying the VIVA! Hysteria visuals in person for the first time. I had planned on capturing two moments in photos beforehand. The largest shot of the album cover in the middle of the screen and when the full In the Round stage appears. However I also decided I wasn't going to take loads of photos this time and just take in the show.
Joe Elliott - Let's Get Rocked Intro
"Oh yeah!. Now we're getting it out there. We like that!. Still OK?. Still OK?!. Do ya wanna get rocked?."
13 - Let's Get Rocked
Intro was a bit off - possibly some kind of technical hitch. Phil and Viv seemed to be laughing at each other after the intro part. Something Sav was doing to either Vivian or someone at the side of the stage during Let's Go (see Fan Videos). Joe might have had a mic issue or forgot to sing one line.
The visuals on this didn't relate to the lyrics - as with the next song) but they looked very cool. More new than the VIVA! stuff having been debuted - actually before the tour on the La Voix show in April. I originally thought they were the TV stations own graphics - but obviously not!.
Another song that isn't a favourite but I was enjoying hearing all the well known songs by this point.
14 - Pour Some Sugar On Me
(Album Version) - A live debut of sorts for a song which has been played at every Lep show since June 1987!. I did a quick check and found they have never done the "Step Inside, Walk This Way" vocal intro in the UK or Ireland before the Dublin show. So if you were thinking the "hits" section never changes - you were almost right!. They did the "Love Is Like A Bomb" intro in 1996, and again when they did the USA version in 2008/2011 but never this one. So you could either call it the UK/Irish debut of the VIVA! Hysteria version or the original album version. Looking that up before the show was probably due to not thinking it would be as great a show with only 16 songs and a shorter set time. So try to find at least something that would be "new" - along with playing two new songs.
My sister was singing along to this and dancing. It helps to attend a show with a non-uber fan and it reminds you to appreciate all the songs. But as I said the setlist cynic in me disappeared during the first song. And having enjoyed this show so much. So has the "only going to one show from now on" part of me. 2, 3 - maybe even 4/5 next time - we'll see!. Or a trip to the USA (outside chance!).
Joe Elliott - Pre Rock Of Ages Speech
"Thank you. Once again big hand for Black Star Riders. Lord Coverdale and Whitesnake and Bernie Marsden. Holy Fuck. He brought Bernie back tonight. How cool was that. We saw them when we were just starting off and he was a big part of the band at the time. So go on make some noise for Bernie. He doesn't get to do this very often. Now can you make, can you make maybe just a little bit more noise. For this boy at the back. Stand up Rick Allen. He's gonna introduce this one for ya."
15 - Rock Of Ages
Gunter Glieben GLOUTEN Globen - where the f**k are people getting this Glouchen nonsense from?. There's no K or CHA sound in there...
One of the joint best moments of course being Rick's introduction before the song starts. We've all heard this a lot and seen it on video but being there to see it is always special.
16 - Photograph
A great way to finish with the old photos moving across the screens. One song my sister asked about before the encore started - "Do they do Photograph?" - yes, it's coming next.
I didn't think a couple of weeks ago before seeing a 16 song setlist (as played in Sydney, Perth and Singapore) that I would enjoy this show as much as I did. It was great from start to finish and I didn't think about the setlist once.
Not having any noise issues in my ears helped make this show one of the most enjoyable in recent years. I can't recommend my little trick highly enough.
I have no idea how anyone could have endured the sound level at this show without anything to protect their ears.
Even Satan felt the power of the bass from this show, down in hell!...with Steve Clark beside him on lead guitar! (obscure old Joe Elliott interview reference...).
Until next time(s)...or as Joe put it:
Joe Elliott - End Of Show Speech
"Thank you. And by the way I think the loudest so far now. So Nottingham. Until next time and there will be a next time!. Do us a big favour yeah. Don't forget us and we won't forget you. Goodnight."
Got a recording of the show. Speeches are clear - the rest is a garbled mess of heavy bass distortion - note: MP3 Players with a Voice Recorder option...work very well for recording "voices". And (slightly less distorted) acoustic versions of Two Steps Behind.
Shorter co-headline hits sets are the way forward? - let's not go nuts!. But this one with Whitesnake, including them having just as good a show as Def Leppard, is much better than the one in 2008. And a better suited band to perform with after the sort of crowd that Motley Crue attracted in 2011!. This was a return to the usual friendly atmosphere at Lep gigs.
Using Imogen Heap's handy tip about the make shift ear protection helped enhance the enjoyment. After having ear pain for three days or so after 2011's far too loud and bass heavy show. This one was the first ever where after I left didn't even feel like I'd been to a show - from a - "state of ears afterwards" point of view.
View over 80 - Nottingham Fan Photos
Black Star Riders
Got in just as the first song was ending (All Hell Breaks Loose). Heard most of it through the doors though. Seeing Ricky Warwick on stage looking exactly the same as he did when still solo in 2003 was a flashback moment to the X/Ten tour. I was looking forward to seeing the tour this year for many reasons (and many songs - many of which weren't played tonight) including reliving the Disintegrate Intro and seeing Ricky opening for them again.
Most of BSR's set is very different from his solo stuff in those days from the Ronan McHugh/Joe Elliott co-produced 'Tattoos And Alibis' album. And speaking of Ronan. When entering the building and getting a drink and some food before heading inside the main arena. Who should walk past but Ronan himself. The second time he's walked right by after a Manraze gig in December 2008 when he was moonlighting from Lep.
Seemingly he was noticed only by me. My sister asked if I could introduce him to her when I told her he was their producer/sound guy and only 43 years old. My reply - "Um...no.".
The highlight for BSR was 'Finest Hour'. They got a decent reception but things were about to get a little more lively and LOUD. Not for my ears though!.
A great show from the band (well, as good as a WS show can be without playing more than one song from the 'Slip Of The Tongue' album!). Cool to see Tommy Aldridge on drums for the first time. Vivian Campbell even made an appearance with them - but only on the photo montage during 'Bad Boys' (song #2).
The highlight was probably 'Fool No One' (which I only knew after checking out the Purple album in the last week or so). I decided after the last few shows being bored by the support bands that this time I'd check out some of their songs and know what to expect and therefore enjoy them more. And find some stuff to get interested in. It helped to make the time go quicker before the main act most of us came to see.
They brought out one of their old original members (before DC went all MTV and hairspray in 1987) - Bernie Marsden. He played with them on two songs - 'Fool For Your Loving' and 'Here I Go Again'. The two remakes from the '1987' and 'Slip Of The Tongue' albums.
Unlike 2008 they got to use the whole stage and lighting plus all three video screens. Made they seem less like an opening act and more like a proper co-headline band. I enjoyed their set more than 2008. A much better band too. The only member still with them (I checked and other than David Coverdale there's been - 40 others since 1978!) - Reb Beach.
The other guitar player Joel celebrated his birthday at the show with 'Lord Cov' leading the crowd in singing to him.
The 30 min gap after this seemed to fly by.
share this page:
get def leppard news
Stay in touch with the latest updates.
explore def leppard tour history