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Sunday, 26th April 2015

Regina, SK - Media Reviews

Def Leppard By Jeff DeDekker

If Sunday night’s show is any indication, Def Leppard is more than capable of providing rock for the ages.

Playing to a huge crowd at the Brandt Centre - if the show wasn’t sold out, it was close to a full house - Def Leppard gave the appreciative audience everything it was expecting and more.

Although the band does have its detractors, its legion of fans were out in full force Sunday night. So exactly how does a band manage to stay relevant for 35 years?

Well, it helps to sell a lot of records and Def Leppard has that covered with a reported 100 million albums sold worldwide.

It also helps to continually tour and engage with the fans regularly, and again, that is something Def Leppard is known for. Let’s take a look at their itinerary for the rest of the year: After the 13-date Canadian tour is finished on May 5, the band is heading to Europe for 11 shows in May, then it’s off to U.S. in June for 50 shows with Styx and Tesla that run into October. After eight solo shows in the U.S., the tour reaches the U.K. for another 10 shows in December. That’s 92 shows in eight months — actually its seven months because there are no shows in November.

It’s that type of commitment that has resulted in Def Leppard’s loyal and dedicated fan base.

Comprised of Joe Elliott (vocals), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick “Sav” Savage (bass) and Rick Allen (drums), Def Leppard was ready to rock, fittingly enough, from the opening notes of Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop).

Elliott is still entertaining as the frontman, constantly engaging the crowd with a wave or a smile or a quick compliment. He wasn’t much for small talk and although he did have a few cheesy intros, I’ll give Elliott credit for not using the old “city that rhymes with fun” line so often used by bands playing Regina. It’s just old and unoriginal.

Elliott’s voice was quite good for the most part although the extreme high notes are no longer in his vocal tool box. That being said, it still sounded like Def Leppard and odds are that most of the fans don’t care than Father Time has sliced a little bit from the range of the 55-year-old.

The other members of the band were also in fine form. Collen, who has been known to perform shirtless, wore a vest — just vest, no shirt — on this night with a scarf tied to one of his belt loops of his pants. Not many 25-year-olds have the physique to pull this look off, yet the 57-year-old Collen is proof proper exercise and diet can have incredible results. And while Collen has many female fans who are in love with his abs, for most fans it’s his powerful guitar riffs that make the music memorable.

Collen and Vivian Campbell took a turn in the spotlight at the end of the runway during Switch 625, an instrumental piece from the 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry. The guitars led into a solo by Allen and his drumming was a remarkable thing to hear and watch.

The concert production featured a moderate stage show with lots of lights and extensive use of video but there were no lasers or pyrotechnics. The production didn’t miss them as staging fit the show.

The night was really about the music as Def Leppard filled 90 minutes with 17 songs and with the exceptions of Switch 625 and Paper Sun (a song the band reportedly hasn’t played live since 2000), the set list was hit after hit after hit.

Whether it was Animal, Live Bites, Armageddon It, Rocket or Hysteria, the music had the crowd on its feet for most of the night. And of course it wouldn’t be a Def Leppard show without Pour Some Sugar On Me. It would be safe to say that the majority of those in attendance, if not all of them, expected to hear Pour Some Sugar On Me at some point in the evening. Given the number of times the hashtag #poursomesugaronme was used in tweets about the show, it was obvious which hit the fans were waiting for.

Elliott received instant feedback on the song when a fan fired her bra on stage during the first chorus. After it struck him in the legs, Elliott picked it up, gave it a quick twirl and then placed in on top of a speaker. I’m not sure if that indicated whether he was pleased or not with the token of appreciation.

The band took a brief trip down Memory Lane during Hysteria, using a stream of footage and pics from the early days as the backdrop. They looked like gods of rock band then and although they’re not as flashy now, they still have that swagger to pull off the rock star vibe.

By Leader Post 2015.


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