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Saturday, 19th December 2015

Sheffield, England - Media Reviews

Triumphant homecoming for Sheffield legends Def Leppard By Neil Anderson

“Something old, something new, something borrowed but nothing blue” was the wholesome offer from Joe Elliot as the Sheffield rocker celebrated Def Leppard’s triumphant homecoming.

A packed Sheffield Arena treated the band to a heroes’ return – a fitting climax to the band’s world tour with Whitesnake and the ferocious Black Star Riders.

It is hard to imagine the band are arguably bigger today than they ever were.

Heavy metal might have taken a body blow in the 1990s with the onset of grunge, but there was no sign of it in Sheffield as the crowd – young and old – overindulged in relentless drum solos and guitar pairings courtesy of second on the bill Whitesnake.

But it Def Leppard that had the pull – you only had to see the size of queues for the bar that seemed to snake around the entire venue at some points in the night.

And they weren’t scared to push the boundaries, such as a bass solo from Rick and a top-hatted Joe to cover David Essex’s Rock O’.

The video wall gave a fitting reminder of the band’s incredible history, while hits like Animal and Pour Some Sugar On Me came thick and fast.

It was an emotional homecoming – you only had to see the tear in drummer Rick Allen’s eye – and one that won’t be forgotten.

The band signed off with the mighty Photograph and Rock Of Ages, and Joe with the words: “What a way to end the tour - look at the people here.”

When Sheffield gave the band the virtual keys to the city with ‘Def Leppard Day’ in 1995, people felt they had reached their zenith.

Twenty years later and you realise they’d hardly started.

By Sheffield Star 2015.

Def Leppard, Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, gig review: A show powered by mutual love between artist and audience By Daniel Dylan Wray

They look a little older and rounder of course - but the dominant style of 1980’s heavy metal still reigns supreme.

It’s thirty-eight years since the band formed and time appears to have stood still for Sheffield’s own Def Leppard, They look a little older and rounder of course but the dominant style of 1980’s heavy metal still reigns supreme: a scarf tied around the microphone stand, leather trousers, long hair and union jack designs on everything from the bass guitar to headphones. Much like the groups aesthetic, their music too remains locked into the styles and tones of the genres heyday. They have found a formula and stuck to it, and the fact they are packing out arenas in 2015 after their eleventh album, suggests its one that still possesses some impact.

Crunchy rhythm guitars and squawking lead dominate, as drums and bass powered alongside them. Joe Elliot’s vocals still have some guts and range to them and it generally makes for a powerful combination, especially on cuts such as ‘Love Bites’ ‘Rocket’, ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and the crowd-erupting ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. The hometown performance often gets emotional, after a rousing applause for drummer Rick Allen he is visibly moved to tears by the noise the crowd is making for him. When the group end on "Photograph" they seem similarly overcome - it was a rare performance that genuinely felt powered by a mutual love between artist and audience.

By The Independent 2015.

Def Leppard And Whitesnake - Sheffield Arena By Graham Clark

If you thought rock music was loosing its ground to pop music then think again, tonight these two melodic rock acts had sold out the 12,000 capacity Sheffield Arena.

Playing a full set Whitesnake have had many members pass through the line up over the years, of course lead singer David Coverdale has been there from the start but drummer Tommy Aldridge has been in and out of the band over the years. He is still one of the best rock drummers around and is in good shape despite being in his mid 60's.

Coverdale is still all rock poses and attitude and although his voice on some of the tracks may not be as strong as you remember he still is a commanding figure. The band released The Purple Album in the summer and the track that opens the album, Burn, opens up their set. The Deep Purple tracks that Coverdale sang when he was in Deep Purple have been re-recorded and sound, in some cases, better than the original versions.

"Good evening Sheffield, good evening Yorkshire" Coverdale says as he welcomes the fans. The set list is basically a greatest hits set that goes right back to the late 70's with Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City and then visits the bands American success with Is This Love. Whilst being more blues based when the band started their mainstream success came the band relocated to America and hit the big time with Here I Go Again.

Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell joins the band to perform Still of the Night, Campbell has played guitar in both bands and he looked healthy despite his recent cancer scare.

"We're home" says Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott as he surveys the sold out audience. "Hello Sheffield, what a place to finish our tour" he continues.

The new album is heavily featured which is no bad thing as it ranks up there as one of their best. Let's Go opens up the show and is a statement of intent. It isn't long before the band revisit their past with Animal and Love Bites still sounding as good as you remember.

With a parapet that goes into the audience the band make full use of it with the fans getting the chance to get even closer to the band. You would not expect them to do a David Essex cover but they do a great version of his hit, Rock On. The band leave the stage leaving Elliott to sing an acoustic version of Two Steps Behind.

Let's Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me up the tempo but it's not all over yet as they return to perform Rock of Ages and Photograph.

"Don't Forget us because we won't forget you" informs Elliott. " See you next time and there will be a next time" he continues. On tonight's evidence let's hope we don't have to wait too long for next time.

By The Yorkshire Times 2015.

BLACK STAR RIDERS, WHITESNAKE, DEF LEPPARD; Sheffield Arena 2015 By Alison Booth

It was an exciting time mixed with nostalgia, when back in March of this year heavy rock giants WHITESNAKE and DEF LEPPARD announced a joint headlining tour, along with special guests BLACK STAR RIDERS. I hadn’t seen either headliner for years and as both bands featured predominantly in my musical formative years, you could say that I was looking forward to the show in Sheffield!

This date on Saturday 19th December was the last of a run of ten shows in Ireland and the UK, fittingly of course ending in DEF LEPPARD‘s home town, where they formed way back in 1977. The Arena was packed, being a sold out show and the atmosphere buzzed! I must mention, as I was there with my friend Di, also my Metal Shock Finland team mate, that we used the facilities for disabled people – from the car parking to the help received from staff, especially a member of the Showsec security team, was brilliant, nothing was too much trouble.

BLACK STAR RIDERS released “The Killer Instinct” album back in February and have had a busy year, as have all the bands on the bill. The last time I saw them was a few years ago in Manchester, just before they changed from THIN LIZZY and this performance was just as great, going down well very with the crowd. It was fantastic of course to hear some Lizzy tunes in the set and guitar legend Scott Gorham looked in very relaxed mode, whilst frontman Ricky Warwick jumped around the stage full of energy! Naturally, the last song just had to be the ultimate classic ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, which sent shivers down my spine and got the whole crowd moving and singing!

Following an interval, one of my all time favourite bands were up next, WHITESNAKE! Kicking off their hour and twenty five minute set with the DEEP PURPLE classic ‘Burn’, the band exploded onto the stage in fine form, looking extremely at home as you would expect with a band of this calibre, plus their longevity thrown in for good measure. Guitarist Joel Hoekstra who joined the band in time to record their latest release, “The Purple Album”, fits into his role like a glove. Joel is an extremely accomplished guitarist who looked as if he was having a whale of a time through the whole performance, judging by the wide grin on his face! Keyboardist Michele Luppi was introduced by David Coverdale singing the opening lines from the Dean Martin classic ‘That’s Amore’ to rapturous applause! We were treated to many hits spanning the career of ‘Lord Coverdale’ (as described by Joe Elliott) – classics such as ‘Fool For Your Loving’, ‘Give Me All Your Love Tonight’, ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’, ‘Is This Love’ and many more rang around the arena, rolling back the years!

DEF LEPPARD‘s and of course ex-WHITESNAKE guitarist Vivian Campbell appeared on stage to join in with ‘Still Of The Night’, which was a real crowd pleaser! David Coverdale is showing no signs of letting up, which is great news for the fans! Of course as any reasonable person would expect, after extensive touring and with advancing years there’s the odd bit of strain in some vocals, but that said, there is still that deep rich voice belting out the songs, and the genuine big friendly personality shines through on stage as it always has done. On the whole Mr Coverdale still has what it takes and the band delivered one hell of a show, complete with a stunning drum solo from Tommy Aldridge. WHITESNAKE closed their show with David telling fans “don’t let anyone scare you”. My favourite band of the night!

Another interval, then last but not least, the final band of the night, Sheffield’s own DEF LEPPARD. The band received a tremendous welcome from their home crowd, running onto the stage with their trademark various adornments of the Union Jack flag. Vocalist Joe Elliott showed plenty of enthusiasm about being back on home turf, telling the crowd stories from back when the band started out in the 1970’s. Again, it was brilliant to see their big hits such as ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Animal’, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, ‘Armageddon It’ and ‘Love Bites’ performed in the same venue I last saw them in quite a few years ago! DEF LEPPARD also released a new self-titled album in October and have been touring the world since April, though the performance was as fresh as ever.

Plenty of stunning lights complimented the sets of nostalgic old band pictures shown on the screens throughout some of the songs, with tributes to the departed Steve Clark. Drummer Rick Allen was close to tears with the fans’ reaction at Joe‘s request to give him a cheer, the request was met with an overwhelming response. About an hour and a quarter after hit following massive hit, DEF LEPPARD concluded their set with one of their best known hits from the early days, the archetypal ‘Photograph’.

So came to a close what felt like a huge Christmas party for rockers – even in a place as large as Sheffield Arena, if you have the right mix of a friendly atmosphere and excellent bands, the camaraderie can prevail! A fantastic night! Check out a gallery of photos from the night below.

By Metal Shock Finland 2015.

Def Leppard & Whitesnake, 19th December 2015, Sheffield Motorpoint Arena By Fi Stimpson

What happens when you put two of the biggest bands in the world in a room together with 13,500 rabid fans? The answer was provided on Saturday night at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, when both Whitesnake and Def Leppard graced the stage for our entertainment. What did we get? A spectacle of the highest degree.

Of course, the night didn’t start with either of those bands. The support was provided by Black Star Riders, who were formed in 2012 by the most recent members of Thin Lizzy who wanted to record new material under a different name.

This band has a killer lineup – the legendary Scott Gorham on guitar along with a very energetic, charismatic Damon Johnson, Ricky Warwick on vocals doing a convincing Phil Lynott impression during the Thin Lizzy tunes, Jimmy DeGrasso on drums (who has also played for Ozzy Osborne and David Lee Roth’s bands to name but two), and exciting bassist Robbie Crane who stepped into the shoes of one Marco Mendoza last May.

Performing nine songs with barely a pause to take a breath, they displayed their vehement prowess with spirit and gusto. It was an absolute thrill to hear the four Thin Lizzy songs included in the set, particularly The Rocker for which they were joined by Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell to give another harmonic layer of guitar sound. There was an almost lump in the throat provoking nostalgia when Black Star Riders ripped into “Are You Ready” – a window in time for those of us who never got to experience Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy.

Black Star Riders’ own material was very reminiscent of Chinatown/Renegade era Thin Lizzy recordings, with some ebullient twin lead harmonies from both guitar players. This is definitely a band I would go out of my way to see again.

Whitesnake were simultaneously brutal, with Tommy Aldridge on drums and Joel Hoekstra’s ferociously tight guitar playing, and subtle, bringing in superb four part backing vocals to enhance Coverdale’s occasional gruff, raspy tones.

The inclusion of several choice Deep Purple cuts was an ace card; opening with no less than “Burn”, and including “Mistreated” mid way through their set were the highlights for me.

I would have liked to have experienced some of Whitesnake’s older classic “Trouble”/”Love Hunter”/”Ready & Willing” era numbers as well as the obvious hits which were present.

A swaggerful potency I’d only heard about, but when witnessed up close, Whitesnake proved they do indeed possess such a quality. No mere hard rock band this; something way more sophisticated and multi-faceted, with world class players armed to the hilt with a back catalogue of songs spanning 40 years.

The horn throwing, camera phone waving, singing at the top of their lungs crowd were buoyed and energised by the emotion and power emanating from the whole band.

It would be fantastic to see Whitesnake in a more intimate setting such as a concert hall, where they could be truly up close and personal with their crowd instead of the cavernous environment of an arena.

Following a highly charged set, Coverdale gave a particularly poignant farewell, saying “Don’t let anyone make you afraid!” before playing outro “We Wish You Well” from the iconic “Love Hunter” album.

Def Leppard were completely in their element. With decades of experience behind him, Joe Elliot is the ideal frontman. Strutting around the stage like a peacock in his finest attire, he knows exactly how to present himself and work the crowd at the same time.

Guitarist Phil Collen’s physical confidence mirroring his guitar playing, Rick Savage’s strategic, tight basslines and the rambuctious lead guitar of Vivian Campbell, who I recall fondly from the Dio days, all make for a polished and perfective formula for a band who are at the top of their game.

Rick Allen’s life changing injury has been well documented, and it was good to see in person that it didn’t stop him from providing an expressive and colourful drum solo. Years of experimenting and adaptation have seriously paid off.

As the evening went on, I felt I would have liked to have heard less of a Greatest Hits package, and more of an adventurous selection of songs. Having said that, they did throw a couple of nice surprises in. The highlight of the set for me was the instrumental “Switch 625” from the superb “High and Dry” album. Having seen footage of 1983-86 era shows, the older material is considerably more feisty and exuberant with songs from the first two albums kicking some serious ass.

All in all, this was a noteworthy nostalgia trip. Def Leppard played what people wanted and expected to hear, and those people were by no means disappointed.

By Music vs The World 2015.


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