This section looks at the Slang world tour opening night in Bangkok, Thailand. The second full electric show to be played in this city and country.
"It's a lot less stiff than it was on the last tour."
Def Leppard played the first show of the Slang world tour in Bangkok, Thailand on this day in 1996.
The 'Slang' album had been released onand featured a slightly different sound and direction for the band.
The show took place on 28th May at Indoor Stadium Huamark. Plans to start the tour on the 25th in Bombay (now Mumbai) in India were scrapped.
The band had played the city for an acoustic show in late October 1995 during the Vault promo tour.
The only previous full electric performance was theof the Pyromania world tour in February 1984.
That show was the last time Rick Allen would play drums with two arms ahead of his 31st December 1984 car accident. Other from the 1995 Vault tour it would also be the city in which he played his first full electric show using an acoustic drum kit. Having returned to using one during the recording of the album.
The Bangkok show was the first of well over 160 to be played from May to December 1996 on the first part of the Slang world tour.
Revealed below is the confirmed setlist from the Bangkok show which was discovered last year printed in a local magazine review. It featured the first performance of 'Billy's Got A Gun' since the opening UK leg of the Hysteria tour in September 1987.
The first leg saw them play their very first shows in many countries in South East Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and a return to Thailand and Singapore. After this they headed back to Japan for an 8 show run.
Neo psychedelic pop rock bandwere the support act when the band reached the USA and Canada. That leg of the tour ran from late June to mid September. At the time it was the shortest North American tour the band had played for a new album since becoming a headline act.
Following this the band played a four week long stint around Europe before heading home to Sheffield to begin a UK/Ireland tour supported by Terrorvision. They headlined two nights at Wembley Arena in late November drawing more fans than the reformed KISS who had played there a few days before them.
Three outdoor shows were played in South Africa to round off the 1996 leg before regrouping in April 1997 to play their very first South America tour and a return to Mexico before finally ending in Puerto Rico.
The tour featured a more basic approach in terms of the equipment they used and the stage design. A very basic stage had two walls of Marshall amps either side of Rick's drum kit and minimal lighting. Three small screens were used in the lighting rig which moved to face the crowd and had various patterns shone on to them but no video content.
Joe Elliott wrote a tour diary for Q Magazine from the opening shows of the tour in Asia. In this first part, he explains why they dropped Truth? after playing it for the first and only (known) time at this concert. You can also read some other quotes about the tour by the whole band.
Def Leppard Bangkok, Thailand - 28th May 1996 Setlist
- 01 - Gift Of Flesh
- 02 - Another Hit And Run
- 03 - Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
- 04 - Foolin'
- 05 - Work It Out
- 06 - Billy's Got A Gun
- 07 - Deliver Me
- 08 - Hysteria
- 09 - Animal
- 10 - Truth? - (First and only live performance)
- 11 - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (electric)
- 12 - Switch 625 (Instrumental)
- 13 - Two Steps Behind (acoustic)
- 14 - When Love & Hate Collide (acoustic)
- 15 - Photograph
- 16 - Rocket (Single Version)
- 17 - Rock Of Ages
- 18 - Armageddon It
- 19 - Pour Some Sugar On Me
- 20 - Love Bites
- 21 - Action
Joe Elliott Slang Tour Diary - 28th May 1996
"Don't fancy yours much..." ...especially when "yours" is an hairsuite Irish guitarist in an ill-fitting dress. Always the open-minded one, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott takes on South East Asia at karaoke, drinks his own body weight in Scotch and worries about his father, lying in an intensive care ward back in Sheffield.
Monday May 27 - Bangkok, Thailand, day before first gig.
The gig is tomorrow night so we just run through the ones that need tidying up. Everything goes well apart from the fact there's no air conditioning, so it's a total sweat-box. We reconvene in the dressing room and return to the hotel. Jet lag kicks us in the balls at various points in the evening so I end up in the bar five minutes before it closes, for one quick drink and a hello to two competition winners (from Chesterfield!), one in a Sheffield United shirt!. Top man.
Tuesday May 28
Here we go again. Our driver thinks he's Damon Hill and we lose the Police escort, but we do arrive in one piece and after a handful of interviews we run through a couple of songs just to be sure. We're on at 8:30 tonight, our first "electric" gig for two and a half years and remarkably no nerves yet!. It's so hot, Phil and Viv decide to go on in shorts. I, on the other hand, opt for the less sensible but much more rocking black leather trousers and black shirt. Sets off my bottled blonde locks swimmingly! Viv tries on a dress, a lovely little blue denim number which he picked up in LA. Maybe I should explain: apparently when we play in Singapore the government don't allow "kissing other band members or members of the audience... No jumping around on stage in a threatening way" and we must be clothed "from the shoulders to the knee", "Ah-ha," said Viv, "they omitted the small print."
No such rules here though, so the near-naked Phil and Viv (and the rest of us) take to the stage and rip into Gift Of Flesh, which goes down great considering hardly anybody has heard it. The album has only been out a week or so, Deliver Me goes down like an old favourite (can't figure that one out), Truth?, on the other hand, goes down like a pin in a rubber johnny factory. The arena is too echoey to deal with a song so sparsely arranged. We play it well enough but we'll have to rethink this one.
All the old ones go down as you'd expect and everybody leaves happy. We're relieved that nothing drastic went wrong, so everybody except yours truly goes out to celebrate. Me, I want to rest my pipes and I tend to get very loud after a couple of Scotch & gingers. One show down, 199 to go. Goodnight.
Read the full tour diary on the -
The opening track on the Slang album was played live at this show for the only time. As explained above by Joe, the song was cut from the setlist after only one performance. A few seconds of the song was briefly shown on a May 1996 MTV Europe special which was filmed during the tour rehearsals in Los Angeles a couple of weeks before this show.
New album tracks 'Gift Of Flesh' and 'Deliver Me' were also played for the very first time. 'Work It Out', which had been played live at the Los Angeles radio event, made its full concert debut.
Phil Collen - 6th July 1996 Interview Quotes
"The new show is a reaction to what we've done before. The 'Slang' album is a very different album for us, and we've taken the same approach to touring. There's no audience participation stuff this time, no solos, just songs. We played 22 songs last night at our show in Chicago. It all sounds so fresh."
Joe Elliott - June 1996 Interview Quotes
"When we made this record, we made a conscious effort to have a production that allows people to hear the group, rather than the production, we got a little bit pissed at hearing that the production is always so great. What about the songs? What about the performance?. We wanted people to hear the band on this record, and not the production. It's the same when we go out live, we want people to remember the five of us on stage, not the pods that moved or the drum riser that went up and down blah blah blah."
"So we're going out with the most basic stage we've used since Pyromania - us and nothing else. A lot of sweat, a lot of energy, a lot of volume, a lot of Marshalls, a lot of Les Pauls, no toys, no explosions, no nothing. It's rock 'n' roll, that's what it is. It's like an Oasis show, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple - when they went out they had nothing, it was just the guys in the band."
"Every country is different. When you start the tour off, you lump it as South East Asia, but some countries are five hours apart by plane, which is as far as New York is from L.A. The cultures are all slightly different, they're just all of an oriental nature. You have semi-language barrier problems to negotiate, which is not that much of a problem, I'm sure politicians have a much harder job than we do."
"Generally it's been very, very good. Singapore was a bit more reserved than Bangkok, and in Seoul, where you'd think they were more reserved, they were completely nuts."
Rick Allen - May 1996 Interview Quotes
"I think it'll be a lot more relaxed especially when we get rehearsals into shape. But the whole production thing will be a lot more basic and I think it puts the emphasis back on the band again as opposed to, you know, this huge thing that was getting bigger than the band!."
Joe Elliott - May 1996 Interview Quotes
"No more "Ooh look at that lovely drum riser," It's more like, "Ooh listen to that lovely drummer. That's what it is and I think the word relaxed is a bit strange because it's not as if we're gonna go out there on stools and rocking chairs. You know it's gonna be kick ass and all that stuff like a rock band should be. But it's just like instead of just having banks and banks and banks of toys. It's just gonna be like the band, a few lights and a lot of Marshalls."
Phil Collen - May 1996 Interview Quotes
"Rick's playing a regular kit, and that's gonna change the sound. It's made it all fresh and lovely again. We're playing Marshall amps again and not so much of the big effects racks like it was before. It's a lot rawer. It's fun, it's a lot more exciting because it's new for us."
Vivian Campbell - August 1996 Interview Quotes
"It's a lot less stiff than it was on the last tour. This time we rehearsed for about three weeks, last time we rehearsed for about three months. We were really tight. This time out we're pretty much as tight as we were before, but what we've lost in that cohesiveness we've made up for in vibe. Partly that's due to the way we recorded the Slang record, and also it's due to the fact that last year, for Vault, we went on a worldwide promotional trip that involved us playing acoustic a lot, and when you play a lot of those songs acoustically you have to readjust them because you don't have effects, you don't have a whammy bar, you can't really bend strings, so we had to do different interpretations of a lot of the songs."
"We found that it really worked and the quality of the songs comes through. A good song can stand up to being adapted in a lot of different ways, so we took that ethic that we learned on the acoustic thing and we applied it to this tour, and a lot of the old songs have a different sort of approach to them and have a renewed vigor that wasn't there on the last tour. It was replaced by a perfectionist aspect. It's good, there's much more of a vibe. It's almost like it's a different band."
Rick Allen - August 1996 Interview Quotes
"I think what we tended to do, is play the older songs more like the way we recorded the new songs, and I think it's given the old songs a new lease on life. There seems to be a bit more of a band vibe about playing them again."
"That's true, it's more like the approach of playing in close proximity on a small stage, it's that sort of mentality as opposed to everybody being off in a far-flung part of the stage and they've got to stand in a certain place because there's a certain lighting cue, this, that, and the other. Now it's like the music is more of the emphasis. We've actually had a real positive reaction from people that we've talked to after shows. One guy the other night in Kalamazoo said he saw us there on earlier tours, and I asked him, "How did tonight's gig compare to the last time we were here?," and he said, "like it better because you were focused more on the music."
"I think it's good for any band to touch base again and get back to where they were, and the reasons for getting the band together in the first place."
Rick Savage (on tour rehearsals) - May 1996 Interview Quotes
"We normally take around about three weeks to actually do most of the rehearsals. The first week of those three is complete chaos really. We're just setting up gear. In fact, Joe's generally not even there for that part. And it's basically just getting the gear together and just getting balances. And working through the music without any vocals whatsoever and then the following two weeks we really start looking at the songs and plowing through them."
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