This section looks at the 'Pyromania' North American headline tour started in Odessa, TX. The first time the band had headlined a tour in the USA and Canada.
"By June, we were cooking."
Def Leppard played their first American headline arena show during the Pyromania tour on this day in 1983 in Odessa, TX.
It was also the opening night of the Pyromania North American headline portion of the 1983-1984 world tour.
The show took place at the 8,000 plus capacity Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, Texas.
The band had ended their 24 shows with Billy Squier on 21st April in Portland, Oregon.
Four days were spent - 24th to 28th April - at the arena rehearsing for their first ever American headline arena tour.
The success of the the 'Pyromania' album which hadthere on 20th January and the 'Photograph' single and a the successful run with Billy Squier prompted promoters to offer the band their first headline tour.
By July the tour would be so successful that it was extended through to the end of September and became one of the longest U.S. headline tours at this time.
The first single 'Photograph' was at Number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after seven weeks and four weeks away from peaking at Number 12.
The video was also still in heavy rotation on MTV along side the three clips from the 'High 'n' Dry' album.
It had entered the Billboard Hot 100 earlier that week at Number 87 and by late May would reach Number 12.
In the same week the 'Pyromania' album was currently at Number 8 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and was spending its 7th week inside the Top Ten.
The band would return to this venue in February 1988 to end the first American leg of the Hysteria tour just after filming the 'In the Round-In Your Face' live video.
The building had been opened in 1954.
The band talked about their first American headline tour in the 'Animal Instinct' official biography.
Rick also commented on their rise to headline status in a local interview at the time.
1983 U.S. Pyromania Headline Tour - Animal Instinct Biography Quotes
After concluding the Squier tour in Los Angeles and taking time out for an appearance on American Bandstand, Def Leppard rehearsed for four days in Odessa, Texas before commencing their first headlining tour there on April 30.
In keeping with their new top o' the bill status, the band added a few snazzy new touches to the show.
A tape of Apocalypse Now-style sound effects - sirens, gunfire, helicopters - announced their arrival on stage, which featured enormous clouds of dry ice and six columns of fire blazing eighteen feet high.
Two big Roman candle wheels turned during 'Rock Of Ages'.
Joe also had the run of the stage.
During 'Travellin' Band', which had been moved back to the second encore following 'Stagefright', Joe handed his mic to a roadie and then scampered up the PA scaffolding to the cheering of the crowd below.
Often, when Joe came back down, the roadie would hand him back a banana wrapped in black gaffa tape.
'Foolin'' was added to the set list and 'Action! (Not Words)' was dropped after the first show in Odessa because "It went down like a pork pie at a Jewish wedding," laughs Joe. "It was all experimental for us for about two months".
We had it great with Squier, our gear in front of his gear, forty-five minutes bang! and we'd go down great.
"Now we were headlining, doing seventy, eighty minutes, and really working for it."
"By June, we were cooking, though."
"The shows were selling out and we were playing real well."
Def Leppard were playing better than well.
They came out busting skulls with 'Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)' and then soaked their audience with a triple-shot of 'Rock Brigade', 'High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)' and 'Another Hit And Run', all in the first twenty minutes.
Instead of saving the big hits for last, Leppard kept their heat turned up full blast by playing 'Foolin'', 'Photograph' and 'Rock Of Ages' (complete with obligatory sing-a-long) in the middle of the show.
Taking a slight dip in mood with 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' and then zooming back to maximum warp-drive with 'Switch 625', 'Let It Go' (prefaced by a Phil Collen guitar phreakout) and a blast of 'Wasted' (prefaced by a steamin' Steve Clark solo) before nipping backstage for a breather and returning to encore with 'Stagefright'.
A lot of bands would have ended the evening right there.
Most bands take their encores for granted, if encores were distributed according to merit instead of ritualistic audience frenzy, a lot of bands wouldn't get any.
But 'Travellin' Band' became one of the tour's biggest thrills.
"This is the p[art of the show we call "We don't give a shit." Joe would often announce, after which he stripped off his sleeveless Union Jack T-shirt to reveal - voila! - a Stars and Stripes T-shirt underneath. ".
The band then came out and played "switch the instruments".
Sav strummed Phil's guitar while Phil played Sav's bass, which he then traded halfway through the song for Steve's guitar.
The song usually included a quote from Led Zeppelin's Rock And Roll and Phil would slip in a split-second quote from Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes before 'Travellin' Band' climaxed with one final ignition of those eighteen-foot columns of fire.
Rick Allen 1983 Interview Quote
"It was nerve wracking. We went from having to do a 45-minute set to an hour and a half show."
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