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42 Years Ago DEF LEPPARD Make NEW YORK Debut w/ AC/DC On JOE ELLIOTT's 21st BD

Def Leppard 1980. Def Leppard 1980

Def Leppard played an On Through The Night tour show in New York, NY on Joe Elliott's 21st birthday on 1st August 1980 supporting AC/DC.

The band's first ever visit to the city during their first North American tour.

The show took place at The Palladium.

AC/DC headlined the show and featured then new singer Brian Johnson who had replaced Bon Scott.

They had just begun to tour in support of 'Back In Black' which was produced by Mutt Lange and would go on to become te best selling rock album of all time.

Joe talked about this show briefly with Brian Johnson in his 2017 TV show 'A Life On The Road'.

Def Leppard were in the middle of a second run of support shows with Judas Priest and about to end their debut North American tour a few days later.

Joe had two reasons to celebrate as he turned 21 when the band made their debut in New York City.

As explained in the 1987 'Animal Instinct' biography, Rick Allen almost had a nasty accident during the sound check.

Read many quotes about the show below.

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Def Leppard 2019. Screenshot

Brian Johnson's A Life On The Road - 2017 Quotes

Sammy Hagar/AC/DC Tours

Brian - "Once they had a record deal Def Leppard quickly found themselves supporting rock heavy weights like Sammy Hagar."

Joe - "We did four shows with Sammy. We hadn't made an album yet but we had a single out. But these opportunities were arising and funnily enough we got to do the Highway To Hell tour with AC/DC."

Brian - "That's with Bon singing. Of course yeah."

Joe - "I still owe him a tenner 'cause he came into the bar and he says you know do you boys want a drink?. And I'm going we ain't got any money and he threw a tenner down and says you can give it me back and we never did."

Brian - "No that's great 'cause you just brought a lovely fuzzy memory back to me. I remember when it was my first time in America with AC/DC and I was a little nervous and it was the Grammercy Park Hotel in New York City. Cockroaches and peeling paint and I went downstairs and there were you on the pavement and I remember saying to you I said I'm really nervous about this' cause I was shell shocked, you know, you'd done America before but It was my very first time. And it was funny because here were you you were a baby. What were you 19?."

Joe - "That was my 21st birthday."

Brian - "21 and I was 32 or 33 at the time and I think it was you that calmed me down which quite strange I was meant to be the father figure."

Joe - "As you were 'cause you've gotta remember we saw you on Top Of The Pops on Geordie so we were like well aware of who you were. When you got that gig we were like going good for him."

Show Story - From Animal Instinct

By the time Leppard made their New York debut on Joe's twenty-first birthday, opening for AC/DC at the Palladium, the band had noticeably improved onstage, according to Cliff Burnstein. "They were not the world's greatest live band at the time. They were competent, but from that very first show in Santa Monica to the Palladium in New York with AC/DC, they'd come a long way. There was a lot of pressure on them when they got to New York, but they made a real good impression on that night".

The Palladium show got off to a weird start. During soundcheck, the lighting rig almost collapsed, dropping six feet without warning before coming to a halt just above Rick's head. "It frightened everybody to death," Rick says, "because when those things drop, they show no mercy." But the jolt Leppard got that afternoon did wonders for them that night. The New York Times, hardly your typical heavy metal fanzine, raved about the band's set. Critic Robert Palmer wrote that...[see Media Review below].

By Zomba Books 1987.

AC/DC/Def Leppard @ The Palladium By The New York Times

The playing is crisp and tight, the tempos are varied, the rhythm section rocks instead of lumbering along like a dinosaur, and the macho excess, both vocal and instrumental, is kept to a minimum.

The music certainly isn't profound, but it isn't meant to be.

It is rock-and-roll, and it's likeable.

By The New York Times 1980.

New York, NY - Media Reviews

AC/DC/Def Leppard @ The Palladium By Mike London

Much more pleasing was the opening quintet, Def Leppard.

The English band reportedly has an average age of 18, but its trio of guitarists, roping around the stage like shaggy haired poodles, looked far younger.

The band's heavy metal sound was marked by strong melodies, and unusual rhythmic finesse.

The 35 minute, about 5 tune show drew from the band's debut LP 'On Through The Night' including well received songs like 'Wasted' and 'Rock Brigade'.

By Billboard 1980.

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