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Saturday, 3rd December 1983

Birmingham, England - Media Reviews

Sudden Def Cult By Dave Roberts

The sirens wailed, the searchlights swooped, the machine guns fired and the Leppard roared.

Storming into 'Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)', the faithful cheered and the sceptics became born-again Def Disciples.

Pounding into an undiscovered mass of energy, the prodigal sons burned fire like pyromaniacs at a Guy Fawkes Party.

Deservedly spurned when 'On Through The Night' turned out weaker than a Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers piledriver, the boys have lived and learned, largely through their Stateside success, and in no small part to the services of a certain Mutt Lange.

Now that the homeland approves, the Def Ones are triumphant, Even Zeff's vocals are passable, whereas previously they've been the weak link in a solid rock combo.

Disgustingly loud (or maybe I'm too old) Birmingham's ear specialists must have made a fortune the following day.

The 'Rock Brigade' arrived along with 'High and Dry' proving that the Leps have a knack for writing anthemic toons worthy of the Carkbead terraces.

Chanting hooks like deep-throated cheerleaders, they stirred up a fever pitch of excitement.

There was the occasional song that lacked that raw knuckled sucker punch, such as 'Hit And Run' and 'Billy's Got A Gun' which tried hard to be a Van Halen stomper without having the natural swing 'n' suss of Eddie's gang.

However 'Foolin'' revealed an essential light and shade complete with acoustic guitar attacks, just to soften the continual blow of Rick Allen's big beat.

Meanwhile, Pretty Boy 'Sav' kept the rhythm flowing underneath the Collen/Clark guitar movements.

Individually they're not exactly Yehudi Menuhins in the musicianship stakes, but together they produce a clean but raunchy wall of sound.

Inevitably tight and professional after a marathon world tour, they built the show to a peak that never quite sustained their own enthusiasm.

Some pointless guitar jamming on 'Switch 625' and then a couple of annoying solo spots dragged out the proceedings to the depths of a Rainbow concert.

For a band that's managed to out-AC the flagging DC, Dead Leper still have mucho to learn about presentation and pacing.

It's no use throwing all your best cards onto the table without keeping anything in reserve.

Some repetitive audience singalongs and the closing 'Wasted' simply proved the point.

Once their best song, it now pales into insignificance alongside the likes of 'Rock Of Ages', like Gary Mabbutt in the same football team as Kevin Keegan.

Returning with 'Stagefright' and a revival of Creedence Clearwater's 'Travellin' Band' complete with Zep references.

Def Leppard had at last succeeded on home soil.

The first half of the show had sealed that fate despite the ensuing disappointments.

A brace of the wimpiest flashbombs of all time, making a duck's fart sound like a nuclear explosion, closed the event like a damp squib.

But enough had been done to confirm why the Leps have become star-spangled megastars, and to ensure that that's what they'll remain for quite some time to come.

No doubt Garry Bushell will confirm the theory Howzabout another OTT feature on the band, Gal?.

You haven't written one for at least two weeks!.

By Sounds 1983.


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