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Sunday, 22nd November 1987

Los Angeles, CA - Media Reviews

Def Leppard @ Los Angeles Sports Arena By Daily News Of Los Angeles

Def Leppar's concert-in-the-round performance at the Los Angeles Sports Arena Sunday night, with band members hopping about the stage like jackrabbits, was thoughtfully designed to ensure that no fans had a bad view.

But musically they weren't any god seats to be had.

Fuelled by the Top 10 success of the current album, 'Hysteria', Def Leppard's weekend visit was the group's first to Los Angeles in nearly four years.

Yet, what band members brought with them - the now-cliched heavy-metal trappings of acoustic intros, menacing laser beams, double-neck guitars, fist-raising, etc. - is always in plentiful supply in local stadiums and arenas.

Still, the dancing, cheering crowd obviously liked this sort of thing.

Lead vocalist Joe Elliott's recurrent 'Whoa' was nearly always enough to get the fans overheated, Preceded by a tape of a Clint Eastwood snarl (Do I feel lucky?. Well, do ya, punk?).

The five-man band bounded out screaming and hacking out it's ear-curdling hard rock ' n' roll.

Elliott's energetic and shrill gurgling of such album radio hits as 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Photograph' were driven by the pounding, two-guitar assault of Steve Clark and Phil Collen.

This guitar playing often reached a surprising level of coherence, and sometimes even hit a solid pop groove - only to torpedo that momentum with an easy metal hook.

Such lazy playing and writing is a depressing illustration of what has happened to the harder-edge of commercial rock.

Ten or 15 years ago, bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith played creative and heartfelt music as loud and raunchy as anything being done today.

But it was a style of their own creation, performed and recorded with emotion and integrity.

Inspiring such later talents as Eddie Van Halen, and, unfortunately, much if the rest.

Polluted with monotonous guitar riffs, and empty anthems, contemporary hard rock isn't even a good copy of those early days, let alone something new.

Def Leppard, skirting cross a neon-coloured stage in jeans and tennis shoes, seemed a bit more real than its shallower cousins in spandex.

But its sound is merely a cleaner-cut and livelier version of the same stale musical tricks.

The exception to this rote performance was the drum work of Rick Allen, who lost his left arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve 1984.

Sitting center stage in a T-shirt and shorts, Allen used a combination of his right arm, feet and electronic drums to recreate the Def Leppard rhythm.

By Daily News Of Los Angeles 1987.


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