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Wednesday, 27th May 1992

Frankfurt, Germany - Media Reviews

Getting Rocked...Lesson One By Alison Joy

God, it's been so looooong...

Look, forget the Leps' well iffy performance at the Freddie Mercury tribute show: that's history, a set slotted in around other people's rules and a TV schedule. Remember Def Leppard as that rock monster who're plink-plonk precise on LP, but live on stage sweat and scream with the Slayers and Skid Rows of this world.

Tonight, Def Leppard are mid-way through a very low-key club tour of Europe, warming up new guitarist Vivian Campbell and generally brushing away those studio cobwebs. The Music Hall's most immeadiate feature - especially relevant in Def Leppard's case - is a massive mirror which spans the back of the stage and tilts forward over the drumkit, allowing the audience to see the drummer's every move. The state-of-the-art technology present is immeadiately obvious, from the range of pedals at Rick Allen's feet to the electronic drum pads circled around his body. On a simply kinetic level, his feet could be the subject of a truly remarkable study in time and motion.

Naturally, 'Stagefright' opens, and instantly Def Leppard - and Joe Elliott in particular - banish any worries left over from Freddie's bash. There's no pause, no bullshit, just 'Tear It Down', and the adrenaline rush of hearing the German crowd sing it in word-perfect English. To say it's packed in here is like saying the Pope goes to church every now and then. It took me about 15 minutes just to get out and powder my nose, so God only knows what happened to people with more immeadiately pressing needs...

Over a near two-hour, 19-song set. Leppard bring us five new live experiences from 'Adrenalize': the afformentioned 'Tear It Down' then 'Make Love Like A Man', 'White Lightning', 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad', and of course, 'Let's Get Rocked'. Of them, 'Let's Get Rocked' has the Frankfurters sizzling the most, while Phil Collen's heartfelt introduction to 'White Lightning' brings slack jaws and sparked lighters.

Vivian does a short solo leading into the semi-epic 'Gods Of War', then the complexity of 'Rocket' simply proves that Def Leppard have lost none of their gritty ability to cause chaos in a club - without the aid of flying stage sets, sandpapered sphinxes and a small nuclear explosion every five minutes.

The staples from 'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria' are up and running again like a rampant Seb Coe on a damn sight more than Lucozade, while from 'High 'N' Dry' comes a new acoustic version of 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak'. Joe slings a guitar around his neck for the big tear-jerker, and again the Germans put us to shame with their proficiency in a second language.

Unfortunately, it's during 'Love Bites' that nature calls, so I must apologise to all those snogging couples caught up in the passion and lurve of this song for treading on their toes, tearing them apart and generally shoving them around whilst on my mission to the ladies (and back). Oh, and while we're being negative . I'd like to beg for the inclusion of 'Heaven Is' at the UK shows. Thank you.

The band for whom a rock's never out of the question came back with a bullet tonight and surpassed all expectations. Def Leppard have more bounce-back in them than a large aerobics trampoline, and their forthcoming in-the-round shows over here should be marked down for compulsory attendance. Like the man says...do you wanna get rocked?!

By Alison Joy @ Kerrang! 1992.


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