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Saturday, 25th September 1993

Monterrey, Mexico - Media Reviews

Def Leppard Monterrey, Mexico. Saturday, September 25 By Paul Elliott

This was the 239th gig out of 241 on the 'Adrenalize' tour, and it proved that Def Leppard are still one of the greatest Hard Rock acts on the planet.

There are few frills about Def Leppard these days. In Monterrey, where the band played in a field overlooked by a monstrous, rusting, disused steelworks, singer and centre-forward Joe Elliott wore a tatty denim cut-offs and a a somewhat regrettable 'Eat Me' T-Shirt, his hair flatter post-Seattle. The rest of the band dressed down too - notably guitarist Phil Collen, who took to the stage in just cut-offs and a knee bandage.

The band's current release 'Retro-Active', mirrors this more carefree and down-to-earth attitude, although only one song from that record, the beautiful acoustic ballad 'Two Steps Behind', is featured in the live set. The opening two tracks on 'Retro-Active', 'Desert Song' and 'Fractured Love', are among the best songs Leppard have recorded, but they're not missed in a 17-song set that pulls out one classic track after another.

They begin with 'Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)'. from the watershed 'Pyromania' album. Sure, it's a dumb-ass Hard Rock anthem that's almost as stupid as 'Let's Get Rocked', but it works. The Mexican kids sing every word: a reminder that 'Pyromania' was one of the biggest Rock records of it's decade, at least as big as 'Appetite For Destruction'.

Also from 'Pyromania' comes another huge anthem, 'Rock Of Ages' (introduced in comedy German by drummer Rick Allen), plus 'Foolin'' and 'Too Late For Love'. The latter is a classic Rock track with a truly spine-tingling intro.

Only one song in the set pre-dates 'Pyromania'. 'Another Hit And Run', from 'High 'n' Dry', is Def Leppard at their most powerful and raw, and Rick Allen's work-rate on this track has to be seen to be believed.

Few people even think twice now about a one-armed drummer playing in one of the biggest Rock bands in the world. That's how food Rick Allen is. And Rick's drum tech is no slouch either - during 'Rock Of Ages', he replaces a drum pedal without Rick missing a beat.

Guitarist Viv Campbell enjoys himself in Def Leppard. In Monterrey, he fools around continually, taking the piss out of Phil when the latter indulges in a brief solo. Viv and bassist Rick Savage also contribute strong back-up vocals. For the record, and for Joe Elliott's peace of mind: DEF LEPPARD DO NOT USE VOCAL TAPES!

...Not even on the 'hysteria' material, their slickest.

'Hysteria' really is a monster of a Pop Metal record. Its first six songs - 'Women', 'Rocket', 'Animal', 'Love Bites', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and 'Armageddon It' - are all hit singles, and all are included in the set alongside the title track.

From 'Adrenalize' comes 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad', plus the bludgeon riffola of 'Tear It Down' and the Cock Rock banality of 'Make Love Like A Man' and 'Let's Get Rocked'. On the latter, Joe cackles: "I s'pose a blow-job's out of the question?!" Er, quite!

The gig, Leppard first in Mexico, is a triumph. Joe and Phil aren't happy about coming off the road right now, but Def Leppard are ending the 'Adrenalize' tour the right way - on a high.

By Kerrang! 1993.


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