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Tuesday, 10th December 2002

Phoenix, AZ - Media Reviews

By Thomas Bond

Appropriately enough for a band whose breakthrough album is called "Pyromania," Def Leppard's concert Tuesday at America West Arena started with a few sparks, fizzled and nearly went out, but was finally fanned into a conflagration.

The first half of the 20-song show found the British pop-metal mainstays interspersing lesser-known album cuts "Too Late for Love" with early singles "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", tunes from their latest album, "X," and even an instrumental. The low point energy-wise came during a two-song stretch of new tracks, the ballad "Long Long Way to Go" and "Four Letter Word."

Even singer Joe Elliott seemed less than confident with the new material, announcing almost apologetically, "We're going to play you one more from the new album," before the band performed "Now."

"The new material was a little lame," said John Wood, 38, of Phoenix. "Three of the four new songs they played were real iffy."

Wood's son, David Wilson, 15, of Gilbert was still impressed with the musicianship of the band.

"I especially like their guitar-playing because I play guitar myself - it's inspirational to me," Wilson said.

After the unintentional lull, the show picked up steam when Def Leppard cranked out several signature '80s hits in a row: "Photograph," "Animal," "Armageddon It" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me."

The band then closed its set with "Rock of Ages," and, given the range of generations in attendance, it was utterly apropos.

"That's their anthem," said John Brantley, 37, of Mesa. "That was the high point of the night."

After several bows by all five band members, Def Leppard left the stage.

The quintet returned for a single encore of "Love Bites" and "Let's Get Rocked."

By Get Out/East Valley Tribune 2002.


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