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Sunday, 29th June 2003

Albuquerque, NM - Media Reviews

Older and a little slower, Def Leppard still rocks By Clara Garcia

We saw the same old faces, but after 20-some years, fans of Def Leppard looked a little different Sunday night at the Journal Pavilion.

Instead of being dropped off by their parents, fans were driving SUVs. Instead of wearing ripped jeans and concert T-Shirts, fans were decked out in khaki shorts and button-up shirts. And, instead of trying to watch the concert over the big hair of the '80s, the fans were sporting well maintained hairstyles.

Even though the fans' appearance may have changed from when Def Leppard first hit the scene, no one who attended Sunday's concert had forgotten how to rock and neither had Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell, Rick Allen and Rick Savage.

At its best, Def Leppard gave the world some of the best hard-rock riffs around. Thankfully, the band utilized its entire catalogue from early releases to the latest album, X during the concert at the Journal Pavilion.

Def Leppard may have scaled down its stage show from previous years, but, at this stage of the game, the Leppard need not show off with crazy stage antics, as the music speaks for itself.

The quintet played on a basic black stage; there were no flying drum kits or pyrotechnics, just a great light show. Compared to the high-tech spectacles the band used to stage, this concert looked like something you would see in a nightclub.

But the no-frills surroundings simply made the band members seem more approachable. Frontman Joe Elliott appeared determined to make eye contact with every single fan at the Journal Pavilion.

You could tell times have changed when Elliott came out wearing an Abercrombie and Finch sleeveless T-shirt. Although a little older and a little slower, Elliott was in fine form. Running back and forth across the stage, Elliott encouraged fans to sing and clap along to the more upbeat numbers.

Def Leppard sounded positively rejuvenated.

The glossy sheen that coated most of the band's '80s hits was scraped away. Songs such as Animal, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Photograph and Let's Get Rocked were rendered lean, mean and delightfully raw. Elliott even wowed the crowd as he belted out Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama.

The band didn't play too many songs from its new album, X, but the few it did, such as Now and Long Long Way to Go, proved that Def Leppard is capable of and willing to make interesting music outside the realm of hard rock. He dedicated the song to British and American troops serving in Iraq.

For all the changes, though, Def Leppard can still put on a feel good, sing along in the aisles, rock 'n' roll show. Qualities like that will never go out of style.

By News-Bulletin 2003.


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