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Wednesday, 30th July 2003

Huntington, WV - Media Reviews

All-ages crowd jams to retro rock By Dave Lavender

More than 2,700 fans that grooved on hours of hit pop rock from the five-man British band, Def Leppard, that played the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

With the stage warmed up by band friend, Ricky Warwick, the band, whose albums "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" sold more than 20 million copies combined in the 1980s, hit the crowd with one of the best light shows in the arena this year, and a steady stream of sugary, pop rock that the crowd knew the words to by heart.

The band started slow with several early songs including "Rock, Rock 'Til You Drop," and "Bringing on the Heartbreak," before lead singer Joe Elliot welcomed the crowd with the kind of just-between-friends banter lost on most younger rock stars.

"Oh yeah," Elliott said as the crowd roared. "Good evening, Huntington. It's really good to be in town. How y'all doing? We will be carrying right on with something else from the 'Pyromania' album."

The band members, who were seen about town on Tuesday night as they stayed over a day before the Wednesday show, have been here and everywhere scores of times. Elliott said it has been 23 years since they first "set foot on American soil" touring with the likes of such bands as Pat Travers and Ted Nugent off the band's first album "On Through the Night"

The band last played Huntington in September 2000.

As it was Wednesday night. Couples of all ages curled up around each other as the hits just kept coming from "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Photograph" and "Animal" to one of the band's closing numbers, "Love Bites."

Def Leppard didn't invent the power-rock ballad, but they might have perfected it, with the way the British like it, two lumps of sugar.

By The Herald-Dispatch 2003.

Def Leppard Rocks Fans of All Ages at Big Sandy Arena By Brandon Woolum

A career of over 20 years already in the bag and there's no sign of stopping for 80's hard rockers Def Leppard. The boy's proved to Huntington that they can still rock the house Wednesday night at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

In front of a crowd of a few thousand the band performed hits dating all the way back to 1980, including their first big hit "Bringing on the Heartbreak". The band belted out a 22 song set that lasted a little over two hours featuring songs from throughout their 23 year long career.

"It was great to hear the old stuff and the new stuff all in one night," said Jill Spencer. "These guys are simply amazing. There's nothing more to say--just amazing.

One of the songs from the band's newest album "X", which stands for the roman numeral 10, was "Long Long Way to Go", in which singer Joe Elliott dedicated it to the American and British troops in Iraq. The slow number was the first of a few that drew the lighters out of the pockets of the thousands in attendance. The conclusion of the song drew large amounts of cheers and applause.

"Your getting a little bit of everything here tonight Huntington," said lead singer Joe Elliott, seconds after performing the song.

This concert was definitely something that the Big Sandy Superstore Arena has been missing for quite a while. The show was like none other that the Arena has seen in recent years. Even with rock legends, Lynyrd Skynyrd performing last summer, it still was nothing comparable. This show boosted fans of several generations. In some cases there was the grand father, the dad and his child. Also it seemed the only member of Def Leppard who stayed in the same part of the stage more than a second was drummer, Rick Allen. With the constant movement from Elliott and his 3 fellow members who were on the main portion of the stage and the incredible lightening display it made for a one of a kind concert experience.

Although these guys are getting older they're still heartthrobs to ladies anywhere from age 13 and up. Guitarists Phil Collen and Viv Campbell both removed their shirts during the band's performance to some heavy cheers from the female crowd.

After about 35 minutes worth of Leppard's signature sounding sounds it was time for the band to take a breather. Lead singer Joe Elliott then pulled out the acoustic guitar and plugged it up. He looked out into the crowd, put his hand to his ear and then spoke.

"I guess it would be totally pathetic of me to do this," said Elliott as he began to play and sing John Denver's "County Roads". "But I don't know the words."

Instead of playing the John Denver song that many fans wanted to hear, he stated that the band would be traveling to New York next and that he would like to be able to tell the crowd there that Huntington, West Virginia was the best audience so far on the tour. The comment got loud cheers and the band began to play their hit song "Two Steps Behind", while the crowd song along loudly with the chorus.

"Oh yeah (gives thumbs up), nice one --that'll work," said Elliott following the song.

Next up it was time for a shift back to the 21st century once again with their newest single, "Now", off their 2002 release "X". The crowd did not seem to be into this song as much as some of the older stuff that they recognized more. However, the 21st century phase was short lived and it was time to get the Big Sandy Superstore Arena back into the 80's era. Next on the bands set list was it's classic hit "Photograph". This received incredible cheers as the crowd song along and pumped their fist to the beat.

This time Def Leppard was done with the new stuff for the evening and was prepared to finish the show off with it's classic hits. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was the next hit performed by the band, which received some of the loudest cheers of the evening. During drum breaks for this song the crowd noise was deafening. After the band finished up with the song, Elliott took a small break to talk to the crowd for a moment. During his little talk a young woman in the front row threw her under garment onto the stage. He picked it up and gave it back to her. This started a chain reaction with a few women in the front row, and Elliott began to be flooded by West Virginia women's under garments.

Once he got the clothing moved out of the way he talked about drummer Rick Allen, who only has one arm. Allen lost the arm in a car accident in the early 80's. Elliott described Allen as the quiet band member, saying that every band has one and Allen is the one for Def Leppard. He said that Allen would be putting back his shyness and introducing the next song. Moments later the stage lights all focused on Allen who played the drum solo to start off the 80's classic "Rock of Ages". The crowd cheered Allen on throughout the song. After the song was over Elliott thanked everyone for coming and the band exited the stage.

But it had taken Huntington quite a while to get Def Leppard and the Tri-State fans we're ready to let them go just yet. The crowd stomped in the stands rapidly while chanting "one more". After a couple minutes the guy's came back out onto the stage and performed two more numbers for the Huntington rockers, finishing up with "Lets Get Rocked". "We just got one more thing to ask of you people," said Elliott following the first encore song. "Do you wanna get rocked?"

Once he had asked the signature question that starts the song off the crowd went nuts and never stopped. The floor and stands looked like something you would see on American Band Stand with all the couples dancing and pumping their first to the beat. Once the song was over the band stayed on stage for nearly 5 minutes greeting fans in the front rows and saying their good byes to Huntington. Singer Joe Elliot promised the crowd that this was not the last time they would see Def Leppard.

By Huntington News 2003.


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