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Sunday, 21st September 2003

Kamloops, BC - Media Reviews

Leppard fans don't change spots By Heather Persson

A near-capacity crowd turned out Sunday night at Sport Mart Place to prove that old Def Leppard maxim: "It's better to burn out than fade away." And they were not disappointed, as the power act from the '80s proved they can still rock.

Opening act Ricky Warwick managed to keep the waiting crowd under wraps. Using only his acoustic guitar and edgy, strong voice, the Dublin native won some new fans.

Of course, the real pre-show entertainment was watching just how much the crowd members were enjoying reliving their youth.

The fact Def Leppard is still playing is not good for the ozone layer, as it was obvious a number of women had pulled out their aerosol cans of Aquanet to add '80s-style volume to their hair.

A few guys sported mullets or the long hair (one with the help of a wig) of the era, but there were a lot of ball caps hiding receding hairlines.

Unlike some rock acts from that decade, Def Leppard has not been reduced to nothing but a tribute act to their former selves. The new songs were enthusiastically received, maintaining the guitar riffs and touches of harmony fans love, while adding some new twists.

But it was the faithful recreation of hits such as Pour Some Sugar on Me, Animal, Rocket, Photograph and Foolin' that brought the crowd to their feet.

Their rendition of Bringin' on the Heartbreak - a song pop princess Mariah Carey is currently butchering on radio waves - showed why fans are still willing to come out to hear songs infused with fun and energy.

There were some technical sound problems, as the group's vocals sounded muddy - unclear even for a guitar-driven, rock act like Def Leppard. Lead singer Joe Elliott's raw, commanding vocals are a key element to what makes their songs work.

Who cares if a substantial number of people in the front rows were wearing earplugs? It wasn't their generation who said, "If it's too loud, you're too old." Def Leppard isn't ashamed of their '80s roots, so why should the fans be?

The music acts as a soundtrack to the party lifestyle, and nobody is under the illusion that they are going to walk away a deeper, better person for having heard it. They came to have a good time. And that's what they got.

By Kamloops This Week 2003.


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