Sheffield, England - Fan Reviews
Fan Review - By Sheffield Got Rocked By Darren
There's a short version of this review which sums up the show: "F**king Brilliant" - but I'll attempt to elaborate for you. Before the gig we met up with some other fans in a pub opposite the arena: called "The Noose & Giblett Inn" (I kid you not). Whilst there the DJ started blasting out Lep tunes and the big screen showed the local TV news. Suddenly Joe appeared inside the arena with a guy who turned out to be Mark Zack - the guy who won the online auction to play with the band. They mentioned letting people know how he got on tomorrow. The next day I managed to buy the Sheffield Star hot off the presses (and get permission to take the big ad outside the shop too).
After queuing for a while to get a programme and a cool White UK X t-shirt we got to our seats ready for Ricky Warwick to come out.
Ricky Warwick Opens - Introduced by Malvin in his cap - Being quite familiar with The Almighty, (great band - check them out), I was looking forward to seeing Ricky play live as a solo artist. Having already heard his sets from Las Vegas and San Francisco I knew he would be good. He didn't disappoint and played some great songs acoustically. Playing to almost 10,000 people must be hard but he pulled it off and many fans in the crowd i'm sure were Almighty fans or at least were aware of who he is. I've already grown to love 'The Genuine Fool' and he played that very well. He also told the Cow story about himself, Scott Gorham and Joe. A great opener to what we really came to see.
The Darkness Arrive - Not bad. Quite funny to watch. The singer (tried) to get the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to the drummer, Ed. They played the music really well but didn't get a big reaction. Justin's falsetto voice takes some getting used to but they are a great live band.
Def Leppard The Main Event - If you saw my Review from July 2002 you'll know I was in Sheffield for the 'Feel The Noise' show, enduring 3 hours of mimed pop until Leppard came out to show them how it's done. Tonight was obviously going to be a major improvement on that eXperience...and indeed it was!
Our seats were right near the stage on the bottom tier, pretty damn good!. I thought I had a good view in July on the other side but this was amazing. To be so close to an arena stage and of course the best arena band in the world was great.
There was a great sense of anticipation in the air before the band came out. As usual the PA played 'We Will Rock You' before the Intro tape of 'Disintegrate' started and the place went wild. This was helped by having a near sold out crowd and the fact that this is the band's birthplace (well most of them..); making this a very special event. Looking around the arena it was full up save for a few seats right at the back - easily the biggest attendance on the main X tour so far. (A shame the US record company people weren't here to witness it and see the band are still worth promoting...)
'Let It Go' opened the show and the band were in full flight from the word go. Very loud, very energetic and very good. Rock 'N' Roll Def Leppard Style. After (hoping) for the next song to be track 2 from that certain 1981 album they kicked into a very cool version of 'Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)'. That was swiftly followed (without time to breathe) by 'Action'. A great start to a great gig.
Next up was Foolin' with Joe giving it the usual "OK we're gonna take you back in time to 1983 and the Pyromania album". Closely followed by an energetic 'Make Love Like a Man'.
Next up the first X track played was 'You're So Beautiful' which sounded awesome - great vocals by all the band. Then came a moody and great intro into 'Hysteria' which sounded very heavy itself. The lighting effects by this time were really adding to the mood of the show. Speaking of which this stage set was slightly different to the other tour legs - a mixture of both Japan and the USA. There was only 4 banks of lights above the band and a big white X on the black section of curtain behind Rick.
Joe then introduced the next song by saying "This is gonna be our new single out in a couple of weeks - really! We filmed the video a couple of days ago". 'Long Long Way To Go' was the best song played so far, it sounds great live. The band have really got it down after 30+ gigs. Vocals again sounding great, the way they build up to the chorus with everyone then joining in was superb.
A surprise next and a great one - 'Slang'. And the building was shaking it was so heavy. They haven't played this too much on the tour so far so it was great hear it - especially played this well!
After this was the first of a few funny speeches by Joe. He introduced Phil by saying "He's been in the band over 20 years now so I think he's definitely an Honourary Yorkshireman. He's also learnt some of the Yorkshire accent for you. Then Phil says "Oh Aye!". Phil then led into 'Four Letter Word' which again sounds so good live. Followed then by a great rendition of 'Promises' which as ever sounded great.
Speech time again and this time Joe was alone centre stage with an acoustic guitar. His speech was talking about how much they appreciated still being able to do this in Sheffield and how much they appreciate the support of the fans throughout the 20-odd years they've been going. Got a great response to this. Also included a funny little bit which the Sheffield Star (see below) kindly reminded me of but they edited it. "I went to school with some of you. I got beaten up by some of you...BASTARDS!"
'Two Steps Behind' followed and it was cool to watch Rick Allen walk off stage to the left and sit and have a cigarette and talk to the crew as they watched the band perform the song. (Noticed he had the incense burning from early on too on his riser). Joe kept the acoustic guitar on for a superb version of 'Now'. Very cool to have been in the same arena as they played it for about the third time ever last July and to be here again.
Right after the song ended Phil stood alone in his spotlight for the intro to 'Women'. The song still sounded classic but there's something about it on this tour that's so much better then the Euphoria version. It sounds fresh again - also true for lots of the other "classics".
After this the 'Rocket' intro began and this was so bass/drum heavy it shook the seats. The moody lighting effects really added to the song and especially during the new guitar dual, a wash of green and red lights. Very cool to be close up to see them. Vivian doing his fretboard work (where he has both hands playing it) on his Gibson Les Paul.
Another intro by Joe this time for Vivian who he says has been in the band 10 years now only to be corrected by the man himself "Sorry 11 years..so he's also an Honourary Yorkshireman. Say something." Only Vivian couldn't think what to say and shrugged into the mic. Joe then introduced him and he led into the opening riffs of 'Armageddon It'.
'Photograph' followed - class. Then followed the greatest song ever recorded! 'Animal' - needs no description. 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' got a great reaction as ever and the lighting effects were really cool. Purple lights flashing with beams of white during the parts that used to use lasers - so as to mimic that effect - worked well. There was also a cool strobe-like beam shone from the tip of the stage onto the ceiling.
Another speech by Joe and this time it was Rick Allen's turn. Joe first of all talked again about how they felt very lucky and thanked the crowd then introduced Rick and he got up in the spotlight to salute and the reaction was the loudest of the night - very cool to be there to see it. He then joked that Rick.
"is a cheat. He's from Derbyshire not Yorkshire. 'Baaahh!!!!' (makes sheep noises) Rick laughed hard at this and Joe said "that's what his first girlfriend said to him". He then followed up with "Rick's been learning something for you but he's only got four words." 'Rock of Ages' followed and sounded great. The band got huge applause as they left the stage.
BTW I have to say it was fun to watch Rick play drums so close up - seeing him tilt his head back and look like he was keen to soak up the atmosphere of playing the hometown show whilst still keeping time with three different limbs (and inhaling various substances) - a very talented man. Sav also had a permanent grin and was constantly posing for pics. They all looked so into the music and just having fun playing it.
For the encores no real surprises except Sav coming out to the front of the stage and saying "Hey Sheffield you guys have been fantastic thankyou very much indeed" (although it turns out he does this at every gig now).
'When Love & Hate Collide' sounded very good and 'Let's Get Rocked' equally as good. I was hoping for maybe an extra track for Sheffield like "Wasted" but it wasn't to be as Joe ended with "Until Next Time - And There Will Be a Next Time". I'll be there too - as well as next week in London!
At the end Joe Introduced Frank Noon (drummer on the E.P.: who had been onstage and up behind Rick taking photos) and they posed with their backs to the crowd at the end and told people to smile cause it'd be in a magazine soon. Another great gig in Def Leppard's long history.
Little flyers were left for the LLWTG single on each seat.
Fan Review - By Richard
You know the set by now so I won't go through the listing, suffice to say it was the best song set yet.
Highlights were "Slang" which was a surprise addition to the set and the dualling guitars on "Rocket" which in my opinon highlights the strengths of Vivian's guitar skills.
The new material sounded great "NOW", "Four Letter Word" and "Long Long Way To Go". Joe was very clear in telling the audience they came from the new album and to be honest most people around me didn't know the words, so hopefully they all go out and buy the album. Closing with "Let's Get Rocked", Joe promised that "There will be a next time", which we always expect to hear, so here's to the next album and tour in 2004 /2005?.
Fan Review - By Anon
Well what can you say, this band gets better with age, started the evening in the Noose, very busy pub, lots of Def music, great place to start the evening, but was having such a good time missed Ricky Warwick (which I was really looking forward to) watched The Darkness, who I thought were good fun, musically it was AC/DC meets Big Country, but some great riffs, whilst the lead singer could play a mean guitar the same can't be said for his singing voice, which at times bordered on the comical.
So it was up to the Lepps to save the day, after the intro they opened with "Let it Go" which I thought they were struggling with the sound on this one, the last time I was at the Arena they played this at the end of the set and it sounded much better, thankfully they got the sound right for the start of "Rock Rock". Don't want to go thru the setlist but highlights have got to be, "Long Long Way To Go", "Women" (truly awesome) "Rocket" (not heard this version since Don Valley), "Now" (certain future favourite This band can certainly put on a show, and I would estimate approx 10.000 came to see them (not bad for a band thats not been on radio for about 10 years)
The most interesting thing about the evening for me, was how many people I spoke to who were watching the band for the first time, Why can the record company not see, with a little push this band could be mega again.
Fan Review - By Dave
Theres not enough words this world of languages to describe the shear spectacle that is Def Leppard! They are one of the wonders of the world. My day up until the arena doors opened was going pretty bad. I didn't sleep the night before, my train was late and its was feezing. Then I was kinda glad the train was late because I got to the venue at 2:15pm, with the doors opening at 6:30pm, I had a long wait. But when it finally opened after delayed sound checks, my dream was coming alive.
Ricky Warwick warmed everyone up with his humour and pretty cool acoustic songs. The Darkness nearly killed everyone in the front row with the total blast of their drums.
After some changes on stage, my reason for living came forth in the form of 5 amazing musicians I like to call gods, but to everyone else, Def Leppard. Me being right on the front row I had the luck of being stood in front of Phil (my idol!). We kept making loads of eye contact, and thanx to the way Rick's drum kit had been placed, I had a direct view of him and we were exchanging smiles and laughs. Not only that Joe even winked at me! Because the guys like posing, I had some awesome views of mainly Phil, Sav and Joe. Sav at one point climbed of the speakers to my left posing like all show offs do, and left me with a view of his new Washburn signature Union Jack bass which is a beauty!
Enough of my boasting. Every song that they played just had me in a total adrenalin rush. A life changing experience as now I know why Lepp fans don't like Bon Jovi. I've seen them both and good old Leppard made Jovi look like an evening with Cliff Richard! Hope they come back for the summer!.
Fan Review - By Andy B
I will start with talking about the support acts: (Support Act #1) Ricky Warwick: I was really impressed with his performance and I will DEFINATLEY be buying his album when it comes out (Does anyone know when it comes out). (Support Act #2) The Darkness: From what people have said in the past that they are alright the band were not bad just one thing about them though did anyone notice that the bass player had a bass guitar just like Sav's from 1983.
(The Main Act) Def Leppard: What can I say what has not been written before me other then the fact that the band really rocked tonight and at one point I thought the arena roof was going to blow off (It probably would of done if they'd of played Wasted). They really seemed to really enjoying themselves for the first time since the Slang Tour in 1996 and I have seen them on every tour since 1992, The songs that they played were really good even though I would of liked to have heard songs like Torn To Shreds & Everyday off of X. I especially liked the Xtended version of "Rocket" which was really good with the dual guitar solo of Vivian & Phil and just staying with Vivian for a moment can anyone tell me where I can get a Rubyhouse shirt just like he was wearing, I will be at the Manchester Apollo tommorrow night (Sunday February 23rd) and I think they will rock the Apollo out, I just hope that we will get to see them in Sheffield again before the end of the X tour, I'm just hoping for a summer show at Don Valley seeing as though it is ten (10) years this summer since the last gig at the stadium.
Fan Review - By Dave
After a couple of hours in the "Noose & Giblett" public house sampling a few Stella's with DefDazz himself!! it was over to the arena to catch the last few chords of Ricky Warwick's set. The Darkness were just as funny & impressive as the night before in Wolverhampton, The singer being a cross between Angus Young & Steven Tyler on acid.
So on to the mighty Leppard, what can you say about these guys they get better live tour after tour. I thought the night before was THE best Leppard gig I have ever seen but this was even better, from the opener 'Let it Go' to 'Let's Get Rocked' the whole place was totally rocking, OK so maybe the actual sound quality was a bit on the loud side (but every rock band I have ever seen it's the same) but that took nothing away from the performance & the feedback from the crowd.
The new stuff sounds brilliant especially 'Your So Beautiful' & 'Four Letter Word' The last forty minutes of this setlist just blows you away, 'Armageddon It', 'Photograph', 'Animal', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me', 'Rock of Ages' & then the two encores to finish off an un-missable two hours. If I could just change one little thing I would have swapped 'When Love & Hate Collide' with 'Wasted' as the first encore, the audience where at fever pitch already so I guess 'Wasted' would have pushed them over the edge.
I have just returned from Newcastle where last night's show was another absolute winner, Sheffield was better in fact THE best. On to Brixton!.
Fan Review - By Jonathon Dinnes
After months of waiting for the band to roll into the UK, I finally arrived at the venue on a chilly Thursday afternoon. I'd always wanted to see the band in Sheffield, so this was the first of many dreams come true to hit me in the following 8 days. There was a big event atmosphere around the place in the build up to the gig and there were a lot of fans waiting from as early as 2pm.
When the doors finally opened I ran to claim my spot at the front, by this time the adrenalin had truly started flowing. It was a long wait till the band came on, but The Darkness kept me entertained and amused. When the lights went down and the strobes came up the crowd became extremely vocal, and I looked back to see an enormous, near capacity audience. The band then hit the stage and hit us hard with an amazing opening 4 songs. The energy level onstage was much higher than on recent gigs and the sound was excellent, although a little quieter than I expected. This was all forgotten as I watched and shouted through a truly amazing set. The new songs were well placed, particularly 'You're So Beautiful', which is alot rockier live. 'Now' also had an amazing feel about it, definately the standout new song.
Other favourites were 'Slang', which I couldn't believe they played, and the awesome extended version of 'Rocket', in which Vivian totally stole the show I might add. As the gig swept on, the crowd and band gathered momentum, and the show got better as it went along. When 'Promises' arrived, the crowd went ballistic, and stayed at that level till the show closed, with the 'Hysteria section' of the set delighting the crowd. 'Rock of Ages', as always was incredible.
The band seemed to be enjoying the show too and everyone went home very happy after a great gig. It was good to see all the posing for photos, and also nice to see Frank Noon taking the pix! This time the boys seem to have perfected the show, the lights, the setlist - everything. There was a noticeable improvement from the last time I saw them in 1999 (Glasgow), where the band seemed to be going through the motions. My only quibble was that I expected the home atmosphere to be slightly more energetic. However it was still a great atmosphere, and a great gig to see, let's hope its not too long till the next.
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