home > tour history > 2003 > west palm beach > Media Reviews

Sunday, 27th April 2003

West Palm Beach, FL - Media Reviews

Def Leppard brings back '80s hysteria By Leslie Gray Streeter

Spirited 1980s hair metal anthems weren't the only things revived at Def Leppard's juiced and joyous show at Sound Advice Amphitheatre on Sunday. While lead singer Joe Elliott led his mates through energetic versions of hits like Photograph and Pour Some Sugar On Me, the enthusiastic crowd seemed ready to rock, retro-style.

Throughout the amphitheater, all those '80s tour T-shirts, animal-print spandex and teased hairstyles had been given temporary fashion amnesty. Midriffs were bared. Fists were pumped. Bics were flicked.

"Looking good out there!" crowed an approving Elliott, still metal-god hot in tight black leather trousers. Between songs, the singer chatted up the crowd and played fashion police.

"That's not the official 1983 Def Leppard Union Jack shirt," he smirked, appraising a fan's sartorial ode to the band's legendary flag tees. "That's a bootleg, you bastard!"

Def Leppard's giddy two-hour set should be the standard recipe for all touring acts whose biggest hits are likely behind them: Do mostly recognizable hits so the crowd can sing along (Foolin', Animal, Armageddon It). Throw in one or two new songs (from 2002's X) to keep the accountants happy. Have cool lights. Appear to be having the time of your life. And keep those monster hits coming.

And, boy, did they bring on the hits. From early tunes like Rock of Ages to the rollicking encore, 1992's Let's Get Rocked, Elliott, guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, bass player Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen bit into probably every one of the band's singles in all their cheeky, slightly cheesy glory. And it rocked.

In addition to the faithful renditions of the Def Leppard songbook, the usually instrumentless Elliot strapped on an acoustic guitar and did a quick sing-along verse of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama, before launching into their own 1993 ballad Two Steps Behind.

The only complaint about the evening, which featured new Irish rocker Ricky Warwick as an opener, was the audio mix, which let the screaming guitar riffs occasionally overpower Elliot's sexy mumble. No matter -- intelligible lyrics were never the point of Def Leppard; suggestive, winking fun was. And that's exactly what the boys served up.

"Until next time! And there will be a next time!" Elliott yelled as the band exited. The crowd gleefully yelled back, probably mentally planning outfits for the next tour.

By Palm Beach Post 2003.

Def Leppard @ West Palm Beach By The Dog Pound

About 8,000 fans braved two lightning storms and saw pop-metal at its finest, put on by '80s British rockers Def Leppard.

The band was on-target all night, leaving out nothing from their two-hour show. They focused mostly on their two most popular albums, Pyromania and Hysteria, which is probably as it should have been. Obviously, Def Leppard must have learned from their last tour, when they hit the Euphoria album pretty hard, leaving the core of their fans scratching their heads. This time, only a cursory glance was given to their later material, including a couple of songs, receiving little more than a lukewarm reception, from their most recent effort, 2002's pop-laden X. Devotees of their '90s efforts probably would have been disappointed.

But who cares about those people? We were all there to hear them play "Photograph," "Foolin'," "Animal," "Armageddon It," "Rock of Ages," "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me," just to name a few. Joe Elliott was in great form, playing with the crowd, getting them involved in much of the show. Bassist Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen complemented this excellent performance, the latter showing no ill effects of switching back to a fully-acoustic drum kit. Guitarists Viv Campbell and Phil Collen were on top of their game, as well, showing off their brilliant axe work in a guitar duel of sorts during "Rocket," which also included a brief tribute to Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

The rain was at most a distraction. The party atmosphere among the 2,000 or so on the festival lawn was still there, even as some of the hardest rain fell during the last half-hour of the show. On this night, there was little that could dampen the enthusiasm (no pun intended :-) ).

Irish guitarist Ricky Warwick opened the show, playing well during his 45-minute set of acoustic solo work, when most of those on the lawn were scrambling for cover during the first of two thunderstorms. I have to say, however, that an acoustic performance was an odd opening act for a metal show.

By The Dog Pound 2003.


share this page:

get def leppard news

Stay in touch with the latest updates.

explore def leppard tour history
All News
Tour News
Album News
All Tours