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Tuesday, 23rd August 2005

Edmonton, AB - Media Reviews

Def Leppard brings out the '80s in city crowd By Jenny Feniak

Last night at Rexall place, the '80s heartbreak group Def Leppard took almost 10,000 Edmontonians on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The rest of the crowd were kids who had just come of age and the attraction for them is yet to be defined.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the English group truly found their fame in the mid-80s with the majority of hit singles released on their 1987 album Hysteria, and the concert last night peaked with the hit single Love Bites from that very album. In 1987, it was THE school slow dance number and in the top five for mixed tapes. The lights went a soft bluey pink and lighters lit up half the arena.

That doesn't necessarily mean they were good then or now, but somewhere there's a connection. "Canada is our biggest market," announced lead singer Joe Elliott. "And in fact, it always has been." Hmmm. The five members hit the stage like I'm sure they have for the last decade and a half. Guitarist Viv Campbell still has the frosted, feathered shoulder-length hair and Elliott was wearing leather pants.

A couple of women "from the '80s" who were nearby hit the nail on the head. "This makes me feel young. I'm such a soccer mom, but here I get to rock out!" says Sheryl Eccleston, who was celebrating her 32nd birthday. But her friend Kim Sharp couldn't dismiss the truth completely. "They're old. The leather pants just don't do it," she said, referring to Elliott's ensemble before resuming singing along with every lyric.

Impressively enough, the band didn't show up on stage with a lot of fancy props or serious stage decorations. Just a big stack of amps, the feathered hair and their hits from the '80s. But they did have a big screen drop in behind them and, about six songs into the set, decided to show some black and white shots of them in their heyday along with old concert footage while playing Foolin'.

Let's Get Rock, another popular singalong number, had even odder footage. They showed animated comic strips of the band and although there were thought balloons through it all, the only readable words were, "Crack!" "Whack!" "Smack!" and "Women." Yet another mystery left behind on Def Leppard's "Rock Of Ages" tour.

Sadly enough, it's not a far stretch to conceive the night's opening act, the Tea Party, doing just about the same 10 years from now. Although they have their current radio hits today, they've been pushing it since 1991 and are still a contemporary band that wants to really rock.

Lead singer Jeff Martin tempted the crowd by admitting there have been recent rumours circulating about the band, but instead of confronting them head-on, he simply changed the subject and played another hit.

By The Edmonton Sun 2005.


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