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Monday, 15th August 2005

Toronto, ON - Media Reviews

Def Leppard Rock For The Soccer Moms By Steve English

"What is this, a Tom Jones concert?" Joe Elliott quipped late in Def Leppard's set as someone tossed a pair of fuchsia panties onstage. It was a strangely quaint reaction for a fivesome who, back in their globetrottin', arena-fillin', ozone-depletin' heyday as England's #1 hairspray band, ranked just behind Bon Jovi and Poison on the pop-metal groupie's must-do list. Time may have slowed the almost 30-year-old band's collective mojo a touch, but the army of tarted-up moms in attendance remained unfazed. They met Elliott's every grin and wink with the same lusty roar their daughters do for Usher.

For a gang of rock dudes on the wrong side of 45, the Lep lads appeared pretty well preserved: bassist Rick Savage and guitarists Viv Campbell and Phil Collen — who opted to go shirtless a mere three songs in — were all trim, while Rick Allen's enthusiastic drumming kept the show humming along at a brisk clip. Out of the lot, middle age seemed to have hit Elliott the hardest. The barrel-chested frontman put up a brave fight reaching for those high notes in "Love Bites" and "Women," but his armor-piercing wail seemed to have lost half an octave. In the end, it hardly mattered: the crowd were so loud and juiced, few noticed.

Opening act The Tea Party ddin't get off quite as easily. Jeff Martin and co. were warmly received at first, but the crowd got increasingly restless as the set stretched on. "Fire In The Head" and "The Messenger" went over well, but when the bridge of "Heaven Coming Down" morphed into a clumsy version of "All Along The Watchtower," TTP somehow managed to wreck two songs at once.

As you'd expect for a tour supporting Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection, their most recent greatest-hits package, Def Leppard's set was mercifully short on the AC ballads and bloated with the supersized crowd-pleasers. The delirious fist-pumping glitter-metal of 1992 single "Let's Get Rocked" and the hyperdramatic riff frenzy of "Women" set the tone early. When the gut-rumbling power chords of "Armageddon It," off 1987's Mutt Lange-produced bazillion-seller Hysteria was matched in volume by the sound of the Amphitheatre's sellout crowd joining in on the soccer-stadium chantalong choruses, nirvana was achieved.

There was absolutely no trace of subtlety in Def Leppard's sugar-coated rink-rock, which is the principal reason why now, more than a decade removed from their commercial peak, they're still such a blast. Everything they do looks and sounds bigger than it should, which is only fitting for a band whose songs are so gobsmackingly over-the-top. Only an acoustic version of soppy ballad "Two Steps Behind" revealed the band to be mere mortals and not all-powerful glam-metal cartoon superheroes.

Predictably, they saved their biggest guns for the finale, rounding out the night with a double-barreled encore of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me." The band retired to the tour bus in a haze of cheers and deafening amp fuzz, leaving the fellas throwing devil horns and the hundreds of soccer moms' hearts a-quivering. Congrats, Toronto; you have now been officially rocked.

By Chart Attack 2005.

By Kevin Gibson

I didn't see any empty seats at the Molson Amphitheatre and the grass seats were pretty full as well as the fans stood and roared for the entire 2+ hour gig. It was simply an awesome rock n roll show, no costume changes, there wasn't 85 people on stage posing or dancing, no 85 minute rants in between songs (see Sammy Hagar), no 20 minute guitar or drum solos. Def Leppard came out and played just about everything off of Hysteria and Pyromania, one song off of Adrenalize (Let's Get Rocked) and one song off of Euphoria (Promises), so it was a classic rock show that's for sure. The guys are in their early to mid 40s but they still know how to rock and the 16,000 at the Amphitheatre last night wouldn't disagree.

By 640 Toronto 2005.


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