Perth, WA, Australia - Media Reviews
It was about big sounds, big hair and big boobs.
Despite it being a sweaty Saturday, by the time Red Hill Auditorium opened its gates, a blessed breeze had made its way to the tucked-away bush venue.
The heat hadn't, however, zapped the energy from the crowd.
We knew exactly who we were here to see: Def Leppard. The support acts, the Baby Animals and Live were simply the icing on the 1990s cake.
I don't know if it was the heat or the fact they followed Live's super high-energy set, or maybe it was a new, unfamiliar song (Let's Go), but Def Leppard's entrance seemed to just miss the bullseye.
But I will say this. Joe Elliot (lead vocals), Rick Savage (bass) have been in the band since its inception – we're talking 1977. Rick Allen (drums) joined a year later in 1978. These guys have been together for almost 40 years. So you know what? I'm giving them a pass.
The newest album, a self-titled offering, has only been out a couple of weeks, so some tracks, like the aforementioned Let's Go, and Dangerous, while still having that quintessential Def Lep sound of jangly-guitar and on-point harmonisation, they hadn't had much time to make their way into high rotation yet.
But we knew what was coming.
Shortly after Animal, the unmistakable few bars of Love Bites turned everyone wild. I was singing along, getting right into it when I realised that the girl next to me was perched on someone's shoulders, completely topless. That was it, we were now totally back to the 80s.
Elliot cooled everyone's heels with an acoustic Two Steps Behind, but we barely had time to catch our breath before they blasted into Rocket.
Each band member seemed to just keep to their part of the stage – Elliot never really veered to either side of the stage, preferring front-and-centre, and from where I was standing, we seemed to only be graced with Phil Collen's shirtlessness as he pulled his porny faces while he grinded his guitar.
We were treated to an amazing drum solo from Rick 'The Thunder God' Allen (who in 1985 had his left arm amputated after a car accident, but was able to keep playing with a modified drum kit), and being outside meant the intermittent breeze was a natural wind machine for Rick Savage's lustrous mane.
When Love and Hate Collide was followed by Hysteria, and we were treated to a montage of old Def Leppard clips of the same song. It was like they were singing along with their younger selves. It was glorious.
The answer to the string of slower tracks? Let's Get Rocked. Once again Red Hill was heaving.
They kept us sky high with their signature tune, Pour Some Sugar On Me.
They then left the stage but we knew better.
One encore, two songs.
Rock of Ages packed a punch, reminding us they were 'still rollin', rock and rollin".
They wrapped up the night with the song that shot them into the stratosphere in 1983 - Photograph.
While some of the band members have changed over the years, like Elliot swapping out his gorgeous mullet for the straightening irons, this Leppard never has, and never will, change its spots.
By The Sydney Morning Herald 2015.
Metal giants from the Motherland, American alt-rock icons and a homegrown pub-rock powerhouse; blast from the past bills don’t come much bigger than Saturday night at Red Hill Auditorium.
Sydney’s Baby Animals opened proceedings in a very encouraging fashion. Lead by a bona fide rock goddess in Perth’s very own Suzu Demarchi, the band powered through hits such as Painless and the stomping set closer Ain’t Gonna Get.
By the time the sun had slipped below the horizon, the crowd was fully assembled and entirely primed. You could have been forgiven for thinking American rockers, Live were tonight’s headliners, such was their welcome.
The question everybody seemed to be asking was how well the band would do without Ed Kowalczyk, the former vocalist and face of the group. To the crowd’s delight, current singer Chris Shinn crushed it.
Shinn suited the music perfectly, and the passion and respect with which he treated the material drew every single punter in. By the time Live closed out with I Alone, the scorecard read two from two.
With such exemplary sets from the under card, Def Leppard had only to put in a solid showing for the crowd to walk away happy, clearly no one told Def Leppard that.
From set opener Let’s Go, the Brit metal stalwarts put on a stadium rock clinic, shaming numerous recent rock alumni tours such as Mötley Crüe and Kiss in the process.
Led by the evergreen voice of Joe Elliott, the Leppard lads belted out hit after anthemic hit. Animal, Armageddon It and the romantic pulse of Love Bites all had the crowd in chorus.
A cover of David Essex’s Rock On had fists raised before Elliott slowed the pace with an exposed acoustic version of Two Steps Behind. From there it was all guns blazing; Hysteria, Let’s Get Rocked and the colossal Pour Some Sugar On Me were just a few of the gems ripped out on the way to the finish line.
As Meatloaf said, “two outta three, ain’t bad,” but three outta three is better.
By The West Australian 2015.
The whirlwind three date Australian Def Leppard tour concluded on a balmy night in Perth’s hills area, this past Saturday. Despite the heat, the Red Hill Auditorium, set about 30 minutes out of the city and overlooking the majestic west coast sunset and surrounded by bushland, couldn’t have made a more apt, unique setting to celebrate a band still plying their craft into their fourth decade as a group. Joined by U.S band, Live and Australia’s Baby Animals, this was one show not be missed.
With the sun still perched high, raising an almighty thirst level across this picturesque landscape, local legends, Baby Animals (yes, we still claim Suze DeMarchi as our own) took to the stage and immediately made their presence felt. Rolling into some Baby Animals classics such as ‘Early Warning’, ‘Rush You’, ‘One Word’, ‘Painless’ it wasn’t long before the crowd swelled at ground level whilst those trudging in to secure their places on the lime stoned terraces jostled for position. DeMarchi draped in white shirt and bopping that head side to side still charming the audience with charisma as if it’s 1991. Sultry, sweaty the 30 minute showcase DeMarchi and band peeled off had the crowd bubbling and kicked off a great start to one of the shows of 2015.
As Baby Animals completed their set, the crowd continued to flood into the coliseum-like open enclosure. With birds chirping away in the background, the sun meandering down from the deep blue sky, the audience, almost in unison syphoning down as much amber liquid as quickly the efficient staff at Red Hill would allow, Live entered the stage.
The Pennsylvanian band were once the darlings of the alternative rock scene with 1994’s Throwing Copper the catapult that fast forwarded the band into stardom. The album sold more than eight million copies in the U.S alone and spawned a host of catchy singles including its highlight ballad, ‘Lightning Crashes’. Fast forward two decades and despite waning success over the past ten years and the departure of front man, Ed Kowalczyk in 2009, the Live version in 2015 is still very capable of matching its heights of the mid ‘90s; at least on the stage. The soul is still there. Kowalczyk may be gone but in ex-Unified Theory vocalist, Chris Shinn, Live have found a hidden gem to take Ed’s mantle. Strikingly similar to Kowalczyk in delivery, Shinn may have had his doubters at the beginning of his tenure but those voices are quickly dissipating. Put simply, Shinn has the goods.
As darkness filled the sky, the crowd swarmed, Live’s set abundant with those sing-along moments that immerse audience into participation. Whilst the Throwing Copper record made up the majority of the set, fans were also treated to belters such as ‘Dolphins Cry’ and ‘Lakini’s Juice’. The crowd lapping up the tender moments of the songs and rocking out when time called for a more gusto delivery. ‘All Over You’, ‘Selling the Drama’ and ‘Iris’ surged over the speakers, as strangers sung in unison, at one point threatening to overpower Live’s sound, especially as ‘Lightning Crashes’ entered the fray. Finishing with another Throwing Copper classic in ‘I Alone’, the anticipation reached fever pitch for Def Leppard to continue the ‘rock’.
Onto the main act. It seems Def Leppard saved up all the lightshow and back drops for themselves, but who could blame them, this was ‘their’ tour, and they used video screen as background to perfection. Slipping from old photos of the band to neon signs to other artistic eye candy, the quintet powered into each song with bravado, kicking off with ‘Let’s Go’ from the band’s latest self-titled album, released just last month. Fans slow on the uptake of the new stuff didn’t need to wait long though for some old classics. ‘Animal’ had the crowd voice singing every word, Joe Elliott’s range still as strong as ever. ‘Undefeated’ from 2011’s Mirrorball Live album with a few extra tracks thrown in is next, which despite its rollicking beat, again had some old crew in the audience pondering their attendance to the show, especially after another new song, ‘Dangerous’ was played next. Personally I love the new songs, in fact the new album is probably the most enjoyable Def Leppard album since Hysteria but with mix of hot weather, amber liquid consumption and the crowd baying for old tracks there was that air of, ‘Please Mr Elliott play some old stuff’ running through my head following ‘Dangerous’ conclusion.
Thankfully Def Leppard obeyed. Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell and by now a shirtless 6 packed Phil Collen manoeuvred the stage in choreographed grace, Joe Elliott slipping into several stage guises throughout the 90 minute show. ‘Love Bites’ had the ladies dancing in the aisles, another Hysteria favourite, ‘Armageddon It’ had everyone fist pumping to ‘that’ riff, Collen controlling the audience like an orchestra conductor, riff after riff.
Slowing it down a notch, the David Essex cover ‘Rock On’ had a ambient airing, Rick Savage bending Joe Elliottthe bass lines, the crowd anthemic in their assistance, ‘Rock On!, oo my soul’. From there Elliott went acoustic, stripping back the track, ‘Two Steps Behind’, a true ‘lighter’ moment, though the crowd at the rear of the venue swayed their beverages side to side in some sort of show of consolidarity. ‘Rocket’ got the whole crowd involved, the Hysteria classic tune sending Red Hill Auditorium into raptures, the sonic sounds and succinct Collen/Campbell duelling guitar work coming across beautifully in a venue that captures the sound so crisply.
Following a killer, bordering on heavy metal souped-up version of the instrumental ‘Switch 625’, the crowd were treated to three gems in ‘Hysteria’, ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and perhaps the biggest track of the Leppard discography, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’. Elliott may as well have placed the microphone on the stage floor, he wasn’t required. From “Hysteria, when you’re near”, to “I’m your average ordinary everyday kid”, to “Step inside, walk this way”, the crowd surged in voice, every word! It wouldn’t surprise if the whole of Perth some 30km’s away didn’t know every word after the performance of this crowd.
Stepping closer to the stage, mingling with fans it was apparent from the faces of Def Leppard band members that the venue, the crowd, the tour, was a triumph. Rick Allen’s beaming smile said it all. To top it off, an encore of ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Photograph’ topped off the night to perfection. Kudos to the mastermind promoters for bringing Def Leppard and some stellar supports to a venue of this kind. Having personally travelled throughout Europe in the ‘90s and numerous rock shows throughout Australia in the past twenty years, Red Hill Auditorium is truly a unique setting and one that highlighted the fun times this band has brought to millions of fans across the world to perfection.
Come back soon!
By Wall Of Sound 2015.
Def Leppard closed their Australian Tour in Perth in fine style at Red Hill Auditorium last night. Against the backdrop of the city on a hot and sticky night in Perth they promised to be back, and let’s be honest based on tonight’s performance let’s hope they are, and sooner than last time! On a bill that started before the sun went down with The Baby Animals in fine form it was a night that just got better and better with the crowd lively from the off and ecstatic by the close of the night.
If anyone was worried by the seemingly odd pairing of ‘Live’ a very 90’s band alongside the lively 80’s rock of The Baby Animals and the headliner, they needn’t have been, as even with new vocalist Chris Shinn on board they tore through the classics and got the crowd singing as the sun sank over the Perth Cityscape in the distance.
The main attraction of course was Def Leppard, who had already wowed audiences over East with their set of non-stop hits and was wrapping up its 2015 Australian Tour in the beautiful setting of the outdoor Red Hill Auditorium. Taking the stage in darkness to the strains of the opening track to their new album ‘Let’s Go’ there’s a burst of light and the band is immediately in full flight.
With a set essentially the same as their 2008 visit (except for the new songs and ‘Rock On’) and even more similar to their 2011 return (we even got ‘Rock On’ and ‘Undefeated’ in 2011) it may be a night of few surprises, but that of course is beside the point.
The crowd is here to rock to the classics like it’s the 80’s all over again. The most notable aspect of the set tonight is the almost complete lack of pre-Hysteria material until the encores - we miss out on classics like ‘Foolin’’ and ‘Bringin’ On the Heartbreak’ that have been aired Downunder before; and though Melbourne got a rendition of got ‘Rock Rock (Till You Drop)’ both Perth and Sydney missed out this time. It’s a minor niggle though as tonight the band is exceptionally slick, especially Phil Collen who looks like he has been bathing in oil, and gleams shirtless throughout the night.
It is great to see Vivian Campbell back too, and his constant smile despite his ongoing battle with cancer is an inspiration. And tonight under the heat of the Perth night the band is in fine fettle. Best of all though is Joe Elliott, who has rarely sounded better, and whilst his voice sounds a little tired during the between song banter, during the songs it seems to have a depth at the bottom end that we’ve rarely noticed before.
We’ll leave the highlights to those there on the night to take away and debate, but for us it’s those Pyromania numbers that close the set, though of course al the big ones from Hysteria take some beating, especially the singalong that comes with ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’.
A great night from a band that always knows how to deliver, and tonight in Perth no one went away disappointed, though on the way out it was apparent that the excitement had become too much for some…
By The Rock Pit 2015.
Anyone who baulked at the long drive into the Perth hills for Def Leppard’s third Perth visit in eight years obviously didn’t do their research very well: idyllically set amongst near-virgin bushland, with the city and sunset glinting in the distance, Red Hill is a hidden treasure, and one well-catered for with excellent facilities and a bevy of shuttle buses ferrying punters in and out.
BABY ANIMALS took the stage as the sun edged lower and lower, local frontwoman Suze DeMarchi packing as powerful a punch as always through a set which focussed primarily on their 1991 debut. Favourites Rush You, One Word and Ain’t Gonna Get were all delivered with rocking fury in the fresh air of dusk, with last year’s scathing Email a more contempory highlight.
American post-grunge outfit LIVE seemed an odd fit for the line-up when announced, and stood out like a sore thumb on the night. Bookending their set with their big hits Selling The Drama/All Over You and Lightning Crashes/I Alone at either end of a too-long set, they tried hard but played all the wrong cards. New singer Chris Shinn resembled a tribute band version of Ed Kowalczyk, and the rest of the band had no engagement with the crowd at all, resulting in a tedious hour or so for most of the crowd.
DEF LEPPARD, rightfully the stars of this show, had no such problems, bursting on stage with new single Let’s Go, and delivering a selection of their greatest hits with a couple of surprised thrown in for good measure. Guitarists Vivian Campbell – newly shorn after chemo for a recurring bout of cancer – and the seemingly permanently topless and baby-oiled to within an inch of his life Phil Collen threw all the right shapes as their guitars meshed perfectly, while the faultless rhythm section of the Ricks – Savage and Allen – never skipped a beat.
With so much material to choose from, each fan was bound to have their own dream set list, but these old pros did a good job cherry picking a hit-packed ninety minutes. Animal and Armageddon It had the crowd singing along in raptures, their modernisation of David Essex’s Rock On was a winner, and singer Joe Elliot’s solo acoustic performance of the bands best non-album track, Two Steps Behind, was a treat.
At their rocking best for the early instrumental Switch 625 and the double-whammy encore of Rock Of Ages and Photograph, Def Leppard gave Perth a little bit of everything that has made them endure so well for so many years, leaving Red Hill well and truly ‘Rocked.’
By 100 Percent Rock Magazine 2015.
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