Photos and Review by Mark Ellis [Shoot the Groove]
Its Friday and it was certainly crackerjack time for the Def Leppard faithful. Currently, on a mammoth world tour celebrating 30 years since the release of the chart-topping “Hysteria” LP, the Sheffield boys have finally arrived for their hometown gig.
Support on this leg of the tour are the ubiquitous kings of rock’n;roll Cheap Trick. And they delivered a warm-up show as if they were the headliners. The support for the band is huge .. in fact so much so that security staff were overheard saying that they have not seen the arena so full for a support in a long time, They delivered a greatest hits set, that had the crowd rocking and reeling from the get-go, in their inimitable brash yet fun style.
Robin Zander and Rick Nielson worked the crowd to perfection and brought a perfect mix of attitude and fun. The Yorkshire crowd proved to be in fine voice during the crowd-pleasing hit “I Want You to Want Me” and of course the inevitable 70’s anthem “Surrender”. It certainly was a great way to start the evening.
Ok, so for Def Leppard fans around the world (including this reviewer I might add), this tour is a pinnacle of achievement for the band. Topped off by the earlier announcement that the band are to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an outstanding career. The anticipation on the Arena was unbelievable. As the countdown to the start of the show appeared on the video wall began the atmosphere was electric. With just a few minutes to go the PA went up a notch and the bands cover of “Personal Jesus” was played at full volume (man that track is immense played at that volume).
The countdown ends and the introduction to the Hysteria LP begins with Def Leppard, Sheffield filling the screens in front of us .. Phil Collen comes out .. front and centre bathed in yellow spotlights and the crowd erupts as the iconic guitar intro to “Women” opens the show. This is what we came for “Hysteria” played from start to finish in its full glory.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the band is sounding better than ever, no longer are they going through the motions, they are playing with the same passion as they did on the original “Hysteria” tour .. but no longer in Sheffield City hall but here in its full arena glory. Full respect has to go to the production team the sound was crystal clear, the visuals were stunning and the lighting .. just wow.
The ‘new boy” Vivian Campbell was introduced to us but let us be honest this line-up has been together since the tragic passing of Steve Clark in 1991. And so the Hysteria train rolled on .. Indeed as we reached “Gods of War” the band paid a fitting tribute to their former guitarist.
It would be difficult to highlight any one particular song during this album playthrough, for me it had to be “Armageddon It” and “Hysteria” were sublime. However, the reception and ovation that the band received when Joe Elliot announced the induction to the hall of fame .. fair brought a tear to the eyes of each and every member of the audience.
The cheer at the end of the set as Joe announced .. “Ladies and gentleman Hysteria 2018” was phenomenal .. and yet the show was no where near over. A five song encore of “Wasted”, “When Love and Hate Collide”, “Lets Get Rocked”, “Rock of Ages” and the huge sounding “Photograph” proved to be a fitting end to the night. Def Leppard had well and truely come home to Sheffield.. And long may they do so…
Words and Photos by Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis has his own Music Photography Website called Shoot the Groove