"A gratifying night for fans to celebrate the metal band’s legacy."
When it comes to metal, more is more. Big hair, a pulsating light show, and searing guitar and drum solos are all motifs that concertgoers rarely see these days. As rock royalty Def Leppard kicked off their first Australian show in their Hysteria live tour, they gave thousands at RAC Arena an evocative night reminding us all of what made arena rock so great.
Old vanguards, Scorpions opened the night with a set that played like a heavy metal history lesson. Past their prime as they moved stiffly around on stage, they still gave it all they had with a set featuring well-known hits Send Me An Angel, Winds Of Change and Rock Me Like A Hurricane.
Revisiting seminal albums seems to be the tour du jour for older bands as they bank on the nostalgic fever of their fans. For Def Leppard that was 1987’s Hysteria, an album filled with so many hooky, devil horn worthy songs that it was impossible not to be swept up in Rick Allen’s thumping drums or Phil Collen and Rick Savage’s indulgent earworm guitar riffs.
Opening with Women, the first third of the show had so many pearlers there was no way anyone was leaving their seat. Rocket, a song that displayed their glass-shattering vocal harmonies led by Joe Elliot’s iconic lead vocals, was strong enough to shoot the set off into the night sky. Love Bites brought out the lasers, and the song responsible for many stripper’s tips, Pour Some Sugar On Me had much of this older crowd on their feet before being followed by Armageddon It. Thirty years may have past for the now much older band but the audience still saw flashes of brilliance from this thoroughly English group.
The stage setup also catered for all fans with massive screens and a light show that was blinding in its number and array sequences. The screens were also put to good use showing graphics and vision of the band on stage and photos from their heyday including the nice touch of a tribute to former songwriter and guitarist Stephen Maynard Clark who passed away from alcohol poisoning in 1991.
With the most popular songs having already played, the set hit a lull by Run Riot, continuing through to Hysteria (which included a nod to David Bowie’s Heroes) and Excitable. However the encore gave the band a chance to put the pedal to the metal with the ballad When Love & Hate Collide and a sped up version of their 1992 hit Let’s Get Rocked.
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Closing with the Photograph from 1983’s Pyromania it was a gratifying night for fans to celebrate the metal band’s legacy from a time when music peacocked unashamedly in all its glory.