Live Review: Def Leppard, Baby Animals

27 November 2015 | 5:50 pm | Shane Pinnegar

"Def Leppard gave Perth a little bit of everything that has made them endure so well for so many years."

Idyllically set in 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. The scene was set for a great night of rock'n'roll.

Baby Animals took the stage as the sun edged lower, local frontwoman Suze DeMarchi packing as powerful a punch as always through a set which focussed on their 1991 debut. Favourites Rush You, One Word and Ain’t Gonna Get were all delivered with rocking fury, with last year’s scathing Email a more contemporary highlight.

Americans Live seemed an odd fit and stood out like a sore thumb on the night. Bookending their set with their big hits All Over You, Lightning Crashes and I Alone at either end of a too-long set, they 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.

Def Leppard had no such problems, bursting onstage with new single, Let’s Go, and delivering a selection of their greatest hits with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure. Guitarists Vivian Campbell and the seemingly permanently topless and baby-oiled Phil Collen threw all the right shapes as their guitars meshed perfectly, while the faultless rhythm section never skipped a beat.

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With so much material to choose from, these old pros did a good job cherry picking a hit-packed 90 minutes. Animal and Armageddon It had the crowd singing along, their modernisation of David Essex’s Rock On was a winner, and singer Joe Elliot’s solo acoustic performance of the band's 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.

Originally published at X-Press Magazine