Artist: Def Leppard with support from Scorpions
Date: 6th November 2018
Venue: Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Reviewer: Andrew Treadwell
Photographer: Hang Me On Your Wall Photography
So, you’re in a band, you hope to get that elusive hit single that lives on well past you, and you would be pretty happy, unless you are Def Leppard. In the mid 80’s they set out to do more and wanted 7 hit singles on what became the Hysteria album. They succeeded. And now some 30 years later, the album, one of the highest selling albums of all time, can be celebrated by them, by playing the album in its entirety. Considering the complexities of the arrangements on the album, it’s a very tall feat to bring that to life, but it seems it’s just one more challenge the band are happy to overcome, and they have overcome some huge challenges in their 40+ year career.
Joining Def Leppard and proving to be a great support band were Scorpions. Made up of Rudolph Schenker, Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs, Pawel Maciwoda and Mikkey Dee from Motorhead on drums, the band made sure the crowd, were off their feet and ready for a long night.
They started out with “Going Out with A Bang” from 2015’s “Return to Forever”, with Klaus Meine, showing that at 70 years old, he can out sing, and outperform most guys less than half his age. The band covered pretty much their entire career, with a great medley of 70s tracks, and of course the big hits like “Winds of Change” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. The band members all got great solo spots including a great solo from Mikkey Dee, but none of the solo spots were long and drawn out, just a moment to spotlight. The band deservedly got a long ovation to end the set and probably won over some new fans
Scorpions Set List: Going Out with A Bang / Make It Real / The Zoo / Coast to Coast / Medley (Top of The Bill, Steamrock Fever, Speedy’s Coming, Catch Your Train) / We Built This House / Send Me an Angel / Winds of Change / Tease Me Please Me / Blackout / Big City Nights / Rock You Like A Hurricane
While the set changeover was 30 minutes it seemed to fly by and before you knew it Phil Collen hit the opening notes of “Women”, and a night of Hysteria was well under way. Many bands with Def Leppard’s success would probably be inclined to go on auto pilot, and they themselves could easily do it and some may not care, but its painfully obvious that the band, the music and the fans mean so much to them that anything less than 100% is not good enough. Joe Elliott continually worked the entire stage and the entire crowd making sure he pushed everyone to get into the night and have a great time.
Staying with the album sequence they went into “Rocket” and “Animal” both huge songs in Australia, and the crowd loudly sang along with every word. “Love Bites” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” continued the hits, and Sugar, the song made famous by strip clubs seemed to have taken on a new lease of life as the multi-generational crowd showed. The twin guitar attack of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell shine on all this material, but it’s the fact that the album tracks have so many layers, to bring that to the stage would take a lot of work, which funnily enough didn’t look like hard work to them. “Armageddon It”, “Gods of War”, all sound as great live as when I bought Hysteria the day it was released.
The one thing that showed throughout the set was the smile of Rick Allen as he slammed away back there on drums. It’s infectious to watch and along with his rhythm section partner and name sharer, Rick Savage, they just never let up. Something was different in the mix though, and not in a bad way, Rick Savage’s background vocals seemed more prominent and you got to hear how much of that classic Leppard sound he really makes up. The band continued through the album and of course hearing the title track from the album, one of my favourites, was a real treat. The album portion concluded with “Love and Affection” and the band departed, but not for long.
After a short break the band came back for what could be called a “Best of Leppard” mini set. With such a massive catalogue of great songs it would be hard to pick, but the band went all the way back to 1981’s High ‘N’ Dry album, with “Let It Go”, then time travelled to “When Love And Hate Collide” from the criminally underrated 1996 album Slang (Work It Out, Turn To Dust are just a few of the masterpieces on that album). Now where? Wind back the clock 4 years to another big hit in Australia “Let’s Get Rocked”. The band ended the night with a one-two punch from the Pyromania album in the form of “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph”, and with that, an evening of Hysteria and Def Leppard came to an end. It’s pretty hard to find fault in 17 songs that are undeniable, played with heart and to perfection. Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, I truly don’t know that secret ingredient that makes Def Leppard what they are, well besides hard work and talent, but it’s something that should be bottled. Thanks for a great night
Def Leppard Set List: Women / Rocket / Animal / Love Bites / Pour Some Sugar on Me / Armageddon It / Gods of War / Don’t Shoot Shotgun / Run Riot / Hysteria / Excitable / Love and Affection / Let It Go / When Love and Hate Collide / Let’s Get Rocked / Rock of Ages / Photograph
Don’t forget to catch Def Leppard in Melbourne and Sydney
November 8th: Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne
November 10th: ICC Sydney Theatre, Sydney
Tickets available through www.livenation.com.au