REVIEW AMANDA KEENAN
There ain’t nothing wrong with a little middle-aged Hysteria.
The Def Leppard album is now 31 years old and its original fans are a good decade older at least. But do they go off!
I see your teenager at Tay Tay and raise you a 44-year-old who pumped a cassette version of the Thriller of rock into her ears at unhealthy decibels through the dodgy foam headphones of a Sony Walkman and even bought Love Bites as a 12-inch single — (do you even know what a 12-inch single is?).
I’ll show you Hysteria.
The pasty lads from Sheffield, who perfected a superior form of theatrical cock rock, put on an arena show of old on Friday night: loud, indulgent, wildly lit, raunchy, poignant and utterly addictive — all a timely reminder that life is short, gigs are great.
Even though this could be classified as a superannuation tour given the fellas are pushing 60, this was no substandard cringe fest.
Frontman Joe Elliott’s voice troubles barely bothered him as he belted his way through Hysteria in order, the songs sounding just as they do on the album, if better.
And so it was that Women (“women, women, lots of pretty women!”) opened the show, as it did the record (it was also the first single in some parts of the world).
Hysteria is reputedly the most expensive album ever recorded in the UK, plagued as it was by all kinds of problems and delays — not least of which was drummer Rick Allen losing an arm in a car crash.
The big screen showed plenty of shots of a pleased-looking Allen, his ears covered by big industrial headphones emblazoned with the Union Jack, as he pounded away in style. These were moments to celebrate his grit and talent, and the band mates who refused to give up on him.
Elliott et al, including the breathtakingly buff guitarist Phil Collen, ploughed through the slick set with fervour, including the anthemic Rocket and the aforementioned Love Bites, which began life as a country song before it got well and truly Lepparded.
Mega-hit Pour Some Sugar on Me had the capacity crowd on the kind of high that would horrify Sarah Wilson.
You cannot quit sugar.
There was a tender tribute to guitarist Steve Clark, who played on Hysteria before he died in 1991 at just 30 years of age, and archival footage of the glory days (back when their debauched back and under-stage parties became stuff of legend) played as they carved up the album’s title track.
The Defs rounded out the two-hour show with a best of, including Let’s Get Rocked, which had the woo girls on song, and the vintage classic Photograph.
The headliners were served extremely well by German rock gods Scorpions.
The distinctive voice of 70-year-old singer Klaus Meine has lost none of its power. Plenty of punters turned up early to hear jukebox favourites such as Winds of Change and the charming Meine, surrounded by an eager and calisthenic band, tossed a seemingly endless supply of drumsticks into the crowd (a roadie even refilled his mic-side stick stash mid gig).
Plenty of fans brought their young kids, who can now brag that they got bitten by Def Leppard.