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Gig Review: Def Leppard + Supports

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Def Leppard + Live + Electric Mary
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
18 November 2015
Review by Damo Musclecar

Opening the night was Melbourne’s own Electric Mary, who had the hard task of warming up the crowd for the main event. Having been there myself supporting Motley Crue on that very stage this year, the pressure and nerves you feel before walking on that stage is at an all-time high. Thankfully, if these guys had any pre-gig concerns, they certainly didn’t show it and put on an energetic performance of good solid rock ‘n’ roll. Great songs with slick guitar riffs and top notch musicianship, Electric Mary, smashed through a half hour set of good ole Aussie pub rock. If you’re yet to see them, do yourselves a favour.

The band Live followed and for me it seemed to have lacked the energy, and while the people around me seemed to have enjoyed themselves, I found their big hits to not have aged so well. Great musicians and vocalist Chris Shinn can certainly hold a note but they didn’t win me over. Like I said though, they connected with the people around me and that’s all that really should matter.

Def Leppard took to the stage to what appeared to be a full house of an audience hungry for the show that only Def Leppard can provide. Kicking right into opener, Let’s Go, off their latest album, there was no hesitation in whether this was going to be the rock of ages we were here for. From there they jumped straight into the fist pumpin’ classic, Rock! Rock! (Til You Drop) and everything was as it should be. The band’s energy was high and the capacity crowd reciprocated with just as much.

Everything sounded fantastic and perfectly clear. They didn’t let up for a second and the hits kept on coming; Animal, Armageddon It, Rocket, Hysteria – proof that their 1987 album Hysteria really has stood the test of time. Even their cover of David Essex’s Rock On went off and sounded as though it was a Lep penned composition.

Whether they were playing their tearjerker Love Bites or bringing the roof down with ass kicking hits like Let’s Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard brought it. Sure, Joe Elliott’s vocals aren’t as pristine as they used to be but that didn’t stop the man from belting out a sure-fire win in the vocal game.

No need for teleprompters, no need for backing tapes, he knows his limitations and he delivered the goods better than most his age. With a backing band of guitar virtuosos Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen, filled out by the solid rhythm section of bassist Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen, the latter whose drive and infectious smile was met with huge applause. What a band!

Finishing with Rock of Ages and Photograph, the people were left with much appreciation and respect for the band the majority of us in attendance grew up with in the ‘80s. It was awesome and the smiles on the faces around me seemed to agree without saying a word.

Let’s be honest here, Def Leppard don’t write songs, they write anthems. Each song comes complete with huge choruses, catchy guitar work, groovy drums and more harmonies than most bands could come up with in an entire career. These guys manage to fit it all in the space of a 4 minute song. This is why Def Leppard are proudly celebrating a healthy and obviously successful career even to this day. The packed crowd screamed, cheered and sang along with every song, every woah, every harmony and it was brilliant.

Def Leppard have done it again. They came, we saw and we all got rocked!

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