Tonight’s show was completely sold out – not a huge surprise really as not only is this Def Leppard on tour, it’s Def Leppard playing their biggest album (and arguably one of the biggest selling rock albums in history) in full – Hysteria. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve brought along a great support act – Cheap Trick.
First up was Cheap Trick. Despite touring almost constantly for the last forty years, they haven’t been to the uk much in the last few years (here in 2017 but before that it was 2011), so are a real treat to see tonight. They’re one of those bands where before the gig I could only think of a couple of their songs that I knew, but as they played I realised I actually knew quite a lot of their songs. Watching them play, guitarist Rick Nielsen’s mic stand is a striking sight, as while most guitarists have maybe a dozen guitar picks attached for use, his is covered in hundreds of them, and as he plays he’s constantly throwing them out to members of the audience. Robin Zander on vocals shows his decades of experience as he makes the job of being a great frontman look easy. It’s a great set that flies past despite being an hour long, and with songs like “Dream police” and “I want you to want me” going down very well, it’s a great start to the night.
No matter how good cheap trick were though, it’s Def Leppard that most people are here to see, and when the lights went down the crowd excitement grew as a timer on a screen hiding the stage counted down to zero and the show kicked off. With a big screen behind them to show all sorts of visuals plus footage of the band and a ramp out into the crowd from the stage, this was a big production but that was just a bonus – what fans really wanted was to hear the Hysteria era songs and they were in for a treat as the band played the album in full.
The band sounded great and Joe’s vocals were sounding very good too with just the occasional slip as they performed songs dating back to 1987. The crowd were loving it with lots of people singing along, and where space permitted many were dancing too – for many of the fans there, this was an album they’d grown up with. All too soon though the set was over, and after a short break they came back to do an encore – not just one or two songs though, this was a five song encore covering songs from before and after the Hysteria album.
To kick the encore off, Joe pointed out it was Phil’s birthday and got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to him. He then got Phil to choose the first song of the encore, which was “Let it go”. With “When love and hate collide”, “Lets get rocked”, “Photograph” and “Rock of ages” making up the rest of the encore, this was a great end to the night.