(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI – Wednesday July 24th, 2003)
”Good evening again, Detroit” lead singer Joe Elliott volleys out not ten seconds into having bounced on stage. ”Thank you for having us back so soon. It’s always great to play here.” From the very off, it’s obvious that Def Leppard, who are quite possibly the definitive hard rock band of the '80s are here to play their collective hearts and souls out!
Kicking off the proceedings with the opener from High ‘N’ Dry, ’Let It Go’, the Leppards don’t mess around musically, each beat and every sung note as powerful as it was way back when. ’Action! Not Words’ from Pyromania, ’Make Love Like A Man’ (Adrenalize), ’Bringin' on the Heartbreak’ and ’Switch 365’ from High ‘N’ Dry’. By now the band is in full swing and clearly enjoying their evenings work which is emphasized by Phil Cohen’s desire to remove his shirt and go topless (as usual) for the rest of the night!
Next up comes ’Foolin’ and ’Hysteria both from Hysteria and from their latest album, X, ’Long Way To Go’ (”We’re now gonna play a song dedicated to the British and American troops fighting the war”). ’Slang,’ ‘Four Letter Word’ (”And here’s Phil in the blue corner weighing in at 39”), ’Promises’ from Euphoria and the ballad ’Two Steps Behind’ (”Sammy Hagar was the first tour we ever did back in September of 1979,” Joe admits as he strum some Sammy and Lynryd Skynyrd also. ”Anyway, f**k that s**t. Here’s some of our music!”) all come down the pipe next.
From the new album comes ’Now’ (”Due to popular demand, the Union Jack T-shirts are back on sale! The one from the Pyromania years,” Elliott tells everyone. ”God bless you all”) which is followed by ’Women’ (”Right Detroit, we want to see all those hands up right now. Come on”) and ’Rocket’ (which includes solos from both Vivian Campbell and Cohen – not to mention a quick flash of ’Whole Lotta Love’) from Hysteria. But, as we hit ’Photograph’ it’s obvious that Elliott’s voice is starting to suffer as a cracked, croaky stance is taken by his once pitch-perfect vocals. From Hysteria comes ’Animal’ followed by ’Armageddon It’ (”This song includes some guitar work from the man who notoriously puts the fast in Belfast, Mr. Vivian Campbell”) and their infamous ‘dance’ track, ’Pour Some Sugar On Me’.
The track ’Rock of Ages’ from Pyromania is the set closer (”22 years ago we began as a band and that’s a long time ago”, Joe admits. ”And, so long as you guys are still here, we’ll keep coming back again, and again … and again”, he laughs), before they come back out to perform their classic guitar ballad, ’Love Bites’ (”This is for the quiet one in the band,” Elliott jokes with Rick Allen on the drums). The set is finally closed for good with a simply rousing rendition of ’Let’s Get Rocked’ and before you can adjust your eyes, Joe thanks everybody one last time, the lights are on and it’s time to go home … the entire set still ringing in your ears for the best part of the next few days!
Review and Photos by Russell A. Trunk