(Palace of Auburn Hills, MI - March 27th, 2003)
At 7:30pm, the opening act - a man from Northern Ireland, I didn’t catch his name - ambled on with an acoustic guitar and took center stage. Throughout his entire thirty minutes in the spotlight he played and sang quite well, but the highly expectant crowd was there to see Def Leppard and no one else!
At 8:30pm, and to an enormous wall of stage smoke, the boys from Sheffield, England came bouncing out on stage. Opening up their explosive show with 'Let It Go' from High ‘N’ Dry, Def Leppard grabbed the audience by their ears and never let them go for the next ninety minutes. The next group of songs were all pre-Pyromania, including 'High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night)', 'Bringin’ on the Heartbreak' and 'Another Hit and Run', followed by an instrumental. Culling from then on in from the aforementioned Pyromania all the way through to the latest X, it was surprising that no songs were performed from either Slang or Adrenalize. And the only song from Retroactive was the acoustical favorite, 'Two Steps Behind' where Joe Elliot showed his guitar-strumming talent. Prior to the song, Joe gave us a brief sampling of other band’s songs he could play acoustically.
Songs performed from their latest release X (named for the band’s 10th album) included the first air-play single, 'Now', 'You’re So Beautiful', 'Long Long Way To Go' and 'Four Letter Word'. Typical of a Def Leppard concert, the band ended up playing seven (7) songs from their best selling album Hysteria – which are always crowd pleasers.
In particular, 'Rocket' was performed to emphasize the musical talents of each of the band members by extending the instrumental portion of the song. As for the stage show itself, surprisingly no pyrotechnics were used (Great White take note!), but the lighting arrangement/timing enhanced the songs played without taking over the experience of the show.
From my floor seat, back by the soundboard, at first, the music was too loud to hear the voice of Joe Elliot, but it did improve slightly as the show continued. Joe started to get somewhat hoarse throughout the show, but it didn’t hold him back from giving it all he had and still giving a great performance. As for the audience, there was quite an eclectic group of people, to say the least! There were the “normal” people who came to absorb some great music performed by a great band. Some brought their teenagers to introduce the next generation to their kind of music. Some showed up to drink a lot of beer, act like they knew the words to the songs and perhaps pick a fight or two as they hopped from seat to seat. Then, of course, there were those who were “stuck” in the 80’s with the big hair, short skirts and, sad to say, a few mullets were spotted wandering around! One thing in common, though, was that everyone was on his or her feet the entire concert.
At the concert’s end, the crowd’s ovation provoked the band to come out to play 'Love Bites', which pleased them no end. Overall, the concert was an awesome experience. Of course, I’m biased, as Def Leppard is my all-time favorite band, but the truth IS the truth!
Reviewed By Melissa K. Francis for Exclusive Magazine