Review: DEF LEPPARD - AIS Arena Canberra 25.10.11



Def Leppard at AIS Arena Canberra 25 October 2011


It’s always interesting to go to a venue that you haven’t been to before to see a band. What’s it like, how crowded will it get and what will the sound be like. I soon discovered the AIS Arena in Canberra is a great place to see your favourite band up close and personal.  It’s big enough to have that arena feel, yet small enough that no matter where you sit, you’ve got a good view.

Tonight’s lineup of great rock’n’roll certainly had the place jumping. Choirboys were first up and the 30 minutes allocated to them simply wasn’t enough. Their frontman, Mark Gable, was up to his mischievous best and was doing a great job in getting the crowd warmed up with his antics. Naturally, they played their big hits such as Boys will be Boys, Struggletown and the iconic Run to Paradise. Gable informed us Struggletown was apparently written about Queanbeyan, a town which is nearby.

Heart are on their first Australian tour and they definitely did not disappoint. With Ann and Nancy Wilson leading the band, it was a powerful rocking set of songs for which Heart are known for.

With songs like Magic Man and Barracuda being familiar, you forget which other songs they have been associated with. Songs such as What about Love, These Dreams and Crazy for You, which showcased Ann Wilson’s vocal talent superbly. There was an Australian aspect to their set in that Heart did John Farnham’s You’re the Voice, which was a nice touch. If you ever get the chance to see Heart live, go, you will be blown away.  Let’s hope they come back and do a headlining tour. 

By now, the crowd was truly pumped for the headliner.  Def Leppard are back for their first tour since the Songs from the Sparkle Lounge of 2008, promoting their new live album Mirrorball.

Nothing much has changed since 2008 but this is a good thing. The boys are still brilliant and know how to really entertain and get a crowd rocking from the first beat. With a catwalk in place, all members of Dep Leppard used it at various times and none more than frontman Joe Elliott who was in fine voice.

To set the scene, the first song was a newbie from the Mirrorball  album called Undefeated.  With an anthemic style, it has a long drum/bass introduction just to get things moving.  Followed by some eternal favourites, fans were singing their hearts out to Lets Get Rocked which was followed by Animal. If you haven’t started singing along by now, there must be something wrong!

Just so you can catch your breath, Foolin’ is next followed by some more classics Make Love like a Man, Love Bites and an extended version of Rocket.

One of the great features of Def Leppard is that they don’t just stand in one spot the whole night.  They cover the entire stage, side to side and down the catwalk, where they converge for the ever popular acoustic set.  If you want action, catch a Def Leppard show.  You always get the sense that these guys give it their all.

At times, it was difficult to keep up with who was where!  With the tight music and great melodies complemented by a great light show and large screens, you will be entertained.

There are some extended solos thrown in just to show off Phil Collen and Viv Campbell’s guitar skills.  Sav also gets a bass solo in there after Rocket.

During the acoustic set, Elliott actually makes everyone an honorary member of Def Leppard so you just have to sing along with Two Steps Behind and Bringin on the Heartbreak. This set is just a teaser for the finale in that it finishes with Hysteria, Armageddon It, Photograph and Pour Some Sugar on Me.

By this time, the crowd has gone nuts wanting more and the legends obliged with an encore of Rock of Ages. Unfortunately, the night ended all too soon and the punters still wanted more but, alas, it was not to be.

Leaving the venue on a high, it is easy to see why this band is still pulling large crowds in an industry that often tends to overlook and undervalue its veteran acts. 

Can’t wait for their next tour and new album.  They promised they would be back……..speaking of which,  just wish they would add Promises and Heaven to the setlist! That would really put the icing on the cake!

Paul Bartle





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