After a hugely successful world tour which saw ticket sales break the 1 million sales barrier, legendary British rock ‘n’ roll icons Def Leppard rolled into Manchester showcasing their 1987 masterpiece, Hysteria.
As the show’s countdown elapsed to 00:00 on the big screen, the band took to the stage and immediately sought to go about their business.
The opening trio of Women, Rocket and Animal made for a sensational start to the show. The topless Phil Collen and the smartly dressed Vivian Campbell delivered plenty of heavy riffs that gave the songs more oomph than their studio counterparts.
Throughout the show came a dazzling video and light show that took in the neon sleaze of LA during the monstrous Pour Some Sugar On Me and a wonderful montage trip through the bands history during the album’s title track which neatly and aptly segued into David Bowie’s Heroes to round off the song.
The most poignant moment came with a video tribute to former band member Stephen Maynard before Gods of War, who sadly died in 1991.
Amongst the bombast of the big hitting songs from Hysteria, the balladry of Love Bites showed the kind of hit-making factory that Def Leppard became in the late 80s, on both sides of the Atlantic. The euphoric guitar licks and vocal harmonies are irresistible.
With each passing song of the album, Joe Elliot soaked up the adulation of the crowd up and down the catwalk, as well as goading every section of the arena. The crowd didn’t need any encouragement as they were deafening as the band ‘took the album home’ with Love and Affection.
The band returned for a hit-laden encore including Let’s Get Rocked and When Love And Hate Collide before a double shot from the band’s Pyromania album in Rock of Ages and Photograph.
The denim isn’t quite as tight and some of the waistlines have expanded a little but Def Leppard are one of rock music’s true survivors. To see the emphatic nature of the band’s performance in Manchester was a truly joyous spectacle.
Whilst the encore was loaded with big songs, the real star was Hysteria. At a little over 31 years old, it’s still a phenomenal album.
By Dom Walsh