Live Gig Review and Article Photos by: Robert Cavuoto
Did you know that if you looked up the word “Arena Rock” in the dictionary, you’ll find a photo of Def Leppard? I’m confident the word was invented to categorize this great band who truly knows how to create monster radio hits and instantly put a smile on 1,000s of people’s face when performing live. With more than 65 million albums sold worldwide; Def Leppard are the masters at both!
Tuesday night, May 17th, Def Leppard rolled in to PPL Center in Allentown, PA with openers REO Speedwagon and Tesla for their 2016 Summer Tour. The bands mission was to show this Pennsylvania crowd why they are one of the world’s premiere live acts. There was no shortage of diehard fans decked out in concert shirt, tight pants, and short skirts. Everybody came to have great time and relive the 80’s in which Def Leppard played such an integral part; whether hearing them at a parties, driving to the beach, or breaking-up just to make-up, I’m sure Def Leppard was there.
The band opened the show with their newest hit, “Lets Go” and never looked back! It was a fast paced high energy set filled with all the hits songs that fans have come to know and love dating back to High and Dry. Guitar driven rockers like “Rocket,” “Foolin,”, “Bringing on the Heartbreak,” “Armageddon It,” “Dangerous,” and “Switch 625” were all performed flawlessly and nicely tied to a tremendous spectacle light show. It wouldn’t be a Def Leppard concert of course without “Pour Some Sugar on Me” as that tune still gets everybody from rockers to housewives all fired up. The song that brought down the PPL Center was the immortal party anthem “Photograph” as you would suspect during the encore.
The band has a cleaner more stream lined stage than in the past with video screens the length of the stage depicting historic band photos and videos from their illustrious career. The monster floor-to-ceiling video screen behind the stage caught the live action in a larger-than-life format as well as provided a tremendous light show.
One of the highlights for me was the lead guitar work Vivian Campbell did at the end of their hit “Love Bites”, playing it effortlessly over the top of Les Paul guitar neck. Vivian is a stand out guitar player from his days in Dio so it was great to see him get the spot light. He and Phil Collen dazzled the crowd with some talented playing and showcased their array of guitars; Vivian’s typically stuck with Gibson Les Pauls while Phil utilized his staggering arsenal of Jackson guitars.
Phil, shirtless as usual, owned the right side of the stage, trading licks and interacting with fans in the audience while Rick Savage and Rick Allen laid down the back beat like an unflinching freight train. Savage ran the length of the stage song after song with his Jackson black, white, and grey Union Jack Flag bass, whipping the already crazed fans into frenzy.
Joe Elliot’s performance was powerful as he commanded the stage and led the crowd to sing with him on every song. He ran the stage, owned the catwalk, told great stories, and joked with the fans all the while belting out tune after tune.
For the over thirty six years Def Leppard’s concerts have been a must-see event, so whether you’re a causal fan or a diehard you will really have to check them out on their 2016 Summer Tour that takes then across the US all the way to October, I promise you’ll leave the show grinning from ear to ear!