Live Review: Def Leppard/Cheap Trick – Glasgow

I got somethin’ to say!” It really is a special family of devoted enthusiasts the Sheffield boys call their fans, and as they proved on Tuesday night to a 13,000 strong crowd at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, they’ve got no intention of burning out or fading away just yet. It’s been 31 years since Def Leppard’s smash hit album ‘Hysteria’ was released, which has sold over 25m records worldwide and received widespread critical acclaim. As Joe Elliott proudly reminisces with a nostalgic sigh: “August 3rd 1987…” he takes a moment to glance around, eyes landing on a young fan at the front of the stage, “…You weren’t even born!”. Even though the years have weathered their appearance (although you could argue Phil Collen is in the shape of his life), their spirit and passion for the job clearly hasn’t wained. As an anniversary tour, the main course tonight is of course a full rendition of ‘Hysteria’ from start to finish. The starter proved to be the ideal appetiser to such as feast, as Cheap trick came on to show they’re another ’80’s treasure that would rather sleep when they’re dead. The Glasgow revellers were instructed to brace themselves for “the best fucking rock band you’ve ever seen”, before Robin Zander stormed the stage in a diamanté jacket and white cowboy hat. An audacious start to the proceedings… Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for the Illinois four-piece to vibe with the Scots, and before long, the hall was bouncing to the sounds of “The Flame”, “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender”. Guitarist Rick Nielsen was on particularly good form, keeping the ageing rockers on their toes as he cycled through his never-ending carousel of custom made Hamer guitars (including the infamous 5-necked monstrosity). The traditional Clint Eastwood curtain drop intro is tonight replaced by a digital countdown before the word ‘Glasgow’ in neon, lights up the backdrop and the spotlight lands on Phil Collen, shirtless, tartan trews, and massive boots. As the boys launch into “Women”, something is strikingly noticeable, on occasion the Hydro can suffer from sound issues but tonight, it is just superb. I thought I might have found the Hydro’s sweet spot but others from around the Arena concur, the sound was awesome. The first six songs from the “Hysteria” album are as strong a start to any gig you could wish for. 20+ million copies sold, 96 weeks in the US top 40, and the first six songs released as singles, with five hitting top twenty either at home or the US… and remember, this was back when a top twenty single actually meant something, but it is the seventh song that stands out tonight. When Def Leppard graced the stage, it was clear that August 3rd 1987 wasn’t the only significant date being commemorated this evening. The life of Steve Clark, commencing April 23rd 1960 and ending far too soon on Jan 9th 1991, was emblazoned across an image of a wistful looking Steve, guitar across his knee, provoking a roar to rise up from the appreciative crowd, and tonight the prequel to “Gods Of War” is the Steve Clark solo from the “In The Round” video. It’s a fitting tribute and a classy move from the Def Leppard lads, as Clark is largely credited as being the principal songwriter on ‘Hysteria’, and despite his 27 year absence, he is still very much a part of the band today. New boy, Viv Campbell gets his moment in the spotlight, looking very dapper and healthy after his recent health scare. Joe informs us that it’s taken five years for the band to fulfil their intention to tour the Vegas show, but it’s been well worth the wait. Closing off the album run through with “Love And affection”, it’s reitterated that there are no weak ‘filler’ songs. So, after playing “Hysteria” in full, there is still some time to fill, and a 40 year back catalogue to choice from. The guys close the set with blistering renditions of “Let’s Get Rocked”, “When Love And Hate Collide” and two belters from “Pyromania”… “Rock Af Ages” and “Photograph” Tonight, Def Leppard played a blinder. The sound was perfect, the light show was truly spectacular, and the guys played out of their skins. It is fitting that in the week that they finally get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, they have never sounded better or more deserving of the honour. As always, Joe leaves the stage stating, “If you don’t forget about us, we won’t forget about you”. After that show… no chance. Gig of the year. Review: Fraser Doig Images: Callum Scott [gallery type='flickr' user_id='132278830@N06' view='photosets' photoset_id='72157698721049740' media='photos' columns='3' tag_mode='any' sort='date-posted-desc' per_page='74' layout='square' caption='title' thumb_size='s' main_size='z' ]]]>

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