Def Leppard

The Seven-Day Weekend Tour

Freedom Hall, ber 21

By Rob Frayser

I know what you're thinkin', "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I've kind of lost track myself, but being that this is a. 44-magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do you wanna get rocked?

With perhaps Clint Eastwood's most famous line as Dirty Harry, Def Leppard began their show to a not-quite-packed-to-the-rafters Freedom Hall. The answer most of the fans gave was "yes," though some were content to kick back and listen to great sugar-coated music while others felt the need to dance in the aisles. I was amongst some of the latter and was often in range of the whipping hair.

The masters of pop heavy metal brought their show to Louisville with the message that music doesn't always have to be socially or politically relevant to be good. Def Leppard's music can be summed up by their smash "Pour Some Sugar On Me" it tastes good without having much substance, leaving you wanting more, which is exactly the way they want it. The crowd reflected this attitude. Freedom Hall probably hadn't seen that much big hair since Garth Brooks and that much spandex since Motley Crue. I knew the crowd would be on the younger side when a PA announcement stated that the "Parents Room" was located next to the "Champions Club."

The show itself was a well-polished, yet natural two-hour-plus performance. Once again, as they did on their tour in 1988, Def Leppard performed "in the round." The round stage was set in the middle of the arena, so no section had a bad view. To keep the band members from being mobbed on their way to the stage, the roadies pushed them through the crowd inside laundry carts.

Once the show began, Joe Elliot and mates rotated easily around the stage, performing equally to all parts of the crowd. As on their studio efforts, the vocal harmonies and instantly recognizable guitar chords were fixtures of the concert.

The songs themselves were played cleanly, with the enthusiasm of a band that still enjoys performing. An impressive stage show complemented the songs, especially on a spectacular version of "Rocket" from their Hysteria album, in which laser light pods hovered over the crowd. Then in direct contrast to the massive production of "Rocket," the band launched into their own version of "Def Leppard Unplugged." After teasing the crowd with bits of AC/DC and Metallica songs, they settled on an acoustic rendition of their hit "Bringing on the Heartbreak" from High and Dry.

Other highlights of the show included treks into their past for "Foolin '"and "Rock of Ages" from Pyromania, a brief jaunt into the old Ram Jam classic "Black Betty" and of course "Pour Some Sugar on Me." Tracks from the new Adrenalize album did not fare quite as well when compared to their studio versions or the older material. On all of these songs, guitarist Phil Collen showed why he is among the best in the business at creating and playing catchy chords. Unfortunately he and new guitarist, journeyman Vivian Campbell, did not have much to show during two uninspiring guitar solos.

To close the show, Def Leppard played the song that rightfully elevated them to the level of pop rock superstars: "Photograph." No one there would have asked for anything else.