Kuala Lumpur, early 1988 – this was the time I was introduced to Hysteria, the then current Def Leppard record by a friend who went to the same primary school as I did six years prior. It wasn’t that I didn’t know of the band, but I was struck by the absence of this particular record in my playlist (if you could call it that in the pre-digital age) during my senior year at school. Did the lads at my school miss something then? I was also a tad ambivalent with the electro-rock sound that was prominent in this record as compared to their songs in the preceding Pyromania. Suffice to say, Hysteria grew on me and was pretty much a staple in my Sony Walkman by the time I hit sixth form. The rest is history.

Sheffield, some time in 2018 – this came up in my social media newsfeed:

I have seen them in Sheffield before, as I then had an opportunity to see a home-coming show of sorts. And now a chance to see them play Hysteria live in its entirety was something that should not be missed. Besides, the aforementioned gig was ten years ago. It was a long while since Def Lep had been regularly played on my iPod/car stereo. So, I left it to the day of the gig to put Hysteria on repeat in the car.

The gig was sold out. I had to park my car out on some sports field, where the ticket was a tenner[1]. My seat was on the second tier but closest to stage right. Somewhat similar to where I was when I saw ’em do the double headlining gig with Whitesnake. This time the opener was Cheap Trick (I only knew two songs) and the first thing I had to notice was the absence of Bun E. Carlos[2].

Def Lep’s show started promptly at nine, and it felt really good to see Sheffield emblazoned digitally, in the appropriate Def Lep font to boot. As the sign was raised above the stage, Phil Collen’s guitar intro to Women echoed throughout the arena.

The band went through the motions as it were, songs performed in the exact sequence as per the album. Joe Elliott looked and sounded in good, but prolly not top, form. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I sincerely hope that its was just were I was seated in the arena that was at fault. It was one thing to see/hear them do the classics from the record, as I had in the other two shows of theirs that I had attended, but it was another to see the less played ones. Gods of War was one of my personal favs in the day, and they did it justice that night, complete with the pre-recorded audio snippets of Thatcher and Reagan. I wonder if there were any young ‘uns in the crowd that night who knew whose voices those were.

He counted on America to be passive.
He counted wrong.

In between some of the songs, Joe was telling the crowd how nice it was to be back where everything started, as well as thanking everyone for voting the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Joe added that Pete Willis will be inducted alongside the band, and the late Steve Clark’s mom will also be in attendance at the event. Another ‘lost dog’ that night, was Run Riot. And somewhere in the set, they had a video montage of Steve Clark playing an intro to a song from the original Hysteria tour. Poignant, that. Things calmed down a tad and memories flooding in when they performed Hysteria.

After the main Hysteria set, they came back with a short yet pretty solid best-of encore set. I haver heard Wasted before (my earliest Def Lep CD was Pyromania), but the encore was another sort nostalgia trip as well. Apart from the vocal(s)’ audio quality (again, likely due to my position in the arena), this was a top notch show, with a superb stage and lighting setup. I read somewhere that the original Sheffield show on the Hysteria tour was at the City Hall. Like, really?

Nice to see them back in town again.

Sheffield Arena 14.12.18 set: Women / Rocket / Animal / Love Bites / Pour Some Sugar on Me / Armageddon It / Gods of War / Don’t Shoot Shotgun / Run Riot / Hysteria / Excitable / Love and Affection // Wasted / When Love and Hate Collide / Let’s Get Rocked / Rock of Ages / Photograph

Photos of the Sheffield gig from the band’s official Instagram.

[1]That’s a few quid from car parking alone.
[2]Still a member of the band although not touring with them anymore.