I wasn’t planning to attend the gig, but I felt it’d be a waste not to check out Def Leppard playing in their hometown. Besides, I get to see Whitesnake as well!

I last saw Def Leppard 12 years ago in Newcastle when Slang came out. Joe Elliott was supposed to sound bad that night due to a cold. I didn’t really notice. By the time I got to the arena, Black Stone Cherry was in the middle of their set. I got meself a Whitesnake sten (budak SDAR era 80an je kot paham ni) with the risque naked chick straddling a big snake. Sounds so wrong lol.

All that is left in Whitesnake is David Coverdale and for a mid-quintagenarian, his voice still rocks. I loved the late 80s stuff (that was the time I started listening to them, anyway) they played, although didn’t really like his current stuff from Good to be Bad. Whitesnake had it right with all things rock – the frontman strut with the twirling micstand, Timothy Drury’s bad hair and the guitar duel between Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach. Highlights for me were Fool For Your Loving and and Still of the Night which kicked some serious ass.

Def Leppard was another kettle of fish. Unlike the older hard rock pedigree in the lines of Deep Purple that is Whitesnake, the Sheffield lads made it big with the Pyromania and Hysteria records that hard a more modern synth-y edge to their sound. I didn’t take to them the first time I was introduced to Hysteria by my MCKK friends just before my sixth form years. It took me a while to actually dissect the songs to go “so, that’s where the guitars are…”.

They kicked off with the seminal Rocket to a welcoming home crowd. I haven’t actually listened to their current stuff from Sparkle Lounge, really, but I thought Nine Lives (sans Tim McGraw) wasn’t too bad. Their new stuff was supposed to bring their sound back to the Pyromania days.

I found myself finding the performance to be short of outstanding (apart from the moments they played Photograph, Hysteria, Armageddon It… you know which tunes I’m talkin’ about), at times thinking some bits of the Whitesnake show was much better. Perhaps this was a band who has reached their zenith that didn’t have to do much to wow the crowd, and by doing so, people like myself who’s not heard them live for yonks found the show a bit on the unimpressive side.

Rock of ages? Indeed.

Def Leppard’s Sheffield Arena 23.06.08 set: Rocket / C’mon C’mon / Animal / Nine Lives / Make Love Like A Man / When Love and Hate Collide / [Sav’s bass solo] Rock On / Two Steps Behind / Bringin’ On The Heartbreak / Hysteria / Armageddon It / Photograph / Pour Some Sugar On Me / Rock of Ages / Bad Actress / Let’s Get Rocked

[Set from the fora on defleppard.com]