Facebook Twitter



For Def Leppard fans, Saturday night was definitely all right!

The British heavy metal group wowed some 14,000 energetic fans with some non-stop rock 'n' roll and the audience responded in kind with thunderous ovations and non-stop dancing in the aisles.

If there was a drawback, Saturday, it was in the sound system, which on occasion was fuzzy and distorted on some of the guitar runs by Steve Clark and Phil Collen. But the crowd didn't seem bothered by the problem and continued to roar and shout its approval both between and during the songs.

The two-night stop in Salt Lake is part of a national tour promoting the band's latest album, "Hysteria." It is the band's first album in nearly five years, and judging by sales - some 6 million copies to date - the album is a hit.

Using a center-arena stage, a kind of concert-in-the-round, Def Leppard broke quickly. A curtain that shrouded the stage dropped to the ground in a burst of flashing light and smoke and the five-man band was on its way. Fans crowding the standing-area only sections on the east and west sides of the stage surged forward and seemed to move as one as they danced to the hard-driving music. And dancing wasn't limited to the floor. Fans were dancing in the aisles and on their seats in the sold-out Salt Palace.

To enhance the music, a light show featuring laser-like beams focused on ceiling of the arena created ever-changing patterns. There were swirling patterns, polka-dots, graph-like patterns and even one resembling an electro-cardiogram gone haywire.

For the band, it appeared as much a celebration as a concert. And, as lead singer Joe Elliot explained, it was a celebration. A celebration of overcoming seemingly unending misfortune that saw drummer Richard Allen lose his left arm in an automobile accident, other band members break fingers and legs, and Elliot himself plagued with the mumps. It's no wonder it took the band nearly five years to create a new album; it's a wonder they ever made one at all.

During a brief respite in the music, Elliot recounted the misfortunes the band faced and then turned to Allen and said, "This guy was the final piece in the puzzle. When he came back, the puzzle was complete."

Indeed Allen's efforts were mesmerizing as he one-handed a strong percussion pattern for the band. Using a computer-aided set of two drum kits, one operated by his feet, Allen has managed to develop a system to fill in the percussion patterns critical to hard-driving rock 'n' roll.

When the band played "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Love Bites" from their new album, the concert was complete, that is except for a rousing round of "we love rock 'n' roll." Elliot used chants from the audience to set the final set of songs and the encore.

For its brief 45-minute appearance, LA Guns proved adequate as a warm-up group but was simply not in the same league as Def Leppard. The band needs to work at eliminating repetition in its material and adding some diversity to its style.