After a four-year break, a band plagued by tragedy brought its own style of rock 'n' roll to the Delta Center Friday night.
English rocker group Def Leppard, after losing its guitarist Steve Clark to an overdose of alcohol and Valium, launched a two-and-a-half-hour show at 7:30 p.m. with a simple question, "Do You Wanna Get Rocked?" and plowed through the hit single off their fifth and latest album "Adrenalize."What followed was a spectacle of revolving drums, soaring vocals and fluorescent lights enhanced by a crystal-clear mix that left 15,000 fans screaming for more.
Vocalist Joe Elliot, drummer Rick Allen, bassist Rick Savage and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell displayed themselves on a stage in-the-round and offered such delights as "Tear It Down," "Make Love Like a Man" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" from the new album.
Other hits included "Women" that featured Savage on bass keyboards and the heavy pumping "Pour Some Sugar On Me," both taken from the album "Hysteria."
Collen ground his fret board into the ground with a guitar solo that brought fans to their feet. Then with a solemn face, he segued into a eulogy to Clark called "White Lightning," a song about the frustration of watching helplessly as a friend destroys himself with drugs.
In keeping with the Gothic, ominous feeling, the band went into "Foolin' " from "Pyromania" and then lightened the mood with a more pop-than-metal song, "Animal.
Campbell shot out his own style of finger-flying and blasted the crowd with an emotional, melodic solo, which introduced "Gods Of War." The ex-Dio, Whitesnake ax-man proved an asset to Def Leppard when the crowd wanted more of an edge.
The most memorable spectacle was presented during "Rock It," when mobile strobes and spotlights gathered and surrounded Allen's drums at center stage and followed the set as a hydraulic press lifted the one-armed drummer into a swirling cloud of steam.
In spite of a brief sound problem and a wandering spotlight that couldn't find Elliot, the band showed its sentimental side with a special acoustic version of "Bringin' On the Heartbreak.
Surprisingly, the band shied away from older hits like "Let It Go," "Hello America" and "Wasted," which would have made the show more complete.
However, if the crowd was disappointed, it didn't show. With hands held high, the audience joined with Elliot's rasping vocals on many a chorus as the house lights flipped on and made the concert a more intimate connection between the band and fans.
The primal beat of "Rock Of Ages" brought screams once again as the band pumped out what most fans consider the ultimate anthem of partying.
The encore was short, but fans were satisfied as two megahits, "Love Bites" and "Photograph," finished the show.
With no opening act, Def Leppard proved once again that tragedy could not and will not stop rock and roll. The audience was held spellbound by the mix of music and the magnificent light show, which shot green lasers at the audience in a psychedelic array of emotions.