Def Leppard held a triple celebration in Belfast on Sunday night (1st December 2019), performing their monster hit release 'Hysteria' in full, saluting birthday-boy bassist Rick Savage, and throwing the spotlight on local-born guitarist Vivian Campbell. Making a return to the city's SSE Arena, the Sheffield band pulled out all the stops for what was only the second night of the Ireland and U.K. leg of the tour.
Billed as 'Hysteria & More', the show, aptly coming in the week that they released their latest retrospective collection 'The Story So Far', was a celebration the very best of the multi-million selling act.
For the most part eschewing lesser known tracks, the evening was packed full of the cornerstones of eighties' rock, from the band that ruled the later part of the decade.
Kicking off with brooding 'Hysteria' opener 'Women', and playing the album in its original running order, it was with the one-two of back to back hits 'Rocket' and 'Animal' that the night truly came alive.
With the album originally conceived as a hard rock, singles-heavy leviathan in the image of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', the night was not short on well-known material. As ballad 'Love Bites' gave way to the pun-tastic 'Armageddon It', the Belfast crowd lapped up every minute of the first half.
Greeting the crowd, singer Joe Elliott said; "We're here to celebrate an album that was released in 1987, that's 31 years old!" Going on to introduce the "new boy" in the band, the front man said; "Can you make some noise for one of your own? Mr. Vivian Campbell".
With Viv and the rest of the band clearly glad to be back in Belfast, even 'Hysteria's lesser known tracks like the epic 'Gods of War' - which included a moving tribute to late guitarist Steve Clark - and racing 'Run Riot' raised the roof in the arena.
Wrapping up the first set Elliott said; "All right boys, let's bring this one home", before going into closer 'Excitable'.
Encoring, with glasses of bubbly to celebrate bassist Rick Savage's birthday, Elliott revealed that they'd allowed Campbell to choose which song to play next. Firing through a ferocious version of 'Wasted', it was a rare outing for the classic, which Viv had told the band was a favourite of his from hi soriginally purchased copy of 1980's 'On Through The Night'.
Bringing the night to a close with the 'Pyromania' pairing of 'Rock of Ages' and 'Photograph', Joe and the boys signed off with customary exit, saying; "We'll see you next time, and there will be a next time!"
Def Leppard's 'Hysteria & More' tour continues across the U.K. on Thursday night (6th December 2018), when the band arrive in London for a show at the O2 arena. For a full list of dates, see below.
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Darren McLoughlin. Click on the image to enlarge.
Def Leppard 2018 UK and Ireland Dates:
Thurs 6th Dec- London, The O2
Sat 8th Dec - Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
Sun 9th Dec - Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
Tues 11th Dec - Glasgow, The SSE Hydro Arena
Wed 12th Dec - Manchester, Manchester Arena
Fri 14th Dece - Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena
Sat 15th Dec - Liverpool, Echo Arena
Mon 17th Dec - Birmingham, Arena