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Hysteria in the house: Def Leppard delivers a strong opening to its Joint residency

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Def Leppard’s first performance of Hysteria for its Joint residency was a polished spectacle.
Photo: Erik Kabik/erikkabik.com

The Details

Three and a half stars
DEF LEPPARD
March 23, The Joint

With far more remaining classic members than Guns N’ Roses and much stronger musicianship than Motley Crue, Def Leppard is probably the strongest of the three ’80s hard rock bands that have taken up residence at the Joint in the last year, and they proved it over the course of two and a half hours on Saturday night. The second show of the band’s eleven-date run was slick, energetic and a little unpredictable, even with the performance of 1987 mega-hit album Hysteria in its entirety.

The show was divided up into three segments, with the band taking the stage in front of a simple Union Jack backdrop for the opening set, the experimental portion of the show that the group is changing up each night. Singer Joe Elliott joked that the band was opening for itself, dubbing the group “Dead Flatbird” and introducing his bandmates with pseudonyms. The previous night featured one vintage B-side that the band hadn’t performed since 1980, but this evening’s set was a little heavier on the familiar, including hits “Too Late for Love,” “Foolin’,” “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Make Love Like a Man,” possibly the worst example of the band’s cheesy pop tendencies.

But the overall effect was still loose and spontaneous, which was a nice contrast to the main act: The performance of Hysteria was a polished spectacle, with impressive graphics and a stage setup that allowed plenty of room for the band members to move around and interact with the audience. Performing the songs in their album order was a little awkward, since six of Hysteria’s seven hit singles come during the album’s first half (“It’s pretty early to do that one,” Elliott mused after “Pour Some Sugar on Me”), and the momentum lagged a bit around “Gods of War” and “Don’t Shoot Shotgun.”

The band kept things lively all the way through the encore (featuring non-Hysteria hits “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph”), though, showcasing impressive musical proficiency and a sustained vitality that most bands of their era can’t touch.

Set list:

“High ’n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”

“Action”

“Another Hit and Run”

“Too Late for Love”

“Make Love Like a Man”

“Foolin’”

“Let’s Get Rocked”

Hysteria:

“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”

Encore:

“Rock of Ages”


“Photograph”

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