DEF LEPPARD @ RAC Arena gets 8.5/10

Def Leppard play Hysteria @ RAC Arena

w/ Scorpions
Friday, November 2, 2018


It’s not too often you begin a gig with a support act that leave you feeling like you’ve just watched the headliner, but that’s what we had in rock greats Scorpions on Friday night. Though playing to a half audience, they came out with a bang or Going Out With a Bang at least, as their opening track is so aptly titled; a hit from their 2015 album, Return to Forever. What followed was a volley of rock tracks spanning the band’s more than 50-year music career.


Scorpions delivered an energetic set, led by Klaus Meine belting out his well-known heavy metal vocals, merrily beating the cowbell and tossing drumsticks into the crowd. Meanwhile, founding guitarist, Rudolph Schenker entertained, youthfully spinning, leaping and running laps of the catwalk with his guitar. Former Motorhead drummer, Mikkey Dee delighted the audience with his usual heavy-hitting style of drumming, showcased in a thunderous drum solo following 90s hit Tease Me Please Me. The highlight of the set came however; when Klaus whistled those well-known and highly anticipated opening notes to 80s rock staple, Wind of Change. With the Berlin Wall as backdrop, the crowd joined the band, voices filling the stadium in a moment of shared jubilation.

Finishing with heavy metal classic, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Scorpions left the Arena amped and ready for the main event. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time the act has toured Australia and after this reception, it’s unlikely to be their last.

Def Leppard

After a short break, the countdown was on. As audience members rushed back to their seats, the stage was graced with Def Leppard, playing their 1987 album Hysteria in full, and complete in its greatness.

Beginning with Women, the band took us on a non-stop ride through the first side of the album where hits like Rocket and Pour Some Sugar On Me had the audience in a frenzy, singing along and fist-pumping. The rock ballad Love Bites brought a more sultry tone to the set, where for this audience member at least, the reality of the moment; hearing such a legendary album played in its entirety came to a head (is it normal to tear up at a rock concert?). The bracket ended with a shredding guitar intro to Armageddon It by Vivian Campbell, as the audience clapped along in unison to the solid rhythm of Rick Allen’s drums. Culminating in a touching tribute to former band member, Steve Clark, where a flashback clip of Steve playing his introduction to Gods of War in a 1991 concert, transitioned us into side 2 of the album.

Def Leppard

Frontman Joe Elliott’s incredibly recognisable vocals were unfaltering throughout and they stand as testament to his unbridled and still relevant lyrics. He sang as he put up a peace sign “When we surrender to the violence… then the damage is done, put away that gun… We’re fightin’ for the gods of war but what the hell we fightin’ for?” in a nod the world’s current political climate perhaps?

Except for a few hits, like the title track Hysteria where we were treated with photos of the band in their youth and the addition of lyrics from David Bowie’s Heroes, the second set delivered less punch than the first and after finishing the album with Love and Affection the band left the stage.

The slight lull in the second set was more than made up for when the band was eagerly welcomed back on stage for the encore where were reminded of the “blood, sweat and tears” that were poured into the making of Hysteria, 31 years ago. The audience showed their thanks enthusiastically as, once again hits such as Make Love Like a Man, Let’s Get Rocked and Rock of Ages brought the audience back to their feet. The night came to end with chart topping track Photograph signifying the culmination of 40 years of rock history and reminding fans that Def Leppard still have something to say… “Long live rock and roll”.

Since opening their tour in Perth, Def Leppard and Scorpions played Adelaide Entertainment Centre on November 4, plus you can catch them at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on November 6, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne on November 8 and ICC Sydney Theatre, Sydney on November 10. If you were ever going to go to a Def Leppard show, this is the one.


Photos by Paul Dowd