In an extraordinary first for a rock concert here in South East Asia, the packed hall at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore for the eagerly awaited Def Leppard gig on November 24 was actually cool, so good and efficient was the air conditioning in the building. The overall ambience and feeling of well being was also enhanced by the great organizational skills of the concert hall staff. It all augured well for a great night.
Def Leppard certainly did not disappoint, getting the whole place jumping and warmed up right from opening number “Let’s Go” off their new self-titled album. But this was Def Leppard’s first concert in Singapore in nineteen years, so apart from one more song off the latest album, the rocker “Dangerous”, this concert was more a collection of greatest hits as the anthems were rolled out of the Leppard cannon like a rock ‘n’ roll broadside.
Centre stage was frontman and ringmaster Joe Elliott, leading the way with a perfect set of rock ‘n’ roll pipes and often walking down the central ramp to sing from the middle of the audience. Either side of him was the bare-chested Phil Collen, whose guitar playing was as sinewy as his muscle bound chest, and Vivian Campbell, by no means playing second fiddle to Collen but blasting out his own intros and lead breaks. Because these two guitarists have now been playing together for the past twenty three years, Campbell joining the band in 1992, they are perhaps at their best when playing in unison. Also stalking the main stage was Rick Savage on bass guitar, nailing every song on the set list.
Joe Elliott belts out another number.
These guys would often rock down the ramps to join the audience as well. Then at the back was the God of rock ‘n’ roll thunder, drummer Rick Allen belting out the beats and rhythms with measured violence. The band was rocking.
Second number up, “Animal”, had the Singaporean audience singing along and by “Armageddon It” things had really begun to bounce, and when I say bounce I really mean it – the floor timbers were literally trembling from the energy transmitted from above. It was reminiscent of the days at the Glasgow Apollo when the balcony used to shake terrifyingly to the likes of Status Quo and AC/DC. Well now Def Leppard hold that honor at the Suntec Convention Centre.
The dynamic duo of Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen on lead guitars.
Next up came the only cover of the night, the David Essex number “Rock On” from 1974. It was not a song I liked back in the day but in Def Leppard’s paws it became a whole different animal. Starting with a bottom end bass intro from Rick Savage the song took on a life of its own, unrecognizable from the tinny glam rock song of afore. This is as heavy metal as Def Leppard get and was one of the many highlights of the evening.
Following this was Joe Elliott’s solo spot; just Joe with an acoustic guitar and some amusing banter where he led the crowd through a sing-along version of “Two Steps Behind”. If he had them eating out of his palms before this, now he simply had them bowing to the altar of rock ‘n’ roll.
From here on out the Def Leppard animal just roared, from “Rocket” to “Let’s Get Rocked”. We were all in serious danger of joining the fifth floor below us. During the song “Hysteria” there was a marvelous montage of photos of the band over the years, which nearly forced you to tear your eyes off the band themselves (but not quite). It is worth mentioning that the lighting, side screens and backdrops were all top-notch during the whole show and complemented the crisp, clear and loud sound mix.
Rick Savage on bass guitar.
Last song of the set was “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. Although the whole audience had been word perfect in singing along with the Leps to this point (almost as if the whole crowd had been rehearsing for weeks), on “Pour Some Sugar” they simply took over and it was very questionable as to who was louder – the band or the audience as both thrashed their way through every syllable in harmony. From where I was standing the audience won. Marginally!
Of course there was just time to test the floor boards one more time with a brace of classics in “Rock of Ages” and a jammed out “Photograph”. The band seemed happy with their reception and there was not a man, woman or child that did not leave the arena without a huge Leppard smile on their face. Come back soon Def Leppard!
Def Leppard Set List – Singapore (Nov. 24, 2015): Intro – Shoot to Thrill (AC/DC), Lets Go, Animal, Undefeated, Dangerous, Love Bites, Armageddon It, Rock On (David Essex cover), Two Steps Behind (Joe Elliott solo), Rocket, When Love and Hate Collide, Switch 625, Hysteria, Lets get Rocked, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Rock of Ages, Photograph.