Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto - Jul 10, 1996

JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

There are plenty of sore throats and aching upper arms in Toronto today, judging from the boisterous crowd that happily stood, sang and air-punched their way through almost two hours of slickly-delivered power rock by '80s British noisemakers Def Leppard last night at the Molson Amphitheatre. The energetic quintet from Sheffield, England, lead by long-haired blond singer Joe Elliott (a major babe magnet, judging from the row of screaming young women behind me) started the night off appropriately enough with Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop) from their mega-selling 1983 album Pyromania. But they ever so slightly lost the crowd of 8,000 (only half the outdoor venue's capacity) when they introduced material from their new album, Slang, including All I Want Is Everything; Deliver Me; their latest single, Work It Out; and the title track. The show's pace and audience enthusiasm picked up again after a respectable three-song acoustic set about midway through the evening, which saw Elliott, wonderful, shirtless and short-haired lead guitarist Phil Collen and electric guitarist Vivian Campbell all strap on acoustic instruments for Two Steps, Miss You In A Heartbeat and When Love And Hate Collide. Elliot introduced the latter song by saying: "This is something that we've never done. It's very rare that we go some place and everything falls into place but Canada -- I swear on my father's life -- is a very special place for us." Naturally those comments brought about huge applause and cheering and the evening had nowhere to go but up. Def Leppard, you see, was in Toronto last November, promoting their greatest hits release, Vault, with a recorded performance at Manta Sound and a live Intimate And Interactive at MuchMusic. And last night's audience couldn't have been more thrilled to finally hear the band -- rounded out by bassist Rick Savage and remarkable one-armed drummer Rick Allen -- trot out their huge hits in the latter part of the show. Rocket, Armaggedon It and Pour Some Sugar On Me from 1987's Hysteria mixed in with Pyromania's Photograph and Rock Of Ages. It may be 1996, but the crowd at the amphitheatre seemed to enjoy being deliriously caught up in a musical time warp last night. SUN RATING: THREE STARS

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