@ Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, June 6 1993
Sheffield isn’t known for its baking hot summers but then perhaps the weather was pre-planned to complement a steaming gig by the city’s returning sons. By the time Ugly Kid Joe hit the stage there was no water left, temperatures were soaring and sunburn had caused a good number of fans to call it a day. And Leppard hadn’t even played a note.
Rising stars Terrorvision – from up the road in Bradford – had opened the event in style and Thunder proved to be a typically astute choice as main support. But nothing prepared a 40,000 capacity crowd for the triumph that was Leppard in full flow in front of friends, family and jubilant fans.
In an interview with rushonrock last year, lead singer Joe Elliott described the gig as the most memorable in his band’s 32-year career. The first rock concert to be staged at a stadium built to host athletics meetings and rugby league, it more than did justice to the rejuvenated city of Sheffield. Little wonder eight songs from an outstanding set made it onto the band’s DVDs of the mid 90s – if you were there then you were very lucky indeed.
As the sun finally set on the emotional and sweaty throng, the full power of Leppard’s impeccably produced light show became obvious. As the band belted out classics from their early years and a liberal serving of hits from back-to-back mega-sellers Hysteria and Adrenalize, a crowd drained by the atypical weather conditions finally found a new lease of life. Down at the front it was like living out every Leppard fan’s dream and it’s difficult to recall a mistake being made by a band revived by the addition of Vivian Campbell.
Nobody would argue with Joe’s declaration that this was Def Leppard at their brilliant best. Riding on the crest of a huge commercial wave and in control of their destiny both on and off the stage there was simply no containing the band’s incredible energy.
So grunge and the slightly flaky Slang might have stopped the quintet in their tracks a few years down the line but expect their Download 2009 set to hark back to the Don Valley glory days.