It’s been 35 years since the release of Def Leppard’s debut album, but the British hard rock band showed no signs of aging when they took the stage at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater recently.
The sold-out July 23 performance had nearly 15,000 in attendance and was merely one of 48 North American cities the band will visit. After North America, the band will lead a massive international tour, performing in Japan, Australia and The United Kingdom.
“Yeah, that’s the Jones Beach we know and love,” said lead singer Joe Elliott when the band awarded their devoted fans with an encore. “That’s why we keep coming back here because you guys make a lot of noise, and it’s always a lot of fun.”
The night started off with Tesla, who played a shorter set than usual. The band opened up with “Edison’s Medicine” and continued with other hits like “Signs,” “Love Song,” closing with “Modern Day Cowboy.” Some fans were dismayed at how brief their set was.
Styx followed, opening up with “The Grand Illusion” playing as the sun steadily set. They followed up with “Too Much Time On My Hands” and even played a cover/mash up of “Rocket Man,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The Dock of The Bay.” The band ended their set with “Come Sail Away” and played “Rockin’ The Paradise” and “Renegade” for their encore.
As more and more people poured into the venue, it became apparent that the majority in attendance came solely for Def Leppard. Lights began to turn on, flickering as the crowd roared in excitement. As the band opened up with “Rock Rock Till You Drop,” there wasn’t a single soul in sight sitting down.
“We traveled from Yonkers just to see Def Leppard,” said Christina Delaney, “It’s fantastic. Since 1985, we’ve been listening to them.”
The band continued with other huge hits like “Animal,” “Love Bites,” “Armageddon It” and “Rocket.” When their smash hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me” ended their set, people’s faces lit up with glee and excitement. Whether someone was buying a drink, talking, or waiting in line, they immediately stopped what they were doing and started singing along, providing a definitive highlight of the night. For their encore, the band performed “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.”
On top of a stellar performance that sounded identical to the band’s studio recordings, the fans also made the night something special.
“We came here just to have a picnic outside,” said Patricia Freddy. “Then some nice lady came up to us and said, ‘I have free tickets because my friends didn’t show up. Would you like to go see the show?’ So we came in.”
She said she wasn’t surprised.
“Whoever follows Def Leppard or similar `80s bands is usually so generous,” Freddy added. “There’s no selfishness. You just want to have a good time, and everyone’s your friend.”
Def Leppard will continue to tour the States until Oct. 17. Then on Nov. 9, they begin their international tour, starting in Japan.