Def Leppard appeared at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday, April 15, 2003. The popular `80s British rock band, known for their harmony hooks and power chords, was greeted enthusiastically by the Charm City crowd on their 2003 North American X Tour.
Vocalist Joe Elliott, bassist Rick "Sav" Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and guitarists Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen rocked their bums off at the Inner Harbor arena. Def Leppard came straight out of the gate with their rocker "Let It Go". Fans were up on their feet as the band hit the stage.
The crowd sang along on the chorus of the power ballad "Bringin' On The Heartbreak". Sav's bass intro commenced the industrial instrumental "Switch 625" while Elliott exited for a stage break. Audience reaction to "Foolin'" was ecstatic as the band played this popular rocker.
A cool intro began "Hysteria". Allen's drumming was solid on this rocker. Elliott dedicated their new power ballad, "Long Long Way To Go", to American and British troops and those in the audience waiting for someone to return to their neighborhood. Collen delivered the lead guitar solo.
Elliott mentioned the band had just performed three nights in New York City, which generated 'boos' from the audience. The British rocker was unfamiliar with the Baltimore Orioles - NYC Yankees rivalry! He strapped on an acoustic guitar and strummed ZZ Top's "La Grange" and then enticed the crowd to sing the chorus to "Sweet Home Alabama".
With Allen off stage, the quartet performed a stellar unplugged version of "Two Steps Behind", seated on stools as the arena audience sang along. Colorful stage lighting dressed up "Rocket", which featured dueling lead guitar solos by Campbell and Collen. Their crunching bridge guitar work is a fine example of Def Leppard's live metal guitar sound.
The increased volume on the xxx-rocker, "Photograph", was hampered by muddy amplification, which segued into the pop-rocker "Animal", a commanding crowd-pleaser. Campbell's guitar intro sounded the hard-hitting "Armageddon It". Alternating, both Campbell and Collen interjected lead guitar solos.
The arena audience became animated during "Poor Some Sugar On Me". Elliott took his time soaking up the audience adulation following the serious rocker. He commented about the band's first area appearance on tour with Ted Nugent in 1980. Allen's drum introduction launched "Rock Of Ages". The metal rocker climaxed with Campbell's soaring lead guitar coda.
The band returned for an enthusiastic encore with the power ballad "Love Bites". Surprisingly, a male fan plopped up onto the stage and proceeded to hug and sing next to Joe Elliott who stood his ground. Three bouncers were slow in reacting to remove the lumberjack fan.
Elliott exited during Campbell's lead guitar solo. Afterwards, he remarked the stage dive had, "Made my night". Sav's bass playing thumped during the final encore, "Let's Get Rocked". Collen tore off his last lead of the evening, leaving the Baltimore fans chanting for more.
Baltimore setlist: Let It Go * Another Hit And Run * High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night) * Bringin' On The Heartbreak * Switch 625 * Foolin' * Make Love Like A Man * Hysteria * Long Long Way To Go * Four Letter Word * Promises * Two Steps Behind * Now * Women * Rocket * Photograph * Animal * Armageddon It * Poor Some Sugar On Me * Rock Of Ages * Encore: Love Bites * Let's Get Rocked
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Def Leppard cranks up the volume
by Timothy Tilghman