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Def Leppard Close Out Rock Hall With Jubilant ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’

Joe Elliott and Co. blasted through “Photograph,” “Hysteria,” Rock of Ages” to frenzied fans

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 29: Inductees Vivian Campbell, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard perform onstage during the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Press Room at Barclays Center on March 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/WireImage)

Inductees Vivian Campbell, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard perform onstage during the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Press Room at Barclays Center on March 29, 2019 in New York City.

Mike Coppola/WireImage

Def Leppard played a series of scalding Eighties hits during their set at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday night. After giving funny and emotional speeches that paid tribute to each era of Def Leppard’s history, the band revisited some of its biggest hits for a victory lap at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn on Friday.

Guitarist Phil Collen stripped his shirt and the quintet kicked things off with easy tempo Bowie-esque guitar the title track or their mega-selling Hysteria album. The audience immediately got to its feet as green lights washed the Barclays Center and Joe Elliott sang “I gotta know tonight … How ‘bout you, Brooklyn?”
The words “gunter glieben glauchen globen” introduced the next song. Joe Elliott asked, “What do you want? I want rock & roll,” as Def Leppard played the titanic riffs of Pyromania’s “Rock of Ages.” For all Def Leppard’s stadium-ready brute force, they also have a knack for melody, which was fully on display during the sweet call-and-response hook to “Photograph.” Even people at the expensive tables had their hands in the air for the chorus, leading to a larger-than-life, drum-rolling ending.
“Good people out there, are you ready for some audience participation!” Elliott asked the crowd before the final song and the words: “Step inside, walk this way” rang out. The floor of the arena was littered with cell phones in the air and the cheap seats was filled with fist-banging choreography as the band aged “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” When it was done, Elliott through his hands in the air, and they left the stage.

Def Leppard were savvy about their song selection, playing four of their biggest hits in the U.S. “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” both reached the Top 20 in 1983, while “Hysteria” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” followed suit in 1988.

Def Leppard were eligible for over a decade before they appeared on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot; they won entry on the first try. “Now we can stop holding our breath and go, ‘Great! How wonderful to be in the same club as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and the Who and Queen,'” lead singer Joe Elliott told Rolling Stone. “It’s nice. It’s a good club to be in.”

But if anything, Elliott was even more excited by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s decision to induct another band — namely Roxy Music. “I’m ecstatic that Roxy Music are in,” the singer explained. “Many Americans probably didn’t know much about Roxy Music until Avalon [in 1982], but the truth is in 1972 when they put out ‘Virginia Plain,'” between them and David Bowie they instantly, overnight changed the face of pop music.”

Elliott added, “It’s almost like there should be a sub-ceremony for the British Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in London that can acknowledge bands that did something over here and didn’t necessarily make a big impact in America.”

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