It takes a brave band to take Cheap Trick out on the road with them but then again Def Leppard have always pulled out the stops for their fans, touring with the likes of Journey, Whitesnake and the Scorpions in recent years. They clearly fear no one and why would they with a back catalogue full of huge hits to draw upon.
Who doesn`t like Cheap Trick? Not many in tonight`s crowd judging by the turn out that welcomed them on stage to Hello There. For the next 45 minutes they showed why many regard them as one of America`s greatest ever bands with a set jammed full of crowd pleasers from the standards I Want You To Want Me and Surrender; the Number One hit single The Flame and the Trick classics Dream Police and On Top Of The World every one hit the mark and then some. Robin Zander`s golden voice still thrilled after all these years and the zany Rick Nielsen complete with five necked guitar, was the role model to geeks around the globe. Cheap Trick were on absolute fire and went down a storm on their first show in Newcastle in over 30 years.
How on earth do you follow that? Having a worldwide Number One, 25 million selling, 12 times Platinum album to play in full certainly helped and with Hysteria having just celebrated its 30th anniversary, it was Newcastle`s turn to join the party.
With an eye boggling light and video show, Leppard went for the jugular and opened with the Hysteria album and played it from start to finish and with five Top 20 hit singles on Side One alone Leppard were never going to fail.
The Metro Arena was packed with a crowd who danced and sang every single word to Rocket, Animal, Armageddon It and Pour Some Sugar On Me as vocalist Joe Elliott, sounding better than ever, strode down the walkway, arms aloft soaking up the applause.
A video montage during Hysteria, showing vintage footage brought back memories of younger days to all in the Arena and a moving tribute to former guitarist Steve Clark brought the biggest and loudest cheer of the night.
With the rarely played Don`t Shoot Shotgun and Run Riot from Side Two of Hysteria eliciting shrieks of delight it was left to Excitable and Love and Affection to bring the main set to an end.
With more hits crammed into the encore from Action, Let`s Get Rocked and the Pyromania classics Rock of Ages and Photograph, Def Leppard gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and no one can ask for more than that. A cracking night from two great bands.
Review and Photos By Mick Burgess