I remember when I first had my eyes opened to the world of rock and metal.
I was 10 years old and sitting down watching Video Hits when I saw the clip for ‘Let’s Get Rocked’. I remember being blown away by the animation of the Def Leppard video and quickly raced out with all the money I had to get the single and soon after made my way back through their back catalogue on cassette.
Hysteria was, of course, a really big deal for me and it was this collection of songs from that time in my life that helped shaped the person I am today.
Even though Def Leppard have toured here several times since then, I have shamefully missed them for one reason or another and regretted it every damn time.
Tonight, though, I finally get my chance to see two legendary bands on the same bill and I couldn’t have been more excited for what the night had in store.
Kicking off was German rock royalty Scorpions, who have enough star power to pull a decent crowd on their own in a venue like the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Starting their set with ‘Going Out With A Bang’ from the ‘Return to Forever’ album, it’s just full steam ahead from there.
These guys know how to do their job and do it well. Hell, they have been doing it for over 50 years and still going strong!
“We finally made it...better late than never right?” yells frontman Klaus Meine, which gets cheers from the packed venue.
The band’s founder and guitarist, Rudolf Schenker, is unreal to see in the flesh. The man is 70 and plays like a dude more than half his age and the way he shreds back and forth with guitarist Matthias Jabs is a real treat, making full use of the stage’s runway to the front to interact with the fans — we even get to see his famous smoking guitar!
Later in the set we get an impressive drum solo from former Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee, who joined Scorpions after Lemmy passed away.
This was a personal highlight for me as I never had the chance to see Motörhead live.
The band play an array of hits from their career like ‘The Zoo’, ‘Tease Me Please Me’ and ‘Big City Nights’, but the highlights of their set have to be the massive singles ‘Wind of Change’ and ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ which had every voice at the gig singing along.
While Scorpions are a tough act to follow, the stage truly belongs to the Def Leppard boys tonight.
Playing their ‘Hysteria’ album in full is just undeniably cool and a dream gig for many fans here, ready to rock out and sing along to every word.
After a 30-minute countdown, the video screens rise up to reveal Leppard’s massive stage set-up and the band quickly start off with the record’s opening track ‘Women’, but as soon as they start playing the mega single ‘Rocket’ the place goes bananas.
There is something really special about hearing so many voices singing along together in a room that big and these songs were cleverly written with that purpose.
Frontman Joe Elliott’s voice is made for arenas like this and he still sounds as powerful as he did when the album was a smash back in 1987.
What’s also impressive is the other band members’ harmonies which is a signature of Def Leppard’s sound, vocally flawless and you can’t help but get goosebumps when you hear all the members singing in unison to songs like ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ and ‘Love Bites’ with those layered vocals.
Many bands have done it throughout the years but nobody nails it like they do, it’s simply mind blowing.
Guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell rip into every riff and solo with so much passion and enthusiasm for their job that every time they walk to the front of the catwalk it’s like they are doing it for the first time and you can see by the smiles on their faces that this is more than just a paycheck. Bass player Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen, who also seem to be having the time of their lives, are so tight and locked in with each other that every note and beat is like a punch to the chest giving these anthems the weight they need for the fans to not only hear them but feel them.
After ‘Armageddon It’ there is a very touching tribute to former guitarist Steve Clark who passed away in 1991 and included footage of his glory days with the band leading into ‘Gods of War’ which gets the place moving.
Another highlight is the title track ‘Hysteria’ where there are many photos and video footage flashing up on the massive screen of the band throughout their career and how far they have come as musicians and clearly brothers.
After Leppard wrap up their ‘Hysteria’ set, the band return to play some of their other much-loved songs like ‘When Love and Hate Collide’, ‘Rock of Ages’ and wrapping up with ‘Photograph’.
I feel incredibly lucky to have ticked both Def Leppard and Scorpions off my bucket list.
In a world where bands are doing final tours and all the legends are either retiring or passing away, I truly believe that both Scorpions and Def Leppard are keeping the torch burning bright.
Next time they are in town, do yourself a solid favour and see them — it is worth every cent.
Tonight is testament that arena rock is alive and well and will be for a long time to come.