Yes, every concert has always a surprise in store for the audience, and this certainly had many. To begin with, Whitesnake supported Def Leppard, not the other way round, as the original bill said.
The opening band, Black Stone Cherry, did what they were there for: warmed up and set the mood. However, I regret to admit, Whitesnake fell short of my expectations. I understand they were promoting a new album: Good To Be Bad (which proved untrue), so it was fine with me that they played a few songs off it: Best Years and Can You Hear The Wind Blow.
David Coverdale seemed in good spirits, yet in a bad shape. He exchanged pleasantries with the audience but relied a lot on Reb Beach's and Doug Aldrich's backing vocals. Oh, and the prosy guitar solo in the middle of Lay Down Your Love (a new number). Hell, by the time the whole band returned on stage I had forgotten about them altogether! No wonder the audience lacked enthusiasm when our turn came to join in Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City.
Towards the end he managed to capture us with Give Me All Your Love and Here I Go Again, but David sounded weak – not withstanding he had retired (and rested, I suppose) while his two guitarists played an impressive, extended solo.
The big surprise: an acoustic rendition of Ain't Gonna Cry No More Today … well, only the first verse. The bitter bite: Bad Boys, Crying In The Rain and Guilty Of Love, though included in the preceding shows, were missing here. But the straw that broke the camel's back was the gross omission of Deep Purple songs. What! As you read: Whitesnake did not perform the compelling Burn / Stormbringer medley! Still, Coverdale thanked us for attending the gig.
For my part, I thanked the Sheffield gang came next. No sooner had Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen struck the baffling notes that led into Rocket than people stood up shouting. Def Leppard played one hit after another with contagious vigour: Animal, Fooling, Hysteria and When Love And Hate Collide. They even threw in some numbers of their latest album Songs From The Sparkle Lounge – Nine Lives shone indeed!
The pinnacle of their act being the old classic Bringing On The Heartbreak (first half acoustic, then full power); also with Two Steps Behind, Make Love Like A Man and Pour Some Sugar On Me everyone went crazy. Closing with Let's Get Rocked, Joe Elliot and his colleagues saved the night ... honestly, Def Leppard stole the show.