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Def Leppard ‘One Night Only’ at The Leadmill, Sheffield - May 19th 2023

Sheffield rock icons Def Leppard, play a sold out show at The Leadmill in Sheffield

Review by Steve Harrison

Photo - Kevin Nixon

Monday night sees local rock legends Def Leppard kick off a European stadium tour with Motley Crue, in Sheffield at Sheffield United’s football ground ,Bramall Lane.

But ahead of that, a small matter of a ‘One Night Only’ opportunity to see this multi million record selling band play at Sheffield’s own The Leadmill.

With a call to arms heard by Joe Elliott, Def Leppard’s frontman, about the possible closure of the venue after it’s landlords threatened eviction of the current club owners.

The global rock superstars, used to selling out stadiums and arenas, wanted to bring a real focus on the plight of grass roots venues, and in particular the issues facing The Leadmill; with proceeds from the sold out show being donated to the Music Venue Trust.

From the moment I stepped foot into the venue, the electricity in the air was palpable. The anticipation built up like a crescendo, with no support band and fans desperate to catch sight of the band in probably the smallest venue they’d played in years, waiting for nearly two hours; and as the lights dimmed, the stage came alive with a burst of energy. The band emerged, bathed in a kaleidoscope of vibrant lights, and the roar of the crowd reached a deafening level. It was an atmosphere charged with sheer euphoria.

Photo - Kevin Nixon

From the moment the lights dimmed and the first notes resonated through the air, I knew I was in for an unforgettable experience.

Opening up with a rocking rendition of The Sweets ‘Action’ and swiftly followed by ‘Fire It Up’ from their 2022 release Diamond Star Halos.

Up next was the early classic ‘Let It Go’ from 1981’s High N Dry album and straight into another, ‘Too Late For Love’, a fine power ballad from the eponymous Pyromania album which saw the band catapult to stardom in the US.

The intimacy of the venue added a whole new dimension to the performance. Being so close to the stage, I could practically feel the energy radiating from the musicians. Every strum of the guitar, every beat of the drums, and every powerful lyric reverberated through my core, sending shivers down my spine. It was as if I was part of the music, swept away on a journey that transcended time and space, taking us into ‘Excitable’ with the ebb and flow of new and old, deep cuts rarely played in the last ten years.

Taking a nostalgic turn, the band ripped in to ‘Mirror, Mirror’, another from the High ‘N’ Dry album before giving cruising into ‘Slang’ and then ‘Kick’, this set bringing sheer joy to all the fans.

Never seeming to forget their northern roots, it was their ability to connect with the audience on a deeply emotional level, bared souls through their music, pouring every ounce of their being into each note.

Photo - Kevin Nixon

‘Bringin On The Heartbreak’ segued into ‘Switch 625’ was a thing of effortless beauty with Rick Savage pulsing bass line leading into that stunning instrumental.

As the opening riff of ‘Hysteria’ played, the crowd roared in appreciation, singing along with a real intense passion, and that continued with the set closer; foot stomping anthem, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’.

Eagerly anticipating the encore, the band returned with Joe Elliott paying tribute to the late Steve Clarke before kicking into ‘Wasted’ to close out the nights proceedings.

Photo - Kevin Nixon

But it wasn't just the music that made this concert unforgettable—it was the sense of community and shared passion that permeated the venue. Strangers became friends, united by a common love for the music and an unquenchable thirst for the live experience. We were a collective force, basking in the glow of the moment, celebrating the power of rock and roll.

In the end, as the final chord reverberated through the air, the room exploded in thunderous applause and cheers. We were left physically and emotionally spent, but our hearts were on fire, burning with the memories of an intimate rock concert that had become an indelible part of our soul. The vulnerability and authenticity they displayed, drawing us into their world and making us feel like we were part of something greater…..there is no doubt we were.

Def Leppard are about to embark on their world tour and have just released 'Drastic Symphonies' a classical collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, out now. For more details check out

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