In the early 1980s, Def Leppard was one of the first bands to combine hard-rock crunch with Top 40 melodies, a style that has now been emulated by such platinum-selling acts as Bon Jovi and Cinderella. An unfortunate series of accidents and personnel changes had kept the band out of the studio and off the road since 1984, but it is now back on tour supporting its newest album, "Hysteria."
Thursday night at the Capital Centre, the British band proved it is firmly back in the rock 'n' roll trenches, playing a slick show that was marked by an absence of musical clutter in a genre known for its excesses. Lead guitarist Phil Collen's licks on hummable anthems such as "Women" and even on propulsive rockers like "Another Hit and Run" were more notable for their complementary melodic course than for their blistering speed.
In a move that is now seemingly requisite at hard-rock shows, lead singer Joe Elliot became a bit of a dullard when he persisted in holding a singing contest between different sections of the audience during "Rock of Ages." But for the most part, the show was musically streamlined and there were few rock-hero antics to ruin Leppard's compressed harmonies and glossy arrangements.