Tight spot for Leppard

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A PANTHER, a Leppard – roar talents of rock vying for your attention under one roof.

Cheap animal references aside, Tuesday at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena will not be a site for sore ears.

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

City-bred rock giants Def Leppard are back on home turf and bringing Motley Crue and Steel Panther along.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Leppard haven’t toured with Crue men Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil before.

“We’ve known them for ages,” says singer Joe Elliott, whose band headlined Download festival in June. “We’ve done festivals together and there’s good history between us. I’ve been on Nikki’s radio show a couple of times.”

It is three years since Joe’s men headlined the venue, also a triple bill, with Whitesnake and Black Stone Cherry.

“Steel Panther will probably do about 40 minutes and Crue about one hour and 25 minutes. We hope to do just over an hour and a half,” he says.

And 90 minutes is not long for one of the UK’s biggest rock exports. Formed in 1977, the Lepps have sold over 65 million albums.

Joe attributes the band’s longevity to a number of factors.

“We like each other, and that helps. We’re all on the same page doing what we do and we allow each other space to do what we want.

“We’re one of the few bands that aren’t contracted to each other so we are together for all the right reasons.”

This year the Lepps relived some of their finest moments through a double live album called Mirrorball, featuring many of the hits that made them rich.

“There are certain songs we have to play or we’d never get out of the building alive,” says Joe of the live set.

“And we have to keep an eye on how things are going on the internet to see what the fans want.

“The thing is, we’re not playing in front of the same people every night so we have to play something they’re familiar with.

“If an established artist plays a new song there’s always a bit of luck involved as to whether it’ll be accepted or not. We always go on stage to please ourselves and hope the audience will follow.”

And the response to this tour suggests they’ve got the line-up right.

“The tickets are flying, and the atmosphere should be amazing as it’s just before Christmas. It won’t be just the music – it’ll be great visually as well.

“There’ll be plenty of atmosphere, like a big party, ‘cos we’re a band that’s there for celebrating the good things.”

Beyond that Joe is looking forward to a break with his family, not least as he is now also finally a dad, ahead of thinking new output.

“We’ve got Christmas off as we’ve been at it non-stop since May; then we’re going into the studio early next year and after that we’ll be touring Canada, Japan and New Zealand.”