Def Leppard have returned home to help save The Leadmill as they rocked the famous Sheffield venue with a one-off show ahead of the European leg of their world stadium tour.
The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame inductees returned to band’s home city on Friday night to thrill the 850 fans who packed into the under-threat club – three days before the band plays to 44,000 at Sheffield United’s nearby Bramall Lane ground.
Those who snapped-up the One Night Only tickets within hours were warned not to expect a toned-down acoustic reinterpretation of their classic hits when Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell and Rick Allen took to the smaller-than-usual stage for their first-ever Leadmill appearance.
— The Leadmill (@Leadmill) May 17, 2023
As promised, the band – which has sold more than 110 million records in their 46-year career – wowed the mix of 80s survivors and a surprising number of young, new recruits with an hour of full-volume, full-electric, full-on energy rock, despite the intimate setting.
It was 10 songs in before singer Joe Elliott launched into the instantly recognisable hits Hysteria and Pour Some Sugar On Me.
But there was no Animal, Love Bites and Let’s Get Rocked on the set list as the gig was wrapped up in just over an hour with an encore – following a chorus of “we want more” – of Wasted.
Last year, The Leadmill announced it was in danger of closure after its landlords, Electric Group, issued an eviction notice – a move which provoked outrage from music fans and many of the household-name artists who have played there since it opened in 1980.
Earlier this week, the venue issued a new plea to fans, saying the landlords “have recently moved forward with their plans to evict The Leadmill”.
Ahead of the show, the band said it wanted to shine a light on The Leadmill’s plight and proceeds from the gig are being donated to Music Venue Trust.
Before the gig, Elliott said: “Sheffield is in the very DNA of this band.
“We are ecstatic to be starting the European leg of our world tour at home at Bramall Lane.
“When thinking of a warm-up, it made sense to do a special set at The Leadmill, in the city where it all started.
“We know there are a lot of small music venues struggling across the UK, so we wanted to give back to what gave to us.”
Ben Hartley, live promoter for The Leadmill, said: “The fact that a local act that has gone on to play stadiums across the world is willing to come back home and support us in a time of need – as well as thousands of other integral grassroots venues across the UK – speaks volumes of their character.”
Def Leppard have packed out stadiums across North and South America over the last year with co-headliners Motley Crue.
The tour moves to Bramall Lane on Monday – where Sheffield United fan Elliott will no doubt be celebrating the Blades’ recent promotion to the Premier League – and return to the UK for a Wembley Stadium date on July 1.
Friday also saw the release of Def Leppard’s new album Drastic Symphonies, which is a collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra featuring reworkings of some of their best-known hits.
Dominic Madden, CEO of Electric Group – which runs music venues in London, Bristol and Newcastle, said the building was threatened with redevelopment into flats when they bought it in 2017 and they saved it with the intention of it continuing to operate as a music venue.
Mr Madden said: “The current Leadmill campaign is unfortunately misleading people into thinking we want to close the venue with no regard for its history.”
He said: “We recognise the roots of the Leadmill within the community and we are determined to see it succeed and thrive.”