Def Leppard promises “crown jewels” & more on pandemic-delayed Stadium Tour: “It’s gonna be even bigger”

ABC/Eric McCandless

Def Leppard has certainly been waiting ages to rock on the Stadium Tour.

The much-anticipated run — which also features the reunited Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts on the bill — will finally kick off Thursday in Atlanta after a two-year pandemic delay. As Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage tells ABC Audio, he and his bandmates have been “dying” to return to the live stage.

“Back in 2020, it was going to be the biggest tour that Def Leppard have ever embarked upon, which after 40-odd years is some achievement,” Savage says. “It’s actually now … it’s gonna be even bigger.”

Def Leppard has released a whole lot of music in those 40-odd years — including a new album this year, Diamond Star Halos — which makes building a set list quite the challenge. While the band will be varying up the set throughout the tour, they’re always sure to include their “crown jewels,” which frontman Joe Elliott describes as “the songs you don’t get out the building alive if you don’t play.”

“Which is great, ’cause we wanna play them, anyway,” Elliott says. “You know, the Stones have got theirs, McCartney‘s got his, we’ve got ours.”

As for the new stuff, guitarist Phil Collen guesses two Diamond Star Halos tracks will be included in the set, and possibly another, depending on how fans are digging the record. After all, if a new tune were to unexpectedly pop, it wouldn’t be the first time for Def Leppard.

“‘Love Bites’ went to #1 on the Billboard charts and we’d never even played it as a band, it was studio thing,” Collen recalls. “We had to go and learn it in Vancouver and learn the vocals and guitar parts at the same time.”

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