Def Leppard defiant headline set at Download

British rock gods return to familiar turf at Donington

Def Leppard defiant headline set at Download

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Anna Hyams - 11 June 2011

Backed by a plethora of very techie looking panel screens, Def Leppard look like they’ve hit the digital age running as they burst into the night with ‘Undefeated’ which is comically apt given some of the unfavourable responses they had to their Download set in 2009.

Following on with ‘Action’ and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’, the band look nothing like they did last time around. They are all the rock and roll royalty you could want, perms intact, witty, gritty and Joe Elliot’s jewel-encrusted mic stand is opulent enough to contend with the Gaga’s of this world. 

The crowd isn’t as big as it has been for previous main stage headliners (Pendulum have also been scheduled for an earlier headline slot on the second stage) but there is a curious mix of people in attendance, from pale-faced goth kids to dreadlocked mosh lovers – all of whom are, surprisingly singing all the words and having a good old fashioned headbang.

With fan favourites ‘Rock On’, ‘Rocket’ and the anthem ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, Def Leppard show why they deserve to still be top of the bill at Donington. The encore saw the band joined by Keith Weir (The Quireboys) on keyboards for ‘When Love & Hate Collide’ and rounding up with ‘Wasted’ to a backdrop of fluttering Union Jacks. A perfect way to start the festival: home grown rock heritage.

To see photos from Def Leppard's headline performnce and other highlights from yesterday at Download Festival 2011 click here.

System Of A Down play their first UK show in six years tonight at Download Festival 2011 and you can stay up-to-date with all the latest news, pictures and interviews by following Virtual Festivals on Twitter and Facebook.


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