36 Years Ago Def Leppard’s First Public Live Show
Def Leppard played their first ever public live show in Sheffield, England 36 years ago on this day in 1978.
This was the first time the band performed live in front of an audience. Featuring the early line-up of Steve Clark, Pete Willis, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage and original drummer, Tony Kenning. They played six songs, starting with the unreleased track ‘World Beyond The Sky’ and encored with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’. They have gone on to play over 1,800 concerts in over 50 countries around the world.
The first ever public performance was at a local school in Mosborough, Sheffield, located around 4 miles from the city center. According to the 1987 biography, Animal Instinct, they were paid five pounds by a teacher, played for around fifty minutes and smuggled in some beer in the bass drum. The first song they played was an unreleased original called ‘World Beyond The Sky’ and the only other confirmed track was an encore cover of Thin Lizzy song ‘Jailbreak’. An audience recording of this show exists on cassette but it has not been circulated and its tracklisting/quality is unknown.
Joe Elliott returned to Westfield in 1989 for the taping of a scene in the UK TV documentary ‘Rock Of Ages’. He was shown talking about the concert in the hall where it took place. The original building was demolished after a fire in 2007 and rebuilt as the Westfield Sports College.
"What happened was that just as we were about to go on, we realized we hadn’t tuned the guitars. So we had to get one of the guys helping us bring Steve’s Marshall amp into the dressing room - he left the switch on standby."
"Steve plugged in and walked to the front of the stage, looking brilliant in his tight jeans and long blond hair. All ready to go into the first song, ‘World Beyond The Sky’, he did his windmill arm motion, just like Pete Townshend, for the big opening chord and nothing happened. No power. Everybody in the audience was laughing. After a few seconds, we started all over again."