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Saturday, Nov 22, 2014
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Def Leppard will be out for fun at Tampa concert

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Joe Elliott is a blast, and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Def Leppard vocalist is a fun chat since the British band always has been about writing good-time music.

“Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Love Bites” and “Me and My Wine” are some of the lighter songs the band, which has sold more than 100 million albums, has crafted.

When Elliott isn’t on the road, you can find him at a local watering hole in Dublin, occasionally with some of rock’s luminaries. “I’ve been out drinking with some familiar figures,” Elliott said. “I’ll be out at the bar with Bono, and you know he’s a smart guy. He’s the designated drinker.”

Rim shot, please.

Elliott, 54, lives up to the reputation of vocalists from a generation ago. He’s wild, loose and always looking for a good time. “Why not have fun,” Elliott said. “I’ve been having fun for a long time.”

Elliott formed the band with bassist Rick Savage 35 years ago. “We’ve been incredibly fortunate,” Elliott said. “A lot of bands from our heyday are no longer together.”

The ’80s were Def Leppard’s heyday; 1983’s “Pyromania” and 1987’s “Hysteria” each sold more than 10 million copies. Only four other rock bands can make that claim.

“It was the greatest time back then,” Elliott said. “We were embraced, and the fans have never forgotten those songs.”

The hits kept on coming. “Photograph,” “Foolin,” “Rock of Ages,” “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “Hysteria” are just some of the top 40 singles the band released during the Reagan era.

“We’re still playing those songs,” Elliott said. “We’ll play them as long as the fans want to hear them.”

Expect Def Leppard and Kiss, which will share the stage Wednesday at the MidFlorida Amphitheatre, to deliver a hit-laden set.

“What’s wrong with hits?” Elliott said. “When I go to shows, I love to hear the hits. It’s fun. So you can count on us playing those familiar songs.”

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