Def Leppard’s First Ever Michigan Concert Was at Wings Stadium
In 1980 Def Leppard had just released their first album and were trying to breakthrough in the United States. Their first Michigan show was in Kalamazoo.
Def Leppard ranks among the best-selling artists of all time alongside Prince, Paul McCartney, Guns N' Roses, Bob Dylan, Beyonce and the Beach Boys, all credited with more than 100,000,000 albums sold. It wasn't always this way; everyone has to start somewhere.
But when it gets to twelve o'clock
And you feel that you gotta rock
You'd better let your hair hang down
So we can boogie all over town
Hello America, hello America
-"Hello America" from On Through the Night
In 1980, Def Leppard had just put out their debut album On Through the Night. The lineup included Pete Willis and 10 arms. These five lads from Sheffield, England came to America on the crest of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and were probably thrilled to be on an American tour with Scorpions and their countrymen in Judas Priest. Priest was enjoying the success of British Steel and gathering momentum that would propel that band to it's peak in popularity. Scorpions were touring behind Animal Magnetism with Blackout, their American breakthrough album still to come in 1982.
The Wings Stadium show was the second of the second leg of the British Steel tour and the very first ever in Michigan for Def Leppard. You can see some photos from the July 23, 1980 Kalamazoo show on Def Leppard's official site. Tickets were available at Boogie Records and cost $7.50 (plus a 25 cent surcharge for parking at Wings).