Joe Elliott Recalls Def Leppard’s First Live Performance After Rick Allen’s Tragic Accident, ‘It Was A Big Relief For Rick’

In a conversation with Download, Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliot talked about the first live show in 1986, after the band’s drummer, Rick Allen‘s tragic car accident in which he lost his left arm. Elliot spoke about the atmosphere of the concert and added that he appreciated the positivity coming from all the fans.

Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen was the co-founder of the band, who had started playing drums in his teen years. However, on new year’s eve of 1984, he had a tragic car accident and had to have his left arm amputated. After the emergency surgery and his recovery, he continued to play drums with his right arm and additional leg work with the help of a custom-made electric drum set.

After the tragic accident, the band took a hiatus for two years. They stopped their live performances until 1986. After his recovery, Allen was ready to play in the live performance at the Monsters of Rock festival, which was his first live performance after the accident.

The vocalist Joe Elliot shared the experience saying that they initially decided not to talk about Allen’s situation. However, during the show, he talked to Phil Collen and said that they should say something because everyone was aware of what happened to the drummer Allen. Then they introduced him to the crowd. Elliot explained the reaction as a wave of positivity coming their way and added that it was a big relief for Allen.

Here is what he said during the conversation:

“But we were this curiosity band for many reasons – one that most rock fans would have known who we were but some of them will have seen us and liked us, some of us have heard of us and never seen us. But they were all aware of the fact that Rick had lost his arm. So when we went on, we’d made this pact of not making a big deal of Rick’s situation because we didn’t want to use it as some kind of excuse for sympathy or whatever.

But it just became blatantly obvious the more the show went on that I had to say something. And I remember leaning over to Phil during one of Steve’s solos and going, ‘I think we need to say something.’ And I introduced him, and… You could not only hear the positivity coming from the crowd – you could feel it like a wind. It was crazy! Again, I think it was a big relief for Rick, it gave everybody that kind of feeling of positivity that we’re doing OK here.”

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