Key Points:

Step inside, walk this way and prepare to be Leppardised. As Sheffield's favourite hair metal sons arrived on stage at Vector and cracked into Rocket the sold-out crowd rocketed to their feet - and they stayed that way for 90-minutes of pomp'n'roll.

This was stadium rock 80s-style, people.

Any thoughts Def Leppard might be hair metal has-beens - because, let's face it, 1983's Pyromania and 1987's Hysteria were the band at their best - were blown away as they made their first appearance in New Zealand in 16 years.

As an example of Def Leppard's enduring pulling-power, many in the crowd would have barely been born when Hysteria came out.

While they played some songs off new album Songs From the Sparkle Lounge, like Nine Lives, this was a crowd-pleasing greatest-hits set, with special attention paid to those two classic albums mentioned earlier.

It was a draw between Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me for the best sing-a-long. Even the most hardened ballad hater could not have resisted belting out "you're bringing me to my knees".

No band does microphone sharing quite like Def Leppard, with rough-looking, hard-strutting singer Joe Elliott and guitarist Phil Collen teaming up many-a time.

And they're still a no-shirt-required-type band with guitarists Collen and Vivian Campbell both getting their tops off.

Elliott's paunch is a little bit larger these days and he stays covered. Not so bass player Rick Savage, who wears his flab with pride, and his mane of blond 80s heavy metal hair is pretty well intact.

Then there's one-armed, barefoot drumming machine Rick Allen up back on his own platform, hammering away franticly.

Elliott's voice is still powerful and he hits the notes that matter (like the ones in Hysteria) - although it's lost some of its piercing clarity that made Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me so anthemic.

But after this many years of throat-shredding gigs he's savvy and lets the crowd take over a number of times, and the rest of the band are in fine voice.

The end of the show comes with two highlights: Pyromania's Rock Of Ages and the Motley Crue-style romp of Let's Get Rocked from 1992's Adrenalize.

We were put through the "Leppard meat grinder" - to borrow a phrase from Elliott - during this, the last show of the band's world tour, and we loved it.

It tasted even better with a bit of Sugar seasoning on top.