33 years ago, Def Leppard brought the Hysteria tour to Portland. That night will always be an especially memorable one for me.

I was 20 years old and had been on air at WBLM for less than a month. The Blimp's legendary Jose Diaz was my boss and before the show, we had dinner at Horsefeathers on Middle Street. I was pretty pumped just to get a dinner courtesy of the company card.

Then Jose took it to the next level and asked me if I’d be willing to go onstage and welcome the crowd. Wait. What? Up until that point, my view was looking from the crowd to the stage, never from the stage to the crowd.

Without overthinking it, I agreed. When yer just barely out your teens, yer still fearless like that I guess. But remember I'd never done this before so on the inside, I was freakin’ out. There’s gonna be like 8,000 Def Lep fans out there.


As the time came to walk out and step up to the mic in front of a sold-out Civic Center in that sky-blue satin BLM jacket (see awesome photo of 1980s 20-somethings above), I was wicked nervous…until I spoke four powerful letters.

When I said, “Good evening Portland. My name is Brian James (a few claps and hoots). Then I said, “And I’m from WBLM.” (the entire place erupted!)

My job was to welcome the crowd and it turned out that they welcomed me in the best way possible. Mind-blown...all because of four powerful letters.

The letters W-B-L-M will always be bigger than any DJ who ever had or has the honor of piloting the the Blimp. Those letters are synonymous with rock music in Maine.

And, oh yeah. There was show happening too.   to top it all off, Def freakin' Leppard put on a 360° white-hot show filled with Pyromania and Hysteria hits and wicked killer lasers on an in-the-round stage. What an incredible night in a sold-out Civic Center!

Here's what the Leps rocked us with in 1987.


Watch great live footage of Pour Some Sugar On Me featuring the return of the Thunder God, Rick Allen from the Hysteria tour.

And let's not forget the ass-kicking we received from the opening act. It was a Sacramento band still in the early days of their career, named Tesla. The toured with Def Leppard on 1987/1988 tour in support of their debut album, Mechanical Resonance.

This is the Blimpville favorite, Little Suzi from the last night of the Hysteria tour with Def Leppard featuring the band sharing a bottle of "iced tea".

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