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August 16 1986 was a pivotal day for Rick Allen. It marked the drumming rebirth of the Def Leppard man at Donington’s Monsters Of Rock, as he made his first major live appearance with the band since losing his left arm in a car crash 18 months earlier.
The show, which saw Leppard below Ozzy Osbourne and The Scorpions on the bill, was a momentous, and hugely daunting return to the stage. With only a smattering of club dates under his belt since the tragic accident, Rick was thrust back into the spotlight in front of tens of thousands of fans eager to see for themselves whether the headstrong drummer could really still power Def Leppard’s energetic goodtime rock.
“Donington is a crossroads in my life”, Rick recalls. “That was where it all changed for me. That was really scary. I didn’t think I could pull it off. But to feel the warmth of a crowd like that, just feeling the sense that they wanted me to succeed and feeling that encouragement was just incredible. What a moment.”