Vivian Campbell, left, and Phil Collen of rock group Def Leppard perform during the VH1 Rock Honors concert in Las Vegas on May 25, 2006. ((Jae C. Hong/Associated Press) )

Def Leppard, one of the iconic rock acts of the 1980s, has scrubbed a series of North American concert dates, including shows in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Ottawa.

The British group has been touring the continent with another classic rock group, Cheap Trick.

No explanation was provided for the abrupt halt of the tour, beyond a single sentence from promoters, saying "unforeseen circumstances" had arisen.

The band's official website said the same thing.

"We know how truly blessed we are to have such committed fans," the band said on the site. "That's why we've agonized over this decision. Even if just a single concert, we don't take cancelling shows lightly, but unfortunately life's commitments need to be the priority."

On Saturday the same web page for the band invited people in New York City to catch Phil Collen, 51, the group's lead guitarist, presenting an award at an event that night celebrating rock music.

"If you're in the neighbourhood," the site said, "drop by."

Refunds promised

The official website for Cheap Trick did not give any more clues about the cancelled shows, and a fan forum was closed to comments. Refunds were promised by the agencies or venues that sold tickets.

Def Leppard's 2009 tour was attracting enough interest to place the band in 16th position in a list of rock concert earnings.

The ranking was compiled by the trade publication Pollstar, which based its list on weekly information provided by concert promoters and venue managers.

According to the list, Def Leppard was averaging just under $700,000 US per concert, with about 14,000 tickets being sold for each show. The information was current to Oct. 14.

The top acts on the list were U2 and Bruce Springsteen. They were charging about double for their shows and were grossing $8.7 million US per concert in the case of U2 and $3.5 million US for Springsteen.

In the past, Def Leppard maintained a very challenging concert tour schedule.

On Oct. 23, 1995, the band did three shows in three continents on a single day. They began at midnight, local time, in Tangiers, Morocco.

They jetted to London for a noon show and then flew to North America for a 9 p.m. performance in Vancouver.

Def Leppard is the second major act to disappoint fans with an abrupt cancellation. In August, Aerosmith cut several Canadian shows from its schedule after one of its band members suffered an injury.