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Wednesday, 15th June 2005

Kissimmee, FL - Media Reviews

Def Leppard and Tesla Return, But Were They Ever Missed? By Douglas Maher

Def Leppard Played the City of Kissimmee for the First Time in Their Career - Two 1980s music giants made their first appearance in Kissimmee for the first time in 25 Years on June 15th, giving Central Florida rock fans hit after hit after hit for over three hours of pure rock and roll.

The British rock group Def Leppard headlined an evening in support of their latest 2-cd set aptly titled "Rock of Ages", a take on the band's 1983 hit single. Starting the show with the little known "Action" from the bands 1993 album "Retroactive", the crowd got fired up quickly as the band pounded out what seemed like an afternoon of AOR Radio from 1989.

Reminding many of just how cheesy the band had become in the early 90s the band decided to launch into the dreadful "Let's Get Rocked" which open's with lead vocalist Joe Eliott asking "Do You Wanna Get Rocked?",not with this song Joe.

But the band quickly made up for that "Adrenelize" error by launching into hits such as the lead off track to the gazillion selling Hysteria, "Women" quickly followed up by 1983's teen roller skating rink anthem "Foolin' ", and a nice seque into the dreamy ballad of "Hysteria".

But Def Leppard was obviously a band with a set list crisis of sorts. With having dozens of songs to choose from it was going to be easy to leave out some fan favorites,and sure enough the band opted for the "lesser known songs" to fill in what a lot of fans had come to hear.

Punished with "Promises" from the bands 1999 disc "Euphoria" an album they swore was going to bring back the fans they lost when hair rock took a nose dive in popularity throughout the 90s.

It didn't. Then came a Badfinger cover of "No Matter What" and the God-awful David Essex tune "Rock On" which really was about as necessary as the wait on the beverage and bathroom line at Silver Spurs which at times lasted in excess of 30 minutes.

The band wound down the rest of the night however with songs such as "Love Bites","Rocket","Animal","Photograph", and what Eliott called "The last thing I would ever have expected to say,the title track to our new album "Rock of Ages".

The night did not go without its politics however as Def Leppard played the epic "God's of War" which featured a video screen plastered with images of President Bush turning into Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

A comment made to me during the segment of the show by Mandy Wilson of Tampa was "Do we need Def Leppard pushing this on us in the middle of a rock concert?". Good question. Its effectiveness remained to be seen as members of the crowd by shows end thought it was an uneccessary statement at a concert like this. T.J. Bonner,33, of Ovideo said "This is not a Pearl Jam concert or CNN, why do bands have to get political like that? Can't they just play the songs and let the music speak for itself?" The concert came to an end with the hits "Bringin on The Heartbreak" from 1981's High and Dry and closed out with the strip club hit "Pour Some Sugar On Me" which just about brought the house down.But many questions remained.

The band completely ignored hits like "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?","When Love and Hate Collide","Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion), and zero was played from the 1996 disc "Slang" which was rather disappointing considering it was the one studio album from Leppard in over a decade that has shown inspiration and originality. Fans took notice as well.

"Where was "Work It Out?" Jeremy Washington, 20, of Kissimmee asked. "I got into Def Leppard because of "Slang" but they act like the album does not even exist." Tesla opened the show in top form with a nearly 60 minute set supplying hits such as "Modern Day Cowboy","Signs", and "Love Song". The band is filling in dates that Canadian rocker Bryan Adams has been shifting with Def Leppard as they play minor leauge baseball stadiums across the country.

It remains to be seen the effectiveness of 2 musical giants of the 1980s and early 90s playing to Wal-Mart parking lots and low level ballparks, but if the reaction of Central Florida is a barometer they will be just fine.

By allheadlinenews 2005.

By Daniel Lang

Last night I had the pleasure, (after 22 years of being a fan,) of catching Def Leppard live for the first time. The show was at The Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee; a venue I had not frequented until last night. I would have been happier if the stage setup was in the round instead of End Stage, but believe me, that will be the only complaint you hear from me through this review.

Tesla, (of “Signs” and “Cowboy” fame,) opened up the show and just sounded great. I felt like I was in a time warp. They looked the same as I remember them back on MTV in the ‘80’s. The set was a bit short, but most of us in attendance were there for one reason: Def Leppard.

Def Leppard took the stage promptly at 9:00PM. The band opened the show with Action. I admit I've never heard that song before, but loved it. I found out this morning that it's on the Retro Active Album, so that's my next purchase. Following the opener, the band broke into Let It Go. Now, from what I can tell by reading the posts on the Def Leppard (U.S.) message board, the band playing Let It Go is a rarity. I'm not sure why, because they nailed the song. After Let It Go the band played Let's Get Rocked, and it was on!

I was pleasantly surprised to see how animated the audience was, and you could tell that the band appreciated it as well. When they finally slowed things down, Joe Elliott mentioned the fact that Def Leppard in their 25 years had never played Kissimmee. Joe said, "25 Years since we first touched down on American soil, and this is the first time we've played here. I guess it's about F&*cking time then!" The crowd loved it.

Like I had mentioned earlier, I had never seen the band live, so this is the first time I’ve gotten to see how skilled the 5 of them are. Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell particularly blew me away. Both of these guys could guitar-front any band out there right now. Rick Savage was all over the stage, but was missing his familiar mic headset. It was just something I had grown so accustomed to seeing in videos and live TV performances. Do I really need to even compliment the "Thunder God" Rick Allen? That guy should be such an inspiration for anyone out there who thinks they just can’t do it. Amazing.

Speaking of mics, I cannot say enough about the band’s vocals. Now the music that this band has written over the years is difficult to sing, to say the least, and I can just imagine what a challenge it is for Joe Elliott from show to show. He is just so skilled at using his voice in a way that makes it work right when he needs it. Besides that, the backing vocals of this band are top notch. I really did not expect the harmonies to sound as good as they did live. As a matter of fact, I noticed that when parts came that the crowd knew the lead vocal would be a struggle, they sang louder, as if to help Joe out.

It wouldn’t be a true review if I didn’t give some sort of set list, so this is what I can remember. The band played, (in no particular order,:) Let It Go, Let’s Get Rocked, Photograph, Love Bites, Two Steps Behind, Animal, Foolin’, Rocket, Armageddon It, Rock Of Ages (which before they played it, Joe said, “I never thought I’d say this, but here is the title track to our new album”,) Hysteria, Promises (the only song they played from Euphoria, which bummed me out,) Women. AND, they played a covers of Badfinger’s “No Matter What”, (which is on their latest Greatest Hits package,) and David Essex’ “Rock On” which Joe told everyone would appear on their forthcoming “Covers” album, due out in September. Finally, the band retreated backstage, for an encore rest, and came back out to do Bringin’ On The Heartbreak, and finished the evening up with Pour Some Sugar On Me.

I brought my 13-year-old son, and 11-year-old daughter with me last night, and believe me when I tell you that Def Leppard has 2 new young fans. The crowd had a great night out and Joe seemed to be very impressed with the outpouring of love from the Kissimmee fans. Joe went as far as promising that they’d be back.

By Flagler Entertainment Weekly 2005. - Thanks to Daniel for submitting this to the site (from local paper).


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