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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Journey-Def Leppard twin bill scores big By Lorilee Craker

Neal Schon's interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner," replete with stunning guitar fretwork, gave me goosebumps -- and I'm Canadian! Not a bad way to kick off almost three hours of rock 'n' roll by two of the biggest bands of the '80s.

Playing for a crowd of the many rabid Def Leppard fans who populated the throng of 7,600, in Van Andel Arena Tuesday night, co-headliner Journey had its work cut out for it. Members of the band had said in interviews they wanted to blow the socks off Def Leppard fans, and what they did was give a splendid, high-voltage show that stole the evening out from under the Brits -- who did just fine themselves, thank you.

Journey was a hard act to follow, but the crowd was fueled for Def Leppard.

Joe Elliott has to be one of the most watchable frontmen in rock. He's masterful at drawing out audience participation, and in seconds, he had everyone with their arms in the air, shrieking and jumping.

Though not as young as Scott Soto, Elliott has a strong and supple voice. At one point, he held a note for an impressively long time. He sounded great on hard rockers "Rock Rock (Till You Drop)," and "Bringin' On The Heartbreak."

Other members were in fine form as well, especially guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Rick Savage, who, with his hair-bear mop and muscle shirt, appeared frozen in amber from 1983.

During a quieter moment -- OK the only quiet moment -- Savage performed a bass solo that was hypnotic and a tad contemplative.

"Hysteria" and "Foolin'" had the predictable power to make everyone go nuts, as did a marathon session blending "Photograph" into "Armageddon It" into "Animal." This was big fun and calculated to cause all the 38-year-olds in the audience to pump their fists as if it were 1984 again.

But for my money, the shining moment was the cover of T-Rex's "20th Century Boy," from Def Leppard's new cover CD, "Yeah." It was bouncy, playful and displayed a versatile side of the band, fab and flavored with lots of vintage energy and cheekiness.

Opening for both bands was the surprising and winning singer/songwriter Stoll Vaughn, who seemed somewhat out of place yet won over the rocking crowd with well-crafted heartland rock from his album, "Love Like a Mule." Watch this guy's star rise.

By Lorilee Craker @ Grand Rapids Press 2006.