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Monday, 10th July 2006

West Palm Beach, FL, USA - Media Reviews

Journey and Def Leppard are a blast from the rockin' '80s past By Leslie Streete

Maybe there's something magical being pumped into the air on the collective tour buses of '80s rock monsters Journey and Def Leppard. Or maybe it's something they're drinking, or perhaps there's a collection of bleeding, aging portraits of the band members stashed in a forgotten closet with some old amps and some vintage Leppard Union Jack tees.

Whatever the preservative is that's keeping the members of those two bands as musically and physically unchanged as they appeared to be on Monday at Sound Advice Amphitheatre, they need to keep it up. Because for about three hours, it seemed to be 1988. Or maybe 1983. But in a good way.

Journey, the Bay Area mainstay, went first and was perhaps most impressive because for about a week it's been touring with a new lead singer, Jeff Scott Soto. Steve Augeri - himself the longtime replacement of the most famous lead, Steve Perry - is having vocal problems, and the relatively young Soto, who's worked with guitarist Neal Schon, is filling in for the time being.

And, boy, was that a good choice. Acknowledging that he had some very big shoes to fill for "the Steves," as he called them, Soto more than held his own, mostly because he can manage the other singers' ranges, which are considerable. Singing everything but the ballads Open Arms and Faithfully, which were handled well by drummer Deen Castronovo, Soto did a beautiful job making songs like Lights, Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' and particularly the difficult Separate Ways his own, without veering too much from Steve territory.

Def Leppard, that high-flying British band with the obvious glam tendencies, have a new album called Yeah that covers their favorite British '70s glam classics by Sweet (Hell Raiser) and Badfinger (No Matter What), and they did impressively loud and tuneful versions of those. Hell Raiser, the opener, was a wee loud, drowning out singer Joe Elliott's impassioned yell.

But it was the Leppard classics that the people seemed to want to hear, and they were in evidence - the gleefully cheesy Let's Get Rocked and Make Love Like a Man were faithfully recreated, as was the balladish Hysteria. When you see a show like this, you want the guys to sound like they used to. You wanna rock. And Def Leppard and Journey both more than delivered.

By Palm Beach Post 2006.


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