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Tuesday, 3rd July 2007

Kansas City/Bonner Springs, KS - Media Reviews

Def Leppard Styx & Foreigner By John Kindred

And the lights go down.

Tragedy and loss has been known by Def Leppard. Let's not minimize our own experiences, but when you are dealing with a band made up of five guys, it's a five-way marriage. First, they survived Rick Allen's tragic accident, then the loss of Steve Clark, who was a vital part to the sound of the band.

So the band has persevered and always forged ahead. Today, the lineup consists of Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell, Phil Collen and Rick Allen.

Formed in '77, oh shit - they have been doing this almost as long as Foreigner, Def Leppard started rocking at a young age. Rick Allen was 16 when he joined the group. Their full length debut CD On Through the Night arrived in '80, and soon the band hooked up with John "Mutt" Lange for 1981s High and Dry, and the rest, shall we say, is history. With tours under their belt with bands like Sammy Hagar, Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Blackfoot and AC/DC, Def Leppard honed their chops for the road and the studio.

Thirty years later, with mega record sales, sold out tours - wine, woman and song, the band lives, fueled by rock 'n' roll. Still relevant, still rocking, this evening's performance was to another sold-out show. All packed in like sardines in a can, 19,000 close friends came together to party and rock out with Def Leppard to the collection of some the best rock songs ever written.

The show was only 90 minutes, but the band managed to perform songs from their vast catalog of music. Touching on albums early in their career like High and Dry, Pyromania to the groundbreaking Hysteria and on into the '90s: Adrenalize, Retroactive up to the current decade Yeah!

It was great to hear the High and Dry-era songs, "Bringing on the Heartbreak" - has been a tour staple for years, but the additions of "Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)," "Another Hit and Run" and "Switch 625" was spectacular. The band performed the acoustic song "Two Steps Behind" and led into "Bring on the Heartbreak" on acoustic guitars before rocking up the end of the song.

They also pulled out the cover song "Rock On" with bassist Rick Savage show-boating on the intro to the song. The band obviously played their slow, sweet-tinged power ballads, like "Two Steps Behind," "Love Bites" and "Hysteria." Women were a contributing factor to the band breaking big with the album Hysteria. All the tough-ass guys in the venue were singing along with the women, so go figure.

A phenomenal light show mixed with extensive video screens helped bring the live experience to fans that were way, way back in the back. The sound was mixed fairly well, although at times Elliot's voice was lost in the overall instrumentation.

Def Leppard, Styx and Foreigner all rock! And they provide a pleasant reminder of what good bands sound like. Let's hope they all are around for a few more years.

Def Leppard Set List: Rocket - Animal - Excitable - Foolin' - Mirror, Mirror - Let it Go - Love Bites - Rock On - Two Steps Behind - Bringin' On the Heartbreak - Switch 625 - Hysteria - Armageddon It - Photograph - Pour Some Sugar On Me - Rock of Ages

The only complaint is the 2-hour plus shows seem to have gone away. We are not talking about the whole show, but the length of the headliner's performance. Back in the day, bands performed for a lot longer, 2 maybe 2 ½ hours. It seems that if we are shelling out big $$$ once a year, then we should get our money's worth.

$8 beers, $4 hotdogs, $6 cheeseburgers - well at least parking is free, I guess.

By Hardrock Haven 2007.


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