Media Review -
It's no misnomer concert promoters billed the Def Leppard, Poison, Cheap Trick show the "rock event" of the summer. The concert, which landed Friday at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, didn't disappoint.
Multi-act shows often drag on and fail to impress. Not this show. The bands, who've all racked up numerous hits over the last three decades, performed rousing sets which had fans singing along to their anthems and rocking in the aisles.
Headlining British rockers Def Leppard performed an energetic show complete with an attractive light display, video clips and high theatrics. The acoustics at outdoor theaters are often muddled. But Def Leppard's sound system was exceptional allowing, for the band's signature tunes to shine.
With frontman Joe Elliott at the helm, the group was in powerful form throughout the show. On the playlist, were commanding versions of "Rock of Ages," "Rock, Rock Til You Drop," "Pour Some Sugar on Me," David Essex' "Rock On," and "Let's Get Rocked."
Poison also proved dynamic on stage. Lead singer Bret Michaels, star of VH-1's "Rock of Love," remained a spitfire of energy as the band delivered popular tunes such as "Unskinny Bop," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," "Nothin' But A Good Time," and "Look What the Cat Dragged In."
Cheap Trick got the musical shindig going with a 40-minute set that included hits 'Surrender" and "I Want You to Want Me."
This lineup of musicians could have easily just "phoned" their shows in giving rote performances. But they sounded just as fresh as ages ago when they all topped the charts.
By Eloise Marie Valadez @ nwtimes 2009.
Media Review -
Opening with a dazzling video collage reviewing the band's long and storied career, the band ripped into "Rock Rock (Till You Drop)" with precision and pizzazz. Much like a re-run of The Simpsons, witnessing Def Leppard in the flesh is a recurrent prompt of how energetic, endowed and enormous they are as live performers. Leading the charge with a grand arsenal of crowd pleasing songs, they always appear to be at the top of their game. "Rocket", performed as the single/video edit of the song, was leaner and to the point as the entire band sprawled out across the stage as gargantuan screens behind them provided a litany of images. One stadium ready anthems after another was performed including "Animal", "Foolin'" and "Love Bites" all of which no matter how many times one has seen them, they still take your breath away due to the pure sway of the band's execution.
"C'mon. C'mon" was the only song aired from their latest release, Songs From the Sparkle Lounge sadly; a jangly rocker with an easy-on-the-ears chorus that is pure Def Leppard. It still received an exceptionally buoyant retort from the crowd thanks to singer Joe Elliott charming the crowd to clap along. Its inclusion made me yearn for the day where the band will dig a little deeper into their catalog. Despite the record sales not reaching the heights of their 80's records, there is a lot to chew on from Slang, Euphoria, X and Sparkle Lounge. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a deeper dive into those records is deserved because they house songs on par with their earlier output. There was no proper Chicago stop on the 2008 tour so this one performance is the only reminder to the crowd that there was a new record in stores from the band recently.
The only other song to be performed from the last fifteen years was "Rock On", from their collection of covers, Yeah! . Unfortunately, it's been a steady part of the set list for the last five years and its inclusion meant that an original was axed. The midpoint of the show included an acoustic section on an extended stage that took the band into the crowd. "Two Steps Behind" was a happy go lucky sing-a-long while "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" begun acoustically before the band plugged in to top the song off with their fierce fervor (much like the versions played on the 1987-88 tour) and instantly segueing into the instrumental "Switch 625". The latter found the band at their most strapping and vivacious. Elliott was off stage but the other four played out of their skins. The band's joy spilled over into the crowd and makes me wonder what would happen if they took chances with other material not as submerged into our consciousness. Moments like these showcase their inherent capacity as musicians and why they're still a pertinent band.
With limited stage time the band segued from one song into another, barely taking a breath in between. The long instrumental bass heavy intro to "Hysteria" was sadly absent in favor of a straight on, yet gleaming, take on this classic. Guitarist Phil Collen, even on a cooler night where the highs were only in the mid-60's, came out on stage shirtless and remained so for the remainder of the evening. The man, while flexing some madly remarkable, virtuoso guitar playing, also looked the best I'd ever seen him. He could have passed for a twenty-year old with his perfectly tanned and sculpted chest that had to give every beer guzzling male in attendance a serious complex. Collen's partner in crime, Vivian Campbell was equally inspiring with his six-string aptitude, especially on "Hysteria" and "Armageddon It".
The dual guitar attack of this band is at the core of their signature sound and it's to the band's credit how well they recreate the opulent productions in concert. The Vault finale (their Hot Rocks) was one conquering mega-hit after another. It's hard to be disappointed seeing "Let's Get Rocked", "Rock of Ages", "Photograph" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" nightly. "Sugar" proved to be especially translucent. The band is incorporating the single/video version of the song in concert (for what I believe is the first time) and the teasing "Love is like a bomb" opening elicited the prevalent screams of the evening. Despite being a nightly staple for twenty-two years, this is one of those songs I never grow tired of hearing and judging from the reactions of the crowd, neither are they. Credit must be given to Def Leppard who infuses each of their performances with the aggression and willpower of a band a generation younger. One of the focal reasons for them being a touring juggernaut year after year is their allegiance to transporting their fans with a distinguished show that is more than merely nostalgia. They're some of the greatest in the rock cannon from the last quarter of the century and when you have songs as potent as these, you can do whatever you want.
By Anthony Kuzminski @ The Screen Door 2009.