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Wednesday, 6th June 2012

West Hollywood - Media Reviews

Afternoon delight: Rock giants Def Leppard play a free show at House of Blues By Gerry Gittelson

One of the world's most popular rock bands performed Wednesday at a small club on the Sunset Strip as Def Leppard played a free afternoon concert at House of Blues to a thrilled audience of about 1,000 in a special Youtube.com webcast set to broadcast today.

The British band has sold more than 100 million records and is set to tour arenas once again, yet there they were right in front of us and close enough to reach out and touch.

It's a rock and roll tradition, a special treat, a rite of passage for a megastar band to surprise their fans once with a scaled-down, once-in-a-career performance like this.

Aerosmith did it first in 1978 with a secret show at the legendary Starwood Club in West Hollywood, billing themselves "Dr. J Jones & the Interns." Of course word got out, and the Sunset Strip was like a zoo that night, Motley Crue did the same thing in 1989 at the Whisky to promote "Dr. Feelgood," and Guns N' Roses performed at this very same House of Blues in March.

Speaking of Guns N' Roses, next to me in the upstairs section sat Duff McKagen, and that just made the whole trip even more surreal.

The timing is perfect for Def Leppard after releasing new versions of "Rock of Ages" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" this past week, plus the new "Rock of Ages" movie featuring Tom Cruise. The band is set to begin another arena tour -- supported by Poison and Lita Ford -- including a June 22 performance at Verizon Wireless Irvine Meadows, and then after touring across the United States and Mexico, the last stop Sept. 15 at Santa Barbara Bowl.

Def Leppard proved in fine shape Wednesday. The bass was pounding hard -- a bit too hard maybe -- but the Brits grooved their way into the proper sound mix by the second song, "Animal," and the place was going crazy.

Singer Joe Elliot was dressed all in black, and like his mates he is still trim and strong, as is guitarist Phil Collen, who went on shirtless and still has six-pack abs. "Hysteria," "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Let it Rock" pumped along, and of course it was way too soon when Def Leppard took its bows after about 45 minutes.

It was a free show for fans willing to wait on line, so everyone seemed to understand they would not be playing all of their hits.

But wow, it was fun while it lasted. And as always, one-armed drummer Rick Allen proved a great inspiration.

A good way to spend an afternoon, that's for sure: A great rock performance, a nice dose of people watching, plus we all made it home in time for dinner.

By Gerry Gittelson @ Los Angeles Daily News 2012.


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