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Thursday, 23rd July 2015

Wantagh/Jones Beach, NY - Media Reviews

Def Leppard Rocks Jones Beach Theater By Nicholas Semelak

It’s been 35 years since the release of Def Leppard’s debut album, but the British hard rock band showed no signs of aging when they took the stage at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater recently.

The sold-out July 23 performance had nearly 15,000 in attendance and was merely one of 48 North American cities the band will visit. After North America, the band will lead a massive international tour, performing in Japan, Australia and The United Kingdom.

“Yeah, that’s the Jones Beach we know and love,” said lead singer Joe Elliott when the band awarded their devoted fans with an encore. “That’s why we keep coming back here because you guys make a lot of noise, and it’s always a lot of fun.”

The night started off with Tesla, who played a shorter set than usual. The band opened up with “Edison’s Medicine” and continued with other hits like “Signs,” “Love Song,” closing with “Modern Day Cowboy.” Some fans were dismayed at how brief their set was.

Styx followed, opening up with “The Grand Illusion” playing as the sun steadily set. They followed up with “Too Much Time On My Hands” and even played a cover/mash up of “Rocket Man,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The Dock of The Bay.” The band ended their set with “Come Sail Away” and played “Rockin’ The Paradise” and “Renegade” for their encore.

As more and more people poured into the venue, it became apparent that the majority in attendance came solely for Def Leppard. Lights began to turn on, flickering as the crowd roared in excitement. As the band opened up with “Rock Rock Till You Drop,” there wasn’t a single soul in sight sitting down.

“We traveled from Yonkers just to see Def Leppard,” said Christina Delaney, “It’s fantastic. Since 1985, we’ve been listening to them.”

The band continued with other huge hits like “Animal,” “Love Bites,” “Armageddon It” and “Rocket.” When their smash hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me” ended their set, people’s faces lit up with glee and excitement. Whether someone was buying a drink, talking, or waiting in line, they immediately stopped what they were doing and started singing along, providing a definitive highlight of the night. For their encore, the band performed “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.”

On top of a stellar performance that sounded identical to the band’s studio recordings, the fans also made the night something special.

“We came here just to have a picnic outside,” said Patricia Freddy. “Then some nice lady came up to us and said, ‘I have free tickets because my friends didn’t show up. Would you like to go see the show?’ So we came in.”

She said she wasn’t surprised.

“Whoever follows Def Leppard or similar `80s bands is usually so generous,” Freddy added. “There’s no selfishness. You just want to have a good time, and everyone’s your friend.”

Def Leppard will continue to tour the States until Oct. 17. Then on Nov. 9, they begin their international tour, starting in Japan.

By Long Island Press 2015.

Def Leppard, Styx & Tesla Take Over Jones Beach, NY 7-23-15 By Cryptic Rock

Every Summer season, a new Rock-n-Roll touring package that surprises concert goers pops onto the map, igniting excitement. Perhaps one of those surprises came back in February when it was announced that Def Leppard would be teaming up with Styx and Tesla for a lengthy tour that would extend from June until October, covering over forty cities in its tracks. With all three extremely active in recent years touring, recording new music, and headlining gigs of their own, the billing has been seen by fans as nothing less than a powerhouse trio that is a must see. That is why when Thursday, July 23rd came, Long Islanders flocked to Nikon at Jones Beach in Wantagh, New York to see the show. All three no strangers to the theater, Def Leppard last visited back in August of last year with KISS, Styx back in July of last year with Foreigner, and Tesla back in July 2012 with Scorpions. With extensive history that dates back even further, this was a night full of comfortable surroundings with some of the best acts the second wave of Classic Rock has to offer.

With the sun now down, it was almost time for UK Rock band Def Leppard. Def Leppard are, quite simply, one of the biggest bands in the history of Rock-n-Roll. Two of their albums, 1983’s Pyromania and 1987’s Hysteria, have sold over ten million and twenty million copies, respectively. Delivering Hard Rock with touches of Heavy Metal and a clear Glam influence of the likes of David Bowie, T. Rex, and Slade, Def Leppard is the epitome of Hard Pop Rock perfection. Consistently touring for over thirty years, the band is comprised of Joe Elliott (vocals), Rick Allen (drums), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick Savage (bass), and Vivian Campbell (guitar), Def Lepard were ready to bring their lively performance back to Jones Beach with a bang.

Taking the stage to a thunderous ovation, Def Leppard let the crowd know what it had to be prepared to do as they opened with “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” from Pyromania. As Elliott put forth a powerful vocal and announced to the crowd they were in for a rocking night, he was not lying. Going into “Animal,” they kept the entire theater on their feet and in the groove. If there is one song that exemplifies why Def Leppard is so big, this is it. It has all the elements that make the band so appealing; a world-class melody, a hook that could reel anyone in, a seemingly out of place heavy sounding guitar solo, and top notch backing vocals. Going back to Pyromania, “Foolin’” followed with a laid back, gentle opening, the song then exploded into the Hard Rock stratosphere with a pounding riff. Doing what they do best, the heavy riff was complemented, expertly, with yet another Pop-styled hook.

Keeping the crowd on their toes, back to back tracks from 1999’s Euphoria LP were an unexpected break from the band’s best known material. First was “Promises,” which proved to be an ideal mid-tempo song with strong harmonies throughout, proving that Def Leppard, in addition to being legendary hard rockers, can craft a song as well as any artist lurking in the Top 40. Then came “Paper Sun,” which is a similar vein to “Promises” but was brought along with it a howling guitar solo. Jetting back into crowd favorites, “Love Bites” continued to keep the heavier tracks at bay. One of several huge singles from Hysteria, the song is an all-time power ballad, and still sounded amazing live. Over the course of nearly six minutes, the band never deviated from the sound and avoids the temptation to slap on a heavy-handed solo, crashing drums, or howling vocals as they played “Armageddon It” before a killer bass solo by Savage.

Paying homage to one of the sounds that has clearly had a huge influence on them, Def Leppard segued into an astute cover of David Essex’ 1973 hit “Rock On.” Keeping it interesting, Collen put his own unique touch on the song as he played the guitar lead in even funkier fashion than the original. As fans whistled loudly, Elliott stood solo center stage with an acoustic guitar conversing with the crowd asking if they wanted to join the band before going into the heartwarming acoustic track “Two Steps Behind.” As the crowd joined in with the chorus, Elliott lead them through the track and reminded everyone of the beauty of the songs words. Picking it right back up with the entire band, “Rocket” pumped the beat again. While not a cover, is certainly a tribute song, and in grand fashion, the band paid tribute to those that came before who clearly had a deep impact on their style as Elliott sang, “Jack Flash, Rocket Man, Sergeant Pepper and the band, Ziggy, Benny and the Jets……….Jet Black, Johnny B, Jean Genie, Killer Queen, Dizzy Lizzy, Major Tom………..”, referencing the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie, and Queen, among others.

Not slowing down, 1981 High N’ Dry tracks “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” and “Switch 625” were next, and received equal love from the audience. As many may remember, “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” was the band’s first popular song that embodied their signature sound with its mellow verses punctuated with a heavier, more Rock-oriented chorus, a splintering guitar solo, and completed with a radio-friendly hook. Just like on the record, the song flows right into the instrumental “Switch 625,” which is interesting cut from Def Leppard as the guitars, while predominantly oozing Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, flourishes of both Punk Rock and Surf music throughout, which gave it an unexpected complexity. Winding down the set with more hits like “Hysteria” and “Let’s Get Rocked” came before show closer “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” which is probably the band’s most well-known song. The song was played in a free-wheeling manner with every member of the band struggling to keep from smiling as the crowd drowned the band out on the chorus every time around. It was the song fans were waiting for all night, and as veteran showmen, Def Leppard knows how to keep the crowd rife with anticipation.

After a brief exit, the band came out for a two song encore with both songs coming from Pyromania, and first came “Rock of Ages.” A song about, well, Rock-n-Roll, it is dripping with rah-rah lyrics, outstanding background vocals, an appealing guitar lead, as well as a heavy solo, and an unshakeable chorus. It is Def Leppard personified. Having everyone screaming, another gigantic hit from Pyromania, “Photograph” closed the show with a pulsating riff started the song off before falling into a textbook melody capped off with various “Oh’s” synched perfectly with the music. A concise, deft solo was placed perfectly after two verses and choruses before the chorus was repeated several times, along with more dynamic background singing, before an extended instrumental finish.

It comes as no surprise that Def Leppard has achieved as much as they have through the years. With snarling guitars coupled seamlessly with timeless hooks and melodies, their music still seems as fresh as ever. Rock fans looking to catch a show that combines all the best of Pop, Rock, and Heavy Metal, Def Leppard is a must see. With a new record ready for release sometime very soon, chances are Def Leppard will be around for the extended future much to the delight of the Rock world.

By Cryptic Rock 2015.


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