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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Tesla energy primes Def Leppard Tour with incredible performance By The Shepherd

Big, bright, and boisterous. Madison, Wisconsin’s Alliant Energy Center lived up to its name Saturday night, with legendary Tesla opening the festivities, setting the bar extremely high for REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard.

Choosing a setlist full of hits, Tesla broke out with passion and perfection. Leading the charge, vocalist Jeff Kieth danced lightly and swayed playfully, smiling all the while, welcoming a sold out crowd to join in the fun. That the key word- fun- it was contagious. Rock Me To The Top had the heads nodding and the hips moving before the guitars cranked up with Edison’s Medicine and Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out). An early arriving crowd sang the conclusion from the Great Radio Controversy rocker, “I’m on a slick trip, I’m always ready to kick ass.” Drawing the moment out, Keith surrounded himself with guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, delighting himself and the fans.

The spotlight shifted from Keith to Hannon and Rude as the lengthy intro to Love Song brought couples of all ages into tight embraces. Scanning the scene, it was impossible to find anything but cheer and positive emotion, and Tesla seized on that. Thousands moved side-to-side, some stealing kisses, a few perhaps falling deeper in love at the very instant. And this has what Tesla has stirred in us for 30 years. No doubt, this contributes to the ease with which they transmit loving vibes so freely.

Those in search of a bit of sass and attitude were rewarded with Signs. Working left-to-right, then to the beginning of the long cat-walk, Keith turned his typically blues-tinged voice into gentle dismay and indignant spit, matching the lyrical spin about discrimination and barriers, smacking the ass of Brian Wheat as he swept by. All this, leading up to the harder edged Little Suzi and Modern Day Cowboy (the final track). These tunes, both from the currently celebrated Mechanical Resonance (new album), placed Hannon in the forefront, and dressed in black velvet with a maroon sash and that wild curly ginger hair, he was as thrilling as I remember back in the late 80’s and 90’s.

Heading into the show, the majority of the Tesla talk was obvious. Could they bring the metal energy and drive that fueled their career? How would Jeff Kieth’s voice sound? And, had we seen the best of them years ago? All fair questions. Clearly and emphatically, let me speak for the masses in Wisconsin and proudly testify the power hasn’t waned, Keith’s voice is as full and unique as ever, and Tesla 2016 is alive and thriving. The only question at the conclusion of the show was- why didn’t Tesla play more songs? Exactly.

A night for those who appreciates all degrees of rock, REO Speedwagon played their softer brand of hard rock with surprising vigor. Somewhere around the UW Campus there must be a fountain of youth, as Kevin Cronan bounced around the stage like a teen. Cronan was a busy man, moving from center stage mic to piano, and even grabbing a guitar for one track. He even took the time to call for unity and respect, asking all to practice listening and caring during this time of social and political turmoil.

The soft rock ramped up a notch with Riding The Storm Out, beginning with the trademark warning signal, full of bulk guitar, the rowdiest song of the set. Yet, it was the sing-a-longs and heart-string pullers that truly touched the crowd. At several points, Cronan extended the mic to the crowd, and the return was dominated by female voices. I Can’t Fight This Feeling and Take It On The Run captivated, the sound solid throughout.

In comparison to previous tours, Def Leppard’s stage show relied more on the basics and less on the flash and glitz. Not totally without optic tech pleasures and the use of a giant jumbo tron, the focus was more on song, feel, and energy. Once the massive tapestry came down, a sonic journey from past to present unfolded.

Old school fans, those of us who were drawn to the metal side of On Through The Night and Pyromania, found pleasure in the early Let It Go and the later Foolin. Like all bands on the bill, a legendary career spanning close to 40 years, gave birth to iconic albums, especially the beloved Hysteria. From that, Animal, Rocket and Armageddon It served up the hard rock still accessible, but the melting point came from Hysteria and Love Bites. With the opening notes of the latter ballad I imagine recollections of first love and first heartbreak, and I hearkened back to a snowy Christmas Eve night, hearing the words “I’m in love with you” from a girl I thought would be by my side forever. Of course, eventually she did Bring on the Heartbreak, and became a memory, just as Phil Collen dressed in gold shoes and belt, rocking out shirtless (has he ever worn a shirt) will do. With a physique like his, I wouldn’t wear one either- what work out plan is he on?

Part in the present, but full of nostalgia, it was great to see Ric Savage and Vivian Campbell. Walking down amnesia lane is proper and planned with Def Leppard, but they still pushed their current work with Dangerous. Collen stood with Joe Elliot, ripped some killer chords, and let flow a relatively unknown track that felt more familiar than it should, comfortably in the DL camp.

Veterans that they are, they kept us waiting until the encore. It was worth the wait. Rock of Ages and Photograph ended a fun night with frenzy and power, just what the metalheads in the stadium showed up for. We all had the albums back in the day, now we collect (or re-collect) those gems once again.

By Welovemetal 2016.

Media Review - DEF LEPPARD with REO SPEEDWAGON and TESLA at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI By Tommy Leu

Finally, Def Leppard delivered a multi-media spectacle of sound, lights, and video from the first song to the last. Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, and Vivian Campbell also brought a high-caliber performance. The numerous requisite hits were played including “Animal,” “Foolin,” “Armageddon It,” “Love Bites,” “Let It Go,” “Rocket,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and the encore numbers “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.” Replicating 1981’s High & Dry record, the band performed the excellent “Switch 625” instrumental as a tag on to “Bringing On The Heartbreak.”

This highlight of the evening featured drummer Rick Allen’s mini-solo at the end of the tune which moved the crowd to near hysteria. Allen nonverbally thanked the crowd with big smiles directly into his drum camera, and flew the double-finger peace sign high above his kit, which understandably brought the house down even more for obvious reasons. And speaking of hysteria, the band’s monster hit of the same name was another highlight tune augmented by a moving video of archive footage of the band’s long history on the giant screen throughout. This segment in particular brought back a lot of memories and reminded me of just how big a cultural phenomenon Def Leppard was for someone roundabout my age. The fact is, you couldn’t escape the mighty Lep back in the 1980’s whether you were a fan or not.

By Anti Hero Magazine 2016 - read the full review via the link.

Reviews from the 2016 Madison, WI Show.