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Friday, 13th July 2018

Detroit, MI - Media Reviews

Journey and Def Leppard: Many hits, some swings and misses at Comerica Park By Edward Pevos

Two of the biggest bands in rock history took over the home of the Detroit Tigers in what can only be described as a night of many hits with a few swings and misses.

Here's everything great about this concert and how it could have been even better.

The Pretenders:

The concert started at 6:15pm with Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders.

Hits: Hynde sounded fantastic. She performed the hits just the way fans remember and hit every note. What a treat it was to hear her perform.

Misses: Hynde appeared on stage wearing a long-sleeve blazer, but took it off after the first song. After all, it was 90 degrees and the sun was shining on her like a bright spotlight.

While Hynde did sound great, the crowd was late arriving and the huge stadium was less than half full to watch her perform. She also left out one of her signature songs, "Brass In Pocket" which features the lyric, "Detroit Leaning." I mean, don't you have to add that song into your setlist when you're in Detroit?

Def Leppard:

The hits: Def Leppard took the stage at 7:30pm and absolutely rocked the heck out of Comerica Park for 90 minutes playing hit after hit with almost no dull moments. You can't ask for much more from these living legends, especially in the sweltering heat.

The swings and misses: This is the fifth or sixth time I've seen Def Leppard in concert. They always bring it, and while they do a nice job of playing mostly the hits fans want to hear, it would be nice to hear a few other hits which I've never heard them perform live, including "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" and "Stand Up." These are great songs that they never seem to include in their setlist, but continue to perform their remake version of "Rock On" which seems underwhelming at every show.


The hits: Journey has a lot of hit songs and they played a lot of them as they took the stage at 9:30pm. The band was sharp, the vocals and harmonies were strong and the solos were impressive and not too long. Steve Smith's drum solo may have actually been one of the most hypnotic drum solos from any concert I've ever been to. I loved every second of it.

Swing and a miss, strike 1: While Journey is filled with fantastic musicians like Neal Schon, Steve Smith and Jonathan Cain, their instruments really drowned out the terrific vocals of lead singer Arnel Pineda on most of the faster songs. His mic level was just too low. Fans were really only treated to his great voice during ballads like "Faithfully," "Lights" and "Open Arms."

Swing and miss, strike 2: During Cain's piano solo, while it was cool hearing him perform a few seconds each of four or five Journey hits like "When You Love a Woman" and "Send her My Love," it would have been nice to actually hear those songs instead of the four songs many fans never heard of that forced people to sit back down and wait through. The crowd did stand up when they heard the first keys from "Who's Cryin' Now," but were disappointed that it was only a few notes from the piano solo.

Swing and a miss, strike 3: As mentioned above, there were just too many songs fans didn't know and it hurt the pacing which caused numerous slow moments. Yes, the band needs to change things up for their own sanity, but I've seen them many times in concert and they rarely perform hits "Send Her My Love," "When You Love a Woman," "Who's Cryin' Now," and "I'll be Alright without You." It would have been nice to hear these hits, but concert rarities.

By MLive 2018.

Journey, Def Leppard, Pretenders bring the 80s back to Comerica Park By Gary Graff

If you craved a concise survey of commercial rock during the early and mid-80s, few places were better than Comerica Park on Friday night, July 13.

Though the bands in question -- Journey, Def Leppard and the Pretenders -- have certainly made plenty of music outside those parameters, the show was a testament to the enduring work each made between 1980-87, from the latter’s first four albums to monster-selling releases by Journey (“Escape,” “Frontiers”) and Def Leppard (“Pyromania,” “Hysteria”). The vast majority of the combined 41 songs came from that era, and the Comerica crowd of 35,000 or celebrated their bulletproof, enduring appeal despite the sweltering summer heat.

“I know it’s hot, but who wants to dance?” the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde -- who quicky shed her red blazer at the start of the group’s set -- said before “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” and plenty in the fist-pumping throng were willing to join her.

For the San Francisco-formed Journey, any Detroit show is a kind of homecoming; The city supported the group early and often, so much so that its first live album, “Captured,” was recorded partly at the old Cobo Arena. And, of course, the group’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” -- which closed the night with a shower of confetti and streamers did put the non-existent South Detroit on the map.

Guitarist Neal Schon saluted that long and still-loving relationship during the sextet’s 15-song, 90-minute show, a romp that quieted for ballads only a couple of times (“Lights,” “Open Arms” (during which a couple in the 13th row got engaged) and “Faithfully”) and focused instead on uptempo fare such as “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “only The Young,” “Stone In Love,” the bluesy “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’,” “Wheel In The Sky” and more. With four of five members from those 80s glory days still in the lineup Journey played in tight, practiced lockstep, and if Arnel Pineda’s voice showed a bit of tour wear ‘n’ tear it was actually to good effect; The frenetic frontman sounded a bit less like Steve Perry and a bit more like someone who SOUNDS like Steve Perry this time out. though he still kept, er, faithfully close to the original melodies.

Schon, keyboardist-guitarist Jonathan Cain and drummer Steve Smith all took spotlight solos, the latter’s a particularly fine display of his jazz roots, complete with nimble stick tricks. Journey offered a couple of deeper digs into its catalog -- “Wildest Dream” from 2006’s “Revelation” and “La Do Da” from 1978’s “Infinity” -- but mostly stuck to what it new the crowd came for.

So did Def Leppard, with nine of the 15 songs from its hour and 25 minute show hailing from those two Diamond-certified albums. A network of sub-woofers shook the stadium with the brawny chug of “Rocket” and the quintet was off to the races, like Journey keeping the ballads largely at bay and focusing on its metal-flavored brand of hard rock -- and even then the likes of “Love Bites” and “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” carried as much oomph as any of the heavier fare in the group’s set.

Def Leppard -- whose most recent concert video was filmed at the DTE Energy Music Theatre -- did go acoustic, successfully, for “Two Steps Behind,” but as the sun dipped behind the horizon the group had Comerica rocking through anthems such as “Foolin’,” “Animal,” “Let’s Get Rocked,” “Armageddon It,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the encore duo “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph.” Frontman Joe Elliott promised “there will be a next time,” and the fans in front of him made it clear that can’t come soon enough.

And if the Pretenders, who after all hail from Britain’s punk and New Wave scenes of the late 70s, seemed like an odd fit next to the co-headliners, Hynde and company countered any doubts with an adventurous 45 minutes that showed the group has hits of its own (“Back On The Chain Gang,” “My City Was Gone,” “I’ll Stand By You,” “Middle Of The Road”) and could deliver a solid set without its very biggest single, “Brass In Pocket.” But deeper cuts such as “Cuban Slide” and “Bad Boys Get Spanked” more than held their own, while an opening couplet from the group’s latest album “Alone,” proved the Pretenders are still a potent concern beyond its 35-year-plus laurels.

Comerica Park rocks once again on Saturday, July 14, with the Zac Brown Band and others, but that package will have to push to surpass, or even equal, the crowd-pleasing party that took place on Friday.

By Oakland Free Press 2018.


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