Davenport, IA - Media Reviews
In the past few years, baseball teams — from the majors to minor league franchises such as the Swing of the Quad-Cities — have had periodic "throwback" games in which the players wear vintage uniforms amid all the trappings of yesteryear.
Using the same parlance, the "Rock 'n' Roll Doubleheader" concert tour of Bryan Adams and Def Leppard — which is playing 26 minor league parks across the country, including Sunday night at John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport — could be considered a "throwback" concert.
More than 6,500 people soaked in the 1980s dorm party atmosphere, complete with Def Lep and Adams tunes cranked way up, plenty of beer and low-cut female outfits. Each of the acts sounded as good as those Dolby cassette memories of the '80s, each delivering all of their hits, with a new song scattered here and there.
The two switch off leading the show, so Adams opened Sunday night (after an unannounced 25-minute acoustic warmup from Randy Coleman, a singer-songwriter who has a tune featured on the soundtrack of the movie "Crash").
Def Leppard, in its 25th year of touring the United States, put on a much more animated show than the comparatively subdued Adams.
Complete with video, light effects and an even more receptive audience (there were 20 Def Leppard T-shirts in the crowd for every Adams shirt), the band rolled through its hits, including "Hysteria," "Foolin'" and "Rock of Ages."
Its set also included a rocked-out cover of Badfinger's "No Matter What," part of a tribute album to the band's influences that is due out later this year. (Other songs from the upcoming album were promised, but early deadlines wouldn't allow them to be seen to fruition.)
Cooler-than-predicted temperatures and a nice breeze wafting off the Mississippi made for a pleasant evening. Unlike last year's Hootie and the Blowfish concert, when few people were allowed on the field, much of the crowd stood on the baseball diamond infield, with a sea of humanity from first to third base.
With the Def Leppard/Bryan Adams show setting the benchmark for concerts, the Swing should fill its lineup card for more shows in 2006.
Quad City Times 2005.
The rock 'n' roll doubleheader at John O'Donnell Stadium Sunday was a great trip back to the 1980s. It reminded you of how flamboyant the musical presentation could be, and how great the music was when it was stripped down.
That contrast was provided courtesy of Def Leppard and Bryan Adams.
Def Leppard always puts on a solid show, delivering dynamic bass to offset its signature piercing guitar licks. Frontman Joe Elliott has had to bring his shrieking vocals down an octave, but come on, the guy turns 46 today after all.
Like Adams, Def Leppard ladened its set with classics from their monster '80s albums. "Women" sounded great, as did the ballad "Hysteria." "Rocket," "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages" still sound as crisp and metallic as they did 20 years ago, and still had the power to bring audience members to their feet.
The set included a couple of curious covers: Badfinger's "No Matter What You Do" and the David Essex tune "Rock On," which Michael Damien rode to a hit in 1989. The former sounded pretty good, while the latter should have remained reserved for soap opera actor/rock star-wannabes. Def Leppard redeemed its rock heritage, though, with two great closers -- "Bringing on the Heartbreak" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" - that whipped the audience into a new frenzy.
During the bulk of the tunes, the video screen behind the stage interspersed old concert footage, MTV videos, live action and other cool images. For "Rocket," it flashed a montage of famous British rockers like David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era, Robert Plant and Freddy Mercury. It was as if Def Leppard was trying to etch its way onto the all-time great Brits list. After 25 years of hits, they certainly deserve to be there.
Randy Coleman opened the show with a spirited acoustic set -- acoustic because his backing band didn't show up. "Scar" highlighted the set by the former singer/songwriter of Zoo Story, who is plugging his debut solo disc, "Last Salutation.".
Quad Cities Online 2005.
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