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Tuesday, 24th July 2007

Detroit/Clarkston, MI - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Def Leppard Rocks - Especially in Michigan! By Amy

The Boys are Back in Town, indeed. Joe said, "We've been coming here for over 20 years, and we hope to come back for many more. Hey, if Mick Jagger can do it at 63, why can't we?" to which the crowd roared in thunderous agreement.

On July 24, Detroit was DEF-initely Rock City as what had to be a near-capacity crowd at DTE cheered loud and proud for the main attraction. Styx performed first, a six-man lineup featuring Tommy Shaw, James Young, and others alternating on lead vocals and greeting the crowd. They went down well, covering most of the favourites including...Sail Away and Renegade which seemed to get the best response. One rarity was their ironic inclusion of the song Lorelei which might have been appreciated by Steamin' Steve Clark if he had been backstage with the rest of the Leps, waiting to dazzle us.

Now it was time for the Mighty Lep, and For Those About to Rock, they Saluted Us. We were six rows back from the right side of the stage, which means we got our Phil. Phil, Phil, Phil, what more can one say? An awesome guitarist, an absolute joy to watch on stage with his ear-to-ear grin. Oh that's right, Joe, Sav, and Rick didn't let us forget he's not a one-man band.

"In fairness", I'd have to say Sav earned the MVP award this time. Animated and energetic All Night, he was the first I could see onstage when the curtain dropped and the video screen flashed for the opener, Rocket. Much to my delighted surprise, the first image I saw was actually that of Steve, the famous Ross Halfin picture of him pointing into the crowd with his guitar pick. This was on the screen as Rocket blasted off, then Sav and his white Royal Standard bass appeared in all their glory. When the lights went on properly amidst the fog, I could now see the Man in Black, Phil (amazingly) shirted in a tone-on-tone black shirt, tiiiiiight black jeans, and very pointy-toed black boots. But remember, it's only the first song.

After our Animal instincts got Excitable - much more Exciting live than on record - and the lights went down after the third song, you know what happens? That's right, ladies, the shirt disappears and the bling is back! Phil runs back onstage all avant garde with his silver necklace and au naturel, from the waist up, and launches into Foolin'. He and Sav took turns volunteering for backup vocals, except when, humorously, they each tried to use the mic stand in the centre. It had obviously been set up for Joe, as Sav could reach on tiptoe but Phil didn't stand a chance. No worries, he could belt out the BVs on his own mic, and Joe shared from time to time so he could harmonize on Rock On, among others. Bela never made an appearance, but Phil's cherry red Jackson and archtop maple PC were in fine tune, as was a new yellow number - not Big Bird, but perhaps a Fender.

The setlist was terrific, adding a welcome inclusion of Mirror Mirror but leaving out Let's Get Rocked, much to the dismay of fans around us. (Another reason they should tour in England this year, UK fans would be thrilled not to suffer through LGR, smile.) BOTH and Switch 625 will never be the same without Steve, but Joe and Phil did him proud on the acoustic arrangement. Joe seemed truly overwhelmed when the audience spontaneously started singing during the pause, adding another fun moment when he turned into Mutt Lange and started conducting us to hit the high notes. He then said something about Detroit being the best so far and proclaiming our vocals "f-in' A!"

Getting back to Sav's worthiness as MVP, he changed into a white costume for the second half of the show, shining through his bass solo and leading Rick to Rock On. Sometimes he sang along even when he was nowhere near a microphone. Sav was all over the stage, running at lightning speed and slinging both the Royal Standard and Union Jack bass like he meant it. Happily for us, he seemed to spend a lot of time on our (Phil's) side of the stage, smiling and posing for photos. I like to think it's because he saw me waving, but I rather suspect he was dodging the fan in the centre section hopefully a female - holding up a sign that said "I love you Sav". Dear me. My favourite bit was during Armageddon It, when Sav ran to the top of the drum riser and started shape throwing! Another moment to make SMC proud.

Oddly enough, Joe never intro'd Sav, Rick, or Phil; but his chats were well received by the fans. He apologised for his voice being raspy, blaming it on dinner with Styx the night before when " [censored] JY kept me up all night talking!"

While PSSOM wasn't the encore, I continue to be amazed with the energy from both band and audience every time they play it live. On record it was never one of my favourites, but live, it rocks. Just like the Leps. Photograph was complete with a video background of photos from Pyro era and earlier. They are a truly awesome live band, and as Joe always promises, Don't forget us, cos we won't forget you. After you've toured England, get on back to the Great Lakes, boys!

Fan Review - By Angie

Well, the guys are in wonderful form. They sounded great, they looked great, they were energetic and all over the stage. They were enjoying themselves and it was obvious. The crowd was LOUD and did a fantastic job on all the sing-a-longs. Joe even said that we were the best so far. But hey, this IS Detroit Rock City.

We know how to scream. Joe commented on our enthusiasm and said this is what it's all about, which only made us scream louder.

The setlist was:

Rocket, Animal, Excitable, Foolin', Mirror, Mirror, Another Hit and Run, Love Bites, Rock On, Two Steps Behind-acoustic, Bringin' On The Heartbreak-started acoustic, then went electric for the end, Switch 625, Hysteria, Armageddon It, Photograph, Pour Some Sugar On Me, and for the encore, Rock of Ages

That was a nice change-up since they usually do PSSOM for their encore.

I'm 41 years old and I've seen alot of concerts in my life but I'd like to say for the record that this was the best concert I've ever attended. If you check out DefLeppard.com you'll see that many of the fans felt the same way. I can't stress enough how fantastic the boys in the band were. Joe gets a lot of hassle for not always being able to hit the high notes like he used to but that was definitely not the case Tuesday night. It's obvious that giving up the cigarettes has really helped him regain some of that old fire that we all know and love about him. Sav positively SHINED on the bass solo, as he did the whole night. Bass players so often get overlooked but Sav is a truly talented player and it's fabulous to see him get his moment in the spotlight. Rick's drumming blew us all away and he continues to be an inspiration to all. Phil and Viv just seem to continue getting better and better. I was particularly impressed with their rendition of "Switch 625". It was a great tribute to Steve Clark and it actually brought tears to my eyes.

I also wanted to comment on Styx. Admittedly, I never was a big fan of theirs but I was very impressed with their show and I'm glad I got the opportunity to see them live. I also happen to be a very big fan of The Beatles (they were my first love) and Styx did an awesome rendition of "I Am The Walrus". I don't usually like most covers of Beatles songs because hey, let's face it, it's the Beatles. How are you going to top that? The members of Styx can hold their heads high, though. The audience really got into it, too. Their set list was:

Blue Collared Man, Grand Illusion, Too Much Time on My Hands, Lady, I Am the Walrus (Beatles Cover), Just Be, Everything All the Time, A Criminal Mind, Miss America, Brave New World, Come Sail Away, Renegade.

I was very surprised that "Babe" and "Mr. Roboto" were not included.


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