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Friday, 26th June 2009

Darien Center/Buffalo, NY, USA - Media Reviews

Def Leppard dominates Darien stage By Jeff Miers

Matter of fact, he appeared to be crying. As it turns out, he'd driven from Cleveland to see his favorite band, the one whose name was emblazoned on his shirt. And, upon arrival, he faced the news that that band was not going to be playing.

Cheap Trick, as it turns out, was stuck on a grounded airplane in New York City, violent storms having prohibited takeoff. No refund, partial or otherwise, would be forthcoming.

Three-quarters of a full house turned out to see Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick on Friday. But this was a Def Leppard show in essence, though, and that band delivered the goods.

Sadly, Poison also performed. Calling the band's set atrocious would be going easy on them. The band rode the wave of glammed-out pop-metal acts that seemed to be lurking behind every corner in the latter '80s, and managed to earn a rabid audience based on its pale reworkings of classic rock and metal tunes.

Many of these were in evidence on Friday, from the moment the band aped Aerosmith with opener "Look What the Cat Dragged In," through the Cheap Trick "She's Tight" to "Talk Dirty To Me." Reality TV star and frontman Brett Michaels strutted about the stage to the audible appreciation of the female portion of the audience, and grabbed an acoustic guitar to lead the band through the country-leaning ballad, "Something to Believe In."

It was all truly awful, from the live sound, to the cheesy refried Kiss effects. Happily, Def Leppard wasted little time taking the stage after Poison's merciful cessation.

The band was both completely ridiculous and absolutely stunning. If you can't appreciate how it could've been both at once, you either don't remember the '80s or didn't live through them. Back then, more was indeed more, and bigger indeed better. And when Def Leppard is in the house, it still is.

Led by vocalist Joe Elliott, Leppard took the stage to one of many tunes from the mega-platinum '80s album "Pyromania" it would play throughout the evening, "Rock, Rock (Till You Drop)." The band kicked it hard, striking every conceivable rocker pose, treading roughshod over every hard-rock cliche, and indulging in every cheesy sex-based metaphor imaginable, much to the delight of the rabid audience. Def Leppard was greeted with the sound of thunderous approval by the house, and the din didn't let up until 90 minutes later.

At first, Elliott sounded a bit hoarse, which is understandable, since he's long been a proponent of the "scream in tune" style. Impressively, the man can still scream in tune, and he did just that, as the group - guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, drummer Rick Allen, bassist Rick Savage - dug deep into "Pyromania" for "Foolin' - and "Too Late For Love," both of which certainly qualify as mini-epics of the power-ballad variety. "Love Bites" went a bit further, lending an electronic bent - at the time that Leppard first did this, in the late '80s, it was actually forward looking.

Yes, things certainly did reach a fever pitch when Leppard played its anthem "Pour Some Sugar on Me," one of its biggest hits.

It's easy to poke fun at Def Leppard. But the band is incredibly tight, presents an exciting show and knows exactly what its audience expects.

By Buffalo News 2009.

Def Leppard By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.

For many fans of classic hard rock this was to be the triple bill of the summer. The tour featuring headlining multi-platinum selling artist Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick just commenced days before. Before the show, the parking lot was jammed packed with tailgaters cracking music, bar-b-qing and drinking. Everything was cool, until walking up to the venue entrance and seeing a sign stating that the opening band Cheap Trick was not performing due to "unforeseen circumstances." It was learned latter that due to the severe weather in the Northeast, Cheap Trick were unable to get to the show. Some were upset, but for many others it just meant more time to drink.

Poison hit the stage at 8pm and played for an hour. The band was energetic, but at times frontman Bret Michaels' struggled a bit vocally. Poison has toured practically every summer since 1997. But, it seems that they perform much better in the headlining spot, in which they can utilize all of their visual effects and gimmicks.

Poison kicked off the evening with their usual opener "Look What the Cat Dragged In." They then continued with "I Want Action," After the song, Michaels thanked Def Leppard for having them on tour, adding "They kick Ass!! The next song "Something to Believe In" was dedicated to all of the US armed forces.

Midway through the show, guitarist CC DeVille took center stage for a five minute long guitar solo that consisted mainly of him performing Eddie Van Halen's infamous "Eruption" solo. Drummer Rikki Rocket also got a moment to shine during his drum solo later in the set.

Overall, it wasn't Poison best performance, but by no means were they "awful" like the local news critic suggested.

Def Leppard went on at 9pm and had the crowd 15,000 in attendance standing for the rest of their concert. With an amazing stage show and a set list consisting of almost all of their hits, the band quickly proved why they were the headliners. The band was in great spirits. Earlier in the day, band members Phil Collen -guitar and Rick Savage-bass did an in-store signing at a Jackson guitar dealer in Hamburg, NY. During this event, they were given the key to the city as the mayor declared it "Def Leppard day."

Highlights of the show included a performance of "Two Steps Behind" and "Bringing on the Heartbreak." During this segment of the show, vocalist Joe Elliot guitarist Vivian Campbell, Collen and Savage advanced down a stage ramp into the center of the audience for an intimate presentation.

The instrumental "Switch 625" from the bands 1982 release 'High and Dry' featured some great guitar work from Collen and Campbell. Bassist Savage had his opportunity to shine with his bass intro on the David Essex cover song "Rock On."

In the end this show proved that classic anthem rock never dies. With the current economic crisis, many have wondered if the concert industry will suffer. Well, on this night the classic rock fans of WNY proved that going to a good concert isn't going to be something they are willing to sacrifice.

By Glam Metal 2009.


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