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Friday, 12th June 2009

Dublin, Ireland - Media Reviews

Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Journey and Tesla By Aidan Coughlan

ANOTHER week, another gig set firmly down memory lane.

The O2 predictably hosts a crowd pushing on middle-age, fans who are recapturing their youth. Some have even been brave enough to bring the kids with them, albeit only the ones who are too young to find shame in the uncharacteristic attire of their parents.

Following a resurgence in popularity, thanks largely to the use of 'Don't Stop Believin'' in 'The Sopranos' series finale, Journey seem to be the crowd-pleasers of the night. Energetic, they garner some fine singalongs as the evening swings into motion.

Whitesnake, on the other hand, play the sort of rock usually reserved for those who wish to parody rock.

It's completely inaccessible to the audience, at one point going so far as to contain a 10-minute guitar solo. And that's not an exaggerated, figure-of-speech 10 minutes. This is 10 actual minutes, with nothing happening on stage other than disgustingly self-indulgent muck.

"Here I Go Again", the band's signature tune, brings the crowd back into the affair. But the constant shouts of "Make some f**king noise!" put the nail in the coffin and consign the performance to bottom of the night's pile.

Def Leppard emerge to a graphic of the Union Jack in green, white and orange. Amhrán na bhFiann plays in the background, stopping suddenly as the flag reverts to its normal colours of red, white and blue. Wow. What a brave move to pull in Dublin.

The headline act aren't as over the top as Whitesnake or as fun as Journey. But they certainly show that their place in the annals of rock is justified, as Joe Elliot leads an exciting if not mind-blowing set with all the usual frills attached. Meanwhile, one-armed drummer Rick Allen shows himself to be one of the wonders of the ancient rock world.

You just can't take this stuff seriously, and in fact you're not supposed to. Once you've realised that, though, you're left with quite an evening.

By Aidan Coughlan @ The Independent 2009.

Def Leppard/Whitesnake/Journey - The O2, Dublin By Robert O Connor

With a break for bar and smoke visits, the Whitesnake and Leppard fans exchanged places around the front as the giant stage setup begins. Whitesnake's performance was so full on; you couldn't be blamed for walking toward the exit at this point. Although this co-headlining tour does have it critics, there's very little you can say about paying sixty quid for four fantastic bands stretched over five hours, but it's very clear from the opening guitar and drums of AC/DC's Let There Be Rock that Leppard are the headlining act tonight. As the stage goes dark, a giant video screen that covers the entire back wall lights up with a retrospective of the bands career to the sound of an extended guitar solo (originally preformed by Vivian Campbell on the Adrenalize tour).

As the intro fades, the band appear as silhouettes on stage to the pounding drums of Rocket as Joe Elliot runs down a ramp that stretches into the centre of the audience and immediately excites the packed crowd. Leppard's performance is so tight and delivered with such energy, it's hard to understand why this band aren't more popular in Ireland. A furious performance of Action spurs on the crowds excitement before the band dip into their latest album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, for a converting version of C'mon, C'mon. The band follow up with a sing along favourite, Make Love Like A Man before delighting die hard fans with Too Late for Love, a track sadly missing from most of their recent sets. Recent single, Nine Lives follows before a set defining rendition of Love Bites, another track Leppard omitted far too often from their sets.

At this point, the band depart as Rick Savage plays an eclectic bass solo that works as an intro to the band's cover of Rock On. Joe, Sav, Phil and Vivian cover every single square inch of the stage without standing still for more than a heartbeat in case they'd miss anyone. There's no denying Leppard are five of the best showmen in the world and they manage all this without missing a beat. Sav runs up and down the ramp with his massive bass in toe as Joe leaps from one side of the stage to the other to make sure no one is taking it easy after so many hours standing.

An acoustic performance of Two Step's Behind delights the greatest hits fans before launching into a semi acoustic performance of Bringin' on the Heartbreak. Another rarity pops up with Switch 625 before exploding into a greatest hits selection to finish their set. Animal, Armageddon It, Photograph and Pour Some Sugar on Me shred through the crowd causing mass sing alongs with thousands of hands stretched in the air. Before playing their last song, Joe Elliot makes an emotional tribute to drummer Rick Allen and reminisces about their last show at the SFX in 1987, much to the delight of the diehards in attendance. The band gives one final thrill with an electrifying set closer of Rock of Ages before departing the stage.

Off course no night would be complete without an encore and Leppard don't disappoint. The band returns and dedicate When Love and Hate Collide to Ireland for being the only country in the world where the song went to number one before Joe announces that after such a great Friday night, there's only one question left, 'Do You Wanna Get Rocked?' as the band launch into the massively popular song to close the night.

By Robert O Connor @ Drop-D 2009.


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