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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard: Cricket Pavillion - Aug. 29 By Traci Baker

There is not a bigger Cheap Trick fan around than me. Every time they are within a few hundred miles, I move mountains to be sure I get to see them. So when I heard they were part of this three-band line-up I was really excited, especially since I'd never seen Poison.

Cheap Trick came out rocking and looking great. It boggles my mind how Robin Zander manages to still sound as good, if not better, than he did 30 years ago and is still the consummate gorgeous lead singer. I'll admit, he is my guy - always has been.

They opened to a nearly already packed house and rolled through hits like "I Want You to Want Me", "Don't Be Cruel", "Dream Police", "The Flame" and the all-time "Surrender", the song that features the greatest of lines, "Mom & dad are rolling on the couch, rolling numbers, rockin' rollin' got my KISS records out" and it never disappoints when guitarist Rick Nielsen, who is the ring leader for the band, whips out an old KISS record and launches into the crowd at just the right time.

They also did three cuts off their new release, The Latest, which boasts the current #1 selling 8-track in the world. Yes the band has released a limited number of 8-tracks - for those of you who don't know what an 8-Track is - never mind, it's too hard to describe - suffice it to say for those who do know what they are - this is cool!

The band did not disappoint, with Nielsen in his big billed ball cap and plenty of black and white checker-board on the stage, Cheap Trick delivered - big time. The original line-up that included a much slimmed down Bun E. Carlos on drums and Tom Petersson on bass were tight and full of energy-and never to disappoint, Nielsen was sure to throw out lots of his guitar picks and bring out his famous 5-necked guitar to close the show with the song that has closed Cheap Trick shows for 25 years "Good Night". Good times. I can never get enough Cheap Trick.

I was looking forward to hearing what Poison had to offer. Before the show I dusted off a few Poison CD's and remembered that they did have some fun and rocking songs - one in particular I'd forgotten about was "Unskinny Bop" - yes an unfortunate subject matter - but fun none-the-less.

By the time Poison came on stage it was finally really dark out and every seat in the packed house was full - even the lawn area was jammed. When the boys hit the sage, the crowd went wild. There was an energy and bounce that I am sure the band fed off.

Opening with "Look What the Cat Dragged In" Bret Michaels and company were there to have fun. With songs like "Your Mama Don't Dance", "Fallen Angel", "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", "Nothin' But a Good Time" and my favorite, "Unskinny Bop", Poison came to Rock. I hadn't realized just how many hit songs these guys had.

There were some poignant moments as well, as several times throughout the show, Michaels thanked and recognized our troops - even dedicating the tender "Something to Believe In" to our men and women in uniform. Brining one of the troops up onstage with a video camera, Michaels asked the crowd to sway in unison for the camera as the band has been sending the tapes over to Iraq. Feel good stuff for sure - and I was happy to have the chance to be a part of that.

It was fun to see the very animated guitarist, CC Deville and the crowd was treated to a surprise when Michaels announced that bassist Bobby Dall was being replaced that night (due to severe illness) with Cinderella's bassist Eric Brittingham. Brittingham did an outstanding job and received huge roars from the crowd when he was announced. Rounding out the band was original drummer Rikki Rockett.

Poison's set was well paced and packed with songs everybody knew and sang along to, but the coolest thing was the throwback pyrotechnics that appeared in almost every song, culminating with huge booming fireworks and trademark green fire at the end of "Nothin' But a Good Time" to end the show with a bang - for real.

It was a treat to see these guys who seemed to genuinely be having a good time and really back at the top of their game. Michaels looked great, and better yet was great. His voice was crisp and he was spot on. He exuded rock star confidence, but was humble and grateful to be there. I like Bret Michaels and I like what he does offstage as well, raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in many ways, including donating show-worn items to raise funds. I give Poison an A+

Def Leppard was next. As the crowd waited for the 80's arena-rock giants to come onstage, giant screens were lowered on either side of the stage that were effective throughout the show - in fact one really cool shot came from a camera mounted on the fret board of guitarist Phil Collen.

As Joe Elliott and company hit the stage, opening with "Rock! Rock! ('Til You Drop)" and "Rock It" I a little bit worried because the vocal mix seemed a bit off, the bass and two guitars seemed to dominate Elliot's vocals. With the third tune, "Animal," you could hear Elliott a bit better. They continued to play hit after hit, wowing the crowd with songs like "Foolin'" ( one of my favorites), "Love Bites", "Hysteria" and "Armageddon It"

An acoustic break included Elliott on guitar inviting the crowd to 'join the band' and sing along to "Two Steps Behind" and my very favorite, "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" that launched into a full band version to finish the kick-butt tune.

The show ended with powerhouse tunes "Photograph", the very sexy "Pour some Sugar on Me" and "Rock of Ages" an early Def Leppard tune that still stands the test of time. I enjoyed a video montage that backed this song that included photos of varied rock performers like Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osborne, David Gilmour, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Bowie, Keith Richard and many others.

This set was packed with well executed hits, and was a good time, but lacked just a little bit of the energy that Poison brought. And I have to say while 52 year-old guitarist Phil Collen's physique is impressive; I was distracted by his shirtless entrance and continual primping for the crowd. I much preferred the quiet confidence of the band's other guitarist Vivian Campbell, strictly in terms of showmanship, as Collen's playing is outstanding.

I am also never at a loss to be amazed by Rick Allen, the band's original drummer who lost an arm in a car accident. At one point they a well-placed camera showed Allen's amazing foot work - this guy rocks and is a testament to doing what you love, even when it's hard.

All in all Def Leppard delivered once again and it's a thrill to see this band still going strong after 29 years.

Great line-up. Great crowd. Great fun.

By Traci Baker @ Examiner 2009.

Media Review - Poison at Cricket Pavilion Reviewed By Martin Cizmar

In contrast, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott seemed a little weak on the high notes coming out of the gate. But, by the third song, their original breakthrough single, "Animal," he found his groove. The rest of the group had the same sparkling sound Mutt Lange gave their best studio work. The band paced itself, resisting the temptation to shoot off pyrotechnics at the beginning of their set to get cheap pops right off. Other than an extended series of guitar solos proceeding "Rock On," things moved along pretty well, though I'd prefer to see Poison headline over their British brethren. Def Leppard just seemed a little too one-dimensional. For example, "Two Steps Behind," one of their biggest acoustic ballad really lacks the punch of "Something to Believe In," or other Power Ballads of the era. "Love Bites," is a little stronger (and technically a bigger hit than "Pour Some Sugar on Me") though I've always found it corny.

In the end I was left to conclude that given the chance to see Green Day or Def Leppard I'd probably take Green Day, but, though it pains the Gen Xer in me to say it, Poison beats them both.

By Martin Cizmar @ Phoenix New Times 2009.