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Sunday, 26th June 2011

Camden, NJ - Media Reviews

Def Leppard Susquehanna Bank Center By Tom Chaffier

Two bands with careers spanning multiple decades for the price of one? Sign me up! Def Leppard brought their Mirror Ball Tour to the Susquehanna Bank Center with special guest Heart for what promised to be a night full of chart-topping hits. Neither band disappointed and both managed to keep the entire crowd on their feet for the duration.

Evan Watson started the evening with a brief set armed only with his guitar and a stomp box, with support from Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell on guitar for one song. While a southern backwoods style solo act was not expected for a big rock show, it was a nice change of pace from the standard practice of blaring AC/DC through the PA system. Sure enough however, that happened just before Def Leppard took the stage.

Heart came out to the intro of Led Zeppelin's "Into The Light" and proceeded to tear through a blistering set of timeless hits. The band members were clearly enjoying themselves on stage. Opening their show like it was 1978 with the track "Cook with Fire," Heart played with the musical urgency of a young new band with something to prove. What they did manage to prove in a just over an hour was that they can hold their own with any band on stage. Ann Wilson can still sing as powerfully as she ever has. And not only is she an amazing singer, but she is an equally captivating frontwoman, most notably demonstrated on their take of "You're The Voice."

Heart still has a love for their songwriting craft as evidenced by new takes on old classics. They managed to add a new vitality to some songs by, ironically enough, stripping them down. The verses of "Never" were simply Ann's voice with Nancy Wilson on acoustic guitar and harmonica. "Alone" featured only piano and acoustic guitar, but with Ann's soaring vocals there was no need for further accompaniment. "These Dreams" spotlighted Nancy on lead vocals as well as mandolin. However, Heart still knows how to rock. The song "WTF," off their latest album Red Velvet Car, just shreds, and not a single person was in their seat by the set closer, "Barracuda." The crowd fed off the energy Heart exuded from the stage and gave it back to the band ten fold.

Def Leppard brightened up the night sky with their engaging stage set-up, featuring numerous huge screens and platforms. They kicked things off with their brand new track, "Undefeated," leaving no question that they still have a knack for writing catchy sing-along choruses. While, regrettably, their set didn't include much from their first two albums, it did manage to shower the crowd with hit after hit. "Let's Get Rocked," "Rocket" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" gave the crowd more than enough to sing along to. The concert didn't just feature hits though. Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell were given plenty of opportunity to display their guitar showmanship while the band's cover of "Rock On" was preceded by a bass solo from Rick Savage. The most enthralling part of the night, however, was the drum solo by Rick Allen. You read that right. Drum solo. All I can say is, ANY drummer would be proud to be able to match Rick Allen's drumming skills. Def Leppard's show had plenty to offer, and aside from a two song acoustic interlude the band left little chance for anyone to sit still. Even a young boy of about 10 years old didn't let his crutches hold him back while he sang every word to "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" at the top of his lungs.

By The Aquarian 2011.

Camden Gets Rattled as Def Leppard and Heart Reclaim Arena Swagger By Matthew Becker

There was a deceiving calmness in the air at Camden, New Jersey's Susquehanna Bank Center on a cool Sunday night as fans anxiously waited in their seats for the main attraction. Before the lights went out, all that could be seen was a dormant looking lighting and LCD rig atop a stage; a quiet day across the river from Philadelphia. But it was a quiet day no more when the lights blazed and a thundering sound jolted out of the amplifiers. No, the arena had become the scene of an epic rock show rivaled by no other. Def Leppard is back.

Expectations have always been set high for Def Leppard. They broke new ground in the concert realm of the 1980s, presenting their smash album Hysteria "In the Round" on one of the most ambitious tours of the time. Since then, they have become known around the world as one of the most supercharged live bands in existence. A torrent of powerful hit songs make their shows a stunning rock n' roll adrenaline rush, but it’s their intense stage presence that puts them over the top. Attending a Def Leppard concert requires no second guessing, it will be a heart-stopping shakedown from beginning to end.

The boys took a hard earned break from touring last year after going non-stop for half a decade. A slightly older and less polished Def Leppard could have been expected in 2011. But the five - Joe Elliot, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, and Vivian Campbell - simply wouldn't have it that way. Emerging with a monster sound and magnetism in front of blaring lit screens and a whirring of bright spotlights, they announced they're as fit and primed as ever.

Joe Elliot scoured about on the platform before invading the crowd on the stage thrust, his confrontational presence impossible to ignore. He's belting out a new tune this time; "Undefeated" is the new studio anthem from the brand new live release, a song so deeply layered in Leppard that it became an instant crowd pleaser. As one of rock music's most brilliant frontmen, Elliot's allure has never been lost, but on this night his steps had more swagger and voice had been given extra ounces of bite.

But the British metal heroes gave themselves a tough job when they called upon a powerhouse like Heart to join along for the summer ride.

It simply doesn't do their action packed show justice to call this band an opening act. Well known among the band's faithful followers is that singer Ann Wilson can run circles around singers half her age, and in concert her voice is absolutely startling. She holds nothing back, the crowd cheering every high note in sheer amazement.

Guitarist Nancy Wilson maintained a more relaxed posture until her moment came with "Crazy on You". Out on the thrust, she leaped into the air and kicked out her guitar jam. Sister Ann's eyes grew wide as she watched. Exchanging looks with each other, the two were relishing the moment.

Just when the Wilson sisters couldn't get any hotter, they kicked into the grinding new "WTF" and took the energy to a whole new level. Ann's talent of conveying emotion through her lyrics never falters, but this particular song seemed to bring out her very best.

Much like Wilson, Elliot is the instigator that roars the band and the crowd to life. It was plain to see that he was having a great night just by watching and listening to his wails, and there was a certain candid moment when he successfully balanced the microphone with its stand in the air for a verse of "Photograph". After letting it down he gleamed and gave an enthusiastic fist pump to the crew on the side of the stage that conveyed his "that just happened" excitement.

You won't find Leppard taking many chances with their set list, however. They're counting on the strength of their hits to win the crowd over. And for the most part, the strategy works. The sugar gets poured and the ages get rocked, and never for a moment does the energy get turned down so much as a notch. The acoustic "Two Steps Behind" is really the band's only break in a set that's chock full of guitar solos, bass thumping, and drum pounding. For a band that can't get enough of the arena, it's strange they took 30 years to release a live album.

Concert staples from years past haven't gone away. Bassist Rick Savage still gets to pluck those strings during a cover of David Essex's staple "Rock On", drummer Rick Allen gives his all with no sign of slowing down, and of course guitarist Phil Collen still refuses to wear a shirt. Some things never change.

What's remarkable about this outfit born out of the late 1970s British rock scene is that age isn't a factor. This is a band that defies it. Retaining the velocity of days gone by, they refuse to give up any ground. And why should they? In a world that often disappoints, Def Leppard is one band that won't.

By Melodicrockconcerts 2011.

Def Leppard and Heart Blast Jersey With 80s Hits By Steve Trager

As the summer season of great concerts rolls along, we the fans of the eighties' were treated to another summer run with Def Leppard along with Heart for a co- headliner performance. We the music fans often wonder about iconic bands that still seem to rock your face off to a great degree with all those great memorable hits that can often echo throughout the yester years of musical history. Separately Def Leppard and Heart have scorched both MTV and mainstream rock radio with stellar anthems that can still be heard today. Any rock fan can surly appreciate the magnitude of these bands that can still rock it on stage for more then three decades as performers.

Opening the show fans were treated to a quick set by Evan Watson who was also joined on stage by Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell shredding out some blues melodies during his set. Even if this solo artist was given the spot light for a mere twenty minutes, Evan Watson seemed to be humble and thanking the fans for his moment of glory opening for two great rock gems.

Just about a five minute set change, the lights went down, and the intro began to fill the air as Ann and Nancy Wilson stepped into the spotlight along with the rest of the band to perform their set as co-headliner of an unforgettable evening of classics. As if 70 minutes wasn't enough for Heart to captivate the fans with selected prime cuts spanning their musical career, Heart opened their set with "Cook with Fire". But the night gets going when they performed the greatest songs from the mid eighties' "Never", "These Dreams", "Barracuda" and "Magic Man" topping out their set. All these years Ann Wilson still has that unmistakable one of a kind voice that has transcended this band as a great classic. Although Heart did leave out a bunch of other memorable hits that have etched their trademark in rock history, they still rocked period.

As if that wasn't enough bang for your rock dollars hard at work, we were treated to another great performance with British rockers Def Leppard, who have made their trademark in America decades ago as a support band making their way in the rock world. Def Leppard is still at the top of their game with a great live show, although they have skimmed down their live set lists leaving out a few tracks that helped them along the way as self starters yet, Def Leppard still generate the energy from yesterday with songs like "Rocket", "Poor Some Sugar on Me" and the ultimate rock anthem "Rock of Ages". Even if Def Leppard continues to release new material, we have grown to love the eighties' which not only captivated our musical lives, but have built favorites around this band. Def Leppard's stellar performance at Susquehanna Bank Center never gets old. Joe Elliott's voice still in pristine condition as he can still hit the high notes in all those great hits. In the old days one can remember Def Leppard doing an easy two hour plus show, jamming in as many stellar hits as possible, and today it's not as beefy of a set list as yester years but, it's still Def Leppard and for a short but sweet set, they can still burn through songs left and right.

The show itself was great - both bands sounded amazing, quick set changes, nice lights and stellar performances even if the venue was less then half a full house for this show. Just goes to show you that times are tough, but if you're a true fan you still stick with bands that you grew up with and rock out to maximum level as possible.

By RockStarWeekly 2011.


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