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Wednesday, 27th June 2012

Kansas City, MO - Media Reviews

Def Leppard and Poison: Sugar-fueled hysteria By Bill Brownee | Link 2

Most prominent classic rock bands either disband or gravitate to the state and county fair circuit two decades after scoring their last big hit.

Def Leppard and Poison, however, continue to perform in arenas 20 years after the majority of their fans stopped buying their latest releases.

The indefatigable acts entertained an audience of about 8,000 Wednesday at the Sprint Center. The key to the bands' continued appeal is their willingness to succumb to the desires of nostalgia-minded fans.

With only one exception, both acts enthusiastically played nothing but their most beloved material. It didn"t hurt that every musician that crossed the vast stage inside the Sprint Center seemed remarkably fit and trim, allowing fans to pretend that they'd been magically transported to the late 1980s.

Def Leppard is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of Hysteria, the 1987 album that’s been characterized as the hard rock version of Michael Jackson's Thriller. The British quintet offered faithful renditions of eight of the album's 12 songs. The delectable pop of "Love Bites" and the stately shimmer of the title track remain as sweet and refreshing as the frozen drinks served at the convenience store inside the Sprint Center.

The absurdly infectious "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Armageddon It" make a case for Def Leppard as the definitive arena rock act. Only when vocalist Joe Elliott uttered the unwelcome phrase "this is our new single" did the energy wane.

The band's technically precise performance was enhanced by flawless sound reproduction. The live and recorded images displayed on seven video screens were similarly pristine.

Poison, meanwhile, doesn't require such subtleties. While Def Leppard's 100-minute set was rigidly orchestrated and immaculately rendered, Poison demonstrated that its members value rugged charm more than perfection in their blistering 55-minute outing.

A sloppy version of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" epitomized the quartet's scurrilous sensibility. The cheerfully unpretentious front man Brett Michaels invested hits including "Look What the Cat Dragged In" and "Talk Dirty To Me" with a carefree swagger.

The evening began with a bracing 30-minute showing by rock and roll veteran Lita Ford.

While Ford hadn't performed in the area in recent memory, both Def Leppard and Poison appeared at the Sprinter Center in 2011. They may have returned too soon.

Def Leppard's concert last August attracted 3,000 more fans than Wednesday's event. The band certainly won't be booked at the Johnson County Fair in the foreseeable future, but it might consider taking a well-deserved break from the road.

By Kansas City Star 2012.


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