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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Bands keep rockin' on By Dave Ferman

Bands rise and fall, but radio-friendly '80s rock bands will, apparently, live forever -- or at least into the foreseeable future.

Consider Saturday night's Def Leppard/Journey show at the Smirnoff Music Centre. England's Leppard and San Francisco's Journey garnered tons of radio airplay and sold massive numbers of concert tickets and LPs through most of the decade, and all these years later still played to a packed house.

And the fans, from teens to couples with their kids, still sang along to every word of Leppard's Foolin' and Journey's Wheel In the Sky and cheered for every guitar solo like it was 1984 all over again.

But beyond the songs, the reason for this concert's success was that both bands played their sizable catalog of hits with verve and brisk enthusiasm. Unlike many summer package shows, this show featured two bands that were almost perfectly matched in terms of popularity in their salad days, backlog of hits and current performing ability.

Going on first just before 8 p.m., Journey offered an hour-plus set that included excellent versions of, among others, Lights, Faithfully and Any Way You Want It. Of the two bands, Journey's performance was the one in question: Current lead singer Steve Augeri had to bow out of the tour because of a chronic throat infection, according to a news release on the band's Web site, and has been replaced for the time being with Jeff Scott Soto.

Could Soto cut it? Yes. And then some. His vocals and stage presence were impressive - Augeri might well fear for his job. Soto covered every inch of the stage, guitarist Neal Schon peeled off the guitar solos note-for-note from the records, drummer Deen Castronovo took over the lead vocals for the big ballad Faithfully, and the band's set was wildly received.

Coming on at 9:40 p.m., Def Leppard hit the stage with Let's Get Rocked and then went right into Let It Go.

While lead singer Joe Elliott is getting a bit round in the middle, his vocals haven't aged at all, and the band knocked out Foolin', Hysteria, Bringin' On the Heartache and others in fine fashion.

The band also performed several tracks from its latest CD, this year's Yeah!

The CD, a collection of songs covering everyone from the Kinks to T. Rex to Blondie, has been panned by many critics. I happen to like the way the band covers a wide array of material with its own pop-metal touches. This was true in concert as well: Saturday night's versions of David Essex's Rock On and Badfinger's Beatlesesque No Matter What were respectful of the originals but had the Leppard personality firmly stamped on them and provided a nice little detour from the familiar hits. GRADE: A.

By Dave Ferman @ Star-Telegram 2006.