Get Updates/News. Updates/News by RSS Feed. Updates/News by Email. Get The Community Toolbar. Get The Community Toolbar.
Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Def Leppard covers the heart of rock 'n' roll By Greg Jayne

There are moments, in the topsy-turvy world of rock 'n' roll, that span the cavern between entertainment and art.

Not that there's anything wrong with entertainment, as Wednesday's show featuring Def Leppard and Journey in front of 13,100 people at The Amphitheater at Clark County demonstrated.

It's just that occasionally rock 'n' roll can mean a little more, can demonstrate the difference between playing to make a buck and playing for the love of the music. For Def Leppard, that moment came about one-third of the way through an 84-minute set, when the 1980s pop-metal gods unleashed two songs from their new album.

Oh, it's not that the crowd came to hear cover versions of T. Rex's "20th Century Boy" and David Essex's "Rock On." Not when there were radio standards on the playlist such as "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rock of Ages."

Def Leppard, after all, has spent a career defining and largely inventing a particular brand of video-ready, radio-friendly metal. But while that's what the fans came to hear -- and they did hear their share -- it was the two-song interlude of tunes from the band's new album that served as a reminder that rock 'n' roll can be passionate. Rock 'n' roll can be fun. Rock 'n' roll can be meaningful.

The rest of the set was polished and tight. But it also was rote, delivered as if each of the songs had lost their meaning about a kazillion playings ago. Add in the fact that singer Joe Elliott's voice was showing the wear of 10 concerts in the past 16 days, and you had a set that was competent yet uninspiring. Save for the two cover songs.

Def Leppard's latest album has taken the band back to its roots, featuring songs from British glam rock artists of the 1970s. And when they pulled two of them out Wednesday night, you were reminded why people play rock 'n' roll in the first place -- and why we pay attention.

It's not that the meaning of rock can be found in a midweek concert at the amphitheater. It's just that, with two icons of the 1980s playing on the same bill, there were plenty of people in the audience trying to recapture their high school days.

Days when they listened to "Photograph" or "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" by Def Leppard. Or when they swooned to "Don't Stop Believin'" or "Lights" by Journey. Def Leppard did the same, with the stellar guitar playing of Phil Collen more than making up for the lack of Elliott's defining howl.

In the midst of it all, in the center of an evening filled with songs sounding just like you've heard them thousands of times, Def Leppard performed a pair of tunes that were largely unknown to their audience. And in that six-minute stretch, the group managed to capture the magic of rock 'n' roll.

By Greg Jayne @ The Columbian 2006.


Media Review - Def Leppard/Journey By Kink FM

Def Leppard took the stage 30-minutes later and kicked off another hit parade which began with “Let’s Get Rocked.” The stage was elaborate for Leppard’s set with risers in back behind drummer Rick Allen, microphones set up on those risers and a huge screen behind the band flashing colorful and dramatic images at all times.

Song after song, Def Leppard delivered a show full of great sing-alongs and anthems, but it wasn’t until the first costume change - yes, costume change - that you began to pull away from the hits and started to pay attention to the show. Joe Elliot’s vocals were adequate for the most part, but nothing overly thrilling.

Remember, he was in his early 20’s when John “Mutt” Lange was putting his voice through its paces, helping him and sometimes forcing him to hit notes that appeared well out of his range. He’s 47 now and hitting those notes isn’t as easy as it used to be – if it was ever easy to begin with. At times, he would hit the lower octave, at others, he’d nail the note.

The problem was when he did neither, tried to hit the note and failed. We don’t like seeing our heroes falter and though Elliot has been doing this for years and plays it off like a pro we still register the moment and wish it hadn’t happened. Perhaps that’s just us holding onto our youth as much as the band we’re watching

Def Leppard is still a quality band. The members hold their own and while it appeared at times they were going through the motions, bassist Rick Savage and Guitarist Phil Collen explode with spurts of energy that throw us off the minute we slip into a lull. Drummer Rick Allen is simply one of those pros who consistently delivers and makes it easy for us to forget the man only has one arm.

Leppard is a band which stands on the shoulders of glam rock pioneers like T. Rex and The Sweet. It does us good to remember that when we see their show. The elaborate stage, the costume changes, the moments of excess are all easily understood when you put them in that light. Then, it’s not a group of older guys trying to hold onto their youth. It’s a group of glam rock guys delivering a glam rock show which is what they’ve done for years.

In the end we’re left with comparisons, which is unfortunate. When you take each band on their merit, they both put on good shows and while expectations for Journey may have started too low, they leave the stage with expectation for Def Leppard being too high. In all, it’s a great evening of fun music.

By Kink FM 2006.