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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - Def vs. Styx By Sandra Sperounes

Def Leppard didn't appear on stage until 9:40 p.m. last night - which is why we didn't get a review in today's paper.

I wanted to see more than 20 minutes of the show before peeling out of Rexall to file a review, but as it turns out, it wasn't really necessary.

The Sheffield rockers were only headliners in name. They were out-rocked, out-classed and out-sung by their opening act - Styx.

This was Def Lep's third visit to Edmonton in four years. They always attract a large crowd - 10,000 fans were at Monday's show - but they seem to be tiring of the road, or at least growing complacent.

Their show seemed rather similar to their previous two gigs - shirtless guitarists, Joe Elliott and his Jesus Christ poses, video screens filled with vintage photos, etcetera.

Perhaps if Def Lep wouldn't come through town so often, their shows wouldn't feel so stale.

Styx, in contrast, seemed lively, fresh and genuinely stoked to be performing in a hockey arena. The prog-rockers, now featuring Lawrence Gowan (in place of Dennis DeYoung), haven't played Edmonton since 2001 - and then, they only pulled in 2,300 fans at the Shaw Conference Centre. Styx was also blessed with greater musical diversity than Def Lep - from wussy synth arrangements to new-agey ballads to outlaw rock to manly guitar solos. After awhile, the headliner's songs ended up following the same formula - an opening (and somewhat melancholy) verse about sex, a punchy chorus of chants, and wailing guitars.

Perhaps Def Lep was the Nickelback of the '80s.

By Sandra Sperounes @ Edmonton Journal 2007.


Media Review - Leppard Hasn't Changed It's Spots By Mike Ross

Def Leppard is the Sheffieldian Bon Jovi.

They write light pop songs in a hard rock guise, their lyrics are idiotic, their sound is mired in a bygone era, they appeal to women and their album titles are very silly - Pyromania, Hysteria, Adrenalize, Hypothesize, Prosthelityze and their latest album, Yeah!

And yet there is something endearing about these sturdy lads. Perhaps because their days of churning out monstrous hits are behind them. Perhaps because they don't try to latch onto passing trends.

They are underdogs, troupers, seasoned warriors of the road who know who they are, who their fans are and how to please them. They stick to their guns. They know how to rock - for people who like to bang their heads gently.

While Bon Jovi subjected its crowd to the new "country" sounds of Bon Jovi in its concert earlier this year, Def Leppard did no such thing last night at Rexall Place. The band came out guns a-blazin', all cylinders firing, all horses at full trot, pick your cliche. They opened with Rocket, an up-tempo shuffle about a "satellite of love" on a "collision course with my heart." Then came Animal, another of the Leps' distinctive songs with one-word titles that make the chorus easy to sing along to. And we did. While visuals depicted each of the band members as a circus freak, the crowd of 10,000 screamed as one, A-ni-mal!

The audience may have been spoiled by the stupendous lead vocals of Gowan in Styx - more about him in a moment - but Joe Elliott wasn't quite up to par for the first couple of tunes. But he warmed into his role and reached those high notes. He had the right moves, he said the right things.

He noted the previous night was "quiet" in Calgary and invited the superior Edmonton rock fans to "blow them off the planet." There was the expected reaction. The band, one-armed drummer and all, pounded out the distinctive "hard rock with a pop edge" sound this band is known and loved for. Dependable - that's another appealing trait.

A word now about the classic rock conundrum of "doing one from our new album." Let's face it: No one wants to hear a classic rock band do one from their new album. We'll indulge the old guys, let them have their tune, but it had better be back to our favourite sugary rock hits by the time we get back to our seats with the beer. By press time, Def Leppard had played only one track from Yeah!, called Rock On, a Davis Essex tune also covered by the Smashing Pumpkins (and that's Def Leppard's closest connection to grunge rock).

The rest was wall-to-wall hits. Actually, it wasn't wall-to-wall hits. Several of the lesser known songs, such as Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes), came off like filler. It's when Def Leppard experiments with minor keys that my attention starts to wander. Also, there seemed to be a distinct lack of "oomph" in some of the tunes. Perhaps, as this was the second last show of the tour, they're saving it up for the final show in Saskatoon tonight. They better not diss Edmonton. It sure wasn't quiet last night.

But overall, this concert was very predictable. That's an unappealing trait.

OK, so the show chomped. But not nearly as much as Bon Jovi. Not even close.

Getting Styx to open for Def Leppard is getting tossed into the cold pool when you really wanted to go in a little at a time. It's a shock and a surprise. It's instant acclimatization to this particular classic rock milieu. I daresay they even upstaged Def Leppard.

Sun rating: 3 out of 5

By Mike Ross @ Edmonton Sun 2007.