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Wednesday, 11th July 2007

Walker, MN - Media Reviews

Four Days in Heaven By Jeb Wright

Day I was bustling backstage as Def Leppard, Jackyl, Loverboy and Tesla all showed up early. The jam was starting and there was energy in the air - We laughed and then out of nowhere Jackyl's Jeff Worley showed up with a copy of Viv's album and a sharpie and said, "You are one of my favorite guitar players would you please sign this?" Viv smiled and signed the CD, asking the guitarist what his name was. Jeff obliged and told him that he was the guitar player for Jackyl and they were opening up for him. It was really a unique experience to see a musician be a fan. Jeff was as excited as a kid on the last day of school after meeting one of his heros.

Def Leppard brought their entire light show to Moondance and the result was the most amazing stage spectacular in the event's 16 years history. Multiple video screens and a dazzling array of lights and effects took the energy in the place to the next level. Musically, Leppard performed at the top of their game and played a set full of smash hits while throwing a couple of songs in for the hard core fan base. It was awesome to see Def Leppard include three songs from their classic album High N' Dry. The biggest surprise was "Mirror Mirror" as this song has not been performed on tour in ages. Also included were the hard rocking "Another Hit & Run" and the power ballad "Bringing on the Heartbreak." The rest of the show centered around Pyromania and Hysteria.

The biggest crowd in Moondance Jam history rocked out to one of the most successful hard rock acts of all time. Guitar players Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell are one of the best one-two punches on the road today. Campbell has not made a mistake since 1984 and Collen provides his unique sounding solo style that gives much of Def Lep their signature sound. Plus, he just looks like a rock star. The guy is nearly 50 years old yet he is in shape - and not afraid to show off the body either as he quickly sheds his shirt once on stage.

Drummer Rick Allen and bass player Rick Savage have been playing together so long that they handle the tempo changes with ease and never even have to glance at each other during the show. Vocalist Joe Elliot is a great showman. He is the leader of the band and all eyes fall on him. His range is not what it used to be and, truth be told, he seems to be two steps behind the rest of the band musically. This is not to say his was a bad performance but it is noticeable that he struggles at times. His vocals are acceptable but they are not exceptional anymore. Still, the band totally rock on stage and the band's signature backing vocals on tracks like "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Armageddon It" will bring chills up your spine.

In the end, Def Leppard's show, both musically and visually, were outstanding. The band have both the look and sound to keep them in the forefront of the music world for a long time to come. They may be the biggest act to ever play the Moondance Jam. The crowd went away with smiles on their face, both grateful to have experienced day one and anticipating day two.

By ClassicRockRevisited 2007.

Moondance Jam 16 is 'sweet' success again By Dean Morrill

Kirchhoff thought Def Leppard's performance was the best he saw. He also thought REO Speedwagon put on another "great show. They're very familiar with Moondance and are happy to be here." He also liked The New Cars and Tesla. Moondance has also striven to take care of its crowds. Security is paramount when you have 20,000 people in one place. Kent Fladeboe, who is in charge of backstage security in the production area, said the crowd was well-behaved this year. "The crowd has been fantastic," he said. "Wednesday night's crowd was the best we've ever had, and it was one of the largest with Def Leppard performance."

Def Leppard, Tesla, REO Speedwagon, The New Cars, Moody Blues and Rick Springfield attracted the largest crowds. Wednesday night's show, which featured Def Leppard and Tesla, drew the second-largest crowd in Jam history, bested only by Boston's performance back in 2003. For Def Leppard and Tesla, it was a family reunion of sorts. It was the first time since 1987 the bands performed at the same event, with the bands hanging out together backstage, catching up on old times. Marty and Sue Moffett, who came all the way from England for the Jam, thought it was the best classic rock festival they've attended.

Over the last two decades the couple has traveled all over England and the United States, attending rock 'n' roll festivals. "We've seen Def Leppard perform a few times, and this show was easily the best," Marty Moffett said.

While Def Leppard's performance was probably the most anticipated and enjoyable, REO Speedwagon, who has performed several times at Moondance, didn't disappoint as they closed Thursday night. "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Keep On Loving You," "Roll With the Changes" and "Take It On The Run" were just a few of the popular songs the group performed. "We've had them here five times, but they had a different show. They were my favorite," Bill Bieloh said. "Kevin [Cronin] says this is his favorite place to play."

By The Pilot-Independent 2007.


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