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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Media Review - KISS and Def Leppard - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre - July 5, 2014 By Alex Distefano

The day after 4th of July, nearly 20,000 screaming rock-n-roll fans filled the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre In Irvine, to witness two stellar performances by two defining rock bands: Def Leppard and KISS.

At 9:45, every section of the venue was packed, from the lawns to the lower pit. All around, older fans were passing joints as KISS took the stage, the members all greeted with roars of applause which, for the most part, lasted for the entire KISS concert.

A huge platform in the shape of a spider was in the middle of the stage as KISS blasted into an hour long set of classic songs, with nothing newer than 1998. Fan favorites included "Duce," "Hotter Than Hell," "Christine Sixteen," "Black Diamond," and "Cold Gin."

Frontman Paul Stanley, who originally founded KISS in 1973 with Simmons in New York City, took time to thank the crowd more than once, and was constantly smiling throughout the entire evening. "I thank God every day before we get on stage that I can be up here with all of you people!" he yelled at the crowd. "But what I really want to do, is join you all up there," he said, pointing to the upper Lodge area of the stadium midway through the show. For the songs "Love Gun" and "Black Diamond," Stanley and his guitar flew with the help of a guided elevated rope, to a tiny stage set up in the upper level, and played in front of the Lodge and Lawn section rabid fans, as giant screens shot the action close up, and Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer held it down below on the stage.

One of the most magical elements of KISS live is the blood gurgling, monstrous bass solo, put on by bass master Gene Simmons. After four decades, Simmons still retains the magic and gives off a presence that is unmatched. He is truly a legendary figure among Rock and Heavy Metal music, and his performance alone set the tone and influenced so many shock rock, punk and black metal bands to come. Simmons was put on ropes and elevated to the top of the giant spider platform for his bass solo and stood around 50 feet high, with giant screens detailing his infamous creepy long, reptilian like tongue and spitting up of blood, after which he too was lowered down by ropes to the stage.

KISS played for just over hour, but fans were satisfied, because the band was on fire musically, each member exuded a real passion for what they were doing, and the crowd response was amazing, for each song. Drummer Eric Singer threw it down hard and kept in tune with everyone providing a zap of energy that most drummers can't lock in. Guitarist Tommy Thayer also blasted the audience with 100 percent effort and precision, truly bringing a unique detail and energy to the band that fit in perfectly with the thunderous gigantor bassist Simmons, who is larger than life, in all aspects. In short, KISS might be older, and the band might not consist of the classic original four line up, but they still F*****G ROCK!

Def Leppard began sharp at 8 p.m., and also produced an amazing Rock N' Roll show, in which more than three fourths of Verizon was full to experience, while many waited in line for beer and some diehard KISS ARMY fans pulled up or were still tailgating till the last minute for KISS.

Even though the tour is a co-headlining tour, and each band played roughly the same amount of time give or take, Def Leppard seemed to open for KISS, but fans in the front and middle sections didn't mind at all and were totally into the band's stage presence and playing. The band, which merged the classic '80s metal sound, with hair metal and hints of early speed metal and New Wave of British Heavy Metal, as well as full on pop metal, played songs such as "Foolin," "Love Bites," and "Hysteria," as well as the set closer, "Pour Some Sugar on Me," the band's biggest hit. The encore consisted of the songs "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph." Sadly, hundreds of fans were noticed exiting and leaving before KISS.

The Crowd: The diversity of fans reflected the span of four decades of influence KISS has had, ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. Hundreds also adorned full KISS face paint, including grade school kids, older women in bikinis, men in tuxedo suits and several stadium workers.

Overheard from the Crowd: " I want you people to know, you're looking at a band in the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame," Paul Stanley yelled into the crowd just after the first few songs. "They hate us over there, but thanks to all of our millions of fans who told them to "F**K Off!"

Random Notebook Dump: KISS stole the show, only because of the grandiosity of a stage show, which was easily into the tens of millions. With enough fireworks and pyrotechnics during the show to rival any 4th of July celebration, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley shot explosive sparklers out of their instruments more than twice each.

Critical Bias: Gotta give a nod of respect and a get will wish soon to Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell, who is with the band on tour, despite a dealing with a recurring case of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, for which he is getting treatment, and fighting the cancer. Campbell first revealed his diagnosis in June, 2013 and was thought to have been in remission, but has said in interviews he is so far, doing well with his fight.

By OC Weekly 2014.


Media Review - KISS/Def Leppard rise above fans' rivalries By Philip Cosores

KISS and Def Leppard are hardly different species of rock bands, but by the reaction of some passionate attendees at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Saturday night, you would have thought that Def Leppard was from the moon, as single-word declarations made allegiances apparent: “KISS!” Meanwhile, at the conclusion of the Sheffield band’s 75-minute set, including a two-song encore, a contingent of attendees could be seen leaving, clearly disinterested in the theatrics of the New York-born glam-metal group that would follow.

With the World Cup putting international competitive rivalry at the forefront of watercooler culture and self-righteous posturing over international politics always present to some degree, the American (KISS) vs. British (Def Leppard) rivalry seemed mostly benign, though flashes of misplaced hostility occasionally surfaced.

Not that this mattered on stage. Both bands are using the tour to spread awareness of veterans living with PTSD, and the camaraderie was evident as they tagged each other’s songs during their sets.

Besides, the winner seemed chosen from the start. Both sets were virtually the same length, but KISS was elected to finish the night, making Def Leppard seem like an opener on the co-headlining bill.

This is a group that made two albums that sold more than 10 million copies, a feat matched by just four other rock groups: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Obviously, Def Leppard isn’t held in the same light as those artists, and one wonders if that is because its music lacks a timeless quality.

Instead of being equated with rock royalty, Def Leppard is more likely to be mentioned in the same breath as Poison or Mötley Crüe, somewhat because of the group’s aesthetic, but also signifying a disregard from critics, including being considered an ’80s act, while KISS, just four years older, is associated with the classic rock of the ’70s.

Their performance on Saturday night probably makes any answer to this more ambiguous. Yes, the band has some stone-cold classics, which it showcased in force during its performance, including the encores “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph,” which made the curtain call seem vital for the sake of the performance. But two moments stuck out that probably best nail down the band’s current place in music.

The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” served as a surprise opening when the curtain fell and Def Leppard finished off the staple as a cover song. Joe Elliott nailed the Roger Daltry scream, and the five-piece strutted around the stage, save for famed single-armed drummer Rick Allen, who would get plenty of the spotlight later in the set. The move was creative and, through the right lens, subversive, as the band was guiding the perception that it is more classic rock than the hair metal group it gets pegged as.

The main-set closer, “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” likely the group’s best-known song, is hard to untie from its present-day connotations of drunken karaoke performances and “Coyote Ugly”-esque dance routines. It’s a song you imagine as a pillar of stripper-pole workout routines. Yes, it is timeless, but that doesn’t make Def Leppard the band it seems to want to be.

Elliott’s closing request of the audience, after proclaiming they would be back (which we hope is true for guitarist Vivian Campbell, who is still touring despite fighting cancer), was to ask them not to “forget about us, and we won’t forget about you.” It was a heavy conclusion to a mostly lighthearted set.

And then there’s KISS, which probably doesn’t even need Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley anymore to continue raking in the cash. After all, a band wearing makeup and costumes, and relying heavily on spectacle doesn’t need a certain person pulling the strings.

At this point, KISS has become a major player in Orange County culture, with its namesake arena football team. KISS is so used to the spotlight and the big stages that falling from favor, as Def Leppard has (to some extent) is unthinkable. The songs, from “Shout It Out Loud” to “Black Diamond” don’t sound outdated, and they’re evergreen in their simplicity. Maybe the songs benefit from the theatrics, but they are tight enough to stand on their own, maybe taller than Simmons does in his platform boots.

Still, in 2014, the people who go to a KISS/Def Leppard concert don’t worry too much about legacy. Most are there to think as little as possible for a few hours, to escape in the moment and maybe recall some better times. This mission was accomplished in Irvine, but only one of the bands seems completely comfortable in this role.

By OC Register 2014.


Media Review - KISS, Def Leppard & Kobra And The Lotus Bring Massive Rock Show To Irvine By Andrew Bansal

The seats and lawn were filling up fast as Def Leppard‘s 8 PM set time approached, and when the moment arrived, nearly 95% of this 18000-capacity venue was occupied with eagerly awaiting fans. The giant screen in the stage backdrop and the two smaller screens on either side of the stage were now operational to give the distantly situated sections of the audience a closer view of on-stage proceedings. The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" was played on the PA as a prelude to the band’s arrival on stage, and they finished off the song by playing its ending live before kicking off their own set with the song 'Let It Go' off of the 1981 High 'n' Dry album, the only old-school hard-edged rock tune in the entire 80-minute set.

I honestly never took the time to familiarize myself with Def Leppard's catalog and I would neither call myself a fan of theirs nor a hater, but over the years I’ve definitely encountered some of their biggest hits as they're the popular choice amongst DJs at bars, clubs and during intermissions at rock shows.

So I approached this Def Leppard set with no expectations whatsoever, but it went down pretty much exactly how I imagined it would, overloaded with the mainstream hits, all of which sounded extremely repetitive to the extent that even 4-5 minute songs felt long. The song "Foolin'" was certainly enjoyable though, as was the instrumental "Switch 625". But on the other side of the spectrum was 'Pour Some Sugar On Me', the worst song in the history of worst songs. Despite my overall lack of entertainment during this Def Leppard set, I have to commend vocalist Joe Elliott for his delivery, as he sounded amazing and a lot better than most singers still fronting older rock bands nowadays, including the frontman who took the stage here immediately after Def Leppard. His band mates, specially Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell on guitar also put on a respectable show on their respective instruments, and even though the music the band chose to present in this set didn’t interest me nearly enough, the five members' performance and stage presence made it tolerable to a large extent.

By Metal Assault 2014.


Media Review - Kiss And Def Leppard At Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre By Crystal Larsen

With the Fourth of July in the rearview, the smell of fire and smoke was still in the air on July 5 for the first Southern California stop on Kiss and Def Leppard's joint summer tour at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine. Traveling across the country to celebrate Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley's 40th year of keeping Kiss alive, two of rock's most illustrious bands put on a show that was hotter than hell … and not just because it was still nearly 90 degrees by sunset.

Owning the first portion of the evening, Def Leppard burst onstage at 8 p.m. to the tune of 1981's "Let It Go" as a black sheet emblazoned with the band's fiery logo was lifted to reveal one of rock's most celebrated drummers, Rick Allen. Allen sounded like he was playing with four arms instead of one as he led the band through a 14-song set of some of their biggest hits. Highlights included the driving instrumental "Switch 625," which showcased bassist Rick "Sav" Savage and the unmatched guitar prowess of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, the latter of whom was in excellent form despite his current battle with cancer; "Hysteria," during which frontman Joe Elliott saluted tourmates Kiss by singing an excerpt from the band's "Beth"; and a performance of the acoustic number "Two Steps Behind." The latter performance took on a special meaning as Elliott noted they recorded the live portion of the song's accompanying music video on that same stage.

With three songs left in their set Collen kicked off the opening riff to "Pour Some Sugar On Me," which gave the audience full reign to shout along to the lyrics. They signed off with an encore performance of "Rock Of Ages" and "Photograph," leaving the words "I want rock and roll/long live rock and roll" ringing in my ears until Kiss took the stage.

The last time I saw Kiss was in 2012 in Chula Vista, Calif., for their joint tour with Mötley Crüe, and I had no idea what to expect as I watched security guards dress themselves in raincoats as they prepared for the band to take the stage. This time, I still didn't know what to expect, but I did know that I was not allowed to enter the photo pit until the kabuki drop fell and was fully out of the way, otherwise I could be killed, according to a venue representative.

But fortunately all went according to plan, as often seems to be the case with Kiss shows, and the band emerged in their painted and sparkling glory to welcome the crowd to their "Psycho Circus." At one point early on in their set, Stanley informed the crowd that they'd play some songs the crowd knew and some they didn't. But whether the songs were familiar or not, there was never a dull moment in the band's 90-minute set.

Some of those moments included the time Simmons pestered a man in the third row to get up from his sitting position, and then rested his big silver boot on a security guard's head; or when Stanley ziplined over the crowd to a smaller satellite stage near the soundboard to perform "Cold Gin" and "Black Diamond." And when Simmons, truly looking like the demon, spewed blood from his mouth during his bass solo before he was suspended in the air to perform "I Love It Loud" from a stage atop the lighting rig.

Fire torches, fake blood and fireworks that sparked from the stage (and sometimes out of Tommy Thayer's guitar neck) combined to create a long-running one-of-a-kind stage spectacle that only the loudest band on Earth can pull off.

As the stage erupted into fireworks and confetti fell from the sky during the finale performance of "Rock And Roll All Nite" it felt like the Fourth of July all over again. Except we weren't wishing America a happy birthday, we were congratulating Kiss on shouting out loud for 40 years, and hoping for 40 more.

By Grammy 2014.

Reviews from the 2014 Irvine, CA Show.