Calgary, AB - Media Reviews
Although the hair is more thin than it is high, the Zeppelin T-shirt is a little tighter around the gut and the Camaro has long played second fiddle to a Caravan, it sure felt good to pretend we’re still all young dudes and dudettes.
We are mired in the first generation where youngsters are admitting to their parents, “Your bands are better/cooler than my bands.” It’s never happened before and it may never happen again.
The fact you can even go see a triple bill of Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla in 2017 is pretty cool in its own right.
Clearly Mom and Dad (maybe even Granny and Grandad) still know how to rock.
A near-capacity gathering of fans from seven to 70 were ready to use the word “party” as a verb during a Saturday night, pre-Stampede blowout at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Led by the British hard rock veterans, it was a big, dumb rock show, and man … it sure felt good!
None of us can sing (or do much of anything) the way we used to, but Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott leaned into set opener Let’s Go, before the crowd really erupted for Animal and Let It Go from the 1981 killer, High ‘N Dry. It was on!
“Good evening, Calgary-eeeee,” he bellowed from a clean, well-lit stage backed by three giant video screens. “So this is what you do here on Saturday night here, is it? Holy s—, this place looks great!” he added, marvelling at the massive and boisterous crowd.
Guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell traded riffs through Dangerous, but there was no need to focus on new-ish material when Foolin’ (from ’82s landmark Pyromania album), Love Bites and Armageddon It were in store.
The David Essex cover of Rock On was a decent touch, but the crowd got louder and louder as the group pulled out the heavy artillery with Rocket, Bringin’ On The Heartbreak, Let’s Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me.
The encores? Photograph and Rock Of Ages, natch. 90 minutes? Not enough when babysitters were in place until at least midnight.
While many in attendance were clearly there for the camp and hair metal of Poison, most Leps fans hated Bret Michaels and his crew back in the day. But hell, we’ve matured as pop metal fans … at least in some respects.
The crowd erupted as Michaels sprinted up the catwalk and launched into the title cut of the 1986 debut, Look What The Cat Dragged In.
It seems impossible, but Talk Dirty To Me (great crowd participation), Something To Believe In, Cry Tough and the band’s appalling interpretation of the Loggins & Messina nugget, Your Mama Don’t Dance, actually sounded better given the luxury of time. Or maybe it was the liquor?
A guitar solo from C.C. DeVille … Really? There isn’t enough liquor.
In any case, the hits kept coming and the crowd ate it up and sang every word through Unskinny Bop, Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Nothing But A Good Time. After 32 years the group has earned the right to be as tacky as they wanna be.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, but perhaps the quintessential opening hard rock band of all time, Sacramento’s Tesla were, arguably, musically better than either of the bill toppers.
Singer Jeff Keith has lost nothing in the past 30 years fronting the rock-steadiest of the rock-steady acts of the era.
The human siren ripped it up through Into The Now, Edison’s Medicine (Man Out Of Time), the hit cover of Five Man Electrical Band’s, Signs, as well as Love Song, Little Suzi and the most excellent, Modern Day Cowboy.
Three veteran bands with around 100 years of experience between them — the power and the joy of music is that you can always go back … if only for a night.
By Calgary Herald 2017.
share this page:
explore def leppard tour history