DEF LEPPARD at Blossom Music Center (Concert Review)

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Tesla TourIt felt like 1987 at Blossom Music Center just outside of Cleveland. Def Leppard, Tesla and REO Speedwagon brought us back in time with a blast of ’80s hard and classic rock.

Def Leppard hit the stage with “Let’s Go”, the opening track from their latest self-titled CD. This song’s main riff is too close to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and overall too poppy for me. Luckily, they kicked it up a notch with “Animal” and “Let It Go” right after. Another new song, the much stronger “Dangerous,” lit into a run of favorites from Pyromania and Hysteria.

Def Leppard Live at BlossomThe only slow part of the set came after Joe Eliott‘s origin story of Def Leppard. Describing his 1977 conversation with a 16-year-old Rick Savage, this led into their cover of “Rock On.” Never a big fan of the original, Def Leppard didn’t breathe much more life into it. Another new song, the similar “Man Enough,” followed. A good song on its own, but it’s another song that is heavy on the bass line. These two combined felt like it droned on for a bit too long.

The rest of the show was stellar, featuring their biggest hits like “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Hysteria,” “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.” Joe Elliott sounded incredible. He can still hit the high notes, albeit with a little help from the background vocals. Phil Collen and Vivien Campbell shined with their twin guitar attack. The way they weave their guitar parts together are reminiscent of Keith Richards and Ron Wood. Rick Savage was solid on bass. But the biggest cheers of the night went to Rick Allen when he took center stage for a short drum and bass interlude during “Switch 625.”

Def Leppard Live at BlossomTesla kicked off the night with a strong eight-song set. They opened with a rocking version of “Rock Me To The Top.”. They just released Mechanical Resonance Live which is a CD of live performances of all their songs from their debut CD 30 years ago. Phil Collen joined the band on stage for their new track, “Save The Goodness,” which he wrote and produced.

Tesla always puts on a great show. Jeff Keith‘s vocals and Frank Hannon‘s guitar highlighted crowd favorites like “Signs,” “Love Song,” and “Modern Day Cowboy.” They set the night in exactly the right motion. The only bummer was that they only had 40 minutes. Which brings me too…

REO Speedwagon. I don’t understand why there are on this tour. Their biggest hits are the epitome of cheesy ’80s ballads. They sounded dated even compared to Tesla and Def Leppard, both of whom only came a few years after. Don’t get me wrong. They sounded fine. They just seemed out of place here. I would rather the other bands had more time to play a few more songs each.

All that said, the concert as a whole was a ton of fun. Tesla and Def Leppard especially still play and sound incredible. If you get a chance to check out the tour, I recommend it. Also, check out their latest CD’s, Def Leppard and Mechanical Resonance Live.

Def Leppard Set List

Let’s Go
Animal
Let It Go
Dangerous
Foolin’
Love Bites
Armageddon It
Rock On
Man Enough
Rocket
Bringing On The Heartbreak/Switch 625
Hysteria
Let’s Get Rocked
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages
Photograph

REO Speedwagon Set List

Don’t Let Him Go
Take It On The Run
Keep Pushin’
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Tough Guys
Time For Me To Fly
Back On The Road Again
Ridin’ The Storm Out
Keep On Loving You
Roll With The Changes

Tesla Set List

Rock Me To The Top
Edison’s Medicine
Heaven’s Trail
Signs
Save The Goodness (with Phil Collen)
Love Song
Little Suzi
Modern Day Cowboy

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