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Opening Night: Downstage Thrust Tour 2007

bandacoutic3.JPGLast night, Def Leppard kicked off their Downstage Thrust Tour 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio. For a first night, there were few - if any - noticeable flaws.

The Brits opened their show with “Rocket,” and continued with “Animal” and “Excitable.”

“Foolin’” came next, and then lead singer Joe Elliot asked guitarist Vivian Campbell to join him on the catwalk.
Vivian obliged.

Turns out, the Leps were about to play “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” from High n’ Dry! Joe told the crowd that the band hasn’t performed the song since their Pyromania tour. That means Vivian has never played the song for a live audience, so a little Def Leppard history was made in the Queen City!

By this time, it was pouring and the hordes of people in the lawn were running for shelter. Even with covered seats, I still got wet. The band competed with the vigorous thunder and lightning for center stage. Finally the band gave up, walked down the catwalk and addressed Mother Nature, thanking her for the light show.

bandrain.JPGOccasionally, there were small technical mishaps, including popping and echoing microphones. During one song, Joe pointed to his ears and mouthed a complaint to a roadie. Otherwise, things seemed to move smoothly.

Now it was time for some heavy hitting and that means “Love Bites” from Hysteria. The 12,000 or so fans went completely bonkers. A man directly in front of me started jumping and yelping. I think he was having some sort of religious experience. In just a few short songs, his shirt would be gone, twirling around his head like a cheap stripper.

The ever-sexy bassist Rick Savage climbed to the highest point of the two-tier stage for his solo that eventually turned into “Rock On,” from the Yeah! covers album.

From fast to slow, the Leps do ballads best. The quintet went “intimate” with “Two Steps Behind” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” This time, all band members – save for drummer Rick Allen – joined Joe on the catwalk. Joe strummed his guitar while singing, and crazed fans below the catwalk nearly knocked the rockers off their platform.

A highlight of the show was when “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” switched from acoustic to electric.

The band also played “Switch 625” while Joe took a breather. This also allowed guitarist Phil Collen to demonstrate his savindark.JPGabilities. Later, the band played “Hysteria,” “Armageddon It,” “Photograph,” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” This is the point of the show when the aforementioned man took off his shirt and bounced around like an idiot. Having fun at concerts is wonderful; jeopardizing the safety of those around you because you’re flapping around like a fish out of water is something else.

I was stunned the band didn’t save “Sugar” for their encore; instead, they went with “Rock of Ages.”

All in all, it was a great first night of a tour.

Joe Elliot sounded strong in voice, and everyone in the band looked both happy and healthy. I must admit, the pauses between songs seemed longer than at other Def Leppard shows.

A note about the stage: Def Leppard is touring in many sheds this summer. As such, the stage design is fairly basic with a raised platform parallel to the drum riser. There are several microphone stands all along the stage, allowing each member to roam freely. There are no pyrotechnics, but there is a gigantic television screen projecting images during each song.


Reader Comments (10)

Sounds like a great show, I will be seeing the tour in Mansfield, MA in August. I was a little concermed about Joe's voice this tour because he sounded like he was straining on the YEAH! Tour in Mansfield last time around. How was Styx and Foreigner?
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRhodeislandrock
Thanks for the review. I'm hoping to see the mighty Lep in Jersey this summer.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTopherman
Due to a major accident less than one mile from the venue we missed the first 90 minutes of the show. We missed the entire Styx performance and about 75% of Foreigner. What we did see of the Foreigner performace was good.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEric
OKay, respect for them taking on the rain like that. Might mean we get a UK summer show from them evenutally! It'll be interesting to see if they add something from the forthcoming album as the tour progresses. I havn't been motivated to see Leppard since the Euphoria tour and to be honest it'll take a strong album to get me back but it's interesting to read what they're playing in the set these days.

June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Good review. It is good to see Def Leppard still doing well.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Oh man, that is a bummer about Styx and Foreigner, Eric.

I wish I could have gone to this show. I tried to get tickets, but I didn't way pay the high prices for bad seats so I decided not to go.

Glad to hear Def Leppard are pulling out some of their older songs. News like that will certainly sell more tickets for their up and coming dates.

Maybe they haven't discarded the notion that they are a rock band after all.......

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout
Eric, I'd say you lucked out by missing Styx and Foreigner. I can see Def Leppard might put on a good show at least, but Foreigner was good at best and Styx was just light-weight prog rock.

Allyson, the storm sounds cool. I once saw a show during a storm and it was amazing. The wind picked up and it cooled off and then the thunder and lightning and rain came and it was like the band and nature were in sync. It was incredible.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbob_vinyl
Im sooooo excited to read this!! I am going tomorrow night to Milwaukee and i am thrilled to see them playing a few "old" songs as well...
I hope to have a religous experience myself when
the ever sexy Sav climbs the stage...
Thank you for an entertaining review
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne
I saw Def Leppard on the last tour - I planned a US trip around seeing Iron Maiden and Aerosmith/Motley, and I happened to be in LA on the Friday they played, so I went in early, slept off the jetlag and went, as an afterthought. The remastered Hysteria had just come out, and it didn't leave my CD player for a month after, it turned out to be a really great show, and so long as Maiden played the new album, and Aerosmith played not one 80's song, the Leps were a serious contender for best show on that tour. Motley was a bit flat, I saw them in Melbourne and it was way better, for Aerosmith they dropped all their old songs.

I'd definately to see them again. I laughed reading about the guy with the waving shirt, only because I assume his sister was just to my left when I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl last year....

My son loves Def Leppard, he asked again this morning for the 'skin on skin, let the love begin' song. He's 6.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
I mean best show of my trip to the US, obviously.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus

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