Def Leppard / Styx double bill of rock n roll.
DEF LEPPARD / STYX July 17, 2007 at the Bell Center, Montreal, Quebec
In one night there were two classic rock bands whose latest CD''s were covers of classic rock songs, so what kind of a night was one in for, but classic rock. This sat just fine with the 7,000 mostly older crowd that came out and got just what they would expect.
Styx started the night off in fine form as if this was their own headlining show. Vocal duties were passed around like a tag team match between guitarists Tommy Shaw, James ''JY'' Young and keyboradist Lawrence Gowan. Delivering a near perfect setlist from the opening Blue Collar Man they tore through a catalogue of hits from Too Much Time On My Hands, Miss America, Suite Madame Blue, to the closing Renegade. Too add to the classic rock feel
Gowan did a quick accapella medley of Pink Floyd''s Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 and Queen''s Fat Bottom Girls before launching into Come Sail Away. They even had time to dig up a rocking Equinox album track with Midnight Ride which had Gowan on electric guitar. Because this was Quebec Gowan even charmed us with his biggest solo hit, Criminal Mind.
Let''s not forget the energy and fun they were having. Tommy Shaw was pulling out every rock star guitar pose ever invented. Gowan was like a kid in the playground with his carousel spinning keyboard. As an added bonus original bassist, Chuck Pannazo, made a guest appearance playing on a few songs. After a set that stood out on it's own it was hard to believe there was more to come.
Def Leppard burst onto stage with Rocket as if it was 1988 all over again especially in their stage presence. Have these guys ever aged? Joe Elliot ran along the catwalk from start to finish all night long. He seemed to be losing himself in the crowd and vice versa. Bassist Rick Savage made sure that he ran, jumped, or walked along every inch of the stage. Duel guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell traded lick after lick of arena rock glory losing their shirts in the process. The third song Excitable was a great album track from Hysteria to hear live. With Joe on the catwalk he had everyone chanting along to the “Stand up, Say Yeah!” chorus. Are these political introspective lyrics? No. Was a fun time being had by everyone? "Yeah"! This is what Def Lep has always been about, having fun and this night was no different.
For some reason the band seemed a lot more energetic than on their last few tours. The production was also an added bonus with a stage of stairs, second level catwalk and stage length horizontal screen. The screen would either show close ups of band members or use different effects. This was most effective during Photograph which showed literal photographs at the band through its different eras.
With the set list they surprised the die-hard fans with album tracks like Mirror Mirror and the instrumental Switch 625 from the High 'N' Dry era. The only real dull moment came when Rick Savage gave an echo sounding unimpressive bass solo which led into the awful cover of Rock On. The only non-eighties song played that night.
With acoustic guitars strapped on Elliot, Savage, Collen, and Campbell went out to the front of the catwalk to do an acoustic set of Two Steps Behind and Bringing On The Heartbreak which had the audience singing along with such an intensity that Elliot let them take over.
Continued runs along the catwalk and audience sing alongs would continue with total uproar on hits like Armageddon it, Pour Some Sugar On Me and the closing one song encore of Rock of Ages.
The only real problem was the sound being too loud or muffled and a bad arrangement of Pour Some Sugar On Me. For Def Leppard and its fans this night seemed a lot more than just Another Hit and Run (which was played).
Styx set list
Blue Collar Man
Too Much Time On My Hands
Suite Madame Blue
Come Sail Away
Def Leppard set list
Another Hit and Run
Two Steps Behind
Bringin On The Heartbreak
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages