First Energy Park, Lakewood, NJ
July 5th, 2005
Fresh off their appearance at “LIVE 8,” Tuesday July 5th landed the legendary DEF LEPPARD at First Energy Park in Lakewood, New Jersey. Along with tour co-headliner BRYAN ADAMS, this otherwise minor league baseball stadium was ready to rock like never before.
After a “sub-par” performance by opener Randy Coleman and under a blanket of pouring rain on this outside venue, the capacity crowd erupted in a barrage of screams and applause as the lights dimmed and QUEEN’s “We Will Rock You” echoed through the early evening air. One by one they appeared. The first to hit the stage was drummer Rick Allen followed closely by singer extraordinaire Joe Elliot. Next were dueling guitarists Phil Collen and his partner, the incredible Vivian Campbell followed lastly by bassist Rick Savage to complete this quintet whom need NO introduction… DEF LEPPARD!!!
The first words out of Joe Elliot’s mouth were, “It’s raining… SO FUCKING WHAT!” and the band burst into “Action” from their unforgettable 1983 classic “Pyromania.” Great opener but I still kind of miss the days of “Stagefright” or “Rock! Rock! Till You Drop” but let me tell ya, Elliot’s voice sounds just as good now as it did when they first recorded this song over twenty years ago.
Not even the rain was going to slow these guys down as next they ripped into “Lets Get Rocked” followed by the first single off their multi-platinum “Hysteria,” “Women.” And that was not the last time “Hysteria” was to be represented this evening. I found myself having flashbacks of their 1987 tour as they played “Love Bites,” “Animal,” “Rocket,” “Armageddon It” and even the title track “Hysteria” all from that album. The only thing missing was the circular stage and, of course, the presence of the late Steve Clark whose unique guitar style and sound was definitely missed during songs from that era. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE Vivian Campbell fan and have been for many, many years. It’s just that comparing the two styles, Clark just fit better. Despite his amazing abilities, no matter how many times I have seen LEPPARD since the Steve Clark tragedy, Viv has just never been able to make those particular songs his own.
What a night! These guys just kept cranking out hit after hit after hit. Other than the above mentioned “Hysteria” hits, the set list also included such LEPPARD classics as “Promises,” “Foolin’,” their main set ender “Rock of Ages” and what would any DEF LEPPARD show be without “Photograph?” The band even managed to sneak in a few covers as about mid-way they performed BADFINGER’s “No Matter What” (which is available as a studio version on their latest double-CD greatest hits collection called “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection”) and shortly afterwards, a cover of Michael Damian’s “Rock On.” Come on… you know the song! “Hey, kids, rock and roll… rock on!” It was great and I must say, they really made this one their own.
Finally rounding off this great set were the encores and two of my favorite DEF LEPPARD songs; “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” and, yes, one more from “Hysteria”… “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” What a band and what a show! These guys can still rock with the best of them. Despite the rain, the crowd and the long ass haul down to Lakewood… I’d do it all over again. The only thing truly disappointing was that they didn’t open the show with “Let It Go” or play other songs like “Two Steps Behind,” “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” or “Rock Brigade” which they have played at other shows during this tour. Even so, DEF LEPPARD is STILL one of the elite bands in music… even today! So if you get a chance, this is one show you don’t want to miss.
- Joe Elliot - Vocals
- Vivian Campbell - Guitar
- Phil Collen - Guitar
- Rick Savage - Bass
- Rick Allen - Percussion
- Lets Get Rocked
- No Matter What
- Love Bites
- Armageddon It
- Rock On
- Rock Of Ages
- Bringin' On the Heartbreak
- Pour Some Sugar On Me
Official Def Leppard website: http://www.defleppard.com/