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Friday, August 19, 2011

Def Leppard with Heart – Live review at DTE Energy Music Theatre

Def Leppard with Heart – Live review.

Live at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston (Detroit), MI.

Wednesday August 17th, 2011

Well, due to one thing and another we did not quite catch the start of Heart’s set, but did catch it all from ‘Magic Man’ onwards, which I think was about the second or third song in.
Def Leppard were being very good, very kind, with allowing Heart plenty of stage space tonight, well I guess on the whole tour.

The big video screens were at Heart’s disposal too, so basically it was like a co-headline tour to be honest, the good sound reflected that as well.
Rhonda and I had not seen Heart play live here, since the 'Jupiter’s Darling’ tour back in 2004, which was a good one, so how are they today you ask?

‘Magic Man’ is such a classic Heart song too and while it’s not the original line up and hasn’t been for some time, both Ann and Nancy Wilson have an excellent ‘team’ performing with them for a full sound. The rest of the band is made up of Craig Bartock (Guitars), Kristian Attard on Bass, Ben Smith (Drums) and Debbie Shair on keyboards too.

It was ‘Heartless’ up next and Ann Wilson I have to say, is in excellent voice these days and Bartock on guitar is a very good player too, I must add.

‘Straight On’ was next, with Nancy and Ann harmonizing very well indeed, this was closely followed by ‘What About Love,’ with the intro almost throwing me, being down tuned to help out. It’s presented a little different too, slightly slower tempo.

After band introductions, ‘These Dreams’ follows, introduced as ‘a love song from the 80’s!’
From there, it was an semi-acoustic version of ‘Alone,’ with Ann in absolutely killer form and Nancy harmonies great too.

‘WTF’ is next from last album ‘Red Velvet Car,’ which comes across as a dirty, grungy kind of rocker.
Then its a couple more back to back classics with ‘Crazy on You’ and then ‘Barracuda,’ to wrap things up, absolutely great!

Then Ann and Nancy come back out with an acoustic (Ann) and mandolin (Nancy) and they said they wanted to pay tribute to those who inspired them in the first place and first there’s an obscure Led Zep tune – That I’m at a loss for on the title and I have to say, The Who tune they play after, I couldn’t place either? I know shame on me, a Brit who was never really the greatest fan of Zep. Give me Deep Purple anyday!- All good stuff though.

Def Leppard hit the stage close to 9.30p, which sadly meant it would be limited to an hour and half at best, which is a little disappointing as they’ve played some great two hour plus sets before, but ah well …

Starting with new song ‘Undefeated’ from ‘Mirror Ball’ the new live album, with three new studio tracks on, Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen are down at the front of the stage, Rick Allen bang centre from left to right and front to back and then up on the risers behind Rick, stand Joe Elliott and Rick 'Sav' Savage. Perfect poses for the opening of their set.

With ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ kicking in next, I take a glance around the venue and realize how everyone has finally arrived as compared to when Heart were on to a crowd of just under say a half full venue, the place was now packed to the rafters.
It’s clear who everyone was here to see!

‘Animal’ was up next and they have the big screens behind them basically projecting all the bands videos that had accompanied each of the bands massive ‘hit machine’ back catalogue and they really are playing like the polished act you’d expect nothing less from. It’s a great night indeed, Heart was very good and Def Leppard are just so on their game. Joe Elliott seems to be the ultimate professional and does so well after just recently losing his father.
‘Foolin’’ from ‘Pyromania’ is up next and then things come down a bit for ‘Love Bites,’ which although is extended, with Vivian Campbell’s soloing, it is still as slick as ever
Then Sav plays a few bass touches, as a lead in to ‘Rock On’ and I wonder how many other folks wish they’d drop this in favour of more original Leppard material?
Then it’s ‘Rocket’ to keep the crowd pumped and after that Joe does a little PR work with the audience, which then leads into Viv and Phil joining him on the runway to sit down with acoustics and we get ‘Two Steps Behind.’
This is just so well presented, sounds so good every time, it really does, then it’s ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.’
This is well done too, as Phil and Viv leave Joe at the appropriate moment to walk back and grab their electric guitars to kick in the song full on, with the rest of the band. Great stuff guys!
‘Switch 625’ is just such an incredible part of that too and reminds me of when I first bought ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ and recall how fantastic it sounded back then, blasting out in my old Ford Capri, LOL!
You know it’s getting close to the end, as we get the back to back biggest hits of the band, ‘Hysteria’ has the crowd eating out of Leppard’s hands and the harmony guitar part with Phil and Viv, both standing proud up on Rick’s drum riser, is just great!

‘Armegeddon it’ then ‘Photograph’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar …’ wrap up the set and as the band leaves the stage and it goes dark, images of Union Jack flags drop down in the screens and the band returns!

The grand finale is ‘Rock of Ages’ and the crowd goes home pretty happy I’d say, just the bummer of fighting with the mass of traffic to contend with becomes the only downer.
Sorry about the lack of photo's folks, no photo pass for me, so it didn't happen.
I did try hitting up fans on the band's Facebook page, to see if someone would share pic's from the evening, but it seems there were no takers. I didn't think it was right to use pic's from the last gig of Leppards that we saw, so there you have it ...

Just turn on the car stereo slip one of your Def Leppard classics on in the player and relive those great decades again!
Detroit, we all just got rocked!

Rating: 5 out of 5 - Best double header gig in a long time!
Official websites:


  1. Thank you for the review :) The Led Zeppelin song for Heart's encore was The Battle of Evermore, and Love Reign O'er Me by The Who.

  2. Thank you for the info and kind words about the review. It was indeed an excellent night!