7/26: REPORT FROM DEF LEPPARD, STYX & TESLA IN NJ
Saw Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla last night in NJ at PNC. All 3 bands were really good and turned in great sets for a sold out crowd. Yep, sold out! After my post about the touring business recently and some of the tours we hear are struggling, it was great to see a packed house. No doubt it was helped by the fact that is was a Saturday night and a nice night in NJ, but it was really great to see. It’s also a well put together bill, with all the bands playing the big hits and doing it well. Tesla really hasn’t done a big tour as an opener for a really long time. Pretty much ever since they got back together. So this is a great chance for them to get in front of people that maybe forgot about them or don’t see them much. Understand I am not talking about their major fans. You already know what Tesla has been up to. But for the mainstream masses which this tour will draw there are no doubt many are seeing them for the first time in a long time. They open around 6:50P with a 40 minute set of the hits. Styx is up next and does an hour loaded with their many hits. The band sounded great and seemed to have a harder edge than usual. The guitars and vocals sounded great and the crowd was way into it. Easy to forget sometimes how many huge songs Styx has. Tommy Shaw also made mention on stage of the fact that all the vocals everyone was hearing were real and in the original key. Pretty incredible and good to see bands that band that are doing the work to truly play live taking credit for it when so many run tracks now.
Def Leppard are the headliner and are playing to the most amount of people on this tour than many of their recent tour packages. They’ve been able to reduce ticket prices some and put a great 3 band package together that has become one of this Summers winning tours (as per a recent article in Billboard). Leppard’s set is also loaded with hits, which is the right thing to do in a setting like this despite what us deep tracks fans would prefer. Highlights for me was the opener “Rock Rock Till You Drop”, “Switch 625”, “Let It Go” and “Foolin”. And speaking of vocals Joe Elliott sounded incredible! I spoke with Joe before the show and he was concerned with this show being the 3rd in a row but I was stunned how good he was singing. Better than I have heard him in recent years. And if anyone has a reason to put vocals on tracks it’s Leppard with the way their albums were made. But they don’t. What Phil, Sav and Viv do on the harmonies is remarkable. The tour goes through October with some changes to the openers, but see it if you can. Really well done by all 3 bands!
A few other things. I spent lots of time with Vivian. He is still getting treatments for his cancer but very optimistic for a full recovery. He seems to be really enjoying every moment on this tour. We sat on the bus and he played me the entire Last In Line album which sounded great! Like Black Star Riders channels Lizzy, LIL has a flavor of Dio, but is very much a new original band. The songs and vocalist Andy Freeman sounded incredible. This really has the makings of a great new metal album and it is great to hear Viv rip like he used to on it. The album likely won’t come out until January and the band will play on the upcoming Leppard cruise in Jan! See you on board and enter to win a cabin on this site. Joe told me the new Leppard album will be out in the Fall and said it is a real rock record and he’s real excited for it. The band produced it and he says it has many sides. I didn’t hear any yet. Finally Phil has a new band called Delta Deep. He gave me a copy I look forward to checking out. Said its raw and bluesy with a ton of guitar!
I hope to catch this tour again before it wraps up. Really was a great night. Photos on my Twitter @EddieTrunk and Instagram at @eddietrunkofficial