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Def Leppard and Bryan Adams:
Rock ‘N Roll Doubleheader Tour
June 8, 2005 - Mesa, Arizona – Hohokam Park
Live Review by Zane Ewton

The Rock ‘N Roll Double Header tour is an opportunity for Def Leppard and Bryan Adams to zigzag through minor league baseball stadiums and bash out all their big hits to an appreciative crowd. For this stop on the tour Hohokam Park in Mesa, Arizona is the destination. The park serves as the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. 

The band will be alternating who opens and closes throughout the tour. Bryan Adams opened the show to a smaller crowd. Parking became a major issue for the ballpark and the bulk of rock and roll devotees spent most of Adam’s set line for a place to park. 

Bryan Adams’ solo career came after a few years of working with longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance and busted open with the release of Cuts like a Knife in 1982. Adams fueled the success of the album by touring extensively and releasing several top 40 hits. While still writing hits with Vallance for other artists, Adams released Reckless that produced five Top 20 singles. 

Adams retained his success through the 80’s but with the help of Robert “Mutt” Lange fashioned his biggest hit with “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”. The following album provided three more hits. He spent most of the 90’s churning out hit songs for movie soundtracks. Now in 2005 he has released a new studio album, Room Service

In keeping with the “all the hits” theme, Adams brought out all of his better known hits. “Cuts like a Knife”, “Summer of ‘69” and many others were delivered in a no-frills method that was steady but never got too excited. The crowd was quite varied but mostly family oriented. When Adams pulled a fan out of the crowd to sing with him it was a 12-year-old girl who jumped at the chance. This capped off an enjoyable, if not altogether memorable set by the Canadian songwriter. 

Darkness fell on the crowd as the infield became awash with the fans not content to just sit in the stands. Def Leppard can be credited for creating the blueprint of rock in the 1980’s. Both Pyromania and Hysteria broke into the stratosphere of rock success. The following decade wasn’t quite as successful but found Def Leppard staying true to their core audience. Touring in support of their new greatest hits collection, the band still sounds fresh and excited to be playing music. 

Def Leppard took the stage and delivered amped up versions of some of their biggest hits, jumping right into “Action” from the Retro Active album. Not letting up at all, the band surged through “Let’s Get Rocked”, “Women” and “Foolin’”. Even “Hysteria” received a heavier treatment that really gave the song an exciting energy. 

Singer Joe Elliott introduced their new single, a cover of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” and tipped the crowd in on a possible September release date for the full covers album. 

The twin guitars of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell traded riffs and solos left and right up to a duel during “Rocket” that was flashy without hitting live solo cliché’s. The two Rick’s, Allen and Savage, kept the tight Def Leppard beat that is the trademark of so many of their songs. Elliott’s job may seem pretty easy when a couple thousand people are singing every word to every song but he’s still got his voice and can hit those high notes, performing well in his role as master of ceremonies. 25 years of touring has ensured Def Leppard knows how to put on a rock and roll show. 

Despite the label of an 80’s band, Def Leppard’s music has aged gracefully and in a live setting is given a bite and energy that is lacking from the glossy album cuts. This mixture creates a great rock and roll experience that is all about having fun and singing along to ridiculous lyrics. 

Ballads were kept to a minimum which meant the tempo was always high and the crowd ate up every sweaty minute of it. Songs like “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” were exuberant celebrations of rock and roll and the encore choices of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” copped the biggest ovation of the night. 

The Rock ‘N Roll Double Header tour is definitely fun for all ages, even kids under 12 can get in free. Just watch out for some misguided tube-tops.

Def Leppard

Purchase Def Leppard music and listen to samples.

Visit the official site for Def Leppard

Check the recent Legend's Special for Def Leppard

Bryan Adams

Purchase Bryan Adams music and listen to samples.

Visit the official site for Bryan Adams

Check the review for Bryan's new CD

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