DEF LEPPARD, STYX Team to Rule Night in L.A. Forum Concert

Thu
29
Oct
Artist: 
Release Year: 
2015
Categories: 
 
By Gerry Gittelson
Melodicrock.com Los Angeles correspondent
 
LOS ANGELES -- Styx is a tough act to follow, but Def Leppard was up to the challenge recently, when the two classic-rock icons teamed for well-received concert at the Forum, as both acts pushed one another before a capacity crowd of nearly 20,000 at one of the USA's most storied and prestigious arenas.
 
By the end of Styx's near-hour set culminating with "Come Sail Away," the audience was going absolutely crazy, and that's something you don't usually see for a support act, particularly in Los Angeles, where crowds are more apt to fold their arms.
 
The bands have been touring together for the summer -- in addition to third-billed Tesla, no slouch in its own right -- and this event was the acid test.
 
Opening with "Rock Rock Till You Drop" (aptly titled considering the members, now in their 50s, have been together together since the 1970s), Def Leppard showed straight away that the fivesome was taking things seriously.
 
No, Def Leppard is no over-the-hill gang simply looking to cash in with nostalgia. Everyone still has great chops, particularly Joe Elliott, who proved in fine voice through the proceedings. He sang loud and clear, everyone knew all the words to just about every song, and what a performance by guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. 
 
The crowd was jumping up and down for "Foolin'," while "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" proved a big crowd-pleaser, too. Bassist Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen were holding down the rhythm section to such a hearty degree that we could feel the beat against our chests; Allen is especially inspirational, of course, because he has one arm, and the crowd showed a lot of adoration for him.
 
By the time Def Leppard got around to the closing "Pure Some Sugar on Me" and encores "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph," the crowd remained all theirs. 
 
Definitely a triumphant night for the Brits.
 
 
Meantime, Styx absolutely kicked ass. It wasn't so long ago the group was headlining arenas in their own right -- including a three-night stint on the very same stage back in the day -- and now that singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw has adopted Los Angeles as his home town, the performance felt like a celebration.
 
"Grand Illusion" came first, and there aren't many classic-rock favorites that have a bigger hook. "Fooling Yourself" found Shaw getting the cougars up front all hot and bothered. "Miss America" saw James Young singing loud and proud, and the execution by all involved was spot-on.
 
Lawrence Gowan has a heck of a voice in his own right, so what you have with Styx is this: three excellent singers, crisp musicianship surpassed only perhaps by Rush in North America, plus songs that lodge themselves on your brain and refuse to leave for days.
 
Tesla was excellent, too. Jeff Keith sung his butt off, and among the most well-received selections were "Gettin' Better," "Hang Tough," "Signs" and the awesome "Modern Day Cowboy."
 
Story by Gerry Gittelson. Photos by Joe Schaeffer.
 
    
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