Darien Lake PAC
Darien Center, NY
Friday August 17, 2012
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Last year when Def Leppard played the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, their set seemed quite stagnant and very stale. Much of that was attributed to vocalist Joe Elliott’s Dad passing away which limited the band from rehearsals. Flash forward to Friday evening and everything about last year is now a mere memory as Def Leppard more than made up for it with a blistering set that capped off the Rock Of Ages Tour.
Leppard opened with “Undefeated” as they did the previous year, but by the third song “Let It Go” the diehards started to reap the rewards and it was full speed ahead from there. Hit after hit, “Animal”, “Love Bites” and “Let’s Get Rocked” the songs just kept on coming. This year Def Leppard added some gems that had fallen out of the set in recent years. Two of the more recent glaring omissions were “Women” and “Gods Of War” both found their way back in, to the delight of the Buffalo crowd.
The double power tandem of guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell received their chance to shine on several occasions throughout the night. Bassist Rick Savage seemed to be the most active member as he roamed the stage. Drummer Rick Allen stood behind his kit until the acoustic segment. It was during that time which all five members came out to the end of the center ramp as they performed a medley that started off with a Stones cover of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Other songs included a rare play of the 2003 song “Now” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, before ending with the traditional “Two Steps Behind”.
Second on the triple bill was Poison. Bret Michaels and gang delivered a fifty minute set that featured everything one would expect in that short span. Opening with the traditional “Look What The Cat Dragged In”, the band immediately ripped into “Ride The Wind”. Guitarist CC DeVille took his turn in the spotlight during his solo per usual. Drummer Rikki Rockett did a drum solo that ended with him clocking his gong cymbal.
Even though the band hasn’t made any changes to their set over the past few years, Bret Michaels had a giddiness to him all night. Bret appeared to be having the time of his life all night and his performance showed.
Opening the show was Lita Ford, who began her thirty minute set with the Elton John cover of “The Bitch Is Back”. Ford’s band included bassist Marty O’Brien, drummer Scott Coogan and guitarist Mitch Perry. Keen eyes would also recognize that is also the same Mitch Perry who at one time played in Talas for a short while during the Phil Naro era. Lita also managed to slip in a pair of new tracks “Relentless” and the title track from her latest release Living Like A Runaway. Ford saved her two biggest songs for last as she ended with “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly”.
With several tours out on the road this summer, it is always hard for the fans to decide which ones they can attend. There are several factors in choosing which concerts to see especially in this economy. Perhaps some stayed away due to the ticket prices or some because they thought the show would be basically the same as it had been considering Leppard and Poison just toured together in 2009. Those that decided to come out were rewarded with a first rate show and left totally satisfied.
Let It Go
Make Love Like a Man
Let’s Get Rocked
Gods Of War
You Can’t Always Get What You Want[The Rolling Stones]
Where Does Love Go When It Dies
When Love and Hate Collide
Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
Two Steps Behind
Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
Pour Some Sugar on Me
Rock of Ages
Look What the Cat Dragged In
Ride the Wind
Your Mama Don’t Dance [Loggins & Messina]
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Talk Dirty To Me
Nothin’ But a Good Time
The Bitch Is Back [Elton John]
Living Like a Runaway
Close My Eyes Forever
Kiss Me Deadly