Def Leppard wsg/ Bryan Adams
(Oldsmobile Park, Lansing, MI - August 10th, 2005)
This summer, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard gave the phrase "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" a whole new meaning as they co-headlined the Rock 'N Roll Double-Header Tour. Two of the most popular rock acts to ever take the stage, they teamed up for the first time and performed at 26 minor league baseball stadiums. The rock 'n roll season opened on June 1st in Portland, OR and culminated here tonight in Lansing, MI at the home of the Lugnuts.
From the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist Bryan Adams was one of the most successful recording artists in popular music worldwide. His raspy voice, simple compositions, and straightforward musical approach earned him early critical approbation as a likable rock & roll journeyman.
Tonight, with the sun still high in the sky and in front of 10,000 screaming fans, Bryan Adams took to the stage to begin a memorable greatest hits set. Kicking off with 'One Night Love Affair,' 'Somebody,' '18 Til I Die,' and 'Can't Stop This Thing We Started,' Adams' voice is as feisty as usual, his stage presence a little curtailed, yet his guitar aura in full swing.
Continually either smiling or striking a chord with a rock out face, Adams doesn't say much, but when he does is straight to the point. "Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to the Rock 'N Roll Double-Header. My name is Bryan and I'm pleased to meet your acquaintance."
Plowing relentlessly ever musically onwards, up next from the Reckless album are both 'Kids Wanna Rock' and 'Summer of '69,' before he announces the first quiet moment of the set. "Here's one from our MTV unplugged album. This is 'Back To You'." 'This Time' follows, but the pace is brought back down once more for the mega-hit single '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.'
Picking the pace back up again he speeds on through both 'Cuts Like A Knife' and 'When You're Gone' (complete with a female member of the audience brought up on stage by Adams to sing some out of tune, and highly shaky backing vocals!), before actually singing the one solitary cut from his brand new album, Room Service, 'Open Road.' "I recorded this new album in hotels around the world," he explains in relation to the album title, but the unknown track to the massed gathering is soon seen to be their pit stop opportunity at the beer tents around the ball park!
Finally bringing the 90 minute show around its final corner, 'Heaven,' 'It's Only Love,' 'Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You,' and then lastly 'Run To You' take the crowd to their highest singing points. "I'm Bryan Adams, thank you" ... and then, with a wave of the hand he's gone for the night.
Def Leppard, in many ways, was the 'definitive' hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands that rocked harder, and were more dangerous, than the Sheffield quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quite as well. Emerging in the late '70s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the group actually owed more to the glam rock and metal of the early '70s than much else.
Taking the stage to the pounding beats of Queens 'We Will Rock You,' the evening sun finally beginning to dip behind the huge stadium walls, the band are all smiles, chatting amongst themselves, their love for their 'job' evident to all. Taking the audiences' ears from them instantly, the band got down to work with 'Action,' 'Let's Get Rocked,' and 'Women'; which also becomes the time when guitarist Phil Cohen decides to remove his shirt!
'Foolin', 'Hysteria' (complete with a huge electronic British flag seen in various entities on the big video screen behind them!), and 'Promises' are next ("Thank you very much and good evening," voices lead singer Joe Elliott. "It's a special night tonight. It's the last of the baseball stadiums with Bryan Adams. Thank you for being here with us tonight, Lansing, Michigan") before launching into their new Badfinger cover song, 'No Matter What.'
The always impressive head-nodder 'Love Bites' is up next, followed by the Vivian Campbell guitar-introduced 'Armageddon It,' and then a fantastic (and highly-under-appreciated on the night!) rendition of the classic David Essex hit, 'Rock On.' Listening to the cut was good enough, but watching the facial-morphing video of the band on the big screen was equally as engrossing!
The red and green bathed 'Rocket' was next and featured en mass of quick guitar solos incorporated into the elongated middle section of the song. The always-loved 'Photograph' is as brilliant as ever, but then suddenly during 'Animal' it's vocally clear that Elliott's voice has begun to end the night ahead of his body! Ending that song and then getting through the set finale 'Rock Of Ages,' his voice has cracked, his high note reach now not there, his need for liquid during the songs apparent in his step backs. "Thank you, Lansing, Michigan. Take care and goodnight," he fires out, probably grateful that his voice has lasted this long through the extensive tour.
Coming back out for one last turning back of the musical clock, Elliott's voice is thankfully back as he pounds out 'Bringin' on the Heartbreak,' and then backs it up with a pulsating 'Pour Some Sugar on Me.' "Don't forget us and we won't forget you," he begs one last time, as the Queen song 'We Are The Champions' plays the audience out of the now lit baseball stadium.
Review and Photos by Russell A. Trunk