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Def Leppard and Heart don’t let rain spoil the party

defleppardIt wasn’t a pretty start, but most fans attending the Heart/Def Leppard show at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood would likely agree that the payoff was worth the wait.

 The venue lost power during Saturday’s vicious storm, which led to an hour of will-there-or-won’t-there-be-a-show guessing as fans waited for the gates to be opened.

 Eventually, with the storm passed, electricity restored and safety concerns cleared, the concert was a go, with Heart taking the stage at 9 p.m. for a condensed 40-minute set (they’ve played about an hour and 10 minutes on the first two stops of the tour, which launched Wednesday in South Florida).

 But anyone who has seen Ann and Nancy Wilson and the rest of Heart live before knows that the sisters pack a ton of power – no pun intended – into everything they do.

 Though Ann’s voice was lost in a poor mix of the opening “Cook With Fire,” the sound clarified for the sweetly sexy “Never,” re-dressed with an acoustic foundation and harmonica, and “What About Love.”

 Ann, looking slimmed in black leggings and boots and the eternally cool Nancy, who came onstage wearing a top hat and still, at 57, managed to scissor kick her way through “Crazy on You,” navigated a set high on fulfillment even if short on time.

 The ‘80s hits “These Dreams,” steered by Nancy’s wispier voice, and “Alone,” anchored by Ann’s husky pipes, have easily retained their singalong quality – a necessity at this show – even if they represent the poppier side of Heart.

 But lest anyone forget Heart’s roots, the sisters and the four members of the band, including the indispensible Debbie Shair on keyboards and percussion, tore through a trio of classic rock staples – the prog-rockish “Magic Man,” a thunderous version of  “Crazy on You” and the serrated guitar steamroller, “Barracuda.”

 Devoted fans were no doubt disappointed by the relative brevity of their performance, but hey, a little Heart is better than no Heart.

 At 10:15, after the recorded strains of Def Leppard’s traditional pre-show song, AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You),” boomed through the nearly sold-out venue, a mirror ball dropped above the stage and the quintet appeared, banging out the new “Undefeated.”

 A four-on-the-floor fist pumper born to be played relentlessly at a stadium near you this fall, the song, from the just-released live “Mirrorball” CD, represented the only detour for a band that hasn’t much altered its playlist the past few tours.

 Granted, since the new record is essentially a live collection of smashes, it makes sense to still trot out the well-worn radio faves, including the awesomely mindless “Let’s Get Rocked” and the half-dozen hits from the now-21-year-old (!!) “Hysteria” album.

 But what Def Leppard might lack in set list creativity (“Rock On”? Really? Still? How about “20th Century Boy” or “Stay With Me?”), it more than compensates for with impressive stage craft.

 Performing on a spectacular tiered stage lined with panels of video screens and beneath a ridge of relentlessly spinning lights, the band had ample space to roam.

 Singer Joe Elliott’s voice has always been a gruff instrument, and on this night, while it was sometimes swallowed by the huge sound of the band, it just as often soared on long-held notes in “Animal” and “Rocket.”

 The front line of bassist Rick Savage and guitarists Vivian Campbell and (shirtless) Phil Collen doused the band’s songs with gorgeous harmonies – always a hallmark of Def Leppard’s sound –  that are the perfect complement to their metallic guitar riffs and drummer Rick Allen’s steady electro-beats.

 “Foolin’,” in particular, sounded full and fresh, and the extended version of the beautifully complex “Rocket” included a dynamic interplay between Campbell and Collen.

 Though it appeared that Elliott wasn’t going to talk to the crowd, instead to focus on fitting in the band’s full set, when he, Collen, Savage and Campbell sauntered down the catwalk extended about a dozen rows into the crowd for an acoustic segment, he indeed had something to say.

 “We weren’t going to let a little proper rain spoil the party were we?” Elliott asked as the crowd roared. “But you should all get a pen and paper and write to your local electricity board and [tell them] that their generators suck!”

 With that statement – delivered with a smile masking some obvious annoyance – Elliott and the boys strummed through “Two Steps Behind” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” which kicked into its full electric grandeur midway through.

 Savage pulled out his Union Jack bass for the zippy instrumental “Switch 625,” which segued into what is perhaps Def Leppard’s most epic song, the melodically layered “Hysteria,” which aped its recorded counterpart with technical proficiency and lyrical heart.

 It was impossible for most in this generation-spanning crowd to refrain from playing air guitar or air drums at the first notes of “Armageddon It” and “Photograph” – playful pop-rockers that by the last chunk of the show, likely erased the headaches and hindrances of earlier in the night.

24 comments Add your comment

Go Gol

June 19th, 2011
9:30 am

A “viscous” storm? Did it rain snot?

heart fan

June 19th, 2011
9:35 am

Definitely disappointed by the short performance by Heart. The whole evening began as a disaster with storms and people waiting in a muddy parking lot for hours with no restrooms. Lousy venue located in a terrible neighborhood. Will think long and hard before ever buying tickets to a show there again.

askip

June 19th, 2011
9:48 am

I had two lawn seats, the show was great….watching all the “joe dirt” drunks and a real fat guy playing air guitar to HEART. Def Leppard was great even thought the set list has not changed in the 4 tours I’ve seen them, and I think they took hockey out of the background in undefeated due to Atlanta not having a NHL team anymore…Lots of lightning and lezies(thanks to HEART)

CGA

June 19th, 2011
9:54 am

We had a great time despite the conditions. I’m glad we didn’t let the horrible rain and hail stop us as we were making our way there. I think Aarron’s Ampitheatre at Lakewood did a great job getting the place ready to go and getting the crowd in so quickly for the 9:00pm start. The lack of bathrooms was bad, but then again , I don’t know of too many venues that have bathrooms in the parking lot! Though I was slightly disappointed that Heart didn’t play longer, I believe that most of the fans were there to see Def Leppard judging by the crowd response. Def Leppard put on a great show, It was worth the long muddy wait!

[...] posted a review of last night’s show at Aaron’s Amphitheater in Atlanta, GA. Click HERE to [...]

Chief Wiggum

June 19th, 2011
10:05 am

Pointing out the obvious, already pointed out. Should be “vicious” instead of “viscous”. Even spell-check can’t save the errors sometimes.

Didn’t go to this show. I know that amphitheaters are the big thing…inexpensive to build and maintain compared to an enclosed building that would hold that many people. I’ve been there, sat near the back of the seats (just outside of the enclosed area), and felt like I couldn’t see a darned thing. I can’t imagine the folks back on the lawn can see much of anything, save for the video screens. I just feel like the place is too big to be effective.

Ahnald

June 19th, 2011
10:14 am

huge disappointment as we waited at the gate for some update on how long the delay would be, was nothing, no loudspeaker, megaphone, nothing ( granted there was no power), the customers waiting were an afterthought…also was very dangerous with the lightning, several Atlanta police officers did not seem to even care, said was not their job,….all in all , good show, Heart was awesome, to me the headliners, a shame they only played 40 min, but the show went on

Monica Anthony

June 19th, 2011
10:34 am

Great review..but if memory serves..Heart ended with Barracuda and not Crazy on You..but it was the most fun at a concert that I have had in quite some time…

Leigh

June 19th, 2011
11:07 am

Awesome show! We were stuck in traffic and thought we were going to be an hour late, but low and behold, the show started late and we got there just as they were letting folks in!

We managed to get 2nd row seats on the lawn and were able to sit for most of the show. I did stand for some songs, but my legs get tired, so I was glad to be able to sit in my sand chair (we were allowed to bring those in).

Heart rocked it out! I was disppointed that they had to cut their set short, as I was really there to see them. Def Leppard was phenomenal and I like them more now then I did before I saw them live.

All-in-all, a great evening of music and fun!

spongebobhairpants

June 19th, 2011
11:26 am

something tells me Heart was lip synching. lack of port of potties did suck for tailgaiting. Leppard’s set was short, but understandable due to mother nature. Good time but wet and sticky.

Rock On

June 19th, 2011
11:43 am

First, great performances by Heart and Def Leppard. Two awesome bands in rock history that always deliver. However somewhat of a a strange mix together on the same show.

Second, Lakewood sucks as always. Even without the rain/delay fiasco last night, the unpaved lot always has early tailgaters so portable bathroom facilities for the parking lot are a no brainer for every show. This venue is owned/operated by Ticketmaster/Livenation who’s only mission in life is to rip off fans. High ticket prices to start, high fees, and VIP surcharge for the best seats at this venue. The staff is always rude and lacking in common sense, compassion and respect for the fans. I go to venues all across the state and Lakewood is by far the worst. If you have had a bad experience at Lakewood, join me in emailing their sponsors. Some may say if you dont like it there, dont go. Unfortunately, some of my favorite performers play there but I do avoid Lakewood for the most part because other than the performers, LAKEWOOD SUCKS!

Melissa Ruggieri

June 19th, 2011
11:53 am

Thanking for pointing out the spelling error, guys. It has been fixed. Unfortunately, my brain isn’t always functioning at top speed at 2 a.m. when it was written!

CourierStud

June 19th, 2011
12:14 pm

Heart was fantastic and Ann Wilson sounded better than ever. Definately not lip synching. If you are a Heart fan check their new album. It is the best thing they have done in 20 years. As much as I like Def Leppard I thought Joe Elliott sounded rough and definitely was not connecting with the crowd. It seemed he was taking us for granted and it showed.

Frank364

June 19th, 2011
12:33 pm

Concert was awesome. Venue Sucked! No bathrooms as we stood for hours with NO UPDATES. A guy in front of me (First in line at the gates) had medical issues and fell over, we call for medical attention, of which they walked over taking their sweet time as fans cared for the man. VENUE SUCKED!

ruth

June 19th, 2011
1:26 pm

Great article-thanks for writing!!!

Dennis Stahl

June 19th, 2011
2:22 pm

Awesome show, maybe next time a brief updates on what the issues are with no power, would have been nice, some folks left because there were no updates on when the power would be back on. Heart was really good, Def Leppard rocked the place…

James

June 19th, 2011
8:00 pm

I don’t get the knocks against Lakewood specifically. I’ve been 4 times and found the staff to be willing to help, I would rate them on par with other venues in that respect. It is a money pit for customers but what venue holding a event isn’t? Realistically I think people expect to much without thinking why the event is being held and that’s TO MAKE THE MOST MONEY POSSIBLE for everyone in involved, nothing else. If that wasn’t the goal the event would be held in another place where it was the goal.

As for them getting everything back on track after the storms had passed I thought they did a ample job. There’s really nothing more they could have done before then considering the uncertainty and restraints with no power.

As far as the show I thought both were awesome. I wish Heart could have played a full set and the mix was better but that’s normal for an opening act, iIf one can ever think of Heart as an opening act. The mix is never as good with them as the headliner.

All in all I think the best was made out of a potential bad situation.

JulesinGeorgia

June 19th, 2011
8:11 pm

Def Leppard has been and will always be awesome!! I loved it and will go again if they are ever nearby again. Phil wasn’t wearing a shirt and it made my night watching his sexy body..yummy!! Rock on!!!

Shannon DeReus

June 19th, 2011
8:55 pm

amazing concert – never sounded better. so glad we decided to wait out the power failure fiasco. just with the aaron’s amphitheater managers would handle the crowd better with announcements over a loud speaker, have more cops on patrol in the drunken and drug-laden parking lot, but all in all it was a GREAT night of rock. if you missed it, YOU MISSED IT.

Cheryl

June 19th, 2011
10:31 pm

Arrived at the concert at 7pm and was disappointed that the power was out, but like everyone has already said, the show did go on, and it was awesome. We sat on the 11th row and it was an unforgettable experience. Both Heart and Def Leppard put on a great show, so great that even 24 hours later, I can’t fully hear out of my left ear. Guess I will take ear plugs next time. :-)

Jeff

June 19th, 2011
11:31 pm

First of all, great review by Melissa… she captured the essence of the show. I’ve been to 25 or 30 rock shows in Atlanta over the last 10-15 years, and this was one of the BEST. Def Leppard rocked the house from the first note to the last, and Heart put on a very impressive (albeit truncated) set to start the night. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that these artists are in their 50s and 60s and they STILL kick as* !!!

Now, as to some of your comments on here –

CGA at 9:54 said “I think Aarron’s Ampitheatre at Lakewood did a great job getting the place ready to go and getting the crowd in so quickly for the 9:00pm start.” Sorry, CGA, I hate to disagree, with the staff at Aaron’s did NOTHING. They stood around in the concourse behind the gates, for all to see. The electricians and technicians had better have had a major problem to fix…. 90 minute delay is inexcusable. And there was NO reason not to send SOMEBODY out with a bullhorn to make an announcement as to WHY there was a delay (we found out later it was a power problem, but God, how hard would it have been to say that at 7:45 when the gates were not open and 10,000 people were already lined up?????) It was rude, unsafe, unsanitary, and bad business to leave thousands of people grumbling in the mud FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF with not even a simple apology.

Chief Wiggum at 10:05 said “I’ve been there, sat near the back of the seats (just outside of the enclosed area), and felt like I couldn’t see a darned thing. I can’t imagine the folks back on the lawn can see much of anything, save for the video screens. I just feel like the place is too big to be effective.”

Chief, my complaints about Lakewood have ALWAYS been the staff, the parking, the logistics, the neighborhood, the security, and the whole layout… as far as a concert venue, Chief, I’ve NEVER had an issue. I’ve had lawn seats, covered area seats, and 3rd-row seats… never had a bad experience in terms of music. My issues are that it’s always dependant on the weather, there is WAY too much smoke and such for my liking, and security and staff are always lacking. Would it kill them to have some parking lot attendants out there? I had section 207 seats last night, and it was great… sightline was just fine and the concert was awesome.

RockOn at 11:43 a.m. and James at 8 p.m. — RockOn is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT… James, are you on the Lakewood payroll? The venue is TERRIBLE!!! You said “I don’t get the knocks against Lakewood specifically. I’ve been 4 times and found the staff to be willing to help, I would rate them on par with other venues in that respect. It is a money pit for customers but what venue holding a event isn’t?”

First, James, the administration who runs Lakewood is pathetic… you can’t get in touch with them, you can’t get questions answered, and there is NO recourse for fans. Secondly, the events seem to be understaffed all the time. Third, the traffic and parking and getting in and out of there are NIGHTMARES. Finally, compared to other venues, Lakewood is WAY near the bottom in terms of quality and consistency and customer satisfaction.

The only reason I go is to see some of my favorite bands, and even then, I weigh whether or not I REALLY want to see them. I never feel completely comfortable there, especially with lack of security in the lawn and parking lot areas, and it’s incredibly hard to get there and get parked.

James, you’ve only been to Lakewood 4 times… you’ll see over time how bad it is. After 15 years of going there, I’ve had more than one bad experience… but I repeat, the CONCERTS and MUSIC and ENTERTAINMENT have been fine… it’s the logistics and atmosphere that are major problems.

James, once you go to some shows at Philips Arena (no smoking, climate controlled, plenty of staff on hand, several options for food and parking, etc.) or if you go to Verizon Amphitheatre in Alpharetta (VERY nice staff, incredibly easy to get to, safe neighborhood, much cleaner than Lakewood), you’ll see the difference.

Once again… Def Leppard and Heart were AMAZING… the audience ROCKED… the shows were WELL worth it… but the venue at Lakewood is VERY POOR. Maybe some real company (other than Aarons) will buy the place someday and make some much-needed improvements …. the facility is 21 years old and showing its age. Or maybe my favorite bands will start coming to Verizon, only 10 minutes from my house!

Jimmy Johnson

June 20th, 2011
10:38 am

This is aimed at Jeff and Jeff alone. What exactly do you expect at a concert ? Room service ? It was a very unfortunate weather related situation that kept everyone from getting in the gate. As far as the electricians are concerned, would you work on a power grid or generator when there are lightning strikes all around you ? Anyone with any brain power what so ever would understand that when they saw the ticket sales section of the front light up, then they were close. Again, this was an act of God and nothing more. I had 5 people with me that got tired of sitting and waiting and wondering also but guess what ? It couldn’t be helped. Once the gates opened, I upgraded my 5 tickets from the lawn to seats and totally enjoyed the concert. Even if i knew the same circumstances would happen next week, I would do it again just to see Def Leppard. But, I am a true fan and not just a person who complains about everything. And one more thing, where was the people grumbling in the mud for 1.5 hrs. ? The parking lot was asphalt where i was.

James

June 20th, 2011
8:44 pm

To Jeff, June 19th, 2011 11:31 pm

“James, are you on the Lakewood payroll? The venue is TERRIBLE!!! You said “I don’t get the knocks against Lakewood specifically. I’ve been 4 times and found the staff to be willing to help, I would rate them on par with other venues in that respect. It is a money pit for customers but what venue holding a event isn’t?””

No I’m not on Lakewoods Payroll or any other venue for that matter. I can only speak from personal experience and that is, Lakewood is no worse or better than any other venue I’ve been to. The staff has been helpful when I’ve needed them and I had no problem finding out what the hold up was once the lightning passed. They didn’t give me an estimate when the power would be back on but I didn’t expect one. They did give me a timeline as to if the power wasn’t on the event would be cancelled, it was easy to find out, walk up and ask. I’ve been to many venues over the years, aprox 30 in the southeast and 15 in the northeast. Lakewood is on par with the others, no worse or better imo. If you want to get to the nitty gritty, they all suck and could be better but I don’t expect that to happen given the greedy nature of the industry.

“First, James, the administration who runs Lakewood is pathetic… you can’t get in touch with them, you can’t get questions answered, and there is NO recourse for fans. Secondly, the events seem to be understaffed all the time. Third, the traffic and parking and getting in and out of there are NIGHTMARES. Finally, compared to other venues, Lakewood is WAY near the bottom in terms of quality and consistency and customer satisfaction.”

I know nothing about the administration other than they are greedy sob’s just like every other administration who runs venues in the industry. As I said above I’ve had no problems getting questions answered or issues resolved. Every event I’ve been to no matter where it was has been understaffed, nature of the beast. Traffic is most always an issue no matter where I’ve been, it sucks. We’ll have to disagree on the bottom in terms of quality, consistency and customer satisfaction. Most all of them should hold that position.

“The only reason I go is to see some of my favorite bands, and even then, I weigh whether or not I REALLY want to see them. I never feel completely comfortable there, especially with lack of security in the lawn and parking lot areas, and it’s incredibly hard to get there and get parked.”

Isn’t that the only reason to go and don’t we all weigh whether it’s worth it? I drove 400 miles round trip for that event and I’d do it all over again even with the storms, lightning and power failure. I never felt any more uncomfortable there than I have any where else, once the lightning passed that is. To be honest I felt the most uncomfortable traveling down 75 when it was a swimming pool, visibility was nil with grass, gravel and other small objects blowing against the side of my vehicle, once I got there it was a breeze.

“James, you’ve only been to Lakewood 4 times… you’ll see over time how bad it is. After 15 years of going there, I’ve had more than one bad experience… but I repeat, the CONCERTS and MUSIC and ENTERTAINMENT have been fine… it’s the logistics and atmosphere that are major problems.”

I’m sure if I go there enough I’ll have a bad experience eventually, law of averages. I’ve had bad experiences other places so I wouldn’t expect Lakewood to be any different and the CONCERTS, MUISC and ENTERTAINMENT are THE REASONS and ONLY REASONS I go, same as any other venue.

“James, once you go to some shows at Philips Arena (no smoking, climate controlled, plenty of staff on hand, several options for food and parking, etc.) or if you go to Verizon Amphitheatre in Alpharetta (VERY nice staff, incredibly easy to get to, safe neighborhood, much cleaner than Lakewood), you’ll see the difference.”

I’ve been to both Phillips and Verizon and don’t get me started on the smoking ban, this is a free country or it was intended to be. The biggest difference between them is if it storms at a Phillips scheduled event it doesn’t matter, blame mother nature. As for everything else it’s much of the same. I don’t go to hang out in the neighborhood or eat off the sidewalk so I noticed no difference.
.
“Once again… Def Leppard and Heart were AMAZING… the audience ROCKED… the shows were WELL worth it… ”

AGREED, yes they were and it was

“but the venue at Lakewood is VERY POOR”.

Agreed again, but no worse or better than any other place. They all are, why expect any different which was my point to start with.

autigger

June 23rd, 2011
1:09 am

I have been looking so forward to this concert. Seen Def about 6 times but haven’t seen heart in lots of years. First I totaled my car Thursday before Sat. Concert. They wouldn’t help with any accessibility seating so I couldn’t go. Husband went but due to delay he missed most of it so he wouldn’t leave me alone that long. They ought to make some compensation on an upcoming concert or something.