Review: Def Leppard/Journey Show

Another adventure at Nissan Pavillion Friday night, where the journey to and from rivals the perils of Frodo and company to Mordor. The only reason to put up with such a trek is when Good Bands show up.

This time, it was Journey and Def Leppard.

Long without singer Steve Perry, and now without Steve Augeri as he recovers from a throat infection, the power-ballad masters let Jeff Scott Soto take the mic and belt such classics as Don’t Stop Believin’, Wheel in the Sky, Faithfully, Open Arms, Be Good to Yourself and others.

A casual Journey fan, such as myself, probably wouldn’t notice the difference in sound, just Soto’s stage presence. Augeri, with the long hair and white low-cut blouses, has the look for a band such as Journey, while the dread-locked Soto seems he’d be more comfortable fronting a heavy metal band. It was Soto’s first stand-in for this summer’s tour, and he didn’t do a bad job at all (for a casual fan, that is).

A year after touring with Bryan Adams, Def Leppard is now on the road promoting their cover album Yeah! (Read my Amazon review of the album here). For Def Lep, it was business as usual. The four Brits and a Scot opened with Let It Go from the High N’ Dry album, then Let’s Get Rocked from Adrenalize and Promises from Euphoria. From Pyromania, they performed Photograph, Foolin’ and Rock of Ages. They also did three Yeah! songs in a row: No Matter What, Rock On, and 20th Century Boy. Perfect time for a beer run.

They did a few more songs than usual off of the Hysteria album, including Animal, Armageddon It, and Hysteria, songs they don’t always do at their shows. They didn’t even pause in between some of these – each bled into the next. And of course, they did Rocket – an extended version – and came out for an encore with Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar on Me.

The show ended almost at 11 p.m., and it seemed they could’ve squeezed another into the mix, such as Bringin’ on the Heartbreak. But that wasn’t too big of a disapointment, because after all, Leppard likes to tour, and doesn’t shun D.C. (although I wish they’d shun Nissan and go to Merriweather Post). Joe Elliot ended the evening saying they’d be back.

And when that happens, we will come.