Def Leppard / Styx / Tesla @ The Forum – 09/20/2015
The Forum in Inglewood California played host to the most anticipated trio of powerhouse rock and roll bands on tour this summer Tesla, Styx and Def Leppard on Sunday, September 20th. The atmosphere at the Forum was standard 80’s rock and roll attire, lipstick, leather, spandex and lace. Fashion still a priority despite the makeup melting temperatures of another record breaking heatwave in Southern California. People watching at its best, still as good now as thirty plus years ago.
The show opened with Sacramento rockers Tesla. The Forum crowd was still mingling in as Tesla hit the stage at 7:00pm. Tesla formed in 1984 and is one of the most underrated and hardest working band of its era. The band had their brief share of video fame when they were unfortunately ushered on board the oversaturated hair metal train departing MTV. Tesla still has their obvious devoted fans, including this reviewer, whom arrived early to see vocalist Jeff Keith, bassist Brian Wheat, guitarist Dave Rude, drummer Troy Luccketta and guitarist Frank Hannon.
The opening band, as is customary having limited set time, Tesla stuck to show favorites from the first 4 albums. An outstanding performance presented with straight musicianship without a laser media light show, or encore and however short they delivered just in your face love that is Tesla.
Tesla Setlist: Edison’s Medicine | Gettin’ Better | Hang Tough | Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out) | Signs | Love Song | Little Suzi |Modern Day Cowboy
The crowd now fuller and obviously now warmed up for Chicago based Styx. Taking the stage are the core seasoned veterans guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw, guitarist and vocalist James “JY” Young, and although not founding members still decade newcomers drummer Todd Sucherman, bassist Ricky Phillips, keyboard and vocalist Lawrence Gowman. Styx released their first self-titled album in 1972 and has not stopped touring despite well-known personnel adjustments and the tragic loss of drummer John Panozzo in 1996.
Keyboardist Lawrence Gowman is the perfect showman atop a spinning keyboard with aerial flamboyance an obvious tribute to the great Freddie Mercury quickly made apparent during his short medley of Elton Johns’ Rocket Man, Queens’ Bohemian Rhapsody and Otis Reddings’ Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay. Despite ongoing health issues original bassist Chuck Panozzo was brought onstage
to play ‘Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)’ which brought everyone to a standing ovation continuing until he left the stage at the end of the song. Tommy Shaw always the crowd sweetheart with his eternal youth and non-stop energy. Styx is truly a joyful experience that transcends to the audience and beyond. Styx, a well-deserved name to “P5” the second satellite of Pluto, still making history.
Styx Setlist: Grand Illusion | Too Much Time On My Hands | Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) | Miss America | Lady | Blue Collar Man | Come Sail Away Encore: Rockin The Paradise | Renegade
Down came the Def Leppard curtain to hide the road crew’s preparation of the immense stage and media light show, probably rivaling every hallucinogenic acid trip ever taken. In what seemed 20 minutes but was a reported efficient 15 minutes later the lights go down and a high energy frenzied recorded intro named ‘Disintegrate’ opens the show along with strobes and flashing lights which sets the fans on fire before the curtain is opened to Def Leppard taking the stage. Opening with “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)” and a spectacular light show with the biggest media screen behind the stage this reviewer has ever seen in a venue, with accompanying screens on either side of the stage, just in case someone forgot their glasses and might not be able to see Joe Elliotts belt buckle as he struts down the center walkway designed stage.
Def Leppards’ performance was so tight, still sounding like your high school record. A visual band with honorable mention going to Phil Collens’ 55+ well-oiled shirtless physique as he strutted the Def Leppard catwalk. Mid set Joe Elliot settled the crowd with a solo acoustic version of “Two Steps Behind”. Bass player Rick Savage prepared the fans with a solo leading into “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” with the appropriate following “Switch 625” culminating with an intense Rick Allen drum solo still accompanied with Rick Savage.
Joe Elliot properly introduced tenured newbie since 1992, stunningly healthy, with a full head of thick dark hair, cancer survivor, guitar player Vivian Campbell. The setlist consisted of the top hits, missing was anything from the selftitled new album due to be released late October 2015. Maybe an immediate tour later in support of the new album? Fans can only hope.
Def Leppard hailing all the way from Sheffield, England, together since 1977, has been selling out arenas, setting and breaking records worldwide since their underage vocals hit the U.S and the world. A history lesson is not needed for this band. The fans know the trials, tribulations and bad jokes that Def Leppard has endured and the heights that this band has ascended to now be considered rock and roll royalty in the history of music, so gunter glieben glauchen globen on that.
Def Leppard Setlist: Rock Rock (Til’ You Drop) | Animal | Let It Go | Foolin’ | Paper Sun | Love Bites | Armageddon It | Rock On | Two Steps Behind | Rocket | Bringin’ On The Heartbreak | Switch 625 | Hysteria | Let’s Get Rocked | Pour Some Sugar On Me Encore: Rock of Ages | Photograph
Def Leppard Photo Gallery
Styx Photo Gallery
Tesla Photo Gallery