Concert Review: Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx (yes, you heard me right!)

After work today, our geeky foursome set off toward White River Ampitheater with our Microsoft emblazened blankets in Ethan’s shiny black H3 to hear some RAWK N ROLL!  We’d been singing “Gunter glieben glauchen globen” to each other all week and were ready to experience three seminal bands from our youth.

Styx was on first and they sounded great.  They did “Renegade” which was especially rockin but oddly enough left out “Mr. Roboto”.  I just took a look at the band’s history on Wikipedia and I think I know why – there was a long rift in the band between the more rockin guys and the more theatrical writer of “Mr. Roboto” and the theatrical guy isn’t in the band currently.  That’s fine with me personally, but I know a lot of people were wondering why it was left out.  And they left out “Babe” too which is bizarre!

I was most excited to see Foreigner and they kicked ass. I’ve been listening to their Hits album “Records” on my motorcycle a lot recently and it’s amazing how many good songs they have.  The mix was too light on the bass which was unfortunate but they sounded really stellar, especially their singer who apparently is new (!) which I didn’t even realize during the show (Asta did though! Go figure!).  He was just awesome. Jason Bonham (son of John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin) is now on drums and they even did a Zeppelin cover which was amazing and surreal.  I would even venture to say they’d be better in concert musically  than Led Zeppelin, simply because Robert Plant’s range is down to about four notes now.  Speaking of which…

Then Def Leppard came on – they seemed very MTV compared to the other bands.  They turned on huge video screens (why weren’t they used for the other bands?  That seemed disrespectful when you could argue that the other bands were just as historically important and rocked as hard as DL) and the guitarists were shirtless and looked like they did sit ups all day.  Lots of close ups of guitars against their six-packs.  This would have been all well and good if Joe Elliot sounded better.  I remember reading a review years ago that described Joe’s vocal style as “the sound of a thousand dudes” and while it made me laugh, it’s just really true.  They overdub his voice so many times on record that it has this effect like it’s tons of guys singing in unison.  Now I think I know why – his voice just isn’t that great all alone.  He sang flat at times and I’d say over 50% of the time you couldn’t hear him at all.  I’m not sure if it was because he was just faking singing during the higher portions (all the chorus’!) or if they had some effect on his vocals that just wasn’t leveled right but the result was very disappointing.  Asta was crushed. 

However, this meant we got to leave early and beat the traffic which at the White River saves about an hour of sitting in gridlock.  In general it was a fun, memorable night, and it’s always good to be among friends enjoyin the RAWK!

8 thoughts on “Concert Review: Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx (yes, you heard me right!)

  1. I saw Foreigner in 1978 and drove my sister crazy by singing the accompaniment "cold as cold as cold as cold as ice" over and over and over again.
    Funny remarking on Def Leppard vocal wizardry–the overdubs are so necessary, obviously, but it never occured to me that they alter the pitch ever so slightly both ways to compensate for the lack of ability to hit the note.
    This now brings me to my absolute RANT about Whitney Houstons’ *lack* of an overdub when she sang sharp ALLLLLLLL the time. Anthony Keidis is always gratingly flat. Overdub that dude!
    Your mileage may vary. I used to help tune the band, back when I could actually hear, so this stuff drives me absolutely nuts.

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