Def Leppard and Journey Rocked Hartford and I Was There
After a crazy week, CT was ready to rock out and blow off a little steam. We certainly got our chance Monday night as Journey and Def Leppard kicked off their tour at the XL Center.
It was the first night of a 60-city tour, and both bands seemed more than ready to go. Def Leppard got things going first, with a video montage that kicked right into "Rocket." It was all hits from then on: "Animal," "Foolin'," "Let's Get Rocked" and so on for an hour and a half. Joe Elliott can still hit all the high notes and everyone sounded great. He interacted with the crowd a lot, and the whole band came out onto the catwalk for an acoustic version of "Two Steps Behind" that had everyone singing along. After closing out the set with "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (the long version that includes the instrumental jam "Switch 625" at the end,) "Hysteria" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me," they took a brief break, came back for an encore of "Rock Of Ages" with drummer Rick Allen doing the famous German-gibberish count-off, and wrapped up the night with "Photograph."
I could have gone home happy right then and there, but we still had a whole show from Journey still to come. They were up for the challenge, with a triple shot of hits right out of the chute: "Separate Ways," "Be Good To Yourself" and "Only The Young." Neal Schon took his first of two guitar solos before launching into "Stone In Love." Jonathan Cain got his turn in the spotlight with an extended piano solo before "Open Arms," and drummer Steve Smith took a long solo coming out of their vintage album cut "La Do Da." After a second solo from Schon, "Wheel In The Sky," "Faithfully" and "Don't Stop Believin'" closed out the regular set, with an encore of "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" sending everyone home happy.
Journey singer Arnel Pineda has big shoes to fill singing Steve Perry's iconic vocal parts, but he hits all the right notes, sounds just like Steve and is a ball of energy onstage.
If you missed it, the tour circles back around to Madison Square Garden in NYC on June 13.
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