On Wednesday, September 28, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, and Tesla rolled into Boise. Any of these multi=platinum selling rock bands could have deservedly headlined Taco Bell Arena, so getting all three on the same bill was a bit of rock and roll magic for Treasure Valley fans. Each band blends well with the other while having a unique style gave this show (and tour) wonderful sonic balance.Combined, the three band’s have sold in excess of 50 million records and boast a superabundance of hit radio singles, and fan favorite classic rock anthems.
Sacramento’s Tesla started off the show. The band recently released it’s latest live record, Mechanical Resonance Live,which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the down to earth rocker’s debut record. The album also features a new studio single, “Save That Goodness”, which was penned and produced by Def Leppard’s Phil Collen. Collen joined Tesla on stage to perform the song which became an instant highlight of the group’s 8-song set. Frontman Jeff Keith immediately grabbed the crowd on the show opener, “Rock Me to The Top,” and drummer Troy Luccketta and bassist Brian Wheat laid down a thundering rhythm for “Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time).” Tesla kept the hard rocking pace with “Heavens Trail (No Way Out)”, before slowing the pace on tracks like “Signs,” “Love Song” and “Little Suzi”. The band closed it out with the riff-driven rocker, “Modern Day Cowboy” paced by the fiery fretwork of Frank Hannon and Dave Rude.
Illinois-based quintet, REO Speedwagon rolled onto the stage next to deliver a set packed with hits including show openers “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Take it On the Run” from their 1981 break out album Hi Infidelity from which they also performed “Tough Guys” and #1 hit, “Keep on Loving You.” Frontman Kevin Cronin then guided the band back 40 years to its’ 1976 R.E.O. record for the early hit, “Keep Pushin’”. Band co-founder and keyboardist Neal Doughty led off the band’s longest charting #1 single “I Can’t Fight this Feeling,” and bassist Bruce Hall took over vocal duties for “Back on the Road Again.” Drummer Brian Hitt and guitarist Dave Amato propelled the group through the seminal classic, “Ridin’ the Storm Out.” REO ended their set on “Roll with the Changes.”
Def Leppard has always been a dynamic live band, and this tour continues to showcase the Sheffield quintet’s ability to play tight, energetic shows. The group, which turns 40 next year and is touring in support of its 2015 self-titled album, dazzled the Boise crowd with 17 songs culled from their four decades of albums. Included among them were three tracks; “Dangerous,” “Let’s Go,” and “Man Enough” from the new record. The largest part of the set was dedicated to their iconic 25 million-plus selling 1987 album, Hysteria, from which they performed six songs; “Women,” “Armageddon It,” “Rocket,” “Animal,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and the title track. Vocalist Joe Elliott sounds as good as ever, and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell remain among the most underrated fret-masters of their era. Bassist Rick Savage’s bass rumbled and rolled through old school tracks like “Let it Go” and “Foolin’” while drummer Rick Allen put on a thunderous display of footwork on hits like “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Switch 625.” Visually Def Leppard utilized a stunning light array and three massive video screens to bombastic effect. As always, the band’s multi-part vocal harmonies were near flawless. The group came out for two encores, performing their classic hits “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” to close out the evening’s festivities.
Photographer Suzette Mansfield was on hand to capture the magic.
Click on any photo to view as a slideshow.
All photos © 2016 Suzette Mansfield Photography @ I Rock 2 Photography