If you are a rock and roll fan then you are not going to want to miss the rare opportunity of seeing Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, and Tesla while they are all on tour together this summer. Each of these bands on their own defines classic rock of the seventies and eighties. When you put them all together for one concert they create a show that is completely unforgettable. With around 123 years of combined experienced between all three bands you are truly watching masters at work once they take the stage.
I was recently at one of their stops on their summer tour and, as predicted, they did not disappoint. First to take the stage was Tesla – the youngest band of the trio having first formed in 1981. Jeff Keith and the rest of the band belted out classic hits like “Hang Tough”, “Signs”, and “Rock Me To The Top” with impeccable vocals and of course Keith’s usual flare – his personality lighting up the whole show. They slowed things down with a spotlight performance of their most well known ballad “Love Song” and ended their show by thanking their fans for their years of support. This group exudes a fun, positive energy that could be felt throughout the whole arena.
Next to take the stage was REO Speedwagon – the most seasoned of the bunch with nearly fifty years of experience in the music industry. Having performed in the ’60s on through to the present this band truly knows what rock and roll is all about because they have lived through decades of changes and growth in the genre. Out of the three bands the crowd sang along the most with REO Speedwagon’s signature power ballads like “Keep On Lovin’ You”, “Take It On The Run”, “Can’t Fight This Feelin'”, and “Time For Me To Fly”. Although REO Speedwagon’s set may have been dominated by many slower tracks there was no shortage of energy from both the band and the crowd.
After a short break Def Leppard took the stage for the most anticipated performance of the night. Having formed in England in 1977 with nearly forty years of experience performing rock shows around the world Def Leppard proved why they are among the most revered rock bands to ever take any stage. They lit up the house with hits like “Love Bites”, “Rock of Ages”, “Bringing On The Heartbreak”, and “Foolin'”. Each song was given its own unique lighting effects and stage props making it not only an amazing show to hear but also a colorful and exciting show to watch.
Phil Cohen mesmerized the crowd with his skills on the guitar while the unparalleled talent of their drummer, Rick Allen, was showcased in a several minute long drum solo which left the crowd cheering and Allen smiling ear to ear while he then took the time to raise his hands, look up, and thank the Lord for “everything”. After almost a two hour long show the stage went black to which the crowd responded by cheering, clapping, and stomping their feet for an encore – which shook the entire sold out arena. The band took the stage again to deafening cheers and proceeded to play a ten minute long encore before closing the show.
Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, and Tesla each bring something unique to this lineup. Each band carries along with it a different feel allowing the crowd to experience several different aspects of rock and roll in one show. One thing, though, that was a common thread throughout the entire night was that hard to describe element that only bands who have been performing together for decades possess. All three of these bands are full of well seasoned performers. They’ve aged well like a fine wine and have only gotten better with time. The “seriousness” of the business seems to have rolled off of all of them and what you are left with are these groups of friends who have become family. They have bonded over years of trials and changes and have stuck it out through everything and are still here having the time of their lives together.
One aspect of the show that I loved during Def Leppard’s set was that they kept showing photos of the band through the years on the screens behind them along with video footage from old concerts. When you watch all of these bands perform after having decades of experiences together – its indescribable. The dynamic and the energy and the bond between them can be felt by everyone in the room. This is something that you don’t get with new bands. This intangible element that forms over time is what really brings this and any classic rock show to the top of my list of favorite shows to attend. To find out where you can see them perform near you be sure to visit ticketmaster.com. You won’t want to miss it!