Concert Review: Def Leppard and Kiss Rocket Out Loud In Portland

Two of rocks biggest classic acts took to the road just a few days ago and stopped by Portland, OR on the third date of what’s sure to be 42 sold-out performances.

Def Lep stage shot
Def Leppard at Sleep Country Amphitheater

Def Leppard and the now Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Kiss brought hits, loud and a whole lot of people to the Sleep Country Amphitheater on Friday in Ridgefield, WA just outside of Portland, OR for their co-headlining tour that also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the iconic band that wears make-up.

Def Leppard grabbed the stage first after entering to The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and playing the ending live before guitarist Phil Collen got things started with “Let It Go.” The British five-some then ripped off three straight singles with “Rocket,” “Animal,” and “Foolin’” before giving a nod to their massive female base with the balled “Love Bites” which was probably the most cellphone videoed of the night.

Joe Elliott and Vivian Cambel
Joe Elliott on Acoustic with Vivian Campbell behind him

After pumping the crowd back up with “Let’s Get Rocked” the band gave drummer Rick Allen a bit of a break as singer Joe Elliott brought out an acoustic guitar, as did Collen and guitarist Vivian Campbell for “Two Steps Behind.” The acoustics continued with another female favorite “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” but halfway through Allen came back and the electric guitars roared to life for a rousing finish to the song.

Sure, it’s true Elliott no longer can hit the high notes but it’s not as if he’s straining to reach them and cracks out. Instead, he knows his limits and stops there. His lower registered vocals actually give a new dimension to the songs that you’d expect from a live performance anyway. When he’s not wailing, it’s classic Elliott, like on “Photograph” he sounds just fine live. Overall, these veterans of the stage play tight and the interplay between Collen and Campbell is great to watch.

Def Leppard is not known for long blistering solos but instead short and melodic and sometimes more than one solo per song that both guitarists trade off on and even play together. Campbell who is fighting a return of his Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which went into remission last year, played great and showed no ill effects of the disease.

Def Leppard finished their first set before the encore with the instrumental “Switch 625,” another female favorite in “Hysteria,” the all-out “Armageddon It” and of course “Pour Some Sugar on Me” which they nailed. They closed with “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.”

The band had a pretty stripped down stage set and perhaps that was a result of them “opening” for Kiss but the setlist was a bit slim for an act of their caliber and was little different than their last tour which even they described more or less as a “hits” tour.

Def Leppard thanks the crowd

Yes, all the radio singles were in play but they can get away with some deep album tracks and even newer songs. “Undefeated” is practically brand new – just three years old now – is classic Def Leppard and great live. Left off. No “High and Dry.” The band is also working on a new album set for release next year and is something they could have given a sneak preview of.

The spectacle that is Kiss brought what Def Leppard’s set lacked with an over-the-top, immense stage show featuring booming pyrotechnics, lots of fire, awesome lighting and a gigantic mechanical spider that served as a sometimes stage lifting members of the band above the crowd.

Gene Simmons high above the stage

Kiss started off with “King of the Night Time World” with Paul Stanley on vocals followed by “Deuce” giving Gene Simmons the mic and then the punk-rock sounding “Psycho Circus.”

“War Machine” brought great guitar chords and flames as Simmons spit fire. Audience favorite “Shout It Out Loud” did exactly that and the thumping “Christine Sixteen” kept the energy going. The iconic “Lick It Up” involved a great extended guitar jam that mixed in, once again, The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” before Simmons’ blood spitting bass solo and his flying venture to a raised platform where he played along with “I Love It Loud.”

Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley plays to the crowd

The ultimate garage band, Kiss doesn’t exactly have the melodies and even affectional music like Def Leppard. It’s heavy one-two punch hitting with straight up hard rock guitar chords. However, “Hide Your Heart” is a well-crafted song and “Let me Go, Rock ‘N Roll” gives a great beat and featured excellent soloing by guitarist Tommy Thayer.

Adding even more to the already crazy antics of the evening, Stanley flew out over the crowd holding on to a pulley and played “Love Gun” on a platform in the middle of the amphitheater. Drummer Eric Singer took over vocal duties for “Black Diamond” as Stanley flew back to the main stage.

Never ones to follow, Kiss sets a new precedence by eschewing the typical encore and instead, as Stanley put it “Why waste time,” the band encored without encoring “Detroit Rock City” and of course the always great “Rock and Roll All Nite” complete with graffiti and an actual “grand finale” of sorts fireworks show and Stanley destroying his guitar on stage.

Def Leppard Setlist: Sleep Country Amphitheater – Portland, OR

  1. Let It Go
  2. Rocket
  3. Animal
  4. Foolin’
  5. Love Bites
  6. Let’s Get Rocked
  7. Two Steps Behind
  8. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  9. Switch 625
  10. Hysteria
  11. Armageddon It
  12. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  13. Rock of Ages
  14. Photograph

Kiss Setlist: Sleep Country Amphitheater – Portland, OR

  1. King of the Night Time World
  2. Deuce
  3. Psycho Circus
  4. War Machine
  5. Shout It Out Loud
  6. Christine Sixteen
  7. Lick It Up
  8. I Love It Loud
  9. Hide Your Heart
  10. Let me Go, Rock ‘N Roll
  11. Love Gin
  12. Black Diamond
  13. Detroit Rock City
  14. Rock and Roll All Nite

 

Def Leppard & Kiss at White River Amphitheater – Seattle

 

Similar show as in Portland. Not nearly as many fans. Hundreds of empty seats – so much so that LiveNation offered $10 upgrades for those in the lawn to sit in seats.

 

Def Leppard Setlist: White River Amphitheater – Seattle, WA

  1. Let It Go
  2. Rocket
  3. Animal
  4. Foolin’
  5. Love Bites
  6. Let’s Get Rocked
  7. Two Steps Behind
  8. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  9. Switch 625
  10. Hysteria
  11. Armageddon It
  12. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  13. Rock of Ages
  14. Photograph

Kiss Setlist: White River Amphitheater – Seattle, WA

  1. King of the Night Time World
  2. Deuce
  3. Psycho Circus
  4. War Machine
  5. Shout It Out Loud
  6. Christine Sixteen
  7. Lick It Up
  8. I Love It Loud
  9. Hide Your Heart
  10. Let me Go, Rock ‘N Roll
  11. Love Gin
  12. Black Diamond
  13. Detroit Rock City
  14. Rock and Roll All Nite

 

Written By: AndrewT

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