Def Leppard – Minnesota State Fair 2015

Def Leppard brought their show to the opening of the Minnesota State Fair this August, much to the delight of the sold out crowd. With Tesla and Styx, it’s a mix of 70’s and 80’s rock that very much screams summertime.

This was only the second time I had seen Def Leppard, and the first time in a bigger venue. The first time I saw them was at The Quest in Minneapolis, over a decade ago, so it was very different. I was excited because Def Leppard is a fun band, through and through. If I’m going to a fair and it’s warm out, we’re all eating things that are bad for us on a stick, and having a good time in general, Def Leppard would be a band to see. I have to say that they did not disappoint, but the rest of the show seemed a bit off.

To begin with, Tesla should have been prior to Def Leppard, not Styx. Tesla fits the mold of playing alongside Def Leppard much more. I found it a bit bizarre that Styx was even on the bill, as the band is far different than the other two. Tesla did a great job opening, clearly having a great time on stage. They built up the crowd very well for the next two bands, but I feel they would have been better after Styx. I felt that those who hadn’t shown up and missed Tesla, missed out on a lot. They played a set of hits, which is always fun, including the ever popular, “Signs” and “Love Song”.

Styx was second to stage. I am not a Styx fan in the least, but I understand their following and appreciate what they do. They played a number of tunes from “The Grand Illusion” and did a medley of covers, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Rocket Man”, and “Dock of the Bay”. Their set was very short, only ten songs, but they covered a number of their hits as well, such as “Lady”, “Renegade”, “Come Sail Away”, and more. I heard a number of complaints that they were showboating too much, but I didn’t feel that way. Styx has always been a bit over the top in their stage production, but that’s how they are.

Def Leppard opened with “Rock! Rock! (Til You Drop)”, “Animal” and many more hits. The crowd was crazy to see them and they seemed just as enthusiastic. It was great to see Vivian Campbell looking happy and healthy at the show, as he has been battling cancer for over a year. Looking at him, you wouldn’t know it if you weren’t familiar with news. He was fantastic. Speaking of looking healthy, Phil Collen, was looking as buffed and toned as usual. I wouldn’t want to be any of the other guys in the band standing next to him.

There were a number of people complaining about Joe Elliot’s voice. I spend a lot of time at shows starring rock and heavy metal singers from the 1980’s, and I have heard worse than Joe Elliot. It’s called Vince Neil. After you see him, you can go pretty much nowhere but up and Joe Elliot had some shortcomings, but it’s to be expected after all these years of singing. People can only do so much as they age.

The show was fun. It was a wonderful additional to the great Minnesota get together. It was certainly one of those memorable shows in that the atmosphere, environment, weather, and everything melted together to create something to look back on.