Concerts in Review: @ DTE Detroit

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music, Concert Reviews,   From Issue 620   By: Jamie Griffin

17th August, 2006     0

Tesla and Skid Row  (July 20th)

Within the many languages of the world, one is universal.  The language of music transcends not only borders but also definition and time.  A prime example of this is the rock group Tesla.  Celebrating their 20th anniversary, they are still playing to large crowds.  A band straight out of the 80s, Tesla defines musicianship and energy in their live show.

They proved this to the crowd at DTE Energy Music Theater on July 20th. 

Opening the show with Comin’ at Cha Live, the band did just that.  The energy exhibited by the band was uncanny.  With dueling guitars and powerful vocals Tesla lit up the crowd.  Singer Jeff Keith bounced around the stage like a man half his age.  He powered the band through the hits No Way Out and Little Suzie.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the night was how guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude (filling in for original guitarist Tommy Skeoch) seemed to be feeding off of each others energy.  Just when one played a killer riff the other came at you guns blazing with another.  The band left the stage at one point and Hannon and Rude sat on the side of stage with their
acoustic guitars playing the intricate, delicate intro to the bands most recognizable song, Love Song.  Anyone in attendance couldn'thelp but be impressed by the musicianship of these two.  It was a thing of beauty to watch. 

The band also played tribute to the legacy of Detroit Rock and Roll and played Ted Nugent's Free for All. The group ended their show with Back Sabbath's War Pigs and Modern Day Cowboy off of 1986s Mechanical Resonance. 

Also on the bill for the night was Las Vegas natives Slaughter.  They dedicated their song Fly to the Angels to the soldiers serving in Iraq.  Singer Mark Slaughter ventured out into the crowd and sang Up all Night before leaving the stage to make way for their touring partners Skid Row.

Skid Row hit the stage to a pumped up crowd.  They opened their set with Thick is the Skin, off the album Thickskin.  Skid Row proved that they could still entertain a crowd after all these years.  Singer Johnny Solinger thundered through the hit 18th and Life before playing what he called the perfect summer picnic song.  I Remember You; Solinger called it the
perfect backyard drinking sing along.  It was easy to see why.  I don't think there was a mute voice at DTE during this song.  The band then ended with Youth Gone Wild.  Skid Row set the stage perfectly for the rest of the night. 

 In the words of Tesla's Jeff Keith "It's only what you give, It's not what you got. On this night in July Tesla gave a lot to the crowd and got a lot of fan support in return.  Tesla seemed to be playing for themselves just as much as for the fans.  You could see that after 20 years they still enjoy sharing the stage with each other.  They have a chemistry that one wouldn’t expect to see 20 years into a career. Whatever it is it defiantly works. I guess that just the way that it goes!  


Journey/ Def Leppard (July 24th)

On a hot night July 24th, both stadium rockers Journey and Def Leppard played host to a sold out crowd at DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston.  The evening started with Neil Schon playing a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner accompanied by Jonathan Cain on Keyboards.   While Journey's singer Steve Augeri was noticeably absent due to illness, replacement Jeff Scott Soto (Neil Schon Band) stepped in to fuel the fire of thousands of sweltering fans.

While Sotos vocals weren't exactly reminiscent of Augeri or original Journey singer Steve Perry, the young man did a great job of entertaining the crowd. He brought a power and soulful ness all his own. Running all over stage and playing with Neil Schon, Dean Castronovo and Jonathan Cain, Soto seemed right at home. 

Belting out the hits Wheel In The Sky, and Who's Crying Now, Soto thanked the band for letting him live the summer of his dreams.  While Soto did most of the singing Drummer Castronovo did vocal duties on Faithfully and Open Arms.   The energy that Soto
brought to the stage was uncanny especially during songs like Don’t Stop Believing and Chain Reaction. It looked as if the veterans and the crowd loved every minute of it.   After a few lesser-known songs, the band closed with Separate Ways and Any Way You Want It.   

After Journey warmed the crowd up, Def Leppard came out to send the show into overdrive.  Out in support of their recent covers album Yeah, The band opened with their rendition of Sweets Hellraiser.  Shortly after they opened the show, singer Joe Elliot asked the crowd the seminal question of a rock show. Do you wanna get rocked?  Of course the crowd responded with a very loud answer.  After all that's what the night was all about.  Good old-fashioned rock and roll. Sprinkling their set with a few covers Def Leppard pounded through the classics like Rocket, Armageddon It, and Photograph.  Featuring clips of the bands past and present, the show resembled an episode of this is your life Def Leppard. Guitarist Vivian Campbell shredded through solos during Rocket and Armageddon
The show slowed down a bit when they played the first single off Yeah!, a haunting cover of David Essex's Rock On. Bassist Rick Savage played a monster Bass solo before erupting into the song.  After a hit packed set Def Leppard encored with their two biggest hits.  Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar on Me.         

Just being in the venue to hear drummer Rick Allan’s Gunter Glieben Gloten Globen intro to Armageddon It was entertaining enough.  Factor In that he is a one armed drummer and you have all of the makings of a great rock show.  This was defiantly one for the ages.

With ticket prices topping out at $88 the crowd ate the show up.  It was easy to see that Def Leppard has bridged the gap between new and old.  Performing the song Rock of Ages the band proved that you only get better with age. 

Every fan left the show with a different highlight. Whether it was the jet-fueled version of Rocket or the slow tender sound of Open Arms; Journey and Def Leppard proved that you don't have to be young to put on a great show.  You just have to have the desire and love for what you do.  After singing about rock and desire for a combined 50 years I think both these acts have proven that they have not only the desire and love for what they do but also for the fans that allow them to do it.  One can only wonder what they can do to top this show.  I guess we'll see next year. 


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