Concert Review: DEF LEPPARD, POISON, CHEAP TRICK – 7/23/09

Def Leppard, Poison, Cheap Trick


DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI

In the days leading to this show, we weren’t sure how the weather was going to be. For the past two weeks, the days in this region have been cloudy one minute, looking like it’s about to pour, then the sun would come out. They were calling for thunderstorms in the Clarkston area starting at 4PM and lasting through 11PM, but luckily that didn’t happen even though clouds did come and go for awhile right around 7PM when the show started. It wasn’t too hot either (80 degrees is still warmer than I would like though).

I bought another t-shirt. I really wanted to get either a Def Leppard or Poison tour shirt, listing the dates on the back, but my fiancee convinced me to get a really cool winged skull Def Leppard t-shirt. It looks similar to this one, but the graphic is a bit different (and cooler looking) plus it’s a dark brown color. I picked out the pink Poison t-shirt for my girl, who was wanting a Def Leppard shirt but I convinced her girls always look hot in pink.

We got to DTE pretty early, making better time than we made coming here last week, so we stood around the east entrance waiting until they opened the gates (which they were late doing for some reason). The cool thing about arriving so early was that we got there to hear the final few minutes of Def Leppard’s soundcheck.

The show was a sellout, which I figured would be the case thanks to all the MILFs that grew up on Poison & Def Leppard plus because of Bret’s recent rise in popularity as a reality TV show star. We had tried to upgrade our tickets at the box office (in fear of bad weather) so we could get under the pavilion, but there were no tickets left to upgrade to.

Cheap Trick setlist

“She’s Tight”
“I Want You To Want Me”
“These Days”
“Never Had A Lot To Lose”
“Sick Man of Europe”
“Dream Police”
“The Flame”

Oh my! Cheap Trick actually hit the stage at the scheduled showtime of 7PM! Seems like every concert I go to, the show begins 15-20 minutes before the announced starting time. They immediately had the crowd in the palm of their hand. DTE was about half full and filling up rapidly as they hit the stage.

The start of the show was pretty weird. It began with a bunch of sound clips from TV/movies/whatever or people mentioning Cheap Trick or singing their songs and it also had a bit of their song “Transformers (The Fallen Remix)” from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album soundtrack. This went on for a number of minutes.

I’m 95% sure this is the correct setlist. I know they played “She’s Tight” in there somewhere even though I don’t have it in my notes and my notes also left off what they opened with, so I’m assuming it actually was “She’s Tight”. Regardless, they did a fantastic job and the crowd ate it up. They had one of the cleanest sounds I have ever heard live and Zander’s voice was in fine form and really popped the crowd during “The Flame” (“I will be the flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmme!”). For a song that the band has expressed displeasure with over the years, “The Flame” went over extremely well with the crowd.

I’ve never been a huge Cheap Trick fan, but I can’t imagine any diehards being disappointed with this performance at all.

Poison setlist

“Look What The Cat Dragged In”
“Ride the Wind”
“Your Mama Don’t Dance”
C.C. DeVille solo
“Fallen Angel”
“Something to Believe In”
“Unskinny Bop”
Rikki Rockett solo
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
“Talk Dirty to Me”
“Nothin’ But A Good Time”

Poison was as over as water in the desert. As Cheap Trick was winding down their set, DTE was at full capacity and the place came unglued for Poison, especially the ladies. Poison could easily come back next year and sell out at DTE if last night was any indication. This isn’t a knock on Def Leppard, but had the show ended with Poison, I think most people would’ve gone home happy!

There was too much buzz in the mix, which made it hard to listen to at some points, but overall, the band gave it their all and put on a solid show with Bret being the great showman that he is, running and jumping and taking time to talk to the crowd. It’s a great touch when the bands actually remember the venues and cities and talk about their history there. Numerous times Bret mentioned playing in Detroit in the early years, getting their start at Blondie’s, moving up to Harpo’s and then Pine Knob (what it was called before the corporate buyout and name change to DTE Energy in 2002). Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielson also commented on Pine Knob (“…or whatever the fuck they’re calling it!”) and cited Detroit as being the first city to put Cheap Trick on the radio.

I’d love for Poison to finally get their heads on straight and put out a new album so we could get a setlist change. Or at least for them to start pulling some lesser-played songs out of their catalog. These are great songs they play live now, but even if you haven’t seen Poison live before (which I hadn’t), you’ve already heard these songs a million times.

Def Leppard setlist

“Rock Rock (Till You Drop)”
“Too Late For Love”
“Nine Lives”
“Love Bites”
“Rock On”
“Two Steps Behind” [acoustic]
“Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”
“Switch 625”
“Armageddon It”
“Pour Some Sugar On Me”
“Rock Of Ages”
“Let’s Get Rocked”

AMAZING show from these guys. Just like Cheap Trick, the sound was very clean and they are both tied for the best live sounds I’ve heard yet. I loved the stage set up too and the big video screens they had playing throughout the show.

I was really looking forward to watching Vivian and Phil play and they did not disappoint. Def Leppard is a band of professionals and everyone sounded great all night long. I didn’t think Joe’s voice was that strong anymore in a live setting, but he proved me wrong (only once or twice did I hear his voice strain).

The setlist was great and nearly perfect for a first-timer seeing them live. My only beef is that they skipped over the Euphoria album, which was a surprising success in 1999, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to acknowledge it. “Promises” fits in with their classic material and I wish they would have played it. I also would’ve love to have heard “Man Love Like A Man” from Adrenalize. “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” was a great choice to open the show. “Too Late for Love” was another highlight for me.

This whole tour is definitely one worth seeing. The tickets can be a little pricey (definitely more so than last week’s Judas Priest/Whitesnake show) but it’s money well spent to see these three bands play. All three are great live acts.

Posted on July 25, 2009, in Concert Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I believe Cheap Trick opened with “Way of the World.” Glad you enjoyed their part of the show!

  2. Well I got to see this show at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. it was a great show too, it was my first rock concert I went to and at the time I never listened to much Cheap trick, but I started listening to them more and I think your description can pretty much some up there whole tour last summer

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