Def Leppard/Whitesnake/Black Star Riders Wembley Arena 18-12-15


7 years after touring the UK together Def Leppard and Whitesnake return to sold out notices across the country and proving that Gene Simmons thoughts that rock is dead hadn't reached the 12000 people at Wembley Arena.

First up at the un rock n roll time of 6.35 was Black Star Riders who I haven't caught live before.Thankfully dropping the Thin Lizzy name has given them their own identity with 2 well received albums and their 40 minute 8 song set was a mixture of 5 BSR songs and 3 Lizzy classics.

Here is what they played.

All Hell Breaks Loose
Are You Ready
The Killer Instinct
Bound For Glory
Finest Hours
Whiskey In The Jar

Ricky Warwick on vocals and guitar is a great frontman and warmed the crowd up nicely.Surprisingly for me Damon Johnson was by far the most used lead guitarist with Scott Gorham more in the back seat and no drop in quality.
Their own songs went down as well as the classics and all have a Lizzy feel to them but with their own stamp of originality and it is great to see the band standing on their own two feet and not just on the Lizzy name unlike many bands you could name.
They said they will return in 2016 and I will go next time.

How very apt that Deep Purple are finally being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame as David Coverdale and Whitesnake bring the music up to date with the release of their Purple album.
Playing an 80 minute set mixing songs from the Purple album and Snake classics here is what they played.

Bad Boys
Love Ain't No Stranger
The Gypsy
Gimme All Your Love
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
You Fool No One
Drum solo
Soldier Of Fortune
Is This Love
Fool For Your Loving
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night

Every review of a live Whitesnake show brings up David's voice so I won't disappoint anyone.When he roared at the start of opener Burn my first thought was oh dear as it was poor.But as time wore on and he warmed it was a lot better and for god's sake the man is 64 and I have to add on the classic Soldier Of Fortune with just accompaniment from Joel Hoeskstra on an acoustic guitar he sounded fantastic in the lower register.
And he is still the ultimate front man with a vast array of microphone stand shenanigan's to keep us entertained.

He is very clever as he surrounds himself with superb musicians who all provide excellent back up vocals and of course the crowd love to sing a chorus.

On this tour the guitar team sees a change with Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger,Trans Siberian Orchestra and Rock Of Ages on Broadway fame replacing Doug Aldrich.The man was a born rock star with every guitar pose known to man and a few more besides and he is a superb player too and works well in tandem with Reb Beach who has his moment up front on a lengthy solo during Mistreated.

The rhythm team of Tommy Aldridge on drums and Michael Devin on bass are as solid as they come and Devin's back up vocals are spot on.

After a monumental Still Of The Night they leave and Wembley rises to them and we still have a headline act yet.

Big kudo's to the roadies who manage to turn it round in 20 minutes and onto Def Leppard who are touring in support of their self titled new album their first in 7 years.

With a 80 minutes set they ram as many songs as they can in the allotted time and here is what they played.

Let's Go
Love Bites
Armageddon It
Rock On
Two Steps Behind
When Love And Hate Collide
Switch 625
Let's Get Rocked
Pour Some Sugar On Me

Encores of Rock Of Ages

Again with Joe Elliott there is always the voice question and in my opinion he sounded very good with clever use of the crowd for choruses and 4 back up vocalists who were all superb.

Like Whitesnake how do you choose a setlist when you have a near 40 year career and if I am honest they play it safe with a mainly greatest hit's set with only 2 from the new album which was a shame.Opener Let's Go seems to be made up of bits of their own classic songs but the other newie played Dangerous was superb with some sparkling lead guitar from Phil Collen.

Good to see Undefeated still in the set as the huge riff is born for live shows but I am sure most of the crowd thought what was this!

I could also do without their cover of David Essex's Rock On although Leppardized with great bass work from Rick Savage it is just passable.

The huge lighting rig and led back screens were now in full working order with plenty going on including many old band photo's and assorted backdrops all added to the full on arena experience.Great sound for all 3 act's too.

Great to see a healthy Viv Campbell who I still feel is under used and will shortly show off all his chops with Last In Line which I have been lucky enough to hear and the man is a star on it.

The whole band seemed to be having a ball which is great to see as they are on the road so often and Wembley on this occasion was as loud as I have heard it.

Classic followed classic and a solo Joe Two Steps Behind gave the crowd a chance to sing along too and Rocket had the light rig in it's full glory and the band firing on all cylinders.

Switch 625 saw some guitar duelling from Viv and Phil and soon into the encores and Rock Of Ages saw Rick Allen getting the bow he deserves. 
I was fortunate enough to be at Donington in 1985 to see their first major performance after his accident and 30 years later he still amazes with his percussive genius and again sir we salute you.

Finishing with the in my opinion the perfect 4 minute rock pop song of Photograph with plenty of Phil Collen soloing and we again rose to our feet for another British band we should be proud of.

A fantastic night showcasing British talent and longevity and one to live in the memory.

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