I went to the Def Leppard/Styx/Foreigner show last night at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA. I was flying solo again because all of my friends have “retired” from the concert scene, they only go to the “important” shows (KISS, Ozzy, Maiden, Priest, etc). Their loss is my gain because it’s always easier to get a good seat when you are only buying one. I had 10th row for the show so I was really looking forward to it.
The Tweeter Center is an outdoor arena with 10,000 seats under the roof, a seated lawn, and a grass lawn. Capacity is around 18,000-20,000 so it’s a decent size. It’s a good place to see a concert and I have seen many over the years. It’s also about 15 minutes from home so that helps. Usually when there are three bands on the bill, the seated area under the roof is sparse for the opener. It was packed for Foreigner…..
Foreigner setlist (45mins):
- Double Vision
- Head Games
- Cold As Ice
- Dirty White Boy
- Feels Like The First Time
- Jukebox Hero/Whole Lotta Love
- Hot Blooded
Let me tell you, Mick Jones looks OLD! I was on his side of the stage and he just looked his age, he can still play though! Jason Bonham was behind the drum kit and Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken) was on bass. Obviously a tight rhythm section. The highlight of the performance was lead singer Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane). Kelly performed each song extremely well and sounded very close to the great Lou Gramm at times. The band played to a packed house and didn’t disappoint. Best song of the set: ‘Dirty White Boy’…..but they were really great live so all the songs were tops, I’d see them if they came headlining.
Styx setlist (45 mins):
- Blue Collar Man
- Grand Illusion
- Too Much Time On My Hands
- Fooling Yourself
- Miss America
- Come Sail Away
Styx only got 45 mins and I was a little disappointed, I was hoping they would play at least an hour. With Foreigner on promptly at 7:00pm and a 25 minute set change between bands, Styx got the short end of the stick. What they lacked in time, they made up in performance. Lawrence Gowan (vocals/keyboards) really shined on ‘Grand Illusion’ and ‘Come Sail Away’ and sounds very much like former singer Dennis DeYoung. James Young got on the mic for ‘Miss America’ and the rest were for Tommy Shaw, who has become a driving force in the post-DeYoung era. Best song of the set: ‘Fooling Yourself’…..but, like Foreigner, all the songs were great live. Aside from the time constraints, the only problem I had with the performance was Gowan’s antics. He dances, he prances, he turns the keyboard around and plays with his back to the crowd, he seemed down right silly at times on stage. But he had energy and that may be what a classic band like Styx needed when he joined in 1999.
(30 minute set change for Def Leppard)
Def Leppard setlist (90 mins):
- Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
- Another Hit And Run
- Love Bites
- Rock On
- More Than A Feelling/Teen Spirit (quick intros of both)
- Two Steps Behind
- Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
(back to electric to finish ‘Bringin’ On The Heartbreak’)
- Switch 625
- Armageddon It
- Pour Some Sugar On Me
- Rock Of Ages
Sixteen songs in 90 mins, not a bad setlist. Anytime you can get two songs from HIGH ‘N’ DRY (1981) and ‘Mirror, Mirror’ was a total surprise. Now imagine my plight: I’m alone surrounded by screaming women of all ages. There is one guy next to me and he is obviously only there for his girlfriend. The first four songs roll by, every woman in the place is going bananas and then Def Lep does two songs that weren’t MTV anthems. I’m going nuts, singing word for word, and all these ladies are asking “Is this a new song?”…..I love “diehard” fans! Nothing would please me more if the band came back next year and played non-hits from the first three albums or play EUPHORIA (1999) or X (2002) in their entirety.
The band played well but Joe Elliot’s voice isn’t what it used to be. At times he struggled but he did get better as the night wore on. If they had gone two hours, he would have sounded great. I also noticed that Joe’s gotten a bit larger over the years…..haven’t we all? Seriously, I think the Leps get a bad rap for their commercial side but they really played well, with a ton of energy, and they sounded great. My only complaint was that they didn’t do the same encore as last year. Actually, there was no encore this year, they quickly ran off, changed guitars and played ‘Rock Of Ages’. If they stayed true to their M.O., they should have played ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ to end the show…..and I could have gotten a head start to the car! Nothing is worse than ‘Sugar’, especially with every woman, casual fan, and non-fan singing the words. If I had to hear another woman say she wanted <insert band member here> to pour sugar on her, I would have killed! Best song of the set: ‘Mirror, Mirror’ & ‘Another Hit And Run’.
Great seat + good bands + good music = excellent concert