Def Leppard @ PNC Bank Arts Center

Def Leppard (Nadine Joy)On a murky summer night Foreigner opened up this triple bill with their memorable hit “Doublevision.” Current singer Kelly Hansen, was more than able to belt out some of the group’s best all-time hits. His range was good and Mick Jones, the lone original member, was slick, and he added the necessary authenticity to pull off this part of the show. The set looked like the one they used back when they toured off their most successful album Foreigner 4.

After rattling off hits “Head Games,” “Cold as Ice” and “I Want To Know What Love Is” the crowd was enjoying Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, playing a loud brand of drums, and bassist Jeff Pilson and keyboardist Jeff Jacobs all shined during these songs. The highlight of the evening was when the usually quiet Jones mentioned that the band’s first-ever show back in the late ’70s was in Passaic, NJ, and “I think we opened with this,” and that’s when they played “Feels Like The First Time.” Fans were ready for this and even some younger fans were familiar with the song.

“Urgent,” “Juke Box Hero” morphed into “Whole Lotta Love” for a bit, and the band finished off their set with “Hot Blooded.” Needless to say, this band was better than the usual opener in a triple bill.

Styx was the next group to take the stage and they opened up with their cult hit “Blue Collar Man,” and the fans went crazy. Women still were swooning over longtime member guitaritst/singer Tommy Shaw, and they were enjoying the added light show.

JY (James Young) was the only other original member there and he shined with a great guitar solo, dueling with Shaw to their hit “Miss America.” “Come Sail Away” was a big test for current lead singer Lawrence Gowan. He played the keyboard parts to perfection, and his voice was more than adequate.

Sadly, the drums were a bit light. It’s not a slight aimed at current drummer Todd Sucherman, but rather it made fans miss John Panozzo, their original drummer who passed away in the mid-’90s. His brother Chuck, another original member, was terrific on bass for this show, and he showed it on the song “Fooling Yourself.” They closed out the set with “Renegade” and then it was time for the final act.

Def Leppard had the most fans there, and they didn’t disappoint them by greeting them with “Rocket,” “Animal” and “Excitable.” Lead guitarist Phil Collen had it whistling during these songs, and the band was very tight, and lead singer Joe Elliott was in good voice and even better spirits as he took a swig from a fan;s beer in the front row, saying “Cheers” to the crowd.

Elliott, with guitar in hand, later took the stage with Collen and Vivian Campbell to play an acoustic mini-set that included “Two Steps Behind” and “Bringin’ On The Heartache” which changed over to the full band at some point, making it the most striking song of the evening thanks to the audience participation and booming drum sounds from Rick Allen.

The show ended with “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the final encore, “Rock Of Ages.” There were new videos playing in the background which the band seems to change every time they tour, keeping it fresh for their fans.

All of these bands meshed very well, they all played for at least an hour, and the show started promptly at 7 p.m. and ended at 11 p.m. with a few set changes.

Photo Credit: Nadine Joy