Most prominent classic rock bands either disband or gravitate to the state and county fair circuit two decades after scoring their last big hit.
By BILL BROWNLEE
Special to The Star
Def Leppard and Poison, however, continue to perform in arenas after the majority of their fans stopped purchasing their latest releases.
The indefatigable acts entertained an audience of about 8,000 on Wednesday at the Sprint Center. The key to the bands continued appeal is their willingness to succumb to the desires of nostalgia-minded fans.
With only one exception, both acts enthusiastically played nothing but their most beloved material. It didnt hurt that every musician who crossed the vast stage seemed remarkably fit and trim, allowing fans to pretend that theyd been magically transported to the late 1980s.
Def Leppard is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its release of Hysteria, the 1987 album thats been characterized as the hard rock version of Michael Jacksons Thriller. The British hair metal quintet offered faithful renditions of eight of the albums 12 songs.
The delectable pop of Love Bites and the stately shimmer of the title track remain as sweet and refreshing as the frozen drinks served at the convenience store inside the Sprint Center. The absurdly infectious Pour Some Sugar on Me and Armageddon It make a case for Def Leppard as the definitive arena rock act. Only when vocalist Joe Elliott uttered the unwelcome phrase this is our new single did the energy wane.
The bands technically precise performance was enhanced by flawless sound reproduction. The live and recorded images displayed on seven video screens were similarly pristine. Poison doesnt require such subtleties. While Def Leppards 100-minute set was rigidly orchestrated and immaculately rendered, Poison demonstrated that its members value rugged charm more than perfection in their blistering 55-minute outing.
A sloppy version of Grand Funk Railroads Were an American Band epitomized the quartets scurrilous sensibility. The cheerfully unpretentious frontman Brett Michaels invested hits including Look What the Cat Dragged In and Talk Dirty to Me with a carefree swagger. The evening began with a bracing 30-minute showing by rock n roll veteran Lita Ford.
While Ford hadnt performed in the area in recent memory, Def Leppard and Poison appeared at the Sprinter Center in 2011. They might have returned too soon. Def Leppards concert in August attracted 3,000 more fans than Wednesdays event. The band certainly wont be booked at the Johnson County Fair in the foreseeable future, but it might consider taking a well-deserved break from the road.