By Guest Reviewer Phil Bailie
The best selling music magazines aren’t Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer or even the awful NME. They are Q and Classic Rock. Q only notices rock and metal when they deign to give it coverage, often with that sneering malice only the close-minded can manage. Classic Rock on the other hand celebrates rock and metal throughout the past four decades. Unsurprisingly it is experiencing the fastest growth in sales.
In Dublin on Friday night there was no doubt that classic rock is not only back in fashion, it is the musical heartbeat for young and old alike
Tesla kicked off with a spectacular set led by guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, and notably, a rockin' show of vocals form singer Jeff Keith. Fresh from recording their new album 'Forever More', they more than did it justice, playing the likes of 'I Wanna Live'. Of course they played the classic 'Signs' but it was 'Love Song' that was, to coin a phrase, the dog's bollocks! An awesome ballad played to perfection.
After tearing up the Spring & Airbrake the night before Tesla suitably warmed up the Irish crowd.
AOR legends Journey gave the best performance of the night. It’s hard to believe that Neal Schon spotted vocalist Arnel Pineda on Youtube, singing covers of Journey songs. For a 41-year-old this guy showed more charisma and stamina than many other younger singers.
The set began with the familiar sound of the keyboards from 'Separate Ways' and the band were met with a deafening roar from the crowd. This new look Journey, showcasing the year – old album 'Revelation', were electrifying from the start.
The most memorable moment of the entire night came when the first few notes were sounded from the grand piano in 'Don't Stop Believing' as the roof was blown off the O2 Arena, only to be blown off again when the guys topped off an amazing set with 'Any Way You Want It'.
Journey on their own would have been worth the full asking price of a single ticket...simply awesome!
With Whitesnake…well the best of Coverdale’s days seem to be well behind him on the strength of this performance. It's a sad day when a great vocalist such as Coverdale has to use a reverb/echo technique on his mic. Has age perhaps caught up with the guy? Although he coped well with the low notes in songs such as 'Is This Love', the old crooner struggled to hit the pitch on songs like 'Here I go Again'.
Their situation was not helped when Doug Aldrich experienced sound problems during the opening song 'Best Years', perhaps a fore-warning of some of what was to come.
Musically, however, the band were sound enough with Doug Aldrich as the tent pole of the group, holding the show together. The crowd in Dublin were treated to a classic guitar battle between both Doug and Reb Beach.
As it was the 25th Anniversary of the 'Slide It In' album, the O2 was also treated to 'Guilty of Love', while classics such as 'Love Ain't No Stranger' and 'Still of the Night' were executed brilliantly! Other tracks such as the limp 'Can You Hear the Wind Blow' and the acoustic rendition of 'The Deeper the Love' should have been expunged from the setlist to allow room for more well rounded tracks.
Def Leppard were a completely different band from the one that played last June at the in Belfast and in the best possible way. It was the first night of the tour and they sounded absolutely fantastic. Opening with 'Rocket' they then tore into a fiery cover of Sweet's 'Action'. It quickly became clear why it was Def Leppard headlining and not Whitesnake. While Whitesnake's acoustic set was less than impressive, Lepps produced a winner with 'Two Steps Behind' and an acoustic version of 'Bringing on the Heartbreak' which exploded into a massive electric solo from Phil Collen.
The setlist, in general, was much better than the one which Whitesnake offered, producing all the classics such as 'Animal', 'Photograph' and 'Hysteria' whilst integrating 'C'mon C'mon' and the excellent 'Nine Lives'. And when it came down to vocals, Joe Elliot was streets ahead of Mr.Coverdale.
The obligatory encore included 'When Love and Hate Collide', which was apt considering Ireland was the country where that song managed to hit Number One! Once the final note had been strummed and the ballad had come to an end, Joe Elliot had only one question for the crowd as he introduced 'Let's Get Rocked'. The balconies were bouncing as the addictive drum and bass played on.
Def Leppard were truly phenomenal and Journey were the show stoppers on the night. Whitesnake, in comparison, were let down by the vocals in a set rescued only by Doug Aldrich.