Saturday Night: Def Leppard, Poison & Lita Ford at The Woodlands

Def Leppard, Poison, Lita Ford Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion Saturday, September 1, 2012

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Lita Ford kicked off Saturday evening with her blazing cover of Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back." Considering the interview Rocks Off did with her this past week (above), this was a very appropriate song for her to open her set.

Ford sounds and looks as great as she did in the '80s, and played two songs from her new album, Living Like a Runaway: "Relentless" and the title track. I must say, she was right with what she said in our interview -- those songs do translate well live. At the end of her set, Ford received a standing ovation. If Saturday night is any indication of her future, she is back and ready to roll.

Poison started their set with "Look What the Cat Dragged In." Great front men ooze charisma, something that was not in short supply for lead singer Bret Michaels, who also took time to thank the men and women in the military and announced his upcoming appearance on Celebrity Apprentice: Allstars.

Needless to say, though, guitarist C.C. Deville nearly stole the show with his solo on Poison's version of Loggins & Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance." Even that was nothing compared to what he did on "Nothin' But a Good Time," by which point the audience had reached fever-pitch proportions.

In fact, Saturday's crowd was very receptive to Poison by nearly singing along to every song they did. Their set was one big high-octane hit parade, which the audience and myself loved. During the lighter-friendly anthem, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," Michaels said "26 years and I still got chills on my arm."

Surprisingly enough, though, Poison didn't perform that many ballads.

By the time Def Leppard took the stage, the crowd was ready to rock hard. They opened their set with "Undefeated" and continued into such stadium-friendly anthems as "Rocket, "High N' Dry" and "Let's Get Rocked."

During the acoustic portion, which was the one of the highlights of the evening, they did a rendition of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as well as "Now," "Where Does Love Go When It Dies." Lead singer Joe Elliott asked the audience if they wanted to "join the band" and said "let's give those people in Dallas something to top," referring to how loud everyone was cheering. (Dallas was the next stop on the tour.) Everyone, of course, wanted to join.

Guitarist Phil Collen proved that he, along with fellow guitarist Vivian Campbell, are among the great guitar legends with the instrumental "Switch 625," a deep track penned by late guitarist Steve Clark, whom Campbell replaced after Clark's 1991 death.

The other highlight of the evening came in the form of Def Leppard's video production crew. Throughout each song, they would show some interesting graphics on the screens behind the band.

For example, during "Rocket," they had a graphic of a rocket going into space with the iconic Def Leppard logo on it. For "Photograph," they showed old photographs of the band from the '80s. A camera attached to the guitar and the drummer's area that would show the audience onscreen closeups of Collen's fretboard or the drummer's area when they were engaged in a solo, which made their performances a lot more interesting.

During one of the more playful moments of the show, audience members kept handing Elliott cans of beer. He would take a sip off them and then hand it back to the person. He only took about two or three overall. The crowd loved it.

Personal Bias: Last year, I was going to try to see Def Leppard with Heart, but decided against it. Some things are worth the wait and this was one of them.

The Crowd: Middle-aged men and women and a few in their twenties. Not many teenagers, if any.

Random Notebook Dump: Gunter glieben glauchen globen.


The Bitch Is Back (Elton John cover) Hungry "Relentless Living Like a Runaway Close My Eyes Forever Kiss Me Deadly


Look What the Cat Dragged In Ride the Wind Your Mama Don't Dance (Loggins and Messina cover) Fallen Angel Unskinny Bop Every Rose Has Its Thorn Talk Dirty to Me Nothin' But a Good Time


Undefeated Rocket High N' Dry (Saturday Night) Foolin' Make Love Like a Man Animal Love Bites Let's Get Rocked Gods of War You Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover) (acoustic) Where Does Love Go When It Dies (acoustic) Now (acoustic) When Love and Hate Collide (acoustic) Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad (acoustic) Two Steps Behind (acoustic) Bringin' On the Heartbreak Switch 625 Hysteria Armageddon It Photograph Pour Some Sugar On Me


Rock of Ages

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