KISS and Def Leppard at Target Center, 8/17/14
|Photo By Tony Nelson|
KISS and Def Leppard
with the Dead Daisies
Target Center, Minneapolis
Sunday, August 17, 2014
KISS brought their 40th anniversary victory lap tour through the sold-out Target Center on Sunday night. A legion of young and old fans witnessed their makeup-clad, platform boot-wearing rock heroes. A few odd song choices dotted the newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' crisp 75-minute set, but KISS still brought the hits. Add in a spirited set from co-headliners Def Leppard, and classic rock was alive and well in downtown Minneapolis.
Slideshow: KISS rock Target Center
Def Leppard provided massive countdown clocks on the sides of the stage, letting everyone know precisely when the rock would commence. With the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" blaring over the PA, the curtain was raised as the song built to its boisterous conclusion. It eventually dropped to reveal the English quintet picking up the ending of the familiar mod anthem, as singer Joe Elliott chimed in with the lyrical kiss-off, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Union Jacks were everywhere, from Rick Allen's bass drum, to the scarves draped on Elliot's mic stand, to the big screens behind the band, as the group wasted little time firing up the crowd with their early High 'n' Dry hit, "Let It Go."
Def Leppard have been around since the late '70s themselves, stalwarts of the classic rock scene just like KISS, so they also know a thing or two about longevity and rocking arenas. Their well-paced set was packed with hits from throughout their career, as a slightly reworked version of "Animal" was followed by a rousing run-through of "Foolin'" with the large crowd singing along emphatically. Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell's guitars added some warmth and texture to "Love Bites," while scripted lyrics were spelled out on the screens on stage. On this number and others throughout the set, Elliott's vocals struggled to reach some of the high notes of old, and he counted on his bandmates for help.
|Photos By Erik Thompson|
Songs like "Let's Get Rocked" and "Armageddon It" represent the bloated, cheesy classic rock that grunge did away with, but they still had an appeal for Sunday's crowd. An acoustic version of "Two Steps Behind" saw a mass exodus to the bathrooms and beer lines, but thankfully that misstep was quickly righted by a slow-burning "Bringin' On the Heartbreak," which began with Collen, Campbell, and Elliott standing side by side at the front of the stage.
After a quick wardrobe change for Elliott, "Hysteria" featured vintage photographs of the band in various stages of their career. "Rocket" had an artistic backdrop of a wall of TVs on the screens surrounding the band, giving a nod to the industry that help propel them into superstardom. The over-the-top guitar jam singalong that is at the heart of "Rocket" perfectly exemplifies just why they became such a massive band in the first place, but also what made them fall out of style so rapidly.
"Are you ready for this?" Elliott asked before the band launched into "Pour Some Sugar On Me," which hasn't aged too well but can easily and effortlessly rock an arena any day of the week. After taking a brief encore break, the band returned with Elliott mentioning how $1 from every ticket sale is going to the Wounded Warrior project, then he let "our own wounded warrior" Allen kick off the boisterous "Rock of Ages," which sounds good no matter what decade we're in. Classic images on archival celluloid rolls appropriately filled the screens as the band delivered their potent last song of the night, "Photograph," with Elliott saying warmly, "Thank you, Minneapolis, it's been a pleasure as always. Don't forget us, and we won't forget you."