Campenelli Stadium-Brockton, Ma
June 23, 2005
By Rory Flynn
Though both have not had hit single in the past decade, 80's rock icons Bryan Adams and Def Leppard teamed up last week to deliver a memorable show that reminded many of why these two acts were the faces of a decade.
Downsizing from their infamous football-size stadium shows to minor league baseball parks, the "Rock 'N Roll Doubleheader" stopped at Brockton's Campanelli Stadium for its only New England appearance. The change of scenery was interesting, with the stage set on the outfield of the Brockton Rox's field and everything but the diamond open for attendees. Despite a miserably rainy night, roughly 7,000 fans braved the elements to catch the unique show.
There had been a lot on Bryan Adam's slate prior to his stop in Brockton, six shows in five days (an appearance at Live 8 in Tornoto on July 2 before a show that night in Lancaster, PA) plus book signings for his recent book of photographs entitled "American Women", but the 45 year-old looked twenty years younger on stage.
His youthful vigor paired with the amazing play of lead guitarist Keith Scott rocked the crowd through favorites "Somebody", Can't Stop This Thing We Started", and "This Time". Though the Canadian native may have pulled out top many hits, including "Summer of '69", too early, he was able to carry the momentum through all of his set.
Adams was interactive throughout the night, telling humorous stories and even pulling a fan on stage to sing "Baby When Your Gone." He dedicated a touching rendition of "Heaven" to Mark Pickard, a victim of the Station nightclub fire in Warwick, Rhode Island. From his latest release, Room Service, only the title track and "This Side of Paradise" were played live on the night, with the latter sounding best.
However, it was Scott who highlighted much of the set. Most notably was his killer solo during "Cuts Like a Knife" that even had Adams chuckling in disbelief.
Def Leppard, celebrating twenty-five years together as a band, took on the rotating headliner spot in front of a dedicated and rain-soaked crowd. Lead singer Joe Elliot's vocal were hoarse as the band started sluggishly through opener "Action" and "Let's Get Rocked." Touring in support of new double-cd greatest hits collection entitled Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection, Def Leppard built momentum by dedicating the entire set to crowd favorites from "Hysteria" to "Armageddon It".
Surprisingly, one of the highlights of their set was Leppard's newest single, a cover of Badfinger's "No Matter What". Later this year, the band will drop Yeah! an album entirely of covers including the Kinks and David Bowie. Elliot told the crowd that the new release is because the band wanted to get back to the days when they were standing on the other side of the stage barrier as fans themselves.
In the last forty minutes of their set, Def Leppard proved that they still have what made them one of the 80's best acts with a hat parade that made stops at "Animal", "Photograph", and "Rock of Ages". Working and exchanging spots at all points of the stage, the band's energy was intense. Most notably during "Rocket" which featured dueling solos from guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. An encore of monster ballad "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" and staple "Pour Some Sugar On Me" sent the crowd into a frenzy.