As the July 4th weekend drew to close, there was one last blast of fireworks to be set off at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday night. That blast came in the form of classic rock giants Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla, who rocked the arena to its core for four straight hours. The show was also a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those in attendance as not one song that was performed that evening was less than fifteen years old. The newest song in any of the three band's set lists was Def Leppard's "Paper Sun" and "Promises," both from the band's 1999 album "Euphoria." Many fans were there, reliving their youth, when these songs ruled the radio airwaves.
The trip began promptly with a forty-five minute opening set from California rock band Tesla. Their short hits packed show began with the thunderously loud, electrifying opener "Edison's Medicine (Man Out Of Time)" followed by "Song & Emotion," (Tesla's tribute to the late Def Leppard guitarist, Steve Clark). As people were continuing to file into the arena, each song brought a bigger response from the crowd, as fans sang along to Tesla's famous cover of "Signs" and also their huge "top 10" single "Love Song." Singer Jeff Keith made a note to the audience that Tesla also opened for Def Leppard on their "Hysteria" tour 28 years ago.
Sticking to the tight schedule, Styx took the stage with a grand pre-recorded entrance before welcoming everyone to "The Grand Illusion." Their sixty minute set covered many of their iconic seventies hits, including "Lady," "Fooling Yourself" and "Blue Collar Man." Original member James "J.Y." Young took the lead vocals on a roughed up version of "Miss America," while guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw lead the audience through the clap-along chorus of "Too Much Time On My Hands." An amazing version of Styx's hit single "Come Sail Away" closed things out, before the band returned for the two song encore of "Rockin' In Paradise" and "Renegade."
As the Def Leppard curtain was lowered from the ceiling, fans were scrambling to their seats just before the lights went out amongst a pre-recorded instrumental that jolted the speakers. Fans instantly attached themselves to the band's performance of older songs "Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)," "Animal" and "Foolin'." Guitarist Phil Collen finished off "Paper Sun" with a blistering solo, before guitarist Vivian Campbell took over on the arena rocker, "Armageddon It."
Lead singer Joe Elliott stood at the end of the catwalk with an acoustic guitar in his hand to led the audience in a sing-along of their 1993 hit "Two Steps Behind." He then called out for "guitars!" and "drums!", signaling the beginning of the rhythm heavy delivery of "Rocket." Drummer Rick Allen and bassist Rick Savage teamed up with the duel guitars of Collen and Campbell for the adrenaline fueled instrumental "Switch 625." The set closers "Hysteria," "Let's Get Rocked" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" left the energy level in the arena on maximum.
Every fan was on their feet, stomping the floor and banging the seats for the band's encore, which began with the gibberish "Gunter glieben glauten globen." As the two song encore of "Rock Of Ages" and "Photograph" left a lasting impression on fans, both new and old, Def Leppard finished the jam-packed night of classic rock with the idea that nostalgia is a great thing that continues to keep us all young at heart.
Tesla Setlist: Edison's Medicine (Man Out Of Time). Song & Emotion, Hang Tough, Heaven's Trail (No Way Out), Signs, Love Song, Little Suzi, Modern Day Cowboy
Styx Setlist: The Grand Illusion, Too Much Time On My Hands, Fooling Yourself, Miss America, Lady, Blue Collar Man, Whiter Shade Of Pale/Bohemian Rhapsody/(Sittin' On) Dock Of The Bay, Sail Away
Encore: Rockin' In Paradise, Renegade
Def Leppard Setlist: Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop), Animal, Foolin', Promises, Paper Sun, Love Bites, Armageddon It, Rock On, Two Steps Behind, Rocket, Bringin' On The Heartbreak, Switch 625, Hysteria, Let's Get Rocked, Pour Some Sugar On Me
Encore: Rock Of Ages, Photograph