Last Friday I ventured to the O2 for the first time since it reopened at the end of last year. What a change! It really is a magnificent arena for rock concerts. It has a capacity for 14,000 people and it is perfectly designed to ensure that you have the best experience while you are there. It really is miles apart from the old Point Depot. Now, if it only had a proper car park.
With 4 acts on the bill, the show started promptly as advertised at 5:45 when Tesla hit the stage. I was trying to get my backstage passes (more on that later) so I missed the first couple of songs of the set. It had been years since I last heard them. They didn't disappoint, even if the place was only about 60% full, they gave it all. They played for about 45 minutes, and their set included the classics Signs and Love Will Find A Way. In typical 80's rock fashion, at some point Frank Hannon was playing an acoustic guitar on a stand while holding a double neck SG! You can almost make it out on the picture if you squint a little bit.
Journey came out at around 6:45 and played close to 60 minutes, you can see the setlist on my previous post. A much shorter set than the one on the National Stadium last year. I think Arnel Pineda is getting better and better. It sounded fantastic, but I was left wanting a bit more. The highlight was obviously Don't Stop Believin'. The place was about 95% full by the time Journey came out, and it was great to hear the whole place singing along with them.
On came Whitesnake. The reviews on the web are a bit mixed. Those who liked them didn't like Def Leppard and Journey, and vice versa. I fall on the later camp. I have never liked Mr. Coverdale, and he didn't do anything on Friday to change my mind. The highlight for me was a little bass solo at the beginning of Is This Love. We ended up getting up and going out to get a beer and a hot dog.
We decided to chance it and get downstairs to see Def Leppard, we had backstage passes after all! We found a perfect spot on the left hand side of the stage. I had tickets to see Def Leppard for the Adrenalize tour in the early 90's, but I ended up being sent on a business trip and had to give them away. I started listening to Def Leppard in the mid 80's when Pyromania came out and then a bit later with Hysteria. I used to simply love those records. I had forgotten all about it, but Friday reminded me just how much I did.
Def Leppard are the ultimate hard rock professionals, their sound was really tight and clear. For the most part, Joe Elliot is still well able to reach the high notes and bring the audience along with him. I was particularly impressed with Vivian Campbell's playing. As a kid, when Hysteria cam out, I wanted to see Rick Allen play live on that fancy drum kit of his... he didn't disappoint. He is not the fastest drummer in the world but he has a punch that cuts through the music and holds the songs together. The setlist was a good mix of old and new. In particular, the second part of the show was very strong. You can see the full list on my previous post as well. Highlights for me were Armageddon It (my favourite DL song!), Animal, Rock of Ages and Photograph.
To top it all up, and if seeing three great bands on stage in one night wasn't enough, thanks to my brother, who met Rick Allen as a result of some charity work they have done together through their charities The Raven Drum Foundation and Fogo es Fuerza, I got back stage passes for the meet and greet after the show. Rick came out to meet us and had a chat with us about the concert. A true gentleman, despite the fact that it was nearly 1 o'clock in the morning he still spent some time talking to us about the show. He was very tired, and I was too cool to bother him asking to take a picture with me... now, that was stupid!
Tony Levin on Bass and Music Man
2 months ago