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Def Leppard / Heart http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/68/7a/7a/1784_DefLeppardHeart_1324058200.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 16, 2011    
 
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Def Leppard / Heart - Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto (Canada) - 16th of August 2011

Visiting close friends and family on my regular jaunt over to Canada, I took in the first of my scheduled shows at the magnificent Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. The weather was baking hot and it was a pleasant change from seeing Def Leppard in a mud soaked field at Download back in June. I was especially looking forward to this show as they had the wonderful Heart with them, a band I have always loved but not seen play live for the best part of 20 years. 

We made our way to our seats just in time for Heart to take the stage, led by the Wilson sisters: singer Ann and guitarist Nancy, and the group ran through an outstanding 70-minute set. They kicked off with a cover version of Led Zeppelin's ‘Rock and Roll’ and lead singer AW in particular appeared in top form. Using virtually no high-tech gimmicks, Heart treated the crowd to several of their hits, including ‘Magic Man’, ‘Heartless’, ‘Crazy On You’. The Nancy Wilson-led ‘These Dreams’ met with enthusiastic reaction while the always-welcome ‘What About Love’ and ‘Barracuda’ also gained resounding responses. One of the highlights of the set was an acoustic rendition of '80s power ballad ‘Alone’, which had reached the apex of the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1987.

Despite being the opening act and having to perform a 12-song set, the band still took a number of opportunities to speak to the audience. Ann Wilson referred to Toronto as "a rock-and-roll town", a description that met with cheers of agreement from the crowd, and thanked the audience members several times for their enthusiasm and support. As Heart finished their encore with a pair of covers (Zeppelin's ‘The Battle of Evermore’ and The Who's ‘Love, Reign O'er Me’), the fans seemed genuinely sorry that they had to make way for the headliner.

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The show continued after a half-hour break, and the stripped-down stage for Heart gave way to giant screens and monolithic sets of lights. Def Leppard came on to a sold out crowd and delivered a rousing rendition of ‘Undefeated’, one of the new tracks off ‘Mirrorball’. The band kept the momentum going with high-energy performances of ‘Let's Get Rocked’, ‘Animal’, and ‘Foolin'’, Joe Elliott and the boys then treating the Molson Amphitheatre faithful to fan favourites such as ‘Bringin' On The Heartbreak’, ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Rock On’. The band looked much like they did 20 years ago and in a nice tribute to their late band mate Steve Clark, current guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell wowed the crowd with their version of ‘Switch 625’, an instrumental piece that Clark wrote. Lead singer Elliott engaged the audience throughout the show thanking the fans for coming out on what would be the group's lone Canadian stop on their current ‘Mirrorball’ tour, at one point telling the fans in attendance that they were the best crowd on the tour to date and they should “tweet that”. He also invited the audience members to become the sixth member of the group just before the band launched into an acoustic performance of ‘Two Steps Behind’. Up next was the mesmerising title track from ‘Hysteria’ was swiftly followed by the US mega hit ‘Armageddon It’ before my personal favourite, the outstanding ‘Photograph’ had the crowd singing along before ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ brought this rousing set to a close. The band briefly leaves the stage before returning with the only encore of the night, the Def Leppard anthem ‘Rock Of Ages’.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening as the Toronto stop of the ‘Mirror Ball’ tour proved to be a memorable affair as the British rockers along with Heart sent fans home very happy.

Mark Warburton

 

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