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Def Leppard, Poison, Cheap Trick Deliver Big Riffs at Tour Kick-Off

June 24, 2009 2:43 PM ET

It was more than 20 years ago that hair metal taught the kids to tease-and-spray, and since then high-heeled boys and their sticky metallic hooks have become fodder for love-lorn reality shows and slick Broadway musicals. And the answers to some of the pressing questions of our day — Is the Leppard still Def? Is Poison still nothin' but a good time? Is the Trick still Cheap? — will be answered at an amphitheater near you when the 40-date Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick tour, which opened last night at near-sold out Susquehana Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey, rolls into a town near you. The answers are, in order: Yes, yes, and depends if you sit out on the lawn or pony up top-dollar for ringside seating.

(Check out photos from the triple bill's opening night here.)

First up was Cheap Trick, who have never really left the road since they went live at Budokan, and their bracing blend of Beatlesque hooks and high voltage riffs still rocks righteously. Cheap Trick rocked the early arrivals with a short, sharp set that mixed classics like "I Want You To Want Me" and "Dream Police" with super-fresh new material like "These Days" and "Sick Man Of Europe" from their just-released album, The Latest. Robin Zander, smartly dressed in a black-tie-and-vest with his long blonde locks tied back in a ninja pony tail, hit all the sky-high notes, and guitarist Rick Nielsen, rocking a burgundy tux and his patented big-billed ball cap, showered the crowd with guitar picks and fat-bottomed riffs.

Next up was Poison, who rocked their hair extensions off, as Bret Michaels and Co. put on a flame-throwing, smoke-blowing, drumstick-twirling set that incorporated all the hits: "Unskinny Bop," "I Want Action" and "Nothin' But A Good Time." Everyone in the band seemed super-psyched to be back in the saddle again, especially Michaels, who said, in deference to his tour partners, that he was looking forward to getting "completely hammered and enjoying some great music from the side of the stage." He went on to explain how "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was written in the men's room of a Dallas laundromat. "That's why I had to do three seasons of Rock Of Love — my best love song was written in the bathroom!"

Topping off the night was a stormy, stomping set by headliners Def Leppard who trolled through their '80s hits — a picture-perfect "Photograph," a semi-acoustic "Bringin' On The Heartache" and a slamming, set-closing "Rock Of Ages"  — like the working class punters they once were before Pyromania went mega-platinum. The one real surprise was a crunchy cover of David Essex's "Rock On." But the highlight of the Lep's set was undoubtedly the stripper-anthem "Pour Some Sugar On Me", which the band laid down with silhouetted images of gyrating pole-workers projected on the big screen behind them. A couple of jokesters, with a taste for the literal, ran through the crowd clutching boxes of granulated sugar, baptizing themselves and anyone nearby with the sweet, sticky stuff. Every rose has its thorn, indeed.

Cheap Trick Set List:

"On Top of the World"
"I Want You to Want Me"
"These Days"
"She's Tight"
"Sick Man of Europe"
"If You Want My Love"
"Dream Police"
"The Flame"
"Surrender"

 

Poison Set List:
"Look What the Cat Dragged In"
"I Want Action"
"Ride The Wind"
"I Won't Forget You"
"Your Mama Don't Dance"
"Fallen Angel"
"Something to Believe In"
"Unskinny Bop"
"Every Rose"
"Talk Dirty To Me"
"Nothin' But A Good Time"

 

Def Leppard Set List:
"Rock! Rock! Til You Drop"
"Rocket"
"Let's Get Rocked"
"Too Late for Love"
"Nine Lives"
"Love Bites"
"Rock On"
"Two Steps Behind"
"Bringin' on the Heartbreak"
"Switch 625"
"Hysteria"
"Animal"
"Armageddon It"
"Photograph"
"Pour Some Sugar on Me"
--
"Rock of Ages"

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