Def Leppard, Poison, Tesla heat up hot summer USANA night

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Def Leppard accomplished what few bands can do in Utah: they sold out the USANA Amphitheater for the sixth consecutive year Monday night.

Even though it was the same set list as last year as the Leppards are taking an abbreviated U.S. summer run so they can tour other parts of the world and focus on a new album, Joe Elliot and crew still brought enough enthusiasm that it didn’t feel like a re-hashed or tired show.

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Maybe the only difference from last year was that as good as Elliot’s voice was last year, it was even better this year. Elliot has been doing daily vocal exercises since losing his voice in early 2016. And the payoff was evident as Elliot did a great job with some of Def Leppard’s earlier vocal stretching songs like “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin’.”

Def Lep played its typical crowd pleasing songs of the multi-platinum Hysteria album, a couple off High ’N Dry for the hardcore fans who remember when the 1981 album was released, and three songs off their latest, great self-titled release.

Several times Elliot commented on the 20,000+ crowd as he looked out from his catwalk over the sea of people. Def Leppard is celebrating its 40th year, and based on Monday night’s performance, they still have plenty of good years ahead of them.

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Poison returned to Utah after a five year absence. And while Bret Michaels voice shows signs of aging, his enthusiasm level has not. Poison, and Michaels in particular, was one big ball of energy, constantly moving, hopping and high-fiving fans from the moment they hit the stage.

The band even made some refreshing adjustments to their set list, playing “Talk Dirty To Me” as the third song rather than the encore, and putting “Something to Believe In” back in the set.

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Michaels has regularly made stops in Salt Lake and Wendover in recent years. But there was something about seeing the core four members of Poison back on stage that brought a lot of anticipated excitement the crowd. And the band did not disappoint, opening with their traditional “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” ending with “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” and playing “Fallen Angel,” “Unskinny Bop,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and more in-between.

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Blue collar rockers Tesla also did not disappoint, as they rarely do. The band braved the summer heat to open the show with the west facing stage putting the band directly in the sun (which was tempered a bit right when Tesla hit the stage with a merciful cloud cover).

Tesla also mixed their set up a little, adding Into the Now at The Way It Is, while still providing fan favorites “Signs,” “Love Song,” “Little Suzi” and “Modern Day Cowboy.”

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