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DEF LEPPARD And TESLA In Ottawa, Canada

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Friday, August 9, 2019 @ 8:27 AM

Signs Of Mass Hysteria And Then Some As DEF LEPPARD And TESLA Come At The CTC Live, Ottawa, Canada, July 19, 2019

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Photos By Andrew Depedro

Rock ‘n roll crowns fought for (and with the photographs to prove ‘em), sugar poured and debts honored to five members of a local electrical band for a song they’d written and discovered newfound fame with.

This was the perfect place and time for two of the 80’s’ most famed hard rockers to celebrate their decades of rock excess and even some of their more recent material.

This would particularly be the case for Sacramento’s finest electrified quintet TESLA as the team of Jeff Keith (vocals), Brian Wheat (bass), Troy Luccketta (drums), Frank Hannon and Dave Rude (guitars) took the stage to the rapid shredding interludes of opening number “Cumin’ Atcha Live” from 1986’s debut album Mechanical Resonance. The band had always developed a reputation amongst their other flashier counterparts from the glam rock era as having more of a stripped-down and modest appearance and sound throughout their nearly 40-year career. The stage backup was mostly comprised of three moderately-sized LED screens flashing the band’s name and other neat images coinciding with their hits such as “Modern Day Cowboy”, “Love Song”, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” and latest single “Taste Like” (from their latest album Shock). Dave Rude, having been with TESLA since 2006 following their comeback as a replacement for original guitarist Tommy Skeoch, demonstrated how cohesive his chemistry with the band had solidified over time as he matched Hannon’s solos on “Cumin’ Atcha Live” and allowed room for Hannon to exercise his mammoth slide guitar solo on “Heaven’s Trail”. All eyes and ears, however, remained focused on frontman Jeff Keith and his retro-inspired 70’s style outfit and general laid-back demeanor as he charmed the crowd and gave off a pleasant vibe all around as he thanked the loyal Ottawa crowd with heartwarming gentility – the perfect moment to close the show with their rendition of “Signs” from legendary 70’s local folk rockers FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND (their rendition continues to be highly approved by its chief songwriter Les Emmerson, who was in the audience that night and got to hang with the band backstage afterwards).

And that was the sign of an electrified and charged set that only TESLA could uniquely invent on their own, keeping their bond with Ottawa steady some three decades later. Can’t see this happening with “Ironic” or “Hand In My Pocket” here…



  • “Cumin’ Atcha Live”
  • “Modern Day Cowboy”
  • “EZ Come EZ Go”
  • “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”
  • “Taste Like”
  • “Miles Away”
  • “Changes”
  • “Gettin’ Better”
  • “Call It What You Want”
  • “Love Song”
  • “Little Suzi” (Ph. D cover)
  • “Signs” (FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND cover)
The rock brigade had a respectively large turnout during TESLA’s killer set but as the pointed red and white futuristic font started counting down the 30-minute interlude before headliners DEF LEPPARD claimed the stage, their spot was long since claimed. Opening with “Rocket” and its ode to the band’s influences from 70’s rock culture complete with a life-sized backdrop screen displaying everything from footage of Bowie and T. Rex’s early concerts to shots of the first moon landing, the lineup of frontman Joe Elliott, rhythm section specialists Rick Allen and Rick Savage and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell dominated the stage for the next 90 minutes with an array of flashy production and a few laser light shows and nearly four decades of anthemic hard rock hits. Even for many NWOBHM purists such as myself (despite seeing the band for the first time myself) more into the early days of when the mighty LEP could crank out bullet-belt bangers such as “Wasted”, “Rock Brigade”, “High ‘N Dry (Saturday Night)” and “Let It Go”, their setlist for their highly-anticipated Ottawa show was otherwise well accommodating for everyone.

From the melodic lighter-wavers such as “When Love And Hate Collide” and “Two Steps Behind” to their post-NWOBHM classic early 80’s hits such as “Photograph” and a stellar performance of “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” (complete with the instrumental “Switch 625”), an ode to their late colleague/guitarist Steve Clark in the form of “Hysteria” and the lightheartedly unserious romps of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Let’s Get Rocked” and even a decent cover of David Essex’s lazy hippie groover “Rock On”, the legendary Sheffield, England-based quintet humbly put on a top quality entertaining show with every base covered. Frontman Joe Elliott, even after several years of belting out many of the hits in his highest octave, was still in fine vocal form throughout the set as was Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell whose backing vocals blended well with their melodic playing. And even after almost 35 years since his devastating car accident, drummer Rick Allen could effortlessly unleash a killer drum solo with the prime use of his in-step, covering fills and rolls that even most drummers with both limbs would often miss. And the look on his face beaming from the giant screen behind him was that of a performer still grateful for his audience as his often physical limitations were hidden by his adversity and tenacity. It reflected throughout the rest of the band as well as Elliott thanked the crowd with equal heartfelt gratitude.

Call their live performances overly technical and sometimes predictable in parts if need be, especially as their legacy to much of the old school goes far beyond the mid-80’s hits, but DEF LEPPARD’s Ottawa show was proof of the band’s consummate relationship with their fans remaining as impenetrable as ever.

And definitely spot on for years to come.


  • “Rocket”
  • “Animal”
  • “Excitable”
  • “When Love And Hate Collide”
  • “Let’s Get Rocked”
  • “Armageddon It”
  • “Rock On” (David Essex cover)
  • “Two Steps Behind”
  • “Man Enough”
  • “Love Bites”
  • “Bringing On The Heartbreak/Switch 625”
  • “Hysteria”
  • “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
  • “Rock Of Ages”
  • “Photograph”

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