Two of rocks greatest bands, Journey and Def Leppard, played a night full of hits at the Forum in Inglewood, CA. Last year, Journey was inducted into the rock & roll Hall of Fame and as of yesterday (Oct. 9th) Def Leppard is on the ballot for the first time. This massive tour started May 21st and ended Sunday night (Oct. 7th). I’ve seen Def Leppard most recently last summer at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario and Journey last year at Dodger Stadium. I previously saw both bands at the Forum on separate occasions. Of all the shows I’ve seen at the Forum this was the first time the venue shook so much.
Journey is 4/5 of the classic lineup with founding members Neal Schon (Guitar) and Ross Valory (Bass), drummer Steve Smith(who rejoined the band following the departure of Deen Castronovo who was Smith’s replacement from 1998-2015) and Jonathan Cain, the bands keyboardist since 1980. As of 2007 Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, who the band discovered on YouTube, has been fronting the band. Pineda is the closest thing you'll get to the great Steve Perry. What started as a band with 2 ex-Santana members (Schon and Gregg Rolie), a member of Frumious Bandersnatch (Valory), and Frank Zappa's drummer (Aynsley Dunbar) became a multi-platinum selling band world-wide. The group had a few lineup changes until it became Schon, Perry, Smith, Cain and Valory. It was that very lineup that released the 9x platinum Escape which is the bands best-selling album under their Greatest Hits album.
From opening with “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” to ending with “Don’t Stop Believing," Journey had the audience on their feet dancing and singing along the whole show. Journey played all their big hits like “Lights,” “Open Arms,” and “Wheel In the Sky." The show also included not one, not two, but three different Neal Schon guitar solos in between songs as well as an unforgettable drum solo from Smith. With 18 top 40 singles in the U.S. and seven consecutive multi-platinum albums (1978-1987) Journey has had immense success over the last four decades with no signs of slowing down. Journey’s set ended with movie style credits listing all their tour personnel.
Just two days after this show Def Leppard got their long overdue nomination for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. With the passing of lead guitarist Steve Clark in 1991 Def Leppard has been vocalist Joe Elliott, guitarist Phil Collen, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and original DIO guitarist Vivian Campbell. Like Journey, Def Leppard is the type of the band that was made to play arenas with their giant stage and enormous screens, but unlike Journey have a large catwalk. For a band that’s been around as long as Def Leppard, it’s rare that a group had such few lineup changes.
Def Leppard kicked off their set with “Rocket,” and played a 16 song set full of hits including “Animal,” “Foolin’,” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” For “Two Steps Behind,” the whole band came down the catwalk playing acoustically. Def Leppard played a two-song encore of “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph.” It’s been almost 40 years since Def Leppard released their debut album and to this day the band continues to rock arenas worldwide.