Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto - July 4, 2009

JANE STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

TORONTO - "Don't need nothin' but a good time," goes that old rock chesnut by '80s glam-metal outfit Poison.

Well, look no further than Saturday night's trio of British heavy metal veterans Def Leppard with opening acts '70s pop-rock outfit Cheap Trick and Poison fronted by Bret Michaels of Rock Of Love Fame at the Molson Amphitheatre for a perfect example of that.

The three name acts drew a nearly sold-out crowd with Poison's party-hearty, fun vibe surprisingly giving more polished headliners Def Leppard a run for their money.

Cheap Trick got the four hours of music off to a start with a sturdy if uneventful 40-minute set which included their most famous hits I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police, and Surrender along with some suprising covers like Elvis Presley's Don't Be Cruel and The Beatles' A Day In The Life (they are going to be performing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the Hilton in Las Vegas starting in September backed by a full orchestra.)

Guitarist Rick Nielsen, decked out in a bright purple suit, bow tie, and baseball hat, alongside frontman Robin Zander in an eye-straining silver top and white top hat, also offered up new tunes like These Days and Sick Man Of Europe from their new album, The Latest, but nobody seemed that interested.

Drummer Bun E. Carlos and bassist Tom Petersson rounded out the Cheap Trick lineup.

Then it was Poison's turn on stage and the combination of Michaels' non-stop earnest banter and gladhanding with fans, the band's reliance on pyrotechnics, the sizzling playing of guitarist C.C. Deville and tunes like Look What The Cat Dragged In, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Talk Dirty To Me and Nothin' But A Good Time made for an entertaining 45-minute set.

"Contrary to what people might think - Canadians f---king kick ass," summarized Michaels, who showed no signs of suffering from the recent bump to the head he took from a descending backdrop during Poison's appearance on the Tony Awards.

He also didn't forget to thank the audience for watching the first three seasons of Rock Of Love, which have been hilariously parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Def Leppard, whose only Canadian date of their current tour is Toronto, clearly had its work cut out for them but rose to the occasion.

Major man candy was provided by shirtless and buff guitarist Phil Collen and equally attractive fellow axeman Vivian Campbell, with both men providing exciting solos that elevated every song in the band's 90-minute set.

The group, who hail from Sheffield, opened with a few bars of God Save The Queen and Union Jacks figured prominently whether on bassist Rick Savage's instrument or one-armed drummer Rick Allen's vest.

Frontman Joe Elliott, meanwhile, held down the singing end nicely, frequently venturing out on a catwalk to get closer to the crowd as did the other band members, most memorably during a two-song acoustic set of Two Steps Behind and Bringin' On The Heartbreak.

After covering David Essex's Rock On, Def Leppard's performance slowly climaxed toward the end with huge hits like Photograph, Pour Some Sugar on Me and Rock Of Ages with the show's finale punctuated by a previously planned fireworks display at Ontario Place.

SUN RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5


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