The co-headlining tour of Journey and Def Leppard rolled into the Denny Sanford Premier Center on Wednesday night (July 18) to what appeared to be a full house. Who would open the show between these classic rock heavyweights?

Journey - and Journey did what Journey does best - play the hits. The show opened at 7:25 PM with Separate Ways and filled the next 80 minutes with songs from their deep catalog of 70's and 80's smashes.

Fans were treated to Only the Young, written by Cain, Schon, and Perry for the Vision Quest soundtrack in 1985.

The energetic and charismatic Arnel Pineda kept pace with legends who gave us classic albums such as Departure, Evolution, Escape, Frontiers, Infinity, and more.

At times it sounded as if the sound wasn't quite where they wanted it to be, but over time, it dialed in a little better.

Jonathan Cain masterfully played a solo keyboard medley of some deeper cuts as well.

Steve Smith delivered one of the longest drum solos I've witnessed which brought a standing ovation - if you weren't already on your feet.

Peppered into many songs were guitar solos by Schon, some of which overpowered Pineda. Overall, it was another solid night with Journey. However, the setlist hasn't changed much from when they were in Sioux Falls in 2016 with the Doobie Brothers and Sioux City's Hard Rock Hotel Battery Park concert in June of 2017.

Ending on the essential Faithfully (dammit...I must have had some confetti in my eye) and the best-selling single Don't Stop Believing, Journey set the tone for the rest of the night.

After a 30-minute "refreshment intermission", Def Leppard fired up and proved that 4 decades on the road has not corroded their fondness for playing large crowds. It was immediately apparent that these guys still love to perform.

The night's most memorable moment was when Joe Elliott revealed that it was Def Leppard's 40th anniversary of their first gig.

"Sioux Falls, this very crowd in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is part of a very special night for us. It was 40 years ago tonight that Def Leppard played its first gig."

They played to a small crowd of 150 students at their Sheffield, England school in 1978. That announcement brought the house down. Every fan knew we were truly part of classic rock history to be in the Premier Center at this moment. They then broke from their setlist to celebrate with a solid version of David Essex' Rock On.

Two Steps Behind was a crowd favorite with 3 acoustic guitars leading the effort. Rick Allen drew another well-deserved ovation for his solo.

One hour and 20 minutes into Def Leppard's set, Pour Some Sugar on Me had "the Denny" rockin'. Overall, the sound was dialed in and extremely crisp.

On a final note, I brought my 13-year-old son to his first rock concert. I was especially pleased to see other parents had the same idea. With today's music on a seemingly downward slope, it was with great satisfaction to introduce our younger generation to the music we grew up with.

Thank you, Journey. Thank you, Def Leppard. Sioux Falls rock fans wish you continued success on the road. You served us well.

Journey and Def Leppard in Sioux Falls


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