Def Leppard is back on tour and this time they are out with Journey on a co-headlining trek around North America. The last time the two bands toured together was 12 years ago and I missed that tour (I am sure it had to do with having an almost 3 year old and maybe another on the way). Whatever the reason, I missed it and I wasn’t going to do that again.
When tickets went on sale, I joined the Def Leppard Rock Brigade so I could get early access to tickets. And damn, tickets were expensive. This show wasn’t going to be just 2 tickets, I had to buy 3 this time as my wife and my oldest daughter (the one that was almost 3 is now almost 15 – my 11 year old opted out), were joining me on this one. My wife was going for Journey, but my daughter was going for Leppard (and now has the shirt to prove it). Me…I was actually going for both. I have seen Leppard numerous times, but I have never seen Journey…crazy, I know. Here is what you get for joining the Rock Brigade…a T-shirt & a Pin…
Back to tickets, Lower Level seat were kinda ridiculous. They were at least $150 or so a piece and then even higher the closer to the stage. I settled for 3 Front Row Tickets!! That is right 3 Front Row Tickets!!! Of course, front row in section 226 on the upper deck because I do have to eat and these were only $99 a piece (only…like $99 is cheap). Hey, I had an unobstructed view of the show and I could sit if I wanted and not miss a thing. No real complaints (except I will pay more next time…and there will be a next time).
You can see by the picture, that it wasn’t exactly unobstructed. That damn snake like set of speakers did block the massive 40 foot screen, but the band was at least unobstructed. At 30 minutes before the show, the screen at the front of the stage lit up and started a countdown to show time. And of course, it let everyone know that you could get the new Def Leppard Pale Ale out in the concourse for your drinking pleasure. From what I hear, the beer was cheaper than the seats at only a measly $15 a beer. Shit, my water was a paltry $5. It cost me $15 for 3 waters to your 1 beer. I win…or do I since I paid $15 for something that is basically free.
Enough useless banter, on with the show…the set list was pretty bland for someone who has seen the band as many times as I have. The problem they have is if they take something out they piss people off and if they put some old, obscure stuff or even new stuff, they could lose the crowd. I am sure most weren’t diehards like me and wouldn’t appreciate a “Wasted” or “Lady Strange” or even “Slang”. And they don’t change their set list up much as it is pretty much the same as the last few nights.
- When Love & Hate Collide
- Let’s Get Rocked
- Armgeddon It
- Rock On
- Two Steps Behind
- Man Enough
- Love Bites
- Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
- Switch 625
- Hysteria (with a little Bowie’s Heroes)
- Pour Some Sugar on Me
- Encore – Rock of Ages
- Encore – Photograph
The band came roaring out on to the stage with the opening bit from “Excitable” (“Are you excitable?) before kicking in to “Rocket”. The massive 40 foot screens lit up with little TVs flashing all sorts of images. They used that big screen perfectly all night and it helped add to the show rather than distract. I told my daughter prior to the show that Phil Collen would come out shirtless and greased up, ready to show off his pecs and he did not disappoint…does the man own a shirt???
Instead of going through song for song, I will talk highlights and overall opinions. I will start with Joe Elliott. Joe’s vocals were fantastic!! Thankfully we are early in to the tour and his voice is holding up well. He can’t hit some of those notes from the old songs, but who could after 30+ years, but he did all the songs proud. I have zero complaints with him (I have zero with any of them actually). Joe busted his ass all night long and by the end he was one big sweaty mess. I love it when the band gives it their all and DL did not disappoint.
Def Leppard didn’t do any real Solo parts in the show (unlike Journey – you can read about that tomorrow). Each member got called out individually and got to highlight their skills. Rick Savage got a mini solo before they did “Rock On” (Rick is underrated by the way). Vivian Campbell took center stage to kick off “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, Phil Collen constantly strutted the catwalk at the front of the stage for almost every song and showed off his talents and chest, and that leaves the Thunder God!!
Rick Allen is so loved by the Def Leppard community. Anytime he was mentioned or did a little extra drum part, the crowd would go nuts. When he did his solo part at the end of Switch 625, the crowd probably gave their largest applause and screams of the whole night. You could see how appreciative Rick was of that and how much he loves what he does. And on Switch 625, that is always one of my favorite parts of the show. It is a great reminder of Steve Clark and how great he was. It also nice seeing Viv and Phil go out on the catwalk and play together like they do.
A highlight for me was hearing “When Love & Hate Collide”. I can’t remember how long it has been since I have seen that one live. I know they play it at times, but I hadn’t seen it. That was the only song that was new for me. The only new song they played was “Man Enough” and to be honest, it is not one of my favorites from that album. I would have preferred something like “Let Go” or what would have been even better if they did “We Belong” where each member gets to sing. That would have been totally cool.
Another enjoyable song for me was “Two Steps Behind” only because all members of the band went on that little catwalk together. Joe, Viv & Phil with an acoustic guitar. Sav with his bass and Rick with his maraca. It was simple and it was just plain great. Now the picture doesn’t show Rick because he hand’t shown up yet from behind the drum kit.
When the band played “Hysteria”, the big 40 foot screen in the back showed all these old vintage photographs and videos of the group back from when they looked so young up until current times. There were a lot of Steve Clark, but I don’t think I saw one picture of Pete Willis or Frank Noon. No love for them. It would have been nice to have the whole history of the band acknowledged.
The encores of the night were of course, “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph”. Why do I say of course, well, up to that point those are the two main songs they hadn’t played that people might be upset if they didn’t. The band came back out and I think even turned it up a notch. They really went out with a band and I don’t think anyone was not enjoying themselves.
Now, my wife and daughter thought the show was spectacular and they liked Leppard more than Journey. Which one did I enjoy more…well…you will have to wait until tomorrow and read the Journey review before I will answer that one. I will say that if you have been wanting to go see Def Leppard and Journey in concert, you will have a great time and be in for a night full of hits and two bands that know how to play and know how to put on a real, simple rock show. And isn’t that what we really want anyway.
Oh yeah, here is the shirt my daughter got and the Trucker Hat I picked up. I have so many shirts and since I constantly buy hats, I figured what the hell!