Pueblo, CO - Media Reviews
What's the difference between seeing a rock concert in 1988 and seeing the same group a decade later: the sobriety of the band and (most of) the audience? The height of the hairstyles? Length of the skirts?
It's a question pondered several times over by original fans of the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Moody Blues, etc. But for the children of the 1980s, Monday night's Def Leppard concert was the first experience with that phenomenon.
Def Leppard. Oh, my goodness. Ronald Reagan, acid-washed jeans and Live Aid relived. OUR decade. One of OUR bands.
We didn't even have to go out of town, which is a good thing, because Denver would be pretty far to travel on a weeknight, and we have to be up at 6:30 in the morning, and we can't pay a babysitter for that long.
Hey, wait a second! Last time Def Leppard was involved, it meant a 120-mile trip, loads of Doritos and Pepsi and a hike halfway up a mountain, and nobody thought twice. We were happenin'; we were thin; we were...oh yeah, we were 21.
So what now? If you're in your 30s, do you go to rock concerts and - heaven forbid - SIT through the whole show? Are you allowed to have fun? What if the band stinks? This creates an entirely new set of problems.
But it was a blast last Monday at the Fair, and the songs are still played on the radio, so the decision was a no-brainer. (The tickets were also $16, which is actually less than they were 10 years ago.)
Lo and behold, it was a sellout. In Pueblo! The crowd age was mainly in their 30s, with a few on either side of that. A lame opening band was kindly provided so everyone had time to get food and beverages. Anticipation built.
Finally: "They look great!" "Oooh, he's lost weight since they did `Behind the Music.'" "I still don't know how he plays those drums." (For those not up to date on vital '80s trivia, the band's drummer had one arm amputated after a car wreck.)
They were loud, sweaty and highly entertaining, those Leppards. Sound problems, shmound problems: They rocked the place. The crowd was loud, sweat - please, Fair folks, some additional ventilation - and highly appreciative.
When the band began its biggest hit, "Pour Some Sugar On Me," my friend said, "This has got to be the stupidest song ever written." We laughed, and then we and 8,000 other people sang every stupid word as loud as we could, just like every Moody Blues and Ted Nugent fan did earlier during the Fair.
So what's the difference between 1988 and 1999? There is none, when it comes to this. Music of the '80s is alive and well. So is the music of the '50s, '60s and '70s.
And, Lord help us, 10 years from now, a group of young moms will head to some arena for the Backstreet Boys' reunion tour, proving once again that there's no such thing as an age limit on fan appreciation.
By The Pueblo Chieftain 1999.
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