Get Updates/News. Updates/News by RSS Feed. Updates/News by Email. Get The Community Toolbar. Get The Community Toolbar.
Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Fan Review - By Curt Taft

It was exactly 10 months ago since I last saw Def Leppard.

10 months ago that I drove five and a half hours to see a stale 15 song setlist.

Long story short, my review was a bit harsh. And quite honestly, it wasn't worth the money or the drive.

After that, I did the rational thing. I said "I'm not going all the way to Kansas City next tour and I'll be paying more attention to the setlist before I decide to hit more than two shows (St. Louis and Chicago are always a given).

So why am I writing a review for Kansas City here in 2012? Because it was the fifth show of the tour. And if Leppard history has taught us anything about rarities and/or new songs in their early sets, it's that they may not last long.

I'm looking at you, "Gift Of Flesh," "Where Does Love Go When It Dies," "Ring Of Fire," "Hell Raiser," "Hanging On The Telephone," "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad," "Rock Brigade"....

The list goes on.

So when Kansas City popped up as just the fifth show of the tour, I caved. I gave in, and I said "I'll hit Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis... And MAYBE Indy again, depending on their setlists.

Not long before the tour started, word got out that Leppard would be playing a longer set this year. Which could only mean good things. The set had become so focused on the hits that nearly ANY addition would be a non-mega-hit, or potential deep cut.

Of course, it could have still been a token rotater, such as "Make Love Like A Man."

My other dilemma was the VIP packages. I did ILAA for three out of my four shows last year. This year? I said to hell with that. Aside from the increase in prices for them, I didn't feel like DL deserved my money any more based on their bare bones, cruise control driven setlists.

So when tickets went on sale, I snagged some for Row 13 on the floor on Viv's side and figured I'd be pretty close to the catwalk. I got them for face value and was happy with that.

I did my usual avoiding setlist information through the first week of the tour (which was tough), but had heard good things about what the band was playing. Thanks to all that and the longer show time, my anticipation for this tour was the highest it's been in years. It was pretty high in 2011 too, after all of Joe's "we aren't going to play the same set two nights in a row talk."

Guess he meant "We'll be playing it FIFTY nights in a row!!!"

The day before the Kansas City show, I took a peak online and noticed some floor seats had opened up... Including two in the third row on Viv's side, DIRECTLY next to the catwalk. I said "no, I can't do this... I can't buy more tickets just the day before the show. It's too risky."

And then I found a buyer for my tickets. Not only that, but he was active military. So as a way for me to say thank you for your service, I gave him a great deal on my original 13th row tickets.

And I bought the third row tickets.

All for MUCH cheaper than the VIP Nation packages, and none of those ever got me right next to the catwalk.

Having scored excellent floor seats for an Aerosmith concert and a Def Leppard concert within a few days of each other has really opened up my eyes to this last minute ticket buying thing. Does it always work? No. But hell... The Kansas City show was a prime example of how great you can score when it does work. So I'll be doing this for Indy come August.

After walking through a small crowd of Westboro Baptist Church douche bags, I picked up my new tickets at will call and delivered my old tickets to the buyer. He was a great guy and I felt pretty good about hooking him up with some great seats to the show.

Last year, the Sprint Center pissed me off by denying cameras and sending my girlfriend and me all the way back to the car to leave the camera. This year, they were allowed. So I snapped some decent pics this time around.

I took my seat and right at 7:00, Lita Ford and her band awkwardly walked on stage. No big entrance. They all just walked on, some before the lights were even down. And as soon as the lights were down, someone a few rows back yelled "Freebird!!"

Never fails.

And so, Lita eventually started her set with "The Bitch Is Back," which I quite liked. And then she complained about the sound, which I had to admit, was pretty bad. It got a little bit better, but not much.

Her set continued with "Out For Blood," newbies "Living Like A Runaway" and the heavy "Branded," and classics "Close My Eyes Forever" and "Kiss Me Deadly."

When the show ended, I realized the irony that this is the second straight tour featuring DL, Poison, and a third classic rock artist where the one that goes on first is the ONLY one that has an actual brand new album out that same year.

After a quick changeover, it was time for Poison. I had decided to live tweet the show and had a little fun with it during Poison's set. What else was I to do?

Poison had a more elaborate stage than they did in 2009, littered with neon. Who is their production manager, Joel Schumacher?

I started to have deja vu as they opened with the exact same two songs they opened with in 2009, "Look What The Cat Dragged In" and "Ride The Wind." I started to wonder if their set would change at all.

Which it did... By ONE song. They dropped their own hit "Something To Believe In" in favor of a cover of "We're An American Band." Guess that's good that it's less Poison to listen to, but the performance of the song was sloppy as all hell.

The guitar solo by CC was atrocious as always. Poison's sound quality in general was pretty bad.

But... I must say, Poison got the crowd going pretty well and I enjoyed it by a smidgen... Which is more than I can say about 2009. They passed the time well. That's as much of a compliment as they will get from me.

Oh, and since my sister is a big fan of Bret Michaels, I did high five him for her.

And I felt like a traitor. But hey... When in Rome...

The full Poison set, if anyone cares: "Look What The Cat Dragged In," "Ride The Wind," "We're An American Band," "Your Mama Don't Dance," guitar solo, "Fallen Angel," "Unskinny Bop," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," drum solo, "Talk Dirty To Me," "Nothin' But A Good Time."

After Poison's 55 minute set, the changeover for Leppard began. I had gotten wrapped up talking to the guy sitting in front of me, so I didn't see much of Leppard's stage. Before I could look up to check it out, a huge curtain with the Union Jack on it had been dropped, so then I couldn't even see if I wanted to.

Which made my anticipation grow.

As 9:20 neared, I noticed a countdown had started on the screens beside the stage. Which only made things worse. Longest two & a half minutes in recent memory!

Finally, the lights went down, the stage lights went up, and what I think was the intro to "Hello America" was playing over the PA. It was tough to hear at first being so close.

And then, the drum loop intro of "Undefeated" started. I was more than satisfied with that. Sure, I was hoping for "Stagefright," but these days, if a new song makes it past the year it came out, it's a miracle.

Thankfully, the SHORT version of "Rocket" followed.

After that, Joe and Phil made their way down to the end of the catwalk. I figure it would be one of two songs: "Let It Go" or "Women." And it ended up being "Let It Go."

So a new song and a deep cut within the first three songs? Good start!

Then came some of the standard hits. "Foolin'," "Animal," and "Love Bites" all came and went, sounding great as always. At this point I had realized that Leppard's sound was WAY better than either of the first two bands to take the stage.

During "Love Bites," I had received a tweet that I was going to LOVE song number seven. So the anticipation grew. What would be next!?!?!?

I anxiously watched as Phil started to walk off the stage, only to be called back by Joe, who was making his way down the catwalk. That's when they went into "Let's Get Rocked."

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

I thought I had either been pranked, or worse yet, a rarity had lost its spot in the setlist in favor of the cheesefest that is "Let's Get Rocked."

That didn't last long though.

When the song ended and the stage was mostly dark, I saw Sav make his way up behind the drum riser. My mind was conflicted... My hopes were screaming "GODS OF WAR!!!!" but my rational side was saying "Come on dumbass... Here comes a bass solo and then ROCK ON!!!!"

As soon as Rick hit the cymbal for the first time, a smile came across my face. And it only got bigger as the big drum & bass intro to "Gods Of War" kicked in. First time seeing that tune since 2005, and it was also the first of my personal "Top 10 Def Leppard Songs" to make a setlist since 2007, when "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)" was a regular.

The song sounded amazing and had the die hards going. Was the whole crowd going? No. It got a pretty good cheer I'd say, and that's what can be expected of something so rarely played. Definitely one of the highlights of the night for me.

The lights stayed down while the band disappeared. Suddenly Joe appeared and started strumming an acoustic guitar. Again, my 'rational' side said "oh, here we go, time to join the band for "Two Steps Behind" again!"

But some deductive reasoning helped... Being right next to the catwalk, it was easy to see that there weren't four holes for mic stands. Not to mention the fact that it was a straight line catwalk, rather than a T-shape.

And what's with this roadie pushing an equipment crate out to the end of the catwalk behind Joe?

As soon as Joe started singing, my jaw hit the floor.

I turned and looked at my mom (my concert going buddy for the evening) with the widest eyes ever...

"Where Does Love Go When It Dies"???? REALLY???

That really took me back. It was played a handful of times on the Slang tour, but was gone by the time I got to see them that year (starting an early trend as you can see, since that was my first concert ever). But before that concert, the band was on KSHE95 in St. Louis and they played an acoustic version of that song live on the air, which I got to listen to while I waited for my dad to check our family into the hotel where we'd be staying.

At this point I'm realizing I'm going to have to think outside the box. Being that there were no mics for the rest of the guys, I wasn't sure what to expect as they all made their way down the catwalk, guitars in tow. Then even Rick joined in!

I quickly caught on to what came next... "Now," from the X album. Now I knew it'd be a little medley of different songs and I wasn't sure what to expect next. I also really appreciated the chance to hear even a little bit of these songs live. I had never seen "Where Does Love Go When It Dies" played live, and it had been nine years since I had seen "Now" played.

"When Love & Hate Collide" followed, and was another song I've never seen live. Then came "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad," which I haven't seen since my first ever concert in 1996. That segued into the stale "Two Steps Behind," but I didn't even care by that point. I was amazed by what I had just seen and heard. Plus, at least "Two Steps Behind" was the short 'soundcheck version' (as they call it), where they omit the second verse & chorus and just go straight into the solo after the first chorus.

As Joe was left to finish off the song, I was already on a high after seeing "Undefeated," "Let It Go," "Gods Of War," and that amazing and unexpected acoustic medley.

So when Phil started "Women," things only got better.

It was another song I hadn't seen them play since 2005. At that point, it was just another standard that had been in virtually every set since 1999. The break was nice... Too long, but nice. So I appreciated the song more and loved it. The band sounded great and Joe nailed the notes.

But for me, Joe's highlight of the night was the next song. Which was another surprise. By this point, they were 10 songs in. So my hopeful and rational sides were arguing again. My rational side was saying "10 songs in? No way they're going to play "It's All About Believin'" now." My hopeful side was saying "Well, anything is possible after that medley... And hey... They're going to do 17 or 18 songs and they only have 6 of the mega hits left."

Once again, my hopeful side won, as the intro to "It's All About Believin'" began. The guitars? Amazing.

Joe's vocals? Dead on.

He was absolutely perfect on this tune. And despite my early doubt that it would come across well live, it did.

There was definitely a lull in the crowd at this point, but not too bad. And hey... TWO new songs in one show? Quite rare these days so another welcome change. I think it works perfectly having one open and one come 10 songs in. Spreads them out and having one in the opening spot makes it a freebie with the crowd.

And following the second one with one of the mega hits helps too.

The full electric "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" followed and sounded great. I had missed it... The half acoustic version was a nice change of pace in 2007, but it had become stale and overused in the time since then. I ready a media review of the Salt Lake City show tonight and even the reviewer was well aware of the half acoustic approach to it.

Overdone much?

I wouldn't have minded if "Switch 625" had gotten a break, but I also didn't mind having it played. It always kicks ass and I'll never tire of seeing Rick have his moment at the end of it. Never fails to bring a smile to my face.

From here, the songs not yet played and songs left to go pretty much spelled out the rest of the show for me. Would have been nice to change up the order of them a bit, but hey... Ending a show with the string of "Hysteria," "Armageddon It," "Photograph," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," and "Rock Of Ages" can't get much better.

The beauty of it is, it'll overshadow any song they don't know from earlier in the show. I was just shocked that nobody left during "Let It Go" or "Gods Of War" and magically got refunds!!!

As the band was saying their goodnights, I got high fives from Viv and Sav. They left the stage, I watched a bit of the 'credits' that rolled on the screen, and decided to get out of there before I heard too much of "Kings Of The World."

But even that couldn't hinder the excitement I was feeling.

It was the 2006-2007 scenario all over again. They hit rock bottom with their boring, stale setlists one year, then made up for it the next. So it's no surprise that I had more fun at this show than any since 2007.

Two new songs, three deep cuts, the overdue absence of "Rock On," and an insanely cool acoustic medley of mostly songs I thought had been long forgotten...

It was an all around amazing show. A complete 180 from my last Def Leppard concert, which happened to be in the exact same place.

Now I can't wait for Chicago.


Fan Review - By


Fan Review - By