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Saturday, 13th April 2013

Las Vegas, NV - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Curt Taft

It seems like just yesterday I was getting off the plane in Vegas and rushing to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for a meet & greet with Def Leppard, to be followed by a concert that could have many surprises in store when it came to the setlist.

Aside from the time leading up to the shows, this week has absolutely flown by. I woke up today and met up with Dustin for lunch, which gave us the opportunity to chat about Def Leppard for hours. It was nice to have a conversation with someone that knows the band as well as I do. We also met up with Lep fan Lisa, which added to the conversation. While the three of us were chatting outside the venue, Phil passed by with his trainers, but we didn't stop him as it was clear he was in a rush to get into the venue.

Finally, showtime had arrived. A "NOT MANY TICKETS LEFT!" message from Ticketmaster had caused me to panic and pull the trigger on a seat farther back than I had been for the first few shows, only to find some better ones available after Friday's show. It was frustrating, but really... What the hell do I have to complain about after this week? This has easily been the best week of my life as a Leppard fan. It's essentially been a Def Leppard themed vacation.

Sitting farther back did give me the chance to see the show from a different perspective.

The show began in 'typical' fashion, with the end of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," and I was hoping the band had at least another surprise or two (or eight) in store for me. I had a general idea of the total number of songs that had been played throughout the residency, and there were four that I had yet to see.

Thankfully, I was able to check one off right off the bat, as the band launched into "On Through The Night." My jaw dropped, and I was so damn excited that I completely forgot the words to the second verse. It was yet another song I never thought I'd see live in a million years, outside the odd chance of the band doing a run of High 'n' Dry album shows. The other thing that threw me off was Sav, who hit the stage in a wig and fu manchu mustache.

Turns out, tonight was pretty damn close to a High 'n' dry album show. "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)" followed, and as one of my Top 10 Favorite Def Leppard songs, it's always welcome.

I expected "High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)" to follow, but the band threw me a curve ball and did "Let It Go" instead. "Another Hit And Run" followed, at which point I tweeted "Viva High 'n' Dry?"

Joe... Sorry, Booty pointed out that the band was taking the High 'n' Dry theme and running with it "because they can," and they certainly did. They continued in album order with "High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)."

The introductions came next, and I'd learned that the order of the introductions could be a clue as to what song was going to be played next. During the introduction, we also found out that Ded Flatbird bassist Fleetwood Beck had fallen ill before the show and was replaced by Spice Biscuit. So that explained that...

Booty also explained that tonight was Ded Flatbird's final show, which I later saw had hilariously prompted "DEF LEPPARD IS RETIRING!!!" tweets from less informed folks at the show.

The band then went into "Bringin' On The Heartbreak," followed by "Switch 625," two more firsts for me during the residency.

I will admit, I was a bit disappointed that the poor opening band had their final show cut short by a song compared to the last three shows. Someone needs to get Def Leppard's egos in check. If anything, they should have been nice enough to allow Ded Flatbird an extra 10 or 50 minutes for their final performance. Hopefully there will be a Flatbird reunion in the not too distant future.

And I wish Fleetwood all the best. A shame he missed the final show. Get well buddy.

The intermission passed quickly, and so did the entire rest of the night. I made sure to enjoy side two of the Hysteria album since for all we know, some of those songs could forced back into retirement soon and may never be brought out again.

Being farther back meant being in the midst of more casual fans than I was for the first three shows up near the stage, so I stuck out like a sore thumb being the one that was going crazy for "Gods Of War," "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Run Riot," "Excitable," and "Love And Affection," while looking less enthused during the seven singles.

Of course, there were crazies down front too. In fact, one of them made her way on stage during "Hysteria." Joe backed away and went to hide in the corner while the invader made her way all the way up to the drum riser before security FINALLY caught on and went to get her. Took three security guards and Malvin to get her off the stage.

I was hoping for an extra encore after "Rock Of Ages" and "Photograph," perhaps even a big team up jam between the lads from Ded Flatbird and Def Leppard, but sadly, it was not to be.

The band extended their gratitude and said this was one of the coolest things they've ever done, and I think the fans, especially die hards, whole heartedly agree.

Through four shows, I managed to see a respectable 34 different songs out of a possible 37, not including the Acoustic Medley or segment of "Won't Get Fooled Again." Eight of those 34 songs I got to see for the very first time, and probably would have never seen if it weren't for this residency.

After the frustration felt during recent tours, especially 2006 and 2011, this year was basically therapeutic. Due to the circumstances in my life around when this was announced, it cost me a small fortune to come out here to see these shows. But it was worth every penny. And if they come back for, say, a Pyromania residency in 2014... I'll be there in a heartbeat.

34 shows in and I'm STILL waiting on "Stagefright" to pop up in a setlist. Came close in 2000, came close in 2002, and came close in 2013... As a Cubs fan would say, maybe next year.

With that, the best week of my life comes to a close. My plane ride back to reality is a mere five hours away. Things will never be the same after this residency. So I'd like to give a HUGE thanks to the band for putting this thing on and actually following through with their words regarding playing deep cuts and mixing up the sets.

Till next time...


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