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Saturday, 6th April 2013

Las Vegas, NV - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Curt Taft

I don't even know where to begin, other than saying that the setlist from this show is like something I would have written as some sort of 'fan fiction' setlist.

Oh wait, no... Cause I don't think I've ever written a dream set and included "Good Morning Freedom."

But let's start at the beginning. I suppose to really put this into perspective, let's go back to 2011. My first show that year was in Chicago, and being just the second show after their unfortunate hiatus, it featured a bare-bones, hits plus the new song only setlist. As a result, when I saw them for a second time on that tour (in St. Louis) and they surprisingly added "Let It Go," I was ECSTATIC. The sets had become so stale that I basically went CRAZY over them adding a song I had seen them do several times before, just not in a few years.

From that came the 2012 tour, which saw them finally shake it up a bit by bringing "Women," "Gods Of War," and the Acoustic Medley into the fold (not to mention just barely catching a performance of "It's All About Believin'") and again, I went CRAZY. Just a few changes like that and I was satisfied.

Las Vegas Pics - Submitted By Curt Taft

So, clearly if I went CRAZY in those situations... Tonight was going to take things to a brand new level. Or was it?

I wasn't sure. I had (mostly) avoided setlist information up until today. Hell, I was lucky to even BE here. Long story short... A week before Def Leppard announced these shows, I was laid off. Lost my job. No income. And then BOOM. Def Leppard residency in Vegas, playing Hysteria and more. Reluctantly, I had to pass. And I watched as the meet & greet packages sold out and a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity seemingly slipped away.

But... I found a much, much better job, got my finances in order, and was able to swing a two day trip to Vegas for one show, this show, on April 6, 2013.

And... Then my Leppard-Sickness kicked in and I expanded that two day trip into an EIGHT day trip, which will see me attending not one, but FOUR of these shows.

Therefore, avoiding setlist information became even more important. With technology these days, it's impossible to 100% Spoiler-Proof yourself, and a huge spoiler was delivered right to my phone the day after the first show. That spoiler? "Good Morning Freedom." A song I would have never guessed in billions and billions of years. If Joe can't even remember what album "Scar" is on, how could he or any of the other band members remember something as obscure as their first ever b-side???

The weeks went by and finally, it was time to head to Vegas to see for myself what all the fuss was about. There was nothing but positive feedback coming from these shows, from die hards and casuals alike.

I got off work at 7:10 PM Friday night, drove to Chicago, and then had an absolutely TERRIBLE night's sleep... Partially due to the accommodations (my girlfriend's aunt's couch), partially due to pure excitement. It was only the beginning of me having to survive the day of my first show though.

Once the morning finally rolled around, I was dropped off at O'Hare International Airport and would up having my flight delayed 20 minutes. Which turned into 35 minutes. Which made me nervous, considering I had to fly to Vegas, check in to my room at the Hard Rock Hotel, and then find the VIP check in table all within a very short period of time.

The flight itself was fairly uneventful, other than the girl next to me spilling her LAST drink on me during the LAST half hour of the flight. Which would turn out to be a recurring theme for the day.

Thankfully, I got out of the airport and to my hotel very quickly, and I was surprised to find Rick's 1985 drum kit right in the main entrance to the hotel. After checking in to my room and calling loved ones, I headed down to the VIP Nation check in area.

Once inside, I started chatting with some other fans, which is always fun, and then got escorted upstairs for the meet & greet. Which, in an awesome twist, was proceeded by a private performance of the 2012 Acoustic Medley. It was almost startling what a different environment it was. There I was, sitting on the floor, while my favorite band sat five feet from me, playing acoustically without ANY equipment at all. It's hard to explain, but hearing these guys play and sing without the buffer of amps and microphones is really something special. My excitement was already hitting unexpected levels and I had yet to even meet the band or see the actual concert.

After that, we were taken to the area for the pictures. Of course there wasn't much time for anything but the picture, and the magnitude of the situation meant it was going to go by in the blink of an eye anyway, but... I'd basically lived my entire life, all 9,699 days, for this moment. The chance to shake hands and meet all five members of Def Leppard.

Suddenly, it was just Malvin, Helen, me, and Def Leppard in a room. Rick stepped up first and shook my hand, also saying "nice shirt," complimenting my On Through The Night shirt. Then it was Phil, Joe, Sav, and Viv. I shook each of their hands, said hi, and basically told them it was an honor to finally get the chance to meet them. I was so amped up and nervous that I was lucky I even mustered that much, and the rushed nature of the meet & greet didn't help. Still, after the picture, I was able to thank them again. Joe told me to enjoy the show and make plenty of noise for them, and that was that.

After all these years, I get to mark that off the bucket list. I met my heroes.

By this point everything was really turning into a blur and I was feeling a bit light headed. I went back to the party and basically COMPLETELY forgot there was still a concert to see!!

I wound up in the 12th row (LL) of the center section on the aisle. After what seemed like an eternity, The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" came on, and I knew they'd be on after that song.

Well, almost after that song. Instead, they snuck on stage and actually played the very end of it. It was an unexpected twist, but it was awesome. Still nothing compared to what followed though. They went straight into another song, and despite the fact that I'd had "Good Morning Freedom" spoiled for me, I still was confused for the first few seconds of the song. Quite possibly because my brain simply wouldn't accept the idea of ever hearing this song live. At one point, I almost thought it was Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down."

I sang every word and enjoyed every last second of that song. This was my thirty-first Def Leppard concert and was the very first time I'd seen ANYTHING from the On Through The Night album and/or era. Such a heavy, riff driven song being played by today's Def Leppard gave the song a brand new life. The guitar work was fantastic, and Rick's drumming was equally amazing.

I barely had time to let what I'd just seen sink in when they started on "Wasted," a song I've been hoping to hear since they revived it back in 1999. I was only two songs into this show and was already giggling like a school girl.

A quick introduction and they kicked into "High `N` Dry (Saturday Night)," which I was fortunate enough to catch on the 2012 tour in St. Louis. Still, this was only the fifth time I've seen it, and anything from the first two albums is always welcome.

Which made "Another Hit And Run" the perfect song to come fourth. I hadn't seen this one since the 2007 tour, and it's another one of my favorite songs of theirs.

By this point I was already losing my mind. Still, I just kept waiting... When's "Foolin'" going to come? Or "Bringin' On The Heartbreak"? Those darn hits I can't seem to escape....

Instead, "Too Late For Love" occupied the fifth slot. For a song that was such a standard for awhile, I had only seen it a measly three times in thirty shows... The last of which was in December 2002. Considering it's one of my most favorite songs, it was a long overdue but welcome return.

After that, I lost all grip on what I thought was coming next. The show had only just begun and I was already blown away so much that they could have just played the big hits plus Hysteria and I would have been fine with that. Instead, they dusted off two more treats for me.

First was "Slang." Slang is my favorite album of all time, and I hadn't seen the title track performed since 2003. While it isn't my favorite song on the album, ANYTHING from the album is welcome and that's especially the case after a long break.

Which also came into play for the next song, "Promises." I hadn't seen it since July 2006, and at that point it was still considered a standard song in the set. It was great to see so many albums being represented in the setlist, especially some from the Post-Vault era.

"Let's Get Rocked" closed the first set. Joe, at one point, stated that he had gotten the flu, and he did have a bit of a rough throat tonight. But it was hardly noticeable as he was still able to nail most of the high notes.

I spent the 20 minute intermission texting my disbelief to my mom and girlfriend. It was somewhat bizarre having an intermission at a Def Leppard show. The last concert I had seen before this one was Rush, whom I've seen a few times, and they regularly feature an intermission during their very long shows. But Leppard? What dimension is this?

A video retrospective started after the countdown expired and seeing the stuff with Steve got the emotions going. Soon enough, the intro to "Women" was fading in, and Phil came rising from the end of the catwalk. And so, we were off.

"Rocket" was switched up yet again, this time being done as close to the album version as possible. As was "Love Bites." While I missed Viv's solo, the 'new' ending was really cool. Seeing "Pour Some Sugar On Me" so 'early' in the set (though the 13 spot isn't early in terms of the band's sets from 2005-2011) was bizarre.

It was during that song that someone got a little too crazy with their dancing and knocked an entire tray of drinks out of a waitress' hands... Splattering beer and whatever else all over the back of me. I was apparently a target for spilled drinks today, and congrats to everyone, cause they all got bulls-eyes. "Armageddon It" followed, and once again it was a case of when rare/different songs are put in the set, it makes the old stand-bys like this one more enjoyable.

When these shows were first announced, I had stated on the forum that it would be really cool if they showed Steve Clark's guitar solo intro to "Gods Of War" before the band played that song... So when that actually happened, I got a bit choked up. To see him represented so well during the show (especially that song, both during the intro and the solo) made me really happy.

Much to my surprise, the band actually sang the intro to "Don't Shoot Shotgun," and it sounded great. Though I'm glad I'll have another chance to see this song since some jackass a few rows in front of me chose this song to start a fist fight with a security guard, which was a bit distracting.

"Run Riot" followed, and brought me back into the show after the antics during the previous song. Plus it was another moment where I was conscious of the fact that I was hearing these songs I never expected to hear live. By this point, my throat was shredded, but Joe was still screaming away. I don't know how that man does it.

"Hysteria" followed, and then came "Excitable," another song I hadn't seen live since 2007. Then came the final big moment of the night for me, my first time seeing "Love And Affection" live. Ever since these shows were announced, I've been trying to imagine how the 'forgotten 3' would sound being played by today's band, and I was happy (though not surprised) that they all sounded amazing. The guitar work by Vivian and Phil was especially good.

After a quick encore, the band returned to close the show out with "Rock Of Ages" and "Photograph," in the opposite order of what I expected, and really a shock considering two of the hardest songs to sing were the 21st and 22nd songs of the evening.

Much like other events of the day, the show came and went in an absolute blur. Within one show, I got five songs I had never seen before (Good Morning Freedom, Wasted, Don't Shoot Shotgun, Run Riot, Love And Affection), two I hadn't seen in 10 or more years (Too Late For Love, Slang), and three I hadn't seen in 5-6 years (Another Hit And Run, Promises, Excitable). Not to mention this was the first time I'd seen any band play an album in its entirety (since Aerosmith cheated me back in 2009 when they were supposed to play all of Toys In The Attic, even stating they were during the show, only to leave off the final song of the album).

I collapsed on my bed once I got back to my room after the show, exhausted from the lack of sleep, time change, and rush of excitement from what was basically the best day I've ever had as a Leppard fan.

And to think... I have three more shows to go!


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