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Wednesday, 10th April 2013

Las Vegas, NV - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Curt Taft

Even four days after the first show I went to during this residency, I still couldn't believe the setlist I witnessed.

The day after that first show, I checked out of the Hard Rock and went on a photo taking tour of the building, which has basically been turned into a mini Def Leppard museum. Instruments, outfits, awards... It's amazing in there!

In the midst of walking around on April 7, I bumped into none other than Mr. Rick Allen, who I believe was on his way to the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp for that day. Still, I couldn't pass up the chance to say hi. He graciously stopped to chat for a minute, asking me about what shows I was going to see, and was kind enough to take a picture with me.

It was only day two of my trip to Vegas, and I had seen the most amazing setlist I could have dreamt up, met the entire band, and shared an extra couple of minutes with Rick.

After a long few days between shows, the time for my second show finally came. I headed over to the venue around 6:30, wasted a few bucks on gaming machines, and then checked in with The Joint's VIP table. I was able to snag a fourth row ticket in the center section just two weeks ago. I knew the seat was going to be good...

But I didn't know how good. I ended up right next to the catwalk on Viv's side. My mind was blown. How does this trip just keep getting better?

Of course, the wait for the actual show to begin seemed to drag on and on and on. Finally "Won't Get Fooled Again" came on, and my excitement went through the roof. As I had tweeted before the show, not knowing what is going to be played, especially when it comes to the opener, adds an extra degree of excitement to a concert.

Finally the curtain opened with the band playing the outro to "Won't Get Fooled Again" and the crowd went wild. As the song came to an end, I listened closely to see what was going to come next. Turns out it was "Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)," one of my favorites from the Pyromania album, and one that I hadn't seen since 2009.

Next up was "Action," which I hadn't seen since 2005. I really enjoyed this one and it sounded great. Having not seen it in several years make something like this that much more enjoyable. Getting a high five from Joe as I sang every word made it even better.

The lights stayed down and the intro to "Foolin'" faded in. I started to wonder if this set was going to be a little more 'hits' centered just based on the first three tracks.

"Let It Go" followed. While the show was amazing, a start like this felt a lot more standard after the previous show. But that didn't take away from it, as I was still impressed that I was four songs in and had yet to hear a song I had heard at the previous show.

That trend continued with the next song, "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)." I hadn't seen that one since 2007 and it is one of my all time favorites by the band. Apparently Joe had run into a fan into a bar, and that fan had requested that song. So whoever that fan was, thank you!

Joe went through the Ded Flatbird introductions, then the band went into "Promises." This song is so good live, it's a wonder how it was absent from the setlist from 2007-2012. Viv is playing a slightly different solo at the end of the song.

Normally, the next song would have brought on the complaints from yours truly. And I'll be honest, it still caused a bit of an eye roll... But considering what I had seen at the previous show, I'd be an ass to complain about "Make Love Like A Man" sneaking into the setlist. So I enjoyed it. Why not? Joe's cold was clearly gone, as he had been nailing high notes all night long and held the note at the end of this song for longer than I had ever heard. Phil kept pushing him to hold the note longer and longer, and it was really impressive.

Enjoying "Make Love Like A Man" apparently put out some good karma, as I was rewarded with "Wasted" to close the main set. I had actually expected "Let's Get Rocked" to stay in that spot, so I was more than pleasantly surprised. I never would have imagined hearing "Make Love Like A Man" and "Wasted" back to back, but I'll take it! Even now, I can't believe I've heard "Wasted" once, let alone TWICE!

The intermission came next, which I once again used to chat with a few fans on the net and people back home.

I had flirted with uploading video from the show to Twitter earlier during "Mirror, Mirror," so I filmed the start of the Hysteria set, "Women," and uploaded that as well. Amazing what technology can do these days. Looking at this stuff compared to my disposable camera photos from the August 2000 show in St. Louis I saw is a bit crazy.

The album followed in sequence, of course. I'm really impressed with how they're playing "Rocket," the album effects mixed with live instrumentation and vocals are amazing. I hope they keep this version of the song for future tours.

"Animal," "Love Bites," and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" all followed, sounding great as usual.

Phil noticed my Man Raze shirt during "Armageddon It," which would pay off later.

Hearing the crowd roar for the video of Steve playing his solo brought a huge smile to my face, and I can't stress enough how great it is to see him included so much throughout this show.

"Gods Of War" was powerful as always, and went over quite well. I'd have to say the crowd tonight was even louder than the one on April 6th.

Thankfully, I was able to focus on "Don't Shoot Shotgun" without worrying about being caught in a fist fight, and I was really impressed with the vocals and guitar. The song sounds so great live.

As does it's counterpart, "Run Riot." You'd never guess that these songs hadn't been played in 20+ years with how fantastic they sound today.

Next up was "Hysteria," and then the always fun "Excitable." Seeing this song live in 2000 made it one of my favorites for awhile, and I'll always welcome it back to the set. It's perfect for the stage.

Finally, "Love And Affection" began and much like "Don't Shoot Shotgun" and "Run Riot," sounded like it had never been dropped from the setlist. Every song on this album was seemingly made for the stage, so it's great to see them all played live in order. Here's to hoping for an eventual Pyromania residency!!

The band left the stage for the encore, and came back to an even more boisterous crowd. Joe started talking about the opening band and how much fun they're having with it, also mentioning how his counterpart Booty Ruben had opened a Twitter account.

Rick was introduced and kicked off "Rock Of Ages." Which of course, was followed by "Photograph."

Phil, having seen my Man Raze shirt earlier, tossed me his guitar pick after finishing up "Photograph." But it bounced off my hand, and nearby fans were quick to snatch it up. For a second, I was depressed as hell.

But then Phil swooped in to the rescue. He grabbed the last two picks that were on his mic stand and made his way back out to the catwalk. He looked at me and asked if I had gotten the one that he threw me, to which I said no. So he came back over and handed one directly to me. It was the coolest thing that he took the time to check to see if I had gotten the one he threw to me earlier and made sure that I got one.

Moments like that really confirm for me that I've made a good choice being a fan of this band for so long. Sure, there have been ups and downs through the years... But how can you not love these guys when they do things like that? So a HUGE thank you goes out to Phil for making my night, which really says something after such an amazing show.

I got high fives from the entire band during their goodnights, including a full on handshake from Viv. They took their time saying goodnight to the crowd and just like that, the show was over.

It was an overall amazing night, and I can't wait to see what else the band has in store for me over the final two shows of this residency.


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