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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Fan Review - Curt Taft

Despite the fact that Indianapolis is the same distance from me as Chicago, I’ve only gone there for shows twice: once in 2003 and once in 2011. The show in 2003 was at the arena in downtown Indianapolis where the Pacers play and the show in 2011 was at the large amphitheater in the suburb of Noblesville.

Back then it was called Verizon Wireless Music Center, but now it’s called Klipsch Music Center. I always hate when venues are renamed, but at least this one wasn’t as bad as what was done to the amphitheaters in St. Louis and Tinley Park this year (don’t get me started).

Just as we started the long walk from the car to the venue entrance, a few sprinkles began to fall from the sky (which was mostly blue). Then as we got to the massive crowd of people at the gate, it started raining even harder. We made our way over to the will call window since I had just purchased tickets to this show a few days ago, picked up the tickets, and got in quickly.

We took our seats, which were dead center only four rows back from the soundboard. I could see Ronan at the soundboard tinkering with the… Soundboard. We made it just in time too, since it started pouring rain (while simultaneously being really sunny) after we took our seats.

Since I had forgotten to account for the one hour time difference when I planned the trip, we got to our seats right as Tesla took the stage. They once again delivered a great performance, but the fatigue is definitely starting to set in for me. I love them, but the setlist and the banter has been exactly the same at all three shows this year. I’m still hoping for at least a minor change (specifically “Song & Emotion”) at one of my three remaining shows this year. Tesla has way more than just eight great songs.

If I’m getting fatigued with a band that I like putting up the exact same show every time I see them, then you can imagine how I feel about a band I really, really, really do not like doing the exact same thing (but worse). I came into this tour trying to keep an open mind about Styx, a band I had already seen three times from 2007-2010. But it has become clear that instead of coming to enjoy Styx, this tour has actually made me dislike them more and more. I just can’t take them seriously. I know they’re just a band and they aren’t meant to be taken “seriously.” It’s entertainment, after all. But the songs do nothing for me and the band is so damn cheesy on stage that it just drives me crazy.

And this is coming from a person who was semi-won over by KISS.

But I mean, honestly, who at a concert truly gives a shit about the fifth moon of Pluto being named ‘Styx’? The drunk off her ass before it’s even dark out woman grinding on her boyfriend to my left? The high dude in the mullet wig to my right? I guess I should have asked them what they thought of it and how they truly feel about Pluto’s demotion from being a planet.

Ah, the things I never thought I would write about in a concert review.

Since it was my third show of the tour and my seat was in the upper level, I sat through the entirety of Styx’s set. I hate that I have no choice but to pay to see them if I want to see Def Leppard. But hey! Only two more times this year and thankfully I’ll get to see Foreigner for my final show of the tour in October.

I sat and watched as the stage was readied for Leppard and looked around at the massive crowd. They were already loud as hell for the first two bands, and those around me were excitedly talking about Def Leppard taking the stage. The couple behind me was discussing the advertisement for Def Leppard’s upcoming new album, trying to figure out the last time they released an album. The conversation went like this: “Well they put one out in ’81, then another in ’84, and Hysteria in ’88 or ’89 I think… And then I think there was something from the early 90’s but they basically disappeared after that.”

It’s a damn shame that so many fans have little to no awareness of anything post-Hysteria or post-Adrenalize. Unfortunately their neglect affects the die-hards’ life as a fan to this day.

AC/DC’s “Shoot To Thrill” came blasting out of the PA, so the countdown was on. I try to film a song or two each show just for my own memories of the concert and I figured I had the perfect vantage point to shoot the opening of the show. So as the lights went down, I prepared to record Def Leppard taking the stage with “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop).” Of course my excitement made it a little shaky, but then the guy directly in front of me in the front row of my section decided to stand for the first time all night. I’m a tall guy (6’1”), so I know that I can be an annoyance for anyone seated behind me. But believe when I say that I feel your pain, because it seems like I’m always the second tallest guy at the concert… And the tallest is always in front of me.

That was no different at this show, as he stood and blocked my (and my camera’s) view of center stage with his massive dome. I tried to shoot around him (even looking to the screen at the side of the stage), but it didn’t work out all that well.

As this show was somewhat of a ‘bonus’ show for me with a good view for video and photos, I decided to take more of each. Recently I’ve been minimalizing distraction in favor of taking in the show. But tonight I went ahead with documenting it for fun. I gave my camera to my girlfriend and directed her on what photos to take and when since she had a clearer view than me.

As far as the show goes, the sound was great from where we were behind the soundboard. Joe sounded a lot better and more rested than he did in the middle of the month after Sturgis.

After “Animal,” Phil made his way down the catwalk by himself and started “Let It Go.” I haven’t followed sets that closely, so I still wasn’t sure where the rotation would fall for this show.

“Foolin’” followed, and then I waited to see what would come next. I was hoping for “Paper Sun” for the simple fact that it’s the rarer track, but I was just as happy to see “Promises” again. It has always been one of my favorites and it has really been clicking with me this year.

The Dome sat down during “Promises,” freeing me up to take photos. He remained seated during “Love Bites” and the next several songs, so it allowed me to film Vivian’s introduction (which got a huge roar from the crowd) and all of “Armageddon It.”

For lack of anything better to do during “Rock On,” I filmed it too. I (like many others) am hoping that this song is cut from the set when it comes time to add the new single next month. The sad reality is the new single will probably take the place of “Promises”/”Paper Sun” instead, but one can hope.

Joe strummed the opening chords of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” as he made his way down the catwalk to introduce and play “Two Steps Behind” all by his lonesome. The crowd didn’t disappoint as they were the loudest of the three shows I’ve been to so far this year.

“Rocket” picked up the pace, “Bringin’ On The Heartreak” was as solid as ever, and the inclusion of “Switch 625” absolutely thrilled the guy behind me. I’m not sure where he has been over the last eight years but who can blame him? The song sounded extra good tonight and Rick got his own massive applause after his solo.

Of course “Hysteria” came next and “Let’s Get Rocked” went down a storm. As weird as this sounds, “Let’s Get Rocked” may be one of the most versatile songs the band has when it comes to putting a setlist together. It can open shows, close shows, be played early or late in the set, and it will completely kill… Or it can be not played at all and it would barely be missed.

I wouldn’t miss it if it was given a rest, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. I wonder when or if this newfound love of the song in a live environment will come to an end for me.

The massive crowd ate up “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the encore of “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph.” By the end of the second verse of “Photograph,” I was gasping for air as I tried to sing along. I’m far from being a professional singer, but I’m also 27 years younger than Joe. It really makes me marvel at what he does and how well he does it night after night. We are always surprised when he has an off night, and that’s really because it so rarely happens. In reality, we should be surprised it doesn’t happen more often than it does, because that would make more sense at this stage in the band’s career. Props to Joe for doing what he does at such a high level.

As always, it was an excellent show. My next one will be number 40, and it will swiftly be followed by number 41. I wonder how my voice will hold up after those.

Reviews from the 2015 Noblesville, IN Show.