|» Def Leppard 2009 06 30||
Cheap Trick kicked off my first concert of the summer, and while not a bad choice by any measure, something was off. It was a beautiful day to sit up on the lawn, the crowd's atmosphere was fantastic and it was a top notch bill with everyone set to enjoy the party for the next few hours. So what could be wrong? The sound. Something about the sound just flat out bothered me. Either the guitars were not loud enough, or the vocals were too loud, or something of the sort, but whatever it was ended up being just bad enough to completely ruin most of the enjoyment I could have gotten from this set.
Sound problems aside, the band put on a solid performance and the crowd
seemed into it. I guess after 35 years, most of your fans are glad enough
to still be able to see you play live, sound issues or not. I've just
never been much of a Cheap Trick fan. I get that they go back a long time,
and they've got quite the catalogue to pull songs from (and, I mean, is
there a living human being on this planet that hasn't heard at least one
of these tracks?), but without being much of a fan, the sound problems
were enough to stop me from enjoying this set much.
3 chalices of 10
Poison is a band I've been meaning to see for awhile now. Last year, I almost caught them on their tour with Sebastian Bach, but wasn't able to make it. For me, this was where the show was really going to start. Pure, unadulterated party music, that's how I see these guys, and they pull it off well. Everyone in the crowd was going crazy from the moment they started Look What The Cat Dragged In. Of course, though, it had to be marred slightly by sound issues just as Cheap Trick had, though in a slightly different vein. This time around, it was in the form of deafening feedback from time to time, though not so often that it put too much of a damper on the performance.
With a band like Poison who have so many hits as they do, it seems like it'd be foolish to waste a few minutes of your set time and play a cover, though it technically is off of their latest studio release, 2007's Poison'd! covers album (and even then it was being re-released, having originally been on Open Up And Say Ahh!). But, hey, even the Loggins and Messina cover was a fun aspect of the set, with frontman Bret Michaels bringing out a harmonica before the song and then during the cover's guitar solo. A lot of people have problems with instrumental solos and/or jams in the middle of a set. I'll never understand the stigma attached to them - I think they add to a show, though a bit out of place here seeing as how neither C.C. DeVille nor Rikki Rockett are exactly virtuosos on their respective instruments. But who's to complain? Fans in the Hard Rock and Metal scene can complain for years, but that won't stop bands from including instrumental solos in their sets. Might as well just embrace them.
Cover and solos aside, it was a fun and constant Greatest Hits set type
of situation. Nearly every member of the crowd knew every song, but things
kicked into a higher gear when Bret grabbed an acoustic guitar and kicked
into Every Rose Has It's Thorn. The last three songs, understandably,
garnered a louder crowd response each than any other songs in the set
combined. 23 years after the release of their debut, the cat is still
dragging this quartet into venues night after night and people still show
up. And for a good reason - they still put on a hell of a performance,
looking on stage like they're having just as much fun as we are in the
crowd. And how could you not, being on stage and realizing that over the
last 23 years, you've put out loads of classic songs that practically
get sung for you night after night.
7,5 chalices of 10
Def Leppard is another band that has stood through the years, putting out strings of classic songs. How can you begin to argue with their back catalogue, even if the last few additions (including last year's Songs From The Sparkle Lounge) have been a little lackluster. Of course, out to please the fans who have stuck with them for all these years, Def Leppard keep to mainly the classics, playing only one song (the single, Nine Lives) off of last year's release. One has to assume that this setlist is a winning one for the band, seeing as how when I saw them last April with Styx, it was almost exactly the same save for the placement of a few songs, and that setlist had Foolin' and Mirror Mirror instead of Rock! Rock! Til You Drop and Too Late For Love. I find it hard to complain about the setlist, though, as it's a fairly solid one all around (though I've never really been a fan of Love Bites.)
The band was ushered onto the stage with a large video screen behind them showcasing the years passed, counting up to now, finally displaying on screen (this time accompanied by a voice I don't remember being there last time) "That was then .This is now. Welcome to the Sparkle Lounge" and going straight into Rock! Rock! Til You Drop. With a setlist like this, it wasn't necessary for vocalist Joe Elliott to stop and introduce each song, so the band mainly let the music do the talking. There was indeed a little bit of banter before some songs, but nothing really notable. The vocals were obviously a few steps up from the last time I saw him, as he had been sick that time around. For Two Steps Behind and half of Bringin' On The Heartbreak the band went acoustic, which second time seeing it or not was still a nice touch, even up to switching to electric halfway through the second song.
Starting with Hysteria we were hit with a rollercoaster ride of hits to end the set, "ending" with classic Rock Of Ages and then coming out again to a massive scream from the crowd, leading Joe to ask us one question "Do you wanna get rocked?" to end the night. Conveniently enough for those of us on the lawn, the terrible weather we've experienced in the area lately left us alone for most of the day, though it did decide to start raining during the last songs of the set, but it was almost as if the weather had a conscience. It didn't start raining hard until the band was off the stage, and everyone was in the parking lot searching for their cars.
8 chalices of 10