Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What's that? I'm goin' DEF!

I know, it's a lot cooler to go to house concerts, bluegrass festivals, blues guys at Pat's Barbecue, soulful singer-songwriters at Red Butte Garden, or great bands I don't know but are sooo cool at The Depot, but every once in a while it's good for the soul to go to a good ol' fashioned huge Rock Concert.  And considering that Def Leppard has been one of my favorite bands since I was introduced to them in high school and they continue to indulge Salt Lake by coming back here at least every other year....well, Lets Get Lets Get Lets Get Lets Get Rocked!

And there's more added incentive; one average day in the early courtship of Tom and Ash we were driving along when Pour Some Sugar came on the radio and Ash blurted out of the blue "I LOVE Def Leppard!"  Literally music to my ears!  When I told her I'd seen them 4 times....well, the rest, as they say, is history.  So romantic.

Which brings us to last night, when Def shared a bill with - of all bands - Kiss.  Considering that we saw a t-shirt there that advertised a show some years ago where they shared a bill with Heart, I guess that's a little bit better, but still.....Def Leppard has sold over 100 million albums!  "Opening" for another band??!!

The night got off to a slow start when we realized the err of urban planning ways on the West Side and we crept along for miles through Magna - or maybe it was Toole? Delta? - to get into the show.  But it started to pick up as we entered the venue and started hanging out with our fellow fans:
The trademark Def Leppard Union Jack, worn resplendently by a fan
and it was clear that the Subaru was not the appropriate rig to bring to a show like this:

And we got to hang out with official members of the Kiss Army:

And promptly at 8pm - hey, they're now old and need their sleep! - the boyz leapt onto the stage and started into their long set.  And one nice difference between 1983 and 2014 is that now we feel like if we're gonna go, we're gonna pay to get close enough to make a difference, so the ticks that Ash got were pretty dang close.

It seemed sort of a shame to have these guys playing in the blazing sun - rock n roll is a bit of a nighttime thing, after all - but it didn't have an affect on the crowd, who sang along with every song.


Including this guy:
Is he a Super Bowl champeen or something with all them rings?  
and they did not disappoint.  True, Joe Elliot's voice can't quite soar to his previous heights, but nobody cared, including them; they don't take themselves too seriously, which is one of Def Leppard's great appeals.  And given the rock and roll lifestyle, they are actually faring pretty well; Phil Collen is looking pretty dang buffed at 55 years old:
a teetotaling vegan rock star?  
 And it's still remarkable to me that a super-successful rocker drummer can tear it down like this guy can with only one arm....

Unfortunately, Def only played for a little over an hour, but they went out in flourish with Rock of Ages and Photograph, of course:

At the break Andy and I were standing in line for a beer and I looked around in a bit of awe and said "Wow, this place is definitely shithead central!" and just as we were laughing about that the guy behind us suddenly leaned in between us and said "Ya know why they put the beer line next to the women's bathroom line?"  We looked at him in startled amazement; did he hear what I had just said and was quick enough to leap right into the fray with a sort of accompanying riddle? Or was this just wild coincidence?   "It's so we can just stare and drooool!"  Ah right you are, sir!  

I have never been a KISS fan, despite being the Cat drummer guy for Halloween one year.  But I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing their legendary show, and - of course - the infamous boots.  And they didn't disappoint; their entrance was grand, the costumes were beyond over the top, the pyrotechnics were hot......

.....and the music sucked (not to mention the bulbs seemed to be out on the "K" above!).  Sorry, but these guys have a pretty severe lack of talent- amazing after all these years! - but it is totally made up for with their brazeness and showmanship, which clearly goes a long way.  We couldn't really bear the thought of waiting through the whole concert to see "I wanna rock and roll all night" and then spending a few more hours in the exit traffic, so we bailed prematurely, but were totally satisfied.  

As an interesting addendum to this tale, I suddenly had an inkling of a remembrance today that the original spaceman Ace Frehley was replaced by a guy named Tommy Thayer - who is still their guitarist - and was a few years ahead of me at Sunset High School and had a younger brother whom I knew.  And - this is the kicker - wayyy back in the day our mom went on a few dates with Tommy Thayer's dad! So, there's really only about 1.5 degrees of separation from Ginny Diegel and....Gene Simmons!

Thanks very much to Team Southwick for rallying with us to such a cheesy show and laughing and jamming alongside!  

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