Southern Man

Friday, October 20, 2006

Concert Review: Journey and Def Leppard

Well, it's been quite a day for Southern in the morning, go to divorce court in the afternoon (actually everything was already signed and notarized and delivered and he didn't actually have to go to court at all, but he figured that since he was there when the marriage started he ought to show up for the bitter end as well), and a double-header concert tonight.

Our seat were at the "club" level where lots of those little private suites live (memo to self - when Younger Brother becomes a wealthy businessman make him buy one), which basically boiled down to (a) a fairly well stocked buffet and (b) bars with actual mixed drinks. We availed ourselves of the former, then found our seats and got ready for the show.

As expected, most of the crowd were (like us) forty-somethings reliving their concert-going youths. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I for one had missed Def Leppard back in the day (saw Journey at the State Fairgrounds Arena, which wasn't much of a venue then either, and which was memorable mainly for a near-riot when a bunch of ticketless fans tried to get in anyway) and was looking forward to hearing them both. But it wouldn't be too far from the truth to say that the girls were there to hear Journey and the guys were seriously pumped for Def Leppard.

Journey opened the program with a professional, tightly-choreographed (but fairly predictable) set with matching light-and-video show. No one was surprised that they played a number of hits from the band's glory days, with current lead singer Jeff Soto doing a fairly credible imitation of former frontman Steve Perry. A highlight for us up in the stands (well, at least for the guys) was a couple of fairly good-looking girls just in front of us who spent much of the set dancing together in what one might call a somewhat provocative manner. In short, the concert was pretty good - nothing really special, just a pretty good show.

During the break between sets we took advantage of the bar for overpriced but fairly tasty 'ritas and explored the club level a bit, then headed back to our seats. Our dancing girls were missing but (much to the delight of the guys) we were informed that they had also headed out to get "liquored up" and would be back for a return engagement. As The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again (a song so cool it has it's own page on wikipedia) blasted from the sound system, one of our newly-met friends urged us to sit down and watch, as he'd heard that the band would come onstage during that tune. And sure enough, the soundtrack was joined on that amazing downbeat by the heavy-metal guitars of Def Leppard and we were on our feet and shouting at the top of our lungs!

Def Leppard is still largely composed of original personnel, with four of the five current members dating from their first hit album Pyromania. And those guys can rock! They put on one of the best concerts I've seen in a good long while. Like Journey, they played pretty much all of the hits from their glory days, and they sounded just great. Drummer Rick Allen was particularly amazing. The only down side was that lead singer Joe Elliot pretty much lost his voice about two-thirds of the way through the show - but he didn't back down one bit. They made us feel like they really wanted to be there playing for us and I left even more of a Def Leppard fan that I was before the show.

Our now liquored-up dancing girls returned and got back into some seriously erotic dancing and just about when we (guys and girls alike) were paying more attention to them than to the concert, some security drone came down and hauled them away. It's just not the seventies any more; back then they'd have both had their tops off and the concert camera crew would have found them and projected them up on the screen (as happened more than once in my concert-going youth). We saw them later, though; either they just got griped at and released or they managed to slip back in.

And this is just the first concert of the weekend; at noonish I pick up my son and we head down to Dallas to see a bunch of emo bands as part of my birthday gift to him. I'm looking forward to that one too.


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