Last Wednesday night (9/12) I saw Def Leppard and Styx at the Clark County Amphitheater in Ridgefield, WA. I went with a group of fellow fans, some of whom I’ve known for years and others I met only recently (*waves at Laurel, Erin, Karen, and Amy*). We were in the 12th row but waaaaayyyyy off to the left, behind a big stack o’ amps. So we got to watch the bands in profile for most of the show.
Styx opened with an hour-long set that included most of their biggest hits: Too Much Time on My Hands, Blue Collar Man, Renegade, Grand Illusion, and Come Sail Away, along with a cover of I Am the Walrus. No Babe, Mr. Roboto, or The Best of Times. Tommy Shaw and James Young are still with the band, but Dennis DeYoung is gone. Still, they sounded great and seemed to be having a great time. They also don’t really seem to be showing their age much, as you can see in these pics:
After a 30-minute break, we got what we really came for—Def Leppard! They played for only 90 minutes, typical when they share the bill with another big-name act. Since they have so much material, it really isn’t enough time, and the set felt rushed—very little stage patter, a shortened version of Rocket, all business to fit as much in as possible. They don’t have a new album out this year, so it was mostly a greatest-hits set (oh, heck… the last few years they’ve played mostly a greatest hits set, even when they have had new material to promote, but I digress…). They did make some changes from previous years, though:
- Different music during the changeover before they took the stage. Yeah, I know… Only someone who’s been to way too many shows would notice that, but it is a little discombobulating. They’ve had basically the same filler music for the last eight years at least, so I always knew how long I had to get drinks and hit the restroom before the show started. This year I actually had to look at my watch and think (horrors).
- They added some material from what Joe Elliott calls their “back catalog”, in this case “Mirror Mirror” from High ‘n’ Dry and “Excitable” from Hysteria. I don’t think I’d ever heard “Mirror Mirror” live (and this was my 20th show), and I hadn’t heard “Excitable” since the Hysteria tour. What a treat.
- They brought back the acoustic set, missing for at least the last two tours. It was cool to hear “Two Steps Behind” again, as well as a mostly-acoustic version of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” with a kick-ass electric finish.
- They didn’t play “Let’s Get Rocked”. Drat. But we can’t have everything.
- They only played one song for an encore, “Rock of Ages.”
All in all, it was a great show. The band was energetic and the sound was great. And for you women in the audience, the guys look great. They still aren’t really showing their age, and the only major difference looks-wise is Rick Allen, who is now sporting facial hair. Let’s wrap this up with some eye candy:
The rest of my pics are posted in my Flickr account at http://flickr.com/photos/crumj/sets/72157601995769537/.
Next up: the Concord show on Tuesday.