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Tuesday, 22nd August 2006

Phoenix, AZ - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Tammy

August 22, 2006 is not the time of year that most people would chose to be outside in the Arizona heat for any extended period of time. It rained in the morning, so there was hope that cloud cover would keep the heat down, but as the clouds cleared, that hope was diminished. However, the heat had little impact on the hordes of people flocking in to Cricket Pavilion to watch a performance by the greatest rock band ever, Def Leppard.

The concert venue was officially sold out, and this was reflected by the massive crowds everywhere one turned. I missed Stoll Vaughn this time (and Rory Collen) but had seen him previously in Houston. After a struggle, I made it to my front row seat. Journey came on stage and gave a decent performance, but it paled in comparison to the Lepps. After Journey finished, Def Leppard came on stage to the approval of a roaring crowd. My seat was directly in front of Joe Elliott, so I hugged the front rail between me and the stage throughout the performance. I was not about to allow anyone to move between me and my favorite band.

Ross Halfin was there, and many times was in front of me. He was very nice, and we actually had a nice chat. I asked if they were planning to update and do a new release of "None More Black" but he said no, however they are talking about doing a photo book spanning the band’s entire career. I told him to count me in for a couple copies.

Although it was still hot at 9 PM, Def Leppard was hotter! The guys looked great. They all appeared healthy and as always, appeared happy to be giving us their best performance. I do not know how Joe could stand to wear black leather pants throughout the concert, but I know the female fans appreciated it! He also started with a black leather jacket on. It is amazing he avoided getting heat stroke. Phil, ever the smart one, had no shirt on throughout the concert, except for the black jacket he donned for Rock On. I find it amusing that Phil is now the one wearing the ripped blue jeans. Sav looked great in all white. Rick had on the usual shorts and a red Raven Drum YEAH shirt. Vivian started out with a light colored jacket over a purple and white print shirt and blue jeans, and quickly took off the jacket.

Although recent reviews of their performances following the break after the Houston concert have not been too flattering regarding the sound, the Lepps have never sounded better than they did this night. Whatever the problems were, they must have worked them out. They were very together, timing was impeccable, and presentation was fabulous. They were all at 110%, and it was an amazing site to behold.

The Phoenix crowd also was lucky to have a great set list, although it was shorter than preferred. They opened with Rock! Rock! The crowd went wild. Then we "got rocked", which was followed by Let It Go. Everyone (band and crowd alike) were very upbeat and into rockin’ out. People in the audience were dancing, cheering, clapping, they could not have been happier. At one point, Sav suddenly darted from one side of the stage, clear across to the other side, a streak of white running behind Joe and Phil. Then they played Bringin’ On The Heartbreak followed by Foolin’. By the time they played Hysteria, I practically was (hysterical that is). Fortunately they left out Promises, which is the low point for me whenever they play it. They just have so many better songs to play in concert and I feel Promises is very weak. It does not warrant a spot on a limited set list

There had been rumors that they were going to play 20th Century Boy, but that did not happen. We were however treated to fantastic performances of No Matter What and Rock On. The crowd seemed to really enjoy both of these songs. I just love how they do Rock On, with Sav playing in the spotlight in the dark first, then Joe receives the focus of attention, then it all goes wild! Talk about rockin’ out! This performance was absolutely incredible. Joe had changed t-shirts and had worn a long black coat for Rock On (like in the video). I was waiting for the fans to start blowing - that would have been awesome.

They next went into the extended version of Rocket, which is such a joy live. The live performance adds so much more to the song than just listening to it on a cd (or on the radio if you are lucky). I forgot to mention the screen. The lights and video effects for this tour have been long in coming. I wonder if this is because of a change in management. Whatever the cause, it is great because it makes the entire concert experience even more pleasurable and I hope they continue to utilize these screens, videos and special effects in the future.

Joe gave an awesome performance of Photograph. His voice sounded fantastic. Then they went into Armageddon It, which continued to drive the high energy vibe throughout the audience. This was followed by another of my favorites, Animal. I can never get enough of hearing Def Leppard sing "and I want, and I need, and I lust..." When I hear this, I am in heaven. They ended the set with Rock of Ages, which had some incredible video footage and just summarized how incredibly awesome this band is. Many of the Journey fans were converted and are now Leppard fans as well. It was a great performance as usual by the Lepps.

For the encore, they did a wonderful performance of Love Bites. Joe really gives his all throughout the concert, and his vocals were impeccable here as well. And finally, to top off the night, they ended with Pour Some Sugar On Me. By this time, we were all "hot, sticky" and well, maybe not so sweet, but we had a blast! It was a shame it ended so quickly.

The only down side of the night was the short set list compared to what the Lepps had gotten us used to. I hope they go back to giving full 2 hour concerts (or longer) by themselves again. They do not need Cheap Trick, Journey, or anyone else to pair up with them. They have reached a broader audience and are receiving better promotion with their new management, so I hope they try to go it alone again soon. But "no matter what" they do, I will always be with Def Leppard.


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