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Wednesday, 7th October 2015

Moline, IL - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - Curt Taft

My first show of the tour was a little under two months ago, on August 11. It certainly doesn't seem like it was that long ago. Since then, I've seen the band in Sedalia on August 14, Indianapolis on August 30, St. Louis on September 4, and Chicago on September 5. Tonight was my sixth and final show of the tour in Moline, IL. This is the most shows I've seen on a single tour since the 2002-2003 "X" Tour, when I saw six shows in exactly six months.

I hadn't been to this city or venue since June 18, 2003 for my fifth show of the "X" tour and 11th show overall. Coincidentally, tonight was also my girlfriend's 11th Def Leppard show, taking place at the exact same venue. As with several other venues I frequent, the name has since changed from The Mark Of The Quad Cities to the more corporate iWireless Center.

A lot has happened since my last show. That leg of the tour came to an end, and 10 days later, the band released the first single from their upcoming self-titled new album, "Let's Go." Fan expectations (driven by quotes from band members themselves) were that the new single would be featured in the live shows on the third leg of the US tour, which began on September 16 (my birthday!). But, as with most things in Leppard Land, the debut live performance of the new single was delayed. Supposedly the production aspect of the song wasn't quite right, and show after show went by without featuring the song. Thousands upon thousands of fans that could have been exposed to the lead single from a new album to be released in the very near future saw shows with little to no evidence of a new album being on the horizon.

I'm known to have bad luck with setlists. I've been fortunate this year in that I have gotten to see "Paper Sun" at two of my five shows so far. As it was becoming more and more apparent that my chances of seeing "Let's Go" live were getting slimmer and slimmer, I took solace in the fact that the set rotation lined up so that "Paper Sun" would be played in Moline.

And then the rotation changed, as "Paper Sun" was played two nights in a row, leaving "Promises" on the table for Moline.

Rather than get down about it, I stayed optimistic. I told myself "That's ok. That just means they'll play "Let's Go" in Moline instead.

Full disclosure: I was telling myself that, but I hardly believed it.

We arrived at the venue and had to wait for the doors to open. Our seats this time were on Viv's side in the 15th row. Not quite as good as others I've had on this tour because I had a brain fart and got my presale dates mixed up and bought tickets later than I should have. But no worries. Again, I've been very fortunate this year and had no complaints.

Tesla took the stage at 6:53 and surprisingly changed their set. I was glad after seeing the exact same set (minus one song in Chicago) at my first five shows of this tour. They swapped out "Edison's Medicine" and "Gettin' Better" for classic opener "Cumin' Atcha Live" and "Love Me," the latter of which I had never seen live before. The rest of the set remained the same and the band sounded as good as ever.

Jeff Keith made the faux pas of calling the city "Moline, Iowa" multiple times before finally being corrected, which can be seen in my video for "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)." It's understandable considering how close the Quad Cities are to each other. Hell, I can only name three of them!

They finished up their set around 7:40 and the crowd was already getting loud. Fellow forum member Marni came over to visit for a minute between bands, which was nice. It's always nice to see other Leppard die hards at the shows.

After a quick changeover, Foreigner took the stage. I was excited to see them as I like a lot of their material and they were excellent when I last saw them in 2007, once again opening for Leppard. Opinions can be divided on Foreigner considering they only have one original band member remaining (guitarist Mick Jones), but the lineup he has put together sounds great.

Not surprisingly, they kept their set focused on the hits. In fact, the setlist was nearly identical to the one they played when I saw them in 2007, outside of nixing the drum solo (now that Jason Bonham is no longer in the band) and "Whole Lotta Love" segment. The only addition was the power ballad "I Want To Know What Love Is" in the encore that also featured a local high school choir that you couldn't even hear.

Highlights were opener "Double Vision," "Dirty White Boy," and my favorite Foreigner tune, "Urgent."

"Juke Box Hero" was drawn out quite a bit, and frankly, lost my attention. It was during one of the instrumental breaks that I decided to check in on the forum.

And my jaw hit the floor.

I was only skimming the posts in the thread for the Moline show and came across a photo Vivian had posted of his boy Stuart. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the post actually started with him saying "Congratulations Moline! You get the first performance of the new tune. Now I just hope we don't fuck it up..."

I couldn't believe it. The band were going to play "Let's Go" for the first time EVER.

I scrolled further and saw that Rick had also posted a few hints about playing the song.

Once I put my jaw back into place, I told my girlfriend about it and she got a kick out of my extreme increase in enthusiasm. Truth be told, I was starting to feel a bit bummed about the concert since I wasn't expecting "Paper Sun" and had a terrible view of the stage thanks to the massive dome of a guy that had clearly been dragged to the concert by his wife. Yes, once again, I was the second tallest guy at the concert, and the tallest guy was right in front of me like a statue. He barely moved all night long.

Now I was jittery. I was moments away from witnessing Leppard history.

Foreigner closed out their set with "Hot Blooded," and then the final waiting period began. Would Leppard open with "Let's Go" or would they throw it in third? Fifth? I wasn't sure, but I (and many others) expected it to open.

I sat there anxiously awaiting the drop of the curtain. Time slowed to a crawl. But finally, AC/DC's "Shoot To Thrill" came on, and I prepared my phone so I could have my girlfriend ready to shoot in case "Let's Go" was the opener.

The lights went down, and I was expecting "Disintegrate" to start blasting over the PA. But it didn't. Instead, an extended intro to "Let's Go" came on. The curtain dropped as the stage was doused in red light. The band members slowly snuck on stage as the Def Leppard logo got bigger and bigger on the screen.

And then BAM. That first note of "Let's Go" started and the logo shattered on the screens, much like the album cover. With that, we were off.

I was losing my freakin' mind as I watched history unfold. Musically, it sounded nearly note for note how the studio version sounds. Which is no surprise considering the talent of the band members and more stripped down approach taken on the new record (from what they've said over the last year and a half). It was clear they were having fun up there with the new song as well (Vivian especially, as he's been vocal about wanting to play the song live).

Joe did mix up a lyric from the second verse, but outside of that, the song was flawless. Vivian adapted the acoustic bit after the second chorus into a light electric strum, and the backing vocals were spot on. The ever so mysterious screen effects were miles above the weird and borderline off-putting lyric video.

The crowd went nuts when the song started, was more reserved through the rest of the song, and responded well when it ended. Surely most of them had no idea what it was, but now they do. Rick had "#LetsGo" prominently displayed on his close up as well. Overall, I'd say the addition of the song was a success and the crowd reaction was quite positive.

My head was up in the clouds (but still not able to see over The Head) after that and I felt like I was barely conscious for "Animal," which swiftly followed "Let's Go." Adding to the confusion for casuals was "Let It Go" being played in the third spot.

"Foolin'" came next, and I filmed it as best I could. My view for the show was quite frustrating, as you can see in my videos of all three bands. No matter where I looked, there was a giant head blocking my view... Especially the one in front of me, which blocked everything from center stage all the way over to Phil.

I didn't take many photos as the vantage point and obstructions didn't make for very good pictures. So instead, I just sat back and enjoyed the show. I did give Periscope a shot during "Rock On." If I'm going to have to see it, I'm going to share that joy with others!

Joe took center stage with his acoustic guitar and mentioned playing "Let's Go" for the first time ever since it went in at number one on the classic rock chart today. Then he played "Two Steps Behind."

"Rocket," "Bringin' On The Heartbreak," and "Switch 625" flew by in rapid succession. Rick's drum solo at the end of "Switch 625" was especially aggressive tonight. Perhaps the inclusion of the new single gave him a shot of adrenaline?

The set continued with "Hysteria," "Let's Get Rocked," and of course, "Pour Some Sugar On Me." During this, a woman decided to get up on the catwalk much to Joe's surprise. He adapted to it well with some... Provocative moves... And then he went back to the main stage for safety. The woman got down and was promptly escorted out of the arena. I can assure you... It was not staged.

After a short encore break, Leppard returned to close out the show (and my run of shows for the year) with "Rock Of Ages" and "Photograph."

Once again, Def Leppard put on a hell of a show. Joe was a little raspy due to his chest infection, but it did not hurt the show at all. Rumor has it the Tesla/Styx/Def Leppard package will be making its way back to the US early next year. While I'm not thrilled about seeing Styx again, I welcome more shows after the new album has been released. Hopefully the set will feature two or three new songs at that point.

My voice was shot after another night of singing every word of every song, especially "Let's Go." I was exhausted, but I had a three hour drive back home ahead of me.

Which also meant three hours before I could get home and post the video of "Let's Go" to YouTube for all the fans that followed the show to see. It reminded me of when NASA was anxiously awaiting photos of Pluto and its fifth moon to come back from the New Horizons satellite. What was the name of that fifth moon again? I swear I heard it somewhere. There were no astronomy lessons during tonight's concert so I'm drawing a blank... Hmm...

Anyway, congrats to Def Leppard on a very successful tour and the debut of their new single. HUGE thanks to them for affording me and the rest of the Moline crowd the chance to witness some Leppard history.

Bring on the new album!


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