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Sunday, 21st September 2003

Kamloops, BC - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Sean

What a kick ass show. The arena was full with about 5000 people attending. The place was rocking from start to finish but especially during "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rocket" and also "Let's Get Rocked".

They brought a great flashback to the old high school days. 4th row center was an amazing seat and couldn't have asked for anything better. Maybe some more tit flashing would have been nice!!.

Fan Review - By Ruthie And Terri

We rolled into Kamloops, driving from Victoria with Def Leppard blaring from the speakers all the way, at 3:30 p.m. on the day of the concert. We wandered around to the side of the arena and parked on the stairs for a bit. Train track runs parallel to the property; I remarked to Ter that maybe the bay sensed the approaching train. Ter looked at me and said, “That’s not a train. Those are drums.”

Sure enough, the soundcheck had started. Holy cow. The stairs are vibrating on the downbeat. Then the bass starts thundering, the guitars start wailing and Joe starts howling. “Promises” first, “Two Steps” next, and an unexpected bonus: “Let It Go”. It took us a couple of seconds to figure out the last one, as it’s fairly common knowledge that “Promises” and “Two Steps” are the soundcheck numbers. Joe threw in a few bars of AC/DC too—we heard “You Shook Me (All Night Long)” just for the heck of it.

We came away from that feeling pretty happy. For three songs, we had the Leps all to ourselves and it was really cool. Way more than we’d hoped for, and a good start to the proceedings.

Our seats at the show were better than we’d imagined. We were on the aisle of row 7, 20 feet from Phil’s side of the stage, right by the in/out gate.

Malvin came out to introduce Ricky Warwick and told a little story about their last visit to Kelowna, when Phil’s bag had been stolen by “a fucking crook” called Billy Elliott (a distant relative of Joe’s, no doubt). Ricky was actually pretty good; 5 songs with naught but a guitar and Viv’s backup on the single off the album. I saw Viv come out of the gate prior to joining Rick onstage; cast in silhouette, he was small and very slender, with curly hair that had me wondering, “Who’s the girl?”. Rory must be back in school, as Ricky’s beer was brought out by a simpering bimbo instead of a fifteen year old kid.

During the break, the PA played the Stones, AC/DC, Motley Crue (I think), then during Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, a roadie comes up and plants a white mike stand centrestage. Ter nudges me. “The boss’s mike stand,” she says. It’s almost 8:30 p.m. Gary Glitter’s “Rock ‘n Roll Part II” is playing. Then the lights dip and “Disintegrate” starts up. The crowd follows suit. The lights dim.

They started with “Let It Go”, a high-octane rocker from the High ‘n Dry album that set the pace for the whole show. Funny thing about the lyric for that song; it’s flagrantly sexist and sexual and, sung by a 20 year old, makes me roll my eyes. Sung by a 44 year old man, it should be embarrassing. It’s not. It’s a testament to Joe’s charisma that he can belt it out and have grown women (well, 2, anyway) shaking at the knees.

“Rock Rock” was next; not my favourite song, and I hoped they would drop it in favour of “Stagefright” in Vancouver.

“Make Love Like a Man” was a hoot, ‘cause it sort of picks up where “Let It Go” leaves off. It’s a top 5 favourite of mine and gave me great joy to sing backup with the boys—and Joe’s solo on the last line was mesmerizing: he held a single note for so long and so steadily that you started screaming with him. To anyone who claims he’s losing his voice, it was proof that he’s not. He can still hit and hold those notes.

What do you say about Rick Savage? I am never prepared for how beautiful he is in the flesh. Pictures don’t hold a candle to the real item, and that’s not to say that his photos aren’t breathtaking, because they are. He’s just got a face that 3D elevates to celestial.

Phil was great. He lost his shirt by the fifth song (“Foolin’”) and played the rest of the set in his black jeans and big boots. He cuts a cool figure as he plays, and we were close enough to catch the light glancing off the gold rings in his ear. He’s so joyous; he waves and hi-fives and thumbs-ups the crowd—he makes you feel like he’s playing for you alone and the hell with the other 9,999 fans in the crowd.

As for Joe, you’d think that such a powerful start would signal a steady decrease of energy as the show progresses, but the man only gets stronger. His voice gets ragged toward the end, but his aura becomes a corona that blazes ever closer to supernova; it’s a dazzling reversal of physical law. Heh. Maybe that image of immortality is no image, after all. He singled a guy out prior to inviting...er, ordering the crowd to join the band on “Two Steps Behind”; he pointed that long index finger at a face on the floor and said, “What’s wrong with you? You’ve done nothing since we came out here!” Then he grumbles, “He must have got in for free.” Moving on, he tells the crowd that, for the next song, he wants us all “Even you,” he growls, aiming that fingertip a second time to join the band. Fortunately, I know every syllable to every song, so it’s no hardship to obey His Majesty’s command.

Sitting by the offstage antics is a great spot to get an idea of how the staff operate during a show. I caught Malvin and Phil’s guitar tech in the funniest exchange during “Now”, little Malvin and this big Norwegian-looking guy poured themselves a drink, toasted each other, tossed the cups aside like Greeks at a wedding, then indulged themselves in a hilarious heartfelt embrace.

My disposable Lep song is “Women”, but I sang along anyway, because the hook is infectious and Joe was cruising for layabouts again. I’d have snapped a contraband photo of Sav and Rick on the drum riser during the “Rocket” bridge (Joe sang a riff from the Who’s “My Generation”. No “Radar Love” in ‘Loops.

During the intro for “Rock of Ages”, Joe talked a bit about their first step on Canadian soil 20 years ago, saying if they’d known it would be this good, they would have come sooner. Then a shirt gets flung up on stage. Joe pads over, checks it out and says, “You guys a have a great sense of humour. This shirt says ‘I slept with Def Leppard and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’. The sad thing is that a guy threw it up here.

Then Joe got Rick to do the intro for “Rock of Ages” and we all sang backup for him again. He said the crowd was great; halfway through the set, he praised us for already outshouting the previous night’s gang in Prince George. He wanted us to be the loudest Canadian crowd so far—a challenge, he added wryly, at which Prince George “failed miserably”.

We must have impressed them; when they reappeared for the encore, Sav stepped up and said we’d been amazing, which set off another round of mindless screaming. He almost got hauled into the crowd during one of his hand-holding efforts, and lightning flashed again when he grinned. He and Joe are the moon and the sun, you know. Equally mesmerizing for totally different reasons.

After the encore, when the band finally left the stage (they spent so much time waving good bye and Joe blowing kisses that I feared Malvin would have to get the hook), Terri was hanging out by the railing at the out gate as they trooped by. Phil sprang up to hi-five the guy a step down from her, then Joe glanced up, caught her eye, smirked enough to punch the legendary dimple in his left cheek, and sauntered out of sight.


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