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Wednesday, 7th June 2005

Mesa, AZ - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Victor

I didn't feel like leaving work early or standing in the hot, hot 95-degree sun, so I went late to this double-headliner. As a result, I had to park waaay in the back row of cars (this is relevant later). I showed up well into Bryan Adams' set - he was pretty good but I only like a few of his songs. The crowd was much more mixed than I expected - there was a wide range from young high school kids (who knew every Def Lepp lyric!) to folks in my parents' generation who have followed the band from the very beginning, many in (now too small) vintage concert shirts. Very cool, and in some cases, very amusing. I dug the super-high Aquanet bangs on the women and the tank-top-tucked-into-tight-jeans on the men - rock on like it's 1987! Just kidding.

I was about row 6, slightly stage right between Joe and Sav. The band came on around 8:20-ish with a bang and launched into Action. The setlist was pretty much the same as it has been on this leg of the tour. As they are promoting the latest greatest hits compilation, it really was an all killer, no filler setlist. Rocket was the extended jammy version with Joe disappearing behind the speaker stacks stage left while Phil and Viv jammed. Unfortunately, there was no "Whole lotta love" tag as there was at Don Valley 1993. Love Bites also was great, though it didn't have the twin guitar outro like they used to do circa Adrenalize-tour. Pour some sugar on me was launched into directly as the last song…for me though, I still prefer the standard intro they used to do either with the drum rhythm leading to the guitar riff, or with the guitar noodling leading into the drum rhythm.

Great, high energy show - these guys are great showmen. Phil and Viv each spent maybe 1/3 of their time away from their standard posts. Joe moved around a bit less, sticking mostly to stage center or stage left. Sav really was mobile, splitting his time equally between the 2 mics on either side of Joe. He and Viv also liked running around Rick's drum riser. Lots of crowd singing and the energy level was high. Lots of people have asked me about how they looked, as I guess some have an expectation that the guys would be sad, pathetic, fat versions of their late 80's glory. I can tell you they were in great shape. Phil looked great as usual, Rick looks more mature (less babyface-ish), and Sav and Viv actually looked more in shape. Joe was more or less the same. Obviously more wrinkles all around but whatever - it didn’t affect the performance or energy level at all.

After the gig was over I tried to get a setlist but a roadie told me that since the setlist this tour is basically the same, they really aren't using one. I headed outside and they were routing all traffic down the same 2-lane road to leave. Since I was parked in the last row of cars, I would have been sitting there breathing fumes for probably 2 hours, so I decided to wait out the traffic. I walked over and noticed the band’s tour buses were actually pretty close to the main entrance/exit, so I figured it was as good a place to wait as any other - heck, they might even come out. After maybe an hour Joe came out to say goodbye to some people in the bus parking lot and a bunch of fans who had been waiting yelled "hi" and asked him to stop by for autographs. He yelled back In a second! and went back in to the building. They were definitely sticking to their past practice of only 2 of 5 band members meeting fans at any one time, because after maybe another half hour he and Rick Allen came out to meet the fans. By this time there were maybe 10 of us left.

Now this is just my opinion, but I felt Joe's attitude in meeting us was more of "OK, let's do this and get through it" - not that I am complaining here…in fact I had heard Joe is normally extremely shy and rarely meets fans, so I indeed felt we were all very fortunate to be there. He told me that he would do pictures only after he was sure everyone there had gotten at least 1 autograph, so that really impressed me (especially given his latest rant on the punks who get autographs only to turn them on e-Bay). Next I talked to Rick who is in every sense of the word a gentleman. He is the most quiet, nice, humble, down-to-earth musician I've met in a while - a rock star without a rock star attitude, if you will. He was totally nice and patient and took multiple pix with everyone, even giving tips on operating digital cameras to get better pictures! The 1st pic I had with him didn’t really come out well, and I was ready to go with just that one, but he insisted that we get another one that was better. So, I managed to get pix and an autographed Hysteria CD booklet from both guys. They stayed to chat for a few more minutes, but were being constantly reminded that they were running late (they had a show in TX the next day), so it was no surprise they left soon after. Right after that we saw Sav also by the buses, but despite acknowledging us with a small wave, he didn’t come over. (I had been told he is also extremely shy and reluctant to do fan meet-and-greets, so I was not surprised there). Phil and Viv we never saw.

All in all, a great show and a great autograph experience…"Hysteria" was the first audio tape (the kids are probably asking what a "tape" is, ha ha) I ever wore out listening to (twice!) so it was really special to have met the guys from the band. If you ever had any doubts about Def Lepp being a good band or putting on a great show, allow me to put those fears to rest - support them on this tour, and you will not be disappointed!

Fan Review - By Cathy

We survived it, & it was great! We got there as soon as the parking lot opened, & melted, er, uh, I mean sat in the sun for 3 hours before the gates opened. Then made a run for it & got right where we wanted to be: In front, on the railing, between Viv & Sav. Viv is a lot of fun to be in front of, he goofs with people. It took a few passes to our side before Phil finally saw Shawn, but when he did it was a big gesture of: "Oh *THERE* you are!" and he blew her a kiss. Leppard headlined - as it should be! I wonder, when it's the other way around, does the crowd go THAT CRAZY when Bryan comes on? I can't see it happening. He was good though, I enjoyed him & I knew way more songs than I thought I did. They opened with Action. And did Love Bites in the middle, not an encore. Last encore was Sugar. They did Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad, which my daughter & her friend were freaking out over, cuz in Nicole's room with the girls before we left, we were doing our nails & listening to Lep, & that song came on. I told them, "You mark my words, they will play this." :-)

I think the fight we were in the middle of, was during Animal. Then I was too pissed for words, for a little while so I might not remember what came next. Well, a d*ckhead & his stupid girlfriend violently shoving their way to the front got a little bit o' that - I considered it carefully, then when the lights went down, I elbowed that bitch in the boob as HARD as I could! She didn't go down, but she was feeling it later, you can bet on it. The @sshole didn't go down when I side-kicked him in the side of the knee either. :-( I should try harder next time. But first came the idiot crowd-surfing, & we could feel the surging of people behind us - I turned around, saw him coming our way, thought "oh shit", and grabbed my daughter & ducked. He went right over our heads & kicked Nicole in the face as security dragged him down. F*cker! Right after that came the d*ckhead & his girlfriend, so there was a flurry of shoving, cursing, people throwing punches or just throwing their body weight, etc.

There was one girl caught in it, a little bit behind us, & I didn't notice her until I saw Nicole reach through the people & hold her hand. This girl was FREAKING out - I don't know if she was hurt, or just scared to death, but she was crying & shaking like a leaf. So we pulled her through, got security's attention, & helped them lift her over the railing. She got over, & simply crumbled to the ground. But they picked her up & she was able to walk out with their help. I told Nicole I was proud of her for noticing & reaching out to that girl when she needed someone, in the midst of all the BS.

I will say this: from where I was, the sound was not superb. I thought Viv's sound (guitar, not vocal) was a bit distorted. Then again, we had it blasting directly into our brains from our vantage point, too. So maybe that's why. And Joe's vocal was hard to hear at first, presumably over the screeching of Viv's guitar. I noticed people were hashing out the setlist (oh give it a rest already folks!) and lamenting that this song or that song didn't get played, and NOTHING off Slang or X. blah blah blah. Well, hel-LOOO?? It was a Tues nite, an outdoor venue. They HAD to finish by 10:00pm! (and in Mesa, AZ, no less - another reason altogether to end a rock concert on time) (Mesa is a very Mormon city) So Basically, To Be Quite Honest, At The End Of The Day, a good time was had & the show rocked as always. Have I been to better? Yes. Worse? Maybe. Will I go again? F*CK YEAH, are you kidding???

The best part about it (for me) was the interplay from the stage. I mean, I've heard Love Bites, Sugar, Animal, Women, & Rocket (extended) all 9-million times, thank you. But Viv is a hoot to be in front of - you hold up a little sign or give a little wave or blow him a kiss, & he's yours all night. He's a blast! *MUAAHHHH!!* (kisses to Viv) Oh, and I FINALLY got a Sav guitar pic!! These ones say "25th Anniversary" on them. The show I would absolutely die to see, would be the one where it's a tiny venue (like a club), I'm in front, and they're playing all sorts of misc. stuff - not just the hits. Ahhhhh, a girl can dream, right? And that, my friends, is how it went. (at least from my perspective) And there will be a next time!!!!.


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