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Saturday, 11th November 2006

Manchester, NH - Fan Reviews

Fan Review - By Catherine Cleland

Being exhausted from traveling 9.5 hours from the previous night's gig in Baltimore failed to make the show any less rocking! I attended the ILAA 5* party again, where we met Journey for a second night, and they made sure this time I didn't miss Stoll Vaughan's set (thanks Kaitlin). I had on my Stoll "Got Mule?" shirt and was ready with my little bag of tricks. Side note is that this was the only time I've had to deal with security getting into a venue with the ILAA pass and yet I still made it in with scissors (still had some concert favors to design) and fireworks. Hmmm. Anyway, we made it out to see Malvin on stage prepping the audience for the big night. I had met them all the night before so I made Malvin a stuffed monkey that said Applying To Be Malvin's Monkey with a silly list on the back. I threw it at Malvin, who seemed to read it and find it amusing. If anyone caught a pic of him with the monkey, I'd love it!

I digress. Stoll came out to several of us standing in the front, which was nice, and quite a few people at the sold out show (Jeff Scott Soto said it was a s/o) so good for him. Think he's picked up quite a few fans on this gig. Again, I missed most of the shows for taking pics, but I made myself put the camera down a few times so I could sing, dance and just act like a teenager. That part is almost more fun to me than the show itself! Stoll gave a great performance, I thought, and once again had Jonathan Cain, Ross Vallory and Curtis Laur Jr. (Phil's tech) join him for the final song. Stoll did himself a good turn on this tour gaining a ton of attention and the chance to play on arena stages! Keep the momentum going, Stoll.

The crews did another amazing job setting up super fast! Journey didn't even give you a bathroom break before they came on stage with Neal Schon's Star Spangled Banner. Not a big Neal fan so don't really did his SSB. I'd rather the whole band come out blazing than just one guy, but it's been that way for months so no change up there. They have changed the set quite a bit from the Steve Augeri days. That seems so long ago. I never liked Augeri and sat through the Journey set when he was the frontman, but Journey whatever you do, hang onto Jeff Scott Soto. He may not sound like Steve Perry, but who cares.

He gets the audience rocking in a way I haven't seen. Constant interacting and working the crowd left, right and center! And can that man work up a sweat! He seems to have a little hip-hop in him with the jumping around, tossing the mic around (no mic stand twirling here) and the local jerseys he always grabs for the encore. I must say that I wasn't excited about seeing Journey, but once JSS joined the band I've become a little bit of a Journey fan. That was the point for both bands, I guess, so JSS was definitely doing his job well.

On to Leppard. What to say? I just can't do a show without being front row anymore. It's totally different having the guys sweat and spit on you and feeling the intense heat of the new pyro. Good idea, guys. Not sure why you waited, but great send off and addition to the show. If you won't change the set list (ARGH) at least you gave us something new. We did get Slang, which a lot of fans had been gripping they wanted to hear. Not my choice as I'd prefer something off HND, but not sure Joe can sing that stuff anymore. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. Joe had reportedly been sick, but his voice sounded in tip top shape to me. The night before I had been in front of Sav's speaker and it spoiled the show a bit as all I could hear was this deep muffled voice which sounded like just noise. You couldn't really make out the words.

This time I was in front of Phil (thanks Eve) for a much better listening experience. It did stink a bit because I'd seen the show months back and it basically didn't change so I was able to know exactly when to snap pics, exactly what Joe was going to say and when (stand up you in the back. No, not you. Him) and what shapes they were going to throw. I knew what the Rocket solos would be like, the exact moment Sav would lean on Joe during Hysteria and when Viv and Phil would stand together for their bits, but all in all a fantastic performance. I must say, I had been disappointed with Joe at Mohegan Sun. I hear he was in terrible back pain so he barely moved! At Baltimore and Manchester he more than made up for it and was all over the place! I know that it must get extremely tiring, slightly monotonous and dull doing the same show repeatedly almost word for word, but the guys never lost their energy. It seemed that they were just getting warmed up as they were all extremely interactive with the crowd and had energy to go for another 1/2 hour (I wish).

I think this must be their most successful tour since Adrenalize and good for them. A financially sound venture as well as fantastic promotion and attention! Good job and congrats go out to Stoll Vaughan, Journey and Def Leppard for a job well done. Hang onto the momentum, get a new album out and ACTUALLY PLAY IT ON STAGE, and come out by yourselves next time. It's not more bang for your buck to me, Joe (borrowing your words), to have a double bill. It's less. I'm there to have fun and see Lep for longer than 80 minutes, if that. Actually, take out the 5 minute encore break and the talking and it goes to about 70 minutes of music. No bang for your buck there. Save the voice, Joe, and throw us something different, something for the true fans, not just the "oh, we've got nothing better to do tonight, honey" grabber ons! I could go on, but won't. Another great show in the books, a great tour and can't wait to do it all over again.


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