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Def Leppard Sparkle Lounge Tour 2008

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European tour.

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      01.07.2008 21:45
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      My taste in music is changing!

      ---Introduction---

      It was a Sunday afternoon and hubby was putting some of the "Goo Goo Doll"'s songs onto my Ipod for me. We're off to see them in concert in July with friends who are big fans you see, and not knowing a thing about the group I thought I'd better start listening to some of their music so I don't look like a complete Pratt.

      Later on hubby started whining saying how he never gets to go to see the bands he REALLY wants to see as his friends never want to or those who do like the same music live too far away. I pointed out that unlike me he actually does like the Goo Goo Dolls, but he was not satisfied, saying that that isn't the point, they are not one of his FAVOURITE bands. Ok, fair enough. I didn't think that it was the time to mention that I had quite fancied going to see Take That when they got back together but didn't like to ask him. I thought it's probably best for me to keep quiet about such things after we went to see Toploader back when we were at Uni and I passed out during the second song due to four hours of pre-gig drinking, and we had to leave (the security guards made us). Oh, and at the Uni ball where I'd been really excited about seeing East 17 (tragic I know) playing but then was virtually comatose by the time their supporting act All Saints came on, and once again we had to leave.

      It seems I have put hubby through quite a bit in my time, so when he excitedly phoned me from work yesterday lunchtime (Tuesday 17th June) asking me if I could take some time off work because he wanted to go and see Def Leppard the next week in Newcastle, I couldn't really say no. After all they are one of his most favourite bands - EVER. Plus Whitesnake are playing as well, so double the fun...and wait for it supported by Blackstone Cherry (never heard of them) which hubby likes but admits that I will hate.



      ---So, the countdown to the concert begins...---


      Tuesday 17th June

      Got home from work, and hubby was noticeably excited. I managed to contain my enthusiasm. But keen to get into the spirit of things I looked on eBay for a Def Leppard T-shirt that I could buy. Unfortunately (or fortunately - I'll reserve judgement at this stage) they were all in the US, and I'm not willing to risk coming into work the day after the concert to find that my T-shirt has just arrived.

      Whilst doing my exercises hubby came up to the Moosery and enquired what rubbish I was listening to, to which I replied "The Starlight Express Musical soundtrack which I've just bought off Amazon Marketplace". He wasn't impressed - I suppose that it's not exactly exercise music, so I suggested hubby put on a Def Leppard album for me to listen to. To be fair, the music is pretty listenable, and I've always quite liked the song "When Love and Hate Collide". However, when hubby started telling me that I will need to get into the habit of 'moshing' I was not so enthusiastic after all. I had also hoped that we'd have seats, but unfortunately we will be in the standing room (apparently the best 'seats' due to the fact that there are none) with all the die-hard fans. Sh*t...perhaps now's the time I should also mention that I am the sort of person who does NOT do audience participation - I absolutely hate it, and want to kill anyone who likes it.

      I asked hubby to look into the parking situation at the venue, and he came back saying that there were 600 spaces and the lady on the phone said that was plenty - I'll reserve judgement again though since 600 spaces doesn't sound a lot for 11000 people.



      Wednesday 18th June

      Listened to Def Leppard on the train this morning whilst reading. When I got to work I went into a Def Leppard Forum on the Internet and found the set listing for both Whitesnake and Def Leppard (the first concert of the tour was last night in Glasgow and apparently was amazing, according to the fans who seem to be going to attend every night). I then copied and pasted the song lyrics into a word document. This should make my quest to at least learn a few lines of a few songs a bit easier. If nothing else at least I'll know which rubbishy songs I won't have to listen to in my preparation.

      Just think, this time next week it'll all be over!



      Thursday 19th June

      I have spent another couple of hours listening to Def Leppard, and haven't found it as bad an experience as it could have been. I still think I'm going to struggle to become a fan by next week - my memory just can't retain song words, and I can't turn up to the concert with my sheets with the words on. Well I could, but I might look silly - but then I'm going to look silly anyway. Mind you I have been on the Def Leppard forum again today, and it sounds like there's a fair few weirdos at these concerts such as 'the yellow bag man', so perhaps I'll fit in.

      I haven't even thought about Whitesnake yet, we don't have any of their CDs, I might have to download something.



      Friday 20th June

      Haven't done much listening, but have the song 'Animal' ("and I want, and I need, and I lust Animal") in my head. Really regretting the fact that June is our alcohol-free month as I really could do with a drink or 10 before the concert. I will continue my ramblings on Monday!



      Monday 23rd June

      Hubby and I had an argument on Saturday about the concert. It all seems to be a case of crossed wires and lack of saying what we actually mean. As a result he has said that I am not going with him to the concert and he will find someone who does want to go. But I am still assuming that I will be going. Otherwise I have wasted hours listening to Def Leppard music, not to mention the time I have spent writing this review when the concert hasn't even happened yet!

      I went into Virgin (or Zavvi as it now seems to be called) at lunchtime and bought Def Leppard's latest album and also the best of Whitesnake 3-disc collection. The bloke in the shop it turns out is also going tomorrow night!



      Tuesday 24th June

      Well today's the day...have been listening to Whitesnake on my Ipod this morning, but don't feel I know enough to be singing along to the songs tonight.

      I am actually looking forward to the concert, but am looking forward to it being over as well. I am determined to have a good time though.

      So the pre-concert build-up concludes. My review now follows with some background information about the bands playing, before we get onto my review of the concert itself!




      ---The Bands - Background Information---


      Def Leppard

      For the purposes of anyone reading this review who doesn't know anything about Def Leppard, and of educating myself as I know nothing about Def Leppard, I will now share a brief summary of them with you.

      The first I ever heard of Def Leppard was back in Year 8 I think when we had to do a presentation about something we loved - one girl did hers on giraffes, I can't for the life of me remember what I did (this was during my pre-moose days), but someone did a presentation about Def Leppard.

      I remember my friends and I giving each other disgusted looks throughout the presentation - I mean, who likes that sort of rubbish (?) - I mean, Take That rule after all, and East 17 are pretty good too. But what annoyed me most was the spelling. "How ridiculous!" I exclaimed, "They are so stupid that they can't even spell Deaf Leopard....only stupid people must like such a stupid band."

      My thoughts on this were only exacerbated when I met hubby and his somewhat dubious taste in music....anyway, I'm getting sidetracked already - here's the low-down on Def Leppard.


      The Facts:

      When were they formed - 1977
      Where were they formed - Sheffield
      Music style - Rock/Metal

      Current Members (there have been 2 other drummers and two other guitarists):
      *Joe Elliott - lead vocals, additional guitars, keyboards (1977-present)
      *Phil Collen - guitars, backing vocals (1982-present)
      *Vivian Campbell - guitars, backing vocals (1992-present)
      *Rick Savage - bass, keyboards, additional guitars, backing vocals (1977-present)
      *Rick Allen - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1978-present)

      Albums:
      *On Through the Night (1980)
      *High 'n' Dry (1981)
      *Pyromania (1983)
      *Hysteria (1987)
      *Adrenalize (1992)
      *Retro Active (1993)
      *Slang (1996)
      *Euphoria (1999)
      *X (2002)
      *Yeah! (2006)
      *Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (2008)

      Official Website - www.defleppard.com

      Interesting Bits and Bobs:

      *The band was actually originally called "Deaf Leopard" - so they can spell after all!
      *Drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in 1984 and is now famous for being a one-armed drummer - that takes some skill.
      *Ranked 31 on VH1's "Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" - wow!
      *They are one of the few British rock bands to make it in the US.
      *"When Love and Hate Collide" reached no. 2 in the UK charts in 1995, one of their most successful singles (bear in mind though this is quite an achievement as most 13-year old girls don't buy this sort of thing - I didn't anyway!)



      Whitesnake

      When were they formed - 1977
      Where were they formed - London
      Music style - Rock

      Current Members:
      *David Coverdale - Vocals (1976 - 1982, 1982-1991, 1994, 1997, 1997-1998, 2002-present)
      *Doug Aldrich - Guitar (2002-present)
      *Reb Beach - Guitar (2002-present)
      *Uriah Duffy - Bass (2005-present)
      *Timothy Drury - Keyboards (2002-present)
      *Chris Frazier - Drums (2007-present)

      Albums:
      *Snakebite (1978)
      *Trouble (1978)
      *Lovehunter (1979)
      *Ready an 'Willing (1980)
      *Come an' Get It (1981)
      *Slide It In (1984)
      *Whitesnake (1987)
      *Slip of the Tongue (1989)
      *Restless Heart (1997)
      *Good to Be Bad (2008)


      Official Website - www.whitesnake.com

      Interesting Bits and Bobs:
      *Whitesnake have had an abundance of different members over the years
      *Three of the past members (including Dave Coverdale) were in the band Deep Purple.
      *I have become aware that my interesting bits and bobs are not actually in the slightest bit interesting, so I suggest you visit their website or Wikipedia to find out more.



      Black Stone Cherry

      When were they formed - 2001
      Where were they formed - Edmonton, Kentucky
      Music style - Southern Rock

      Band members - Chris Robertson, Ben Wells, Jon Lawhon, and John Fred Young

      Albums:
      *Black Stone Cherry (2006)
      *Live at the Astoria London (limited to 100 copies) (2007)
      *Folklore and Supersition (due in August 2008)

      Official Website - www.blackstonecherry.com

      I very much doubt that there is anything interesting about them, so I'll miss that bit out!




      ---The Tour---

      I follow with the UK tour dates for 2008. There are also numerous dates in Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia.

      17th June - Glasgow
      18th June - Birmingham
      20th June - Manchester
      21st June - Belfast
      23rd June - Sheffield
      24th June - Newcastle
      26th June - London
      14th July - Cardiff
      15th July - Liverpool
      17th July - Nottingham




      ---The concert - Tuesday 24th June 2008 - Newcastle---

      Although this is a review of the whole tour, I only attended this date, so my review will be based only on this concert. I am aware that fans often go to many different concerts - if you wish to find out more about different concerts and how they compare, I suggest you visit the forum on the Def Leppard website.

      Hubby and I arrived at the arena at about 5:15pm, and having paid £6.00 to park we made our way to stand in a queue. Having seen the sign on the door saying "no Cameras" I stupidly left my camera in the car. In hindsight I really shouldn't have, as I'd have got some decent pictures if I'd taken it in. Oh well, I'll know for next time. I was pleased to see that it didn't matter what I had chosen to wear (I went in combats and a black top) as there were people wearing all sorts - so unless I'd been wearing an evening dress I'd have fitted in!

      Stood in the queue and shivering (it really should be warmer in June) I was a bit concerned when hubby told me (as a joke apparently) that we wouldn't be allowed in until 6:50pm. We were let in at about 6pm, and we headed to purchase overpriced cheeseburgers which I have to say tasted great as I was so hungry....followed by 4 doughnuts for £2 (well, we actually had 5 each as hubby struck up a conversation with the doughnut lady). We bought our souvenir guides and bottles of coke (this is when we did regret June being our alcohol-free month) and headed into the arena to find where to stand. I chose by the side on the left of the stage about a quarter of the way back, and with the edge of the standing area to lean against....and then we stood and waited! Hubby texted a number in the hope of winning seeing Def Leppard backstage, but unsurprisingtly he didn't win.



      -Black Stone Cherry-

      Just before 7pm the lights dimmed and Black Stone Cherry came on. I was surprised by how few people were in the audience, both in the standing area, but particularly in the seats. Most people seemed pretty uninterested. I stood and listened, and was impressed that it wasn't as deafening as I'd expected. I only vaguely knew the songs "Lonely Train" and "Hell and High water" from hubby playing their album, but not many people seemed to be singing along.

      The band interacted well with the audience and kept on thanking us for being there, and they did some impressive stuff on their guitars. Although this isn't my kind of music I can see that the band have talent, and I enjoyed the performance,

      Following their set (which was just over half an hour) hubby went off to get us some drinks and spoke to the band - he was surprised how few people were stood around them (perhaps they didn't recognise them, or perhaps they just weren't interested) and was really chuffed to have met them.





      -Whitesnake-

      Judging by the amount of people wearing Whitesnake T-shirts I had guessed that about as many people were there to see Whitesnake as Def Leppard (mind you, I was vagely expecting Iron Maiden to turn up due to the number of Iron Maiden T-shirts there!), so was surprised that although the arena was filling up, it certainly wasn't full, and we still had plenty of personal space where were were standing, although as the set went on it did get more crowded.

      I didn't take a pen and paper with me, and there's no way I can remember all of the songs let alone the order of them, so I have copied and pasted the set list from the Def Leppard forum! Whitesnake came on stage at about 8pm and were on for an hour.

      Best years
      Fool for your loving
      Can you hear the wind blow
      Love ain't no stranger
      Lay down your love
      Is this love
      Guitar solo
      A fool in love again (with drum solo)
      Ain't gonna cry no more
      Ain't no love in the heart of the city
      Give me all your love
      Here I go again
      Still of then night


      Due to me not really knowing Whitesnake I could only really join in with "Is this love" and "Here I go again", so I enjoyed these the most. I was so surprised (I seem to have been surprised a lot!) that everyone else wasn't joining in - don't get me wrong, some people were, but not most by any means! The people in the seated area all (bar a few) remained seated and looked miserable as sin. I had been worried that I might not enjoy it, and that I might appear miserable, but I had nothing to worry about!

      Dave Coverdale really was a great character, and raised quite a few laughs from the crowd, talking tits and arses. He introduced all of the other band members, but being the only original member it was really him that made the show! I have to say I really enjoyed the set, although by the end of it my feet were starting to ache just a bit.

      The one thing that really did detract from my enjoyment was the audience - so many people kept walking past us and we had to move out of the way constantly - basically they were going to the bar and back. It seemed that for some people the prime aim of going to the concert was to get pissed rather than to enjoy the music, which I suppose is a bit hypocritical of me (following my introduction to this review) but I mean, it wasn't exactly cheap to go!






      -Def Leppard-

      Following a half hour break the wait was over and this is what we were really there to see. There was quite a build up to the band coming out, and the atmosphere started to build up.

      Def Leppard began with a fantastic rendition of "Rocket" - there was a huge screen behind them with images of rockets and various things behind them, and this led into one of the songs from their new album "C'mon C'mon" where I could sing along to the whole thing as the words are "C'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon" - thoroughly enjoyed that!

      The whole set list was as follows:


      Rocket
      C'mon C'mon
      Make Love Like A Man
      Armageddon It
      When Love & Hate Collide
      Nine Lives
      Bass Solo / Rock On
      Two Steps Behind
      Bringin' On The Heartbreak
      Hysteria
      Animal
      Photograph
      Pour Some Sugar On Me
      Rock Of Ages
      -----------------------
      Bad Actress
      Let's Get Rocked


      I can't guarantee that that was exactly the right order, but there you go. In fact I'm sure that "Animal" came a lot earlier in the set and "Armageddon It" a lot later, but I could be wrong. Animal was my favourite track, and although "When Love and Hate Collide" is my favourite of their songs I was a tiny bit disappointed as it was a bit too rocky for my liking.

      Once again I was surprised at the lack of audience participation, I mean I participated (clapping and Woo'ing and winging and all that) far more than many people.....some of the people in the seats looked like they were at a funeral. Once again I was annoyed at the people walking past - why can't people just find a position and stay there for the whole time?

      Following "Rock of Ages" some people started leaving (to avoid the traffic or something), and they missed the encore. I really don't see the point in missing the end of the show when you've paid to go to the whole thing, and especially as "Let's Get Rocked" was one of the best.

      During the set I completely forgot about my aching feet, so I must have been enjoying it. I was blown away by how fantastic Rick Allen is on the drums. Hubby was blown away by the whole thing, I have rarely seen him so happy, it was great!




      ---Conclusion---

      It's difficult to know what to say really, I guess you had to be there to really appreciate it. I certainly had a much better time than I'd ever expected, and aside from not having my camera (I'd have got some great pictures - hubby's phone doesn't do it justice), and the people walking past all the time it was a great experience.

      We left at just after 11pm, and when we got home it was 1am - hubby was still buzzing. I would imagine that there will be many more concerts and gigs to come!

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