Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rock and Roll Weekend Part 2

I learned on Thursday night that Whitesnake cancelled their tour due to David Coverdale losing his voice, so Saturday night was looking bleak for us to go (see previous post on my thoughts of the other two bands.) We only had one night to make it a good rock and roll weekend. Our one show did not disappoint.

I ran a running mental diary of Friday night's show. Here’s what transpired:

Road trip to Tampa

I get out of work around lunchtime. I am not about lying to my manager, giving a fake excuse for leaving early. I cut a deal with her that I had to post a picture of me wearing leather pants if she lets me out early. (Don’t worry, it’s coming.)

My neighbor, Lane, his daughter, Stephanie, and I all pack into his truck around 1:30pm. On the way to Tampa, Lane pops in Cheap Trick’s Greatest Hits. First of all, I had no idea this was possible. If you only have two albums in circulation, can you really come out with a Greatest Hits album? Maybe they should rename it, Cheap Trick’s These Don’t Suck as Bad.
After listening to I Want You to Want Me, I decide there is no way we are watching them. I will make sure of it.
We make it through that CD and I request the Def Leppard/Poison prep CD that I had given them a couple of weeks ago. I made them a CD with all of the songs that they will play during this tour, so they could be prepared for the songs that we’d be hearing. This is possible as we are not dealing with Dave Mathews Band; Poison and Def Leppard stick with their set lists.
I hear Steph singing along to all of the songs in the back seat. I am really encouraged by that. Lane is in the front seat talking about the members of Def Leppard by their first name. “Rick was 16 when Pyromania came out in 1983, so he must be only 42 now.” I thought I was the only one who talked about them band by their first name. I am now really excited for the show.


We check in the La Quinta Inn around 5:00pm. We chill out in the room for a while. I am in no rush to get out to the show. I know that Cheap Trick starts at 7:00pm, so I keep telling Lane to take his time and have another drink. (This would come back to haunt us later.)

We get to the concert around 8pm and tailgate in the parking lot for a few minutes. We figure we could tailgate until we hear the music when Poison starts. We never do hear the music. On our way in, we buy our tickets from a scalper for $20 (face value $30.) I love a good deal no matter what city we are in.


We arrive in the lawn just as Poison is starting to sing, I Want Action. There is plenty of action. We jump into the concert head first. It immediately starts to rain. My shirt is off by the end of the song.

My leather pants have become one with my body. We could be looking at 1-2 weeks before they may come off. I contemplate Deutsche Bank’s leather pants policy. Could they pass as dress pants? How would HR address this?
Poison sounds great. I notice that the show is not very loud. I remember that when we were living in St. Petersburg five years ago, there was a big lawsuit by the residents of Tampa against the Amphitheater. Sounds to me like the people won that battle. (I later confirmed this with someone from Tampa during the Def Leppard show. I thanked him with a man hug. )
(Sidebar: Somebody told Lane to “knuckle me” while he was standing in line for beer. This was a new one. Still confused? I’ll use it in a sentence, “You drove all the way to Tampa from Jacksonville for this show. That’s so cool. Knuckle me.” (show your fist and prepare for bro pound) I think I will start using it.)

Cece Deville is playing the guitar out of his mind tonight. His guitar solos actually sound like the recorded versions. This is much different from his cocaine days, which sound more like a person trying to play Guitar Hero for the first time. I am very happy that he is clean.
The people around us are not having much fun. I am not sure if they simply don’t know the Poison songs, or if they are just wet. I dawns on me that we are not in Detroit Rock City. An 80’s concert in Detroit is like a holiday. I am hoping for better things from these people during Def Leppard.

There is a frat boy dressed as Rob Dyrdek dressed as Bobby Light from MTV’s Rob and Big show. That’s not a typo. He dressed as somebody trying to dress like somebody. Not very original. I am not impressed, nor are any of the ladies around him.

Poison wraps up their set. Overall, they were OK. The more I think about it, I have seen them more times than the previously mentioned five times. They do not change their sets, so it has become a little stagnant. Expecting more from Def Leppard.

Between Sets

The time in between sets goes by remarkably fast. We people watch and talk about what the people sitting around us were doing earlier that day. Were they in school, working on cars, seeing patients, writing blog posts at their investment bank job? If I were a betting man, I would put my money on working on cars. That’s my final answer.

Def Leppard

It stops raining when Def Leppard hits the stage. They hit us with four classics right off the bat. During this time, I make my traditional call to Pip during the end of Rocket and the beginning of Animal. It ended up lasting over 5 minutes and consisted of me singing the songs at the top of my lungs. I am sure he liked that in his voicemail inbox. I believe that he may have caught the best part of the show.

The people around us have come to life. They are singing all of the words to the classic Def Leppard songs, not just the refrains like a fair weather fan. We are feeding off of each other. I am loving the lawn.
I wince when they played Nine Lives. I did not wear leather pants to hear one of my favorite rock bands play a country song. This was the theme song for the Redwings Stanley Cup win last year, so I try to stay focused on those good memories.

I take my restroom break during Love Bites. I know it’s a popular song, but I don’t like it and I know the men’s room line will be short. Another reason to check the set list beforehand is to plan bathroom breaks. This can be done with a little will power and a large bladder.
Lane goes to the bathroom around the same time as me. We don’t see him until after the show.

The worst part of the night happens when they play, Rock On. “Hey kids, rock and roll, rock on. Hey shout, summer time blues, jump up and down in my blue suede shoes” You get the point. Isn’t there a Baywatch montage out there on this song? I sit down and pout the entire song, literally. I send a message to Pip, “h8 life. Playing Rock On now.” These antics were very well received from the people sitting around us who felt the same way.

Def Leppard picks it back up, cranking out some of their best stuff. Phil and Vivian play the guitar solo, Switch 625; which is now probably better known as the music for the Bryan Foltice basketball video. I may or may not have played air guitar through that. There are no photos that can confirm it.

They finish with Pour Some Sugar On Me, Photograph and Let’s Get Rocked. “I’ve got a question for you, Tampa…Do you wanna get rocked?” We go nuts. I am high fiving and hugging everyone around us. I am now hoarse.
Joe Elliot caps off the show with his traditional, ‘don’t forget us, Tampa, and we won’t forget you!” I am still waiting for him to say the city wrong. He is now 8 for 8. Yup, it's actually 8 Def Leppard concerts and counting now.


After the show, after everyone stumbles out, Steph and I find Lane clear on the other side of the theater. He was talking on his phone to Stephanie, but she had hung up about 3-5 minutes earlier. I still don’t know how he got lost. We were in the second row of the lawn and about 10 yards from the main steps. I don’t get it.
On the way back to the hotel, I scarf down an inordinate amount of Wendy’s before going into a food coma (ala Dylan) back at La Quinta. “Good night, friends. Don’t forget us and we won’t forget you.”


Bryan and Dana said...

No comments after five days, so I will make one myself.
"haha. Bryan, your sharp and intelligent post made me feel like I was actually there with you at the concert. When will you begin writing concert reviews for the New York Post?"

Kris Hudson-Lee said...

You lucky man that line-up together!

(not name dropping but I do know the brother of Def Leppard's Rick Savage...)