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Concert Week: Def Leppard and Billy Idol Live

Last night I saw Def Leppard and Billy Idol at the Nutter Center here in Dayton, Ohio. I must be upfront: I was much more excited about seeing Billy Idol and his band than Def Leppard. After all, I’ve seen the Leps quite a few times so I knew what to expect.

I was issued a photo pass for the show and I was very excited about this because I wanted some good shots of Steve Stevens. Sadly, the venue lost the pass – and apparently the credentials for a lot of other people too. This meant I had to leave my professional camera in the car. So, I had my smaller back-up digital camera ready to go…but security was turning everyone at the door away with such devices. *Tangent time.* Since when did it become wrong to take a little camera into a concert to snap a few shots of a favorite artist? I get why the average person can’t tote in professional equipment – but come on. A small digital camera is not going to produce magazine-quality prints. I just don’t get it and I’m sick of venues and bands cracking down on the no camera policy. This situation put a bit of a damper on the beginning of my evening. *Tangent over.*

When I finally found my seats, Billy Idol and band were already on stage. It took me all of two seconds to zero-in on Mr. Steve Stevens. That man is amazing. In fact, Billy’s entire band is pretty phenomenal and he sounded great last night, too – but Steve stole the show. His solos were awesome…and he played intricate parts behind his head…while smoking a cigarette! Billy Idol performed “Rebel Yell,” “White Wedding,” “John Wayne,” “Dancin’ With Myself,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “LA Woman” and more. During LA Woman, Billy changed the words to Dayton woman. I’m sure the band did this in every city. I had fairly decent seats considering stage view, but I wasn’t on the floor and Billy was giving lots of things away. He threw out some autographed items and the band was good about throwing picks and drum sticks. In general, it seemed like Billy Idol and Co. were having a great time. Last night was the band's final appearance on the Def Leppard North American tour.

The crowd was very sparse during Billy Idol but I figured things would pick up before Def Leppard -- boy was I wrong. I’ve never seen the Nutter Center so empty. In fact, I’m not even sure why the venue didn’t just reseat people and bring the crowd in closer. Huge patches of empty seats everywhere was just plain sad. Also, the crowd was dead. There was no energy or excitement. This mood continued through the entire gig.

When it was time for Def Leppard, a giant screen projected images of old albums and the DL band members through the years. Then, the words “That was then…this is now” popped up and suddenly we were in the Sparkle Lounge. Def Leppard performed:

C'mon C'mon
Nine Lives
Love Bites
Rock On
2 Steps Behind
Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
Switch 625
Armageddon It
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages
Bad Actress
Let's Get Rocked

I have to admit the addition of “Bad Actress” to the set surprised me. I figured Def Lep would only add two new songs to their set list. I saw Def Leppard last summer at Riverbend and I thought the band sounded pretty good. Last night, it seemed like Joe Elliott was struggling. He waned between good and bad moments. Again, there was no energy in the venue, so perhaps that was part of the problem. Even the music felt a little sluggish.

Def Leppard is one of the few bands that features a bass solo at every show. Since I play bass and Rick Savage is my favorite band member, this is always a highlight for me. I did notice Sav is wearing his hair a bit curly again. The past few tours, he’s straightened it out like a high school prom queen. I think he looks better with a wavy mop. Anyway, I always enjoy his solo and the extended intro to “Rock On.” This was my favorite part of the show.

Shouldn’t “Let’s Get Rocked” be the first song of the set – and not the last? I’ve always thought this was an odd way for Def Leppard to end their shows. They are lucky to be in the rare position of having so many hits. They have the pick of the litter! I suppose if I was driving the car, I would put something like “Photograph” at the end of the show. I am thankful that “Animal” was early. After all, it is my favorite.

Phil Collen was good to be sure. I think if Joe’s voice keeps failing, Phil should take over more of the lead duties. Perhaps even sing in tandem with Joe. I would rather hear this than canned backing vocals – and yes, Def Leppard were using canned vocals last night.

So, the verdict on concert week? Crue Fest wins by a mile, followed by Def Leppard (only because Billy Idol was on the tour) and then Poison.

The next live review? Around the clock coverage from Rock the Bayou in Houston, Texas starts in exactly one week. Be ready.

Reader Comments (14)

I agree that this was not Def Leppard's strongest outing. But I blame the crowd in part for that. The band did try to get that group pumped up, but no luck.
*tangent* People.. when bands come to (or near) your home town, go out and support them. And when you get there, get into the show! I couldn't believe how many people paid for tickets and then sat there like they were home on their sofas watching reruns. What's the point? *tangent ends*
I think Def Leppard and Billy Idol deserved better than what Dayton gave them last night.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheather
I wish Def Leppard would play a song or two from On Through The Night....Theres not a bad song on that album. Fav is Rock Brigade though.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
I agree with the camera thing. It's messed up. I want pictures when I go to a show! I'm glad Cruefest allowed cameras, or else I would of been pretty bummed.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMakel
First off, its lame that they had pervert cops out front literally molesting girls in the "frisk" line and second of all its lame that no cameras of any form were allowed inside the show. So yes, we had to walk ALL THE WAY back to the car and put the camera back when I DID check online earlier that day and it DID tell me that cameras were allowed. They where even being extreme nazi's about peoples belts, chain wallets, necklaces, etc, etc, etc...

So, we get inside the VERY empty arena.. Billy Idol hits the stage around 7:25 to a VERY dead crowd "Dayton is good for that". I cant believe that people could sit in there seats and ignore and disrespect a legend like Billy Idol. Billy was GREAT. He moves around the stage, which is very impressive considering he almost lost a leg in a horrific motorcycle crash in the 80's.
Hes in great shape still and his guitarist, Steve Stevens, still has his great glam rock look, big hair leather pants and all!!!

The crowd was totally lame all through Billy's performance untill his nearly 70 minute set closed with Rebel Yell. Billy was great! Everything I expected and more.
We then leave our seats to go to the beer and merch line and they are completely out of draft beer!!! How in the BLUE HELL can an arena on a college campus hosting a rock show run out of beer less than an hour and a half into the show?

We did manage to get some beer, cans that they poured into cups from small kiosk-type vendors, but the lines were insanity due to the consession stands being tapped out. We then hit the merch area and went back to our seats for the beginning of Def Leppard.

Let me just say, wow, Joe Elliot cant sing a lick. Seriously. Worse than Vince Neil. Def Leppard looks like a band just going through the motions. And Joe Elliot had the nerve to call Poison fake lately. This from the singer of a band who lip-synced on Dancing with the stars and even tried the Bon Jovi-esque sellout route by doing a duet with Tim McGraw. LAME.... They are obviously a band that is and has been fake all along. After all wasnt it Mutt Lange that made these clowns? These guys have zero talent and they can have their worthless soccer mom crowd. Ive never seen an uglier collection of losers at a show in my life that wanted to SIT DOWN the entire show!!! but I digress....

I wanted so badly to leave early but I did buy my overpriced tickets "70 bucks each" to see the show so I may as well stay. The show ended around 11 and we all filed out to the parking lot, and right there in front of cops where these guys selling illegal bootleg t-shirts!!! WHAT THE FUCK??? The cops arent busting these guys?? Jesus christ....

Def Leppard sucks. The city of Dayton, Ohio sucks. Def Leppard will NEVER get another dollar from me and I will try my ass off to NEVER go to a rock show in Dayton ever again.

Seriously, have you ever noticed that shit is always lame in dayton? They have all of these weird stores and restaurants that nobodys ever heard of, and when they do get any rock shows theres always stupid rules and confusion. I think Dayton has a small dick complex because they arent, and will never be Columbus or Cincinnati.

Thank god Billy Idol saved the show, or else I would feel like a fool.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
And I thought Cincinnati was bad for rock. Maybe the Lep will come to Cincy rather than Dayton next year.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
I agree tenfold on the potential of Phil taking over lead vocals, if the time came. Even Vivian is a great singer. The two of them have voices in great shape as well, so they got a lot of time left. Joe wasn't a natural talent to begin with. It's not until Mutt Lange made him gargle with razor blades that he began to make an impression, and now his voice is ruined. The band themselves though always have great energy. I've seen them 5 times now and not once have they faltered in enthusiasm. So that's really disappointing to hear about the crowd. Everyone's been going on about how loud the Quebec audience was, and that's great to hear. I can't imagine anyone being louder than the Ottawa crowd I was in. I guess they rescheduled dates were shots in the foot, but I personally thought it was worth the wait.

I agree on all counts on Billy Idol as well. Billy sounds great, but Steve Stevens stole the show, so Billy Idol better watch out cos he's being upstaged!
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
Oh, also putting LGR at the end was effective because it's like a final hurrah to a good time. I love that song! Too bad you didn't get to hear "Go" because it's killer live!
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
Hi Allyson, I just stumbled across your journal yesterday. I love it because I myself am a 26-year-old female who is also very obsessed with glam/hair metal/cock rock/80's...whatever. Good stuff. I bookmarked you.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlmost Famous
Wow am I glad that I DID not go to this show. I will keep this in mind when Dayton holds another show of this sort. Its too bad that this show, crowd and venue were a major disappointment.
August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rockitt
Thanks for the review - very entertaining.... I'm just sorry Dayton was so awful. I saw Billy Idol tonight in Baltimore and he was awesome as usual. His voice is in fine shape all these years later. The Baltimore crowd was on their feet and the venue looked totally full. Next time come on down to B-more!!!
August 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStacey
Well.. I have to defend Dayton a little here. Yes, as I mentioned earlier, the crowd sucked. But that is not exclusive to Dayton. Nor are problems at venues.
I remember a show in Cincy where club owners censored bands.. and even refused to let them play with their shirts off. A short time later, a different Cincy club botched things so bad one of the bands on the bill didn't even get to play.
As for the bootleg t-shirts, I saw people selling them in the parking lot after Poison, and Crue Fest this past week.. both in Cincinnati.
And yet if bands I like are going to be there, I'm going to go watch them. You can't punish the bands because things go wrong at a venue.
August 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Dear Kenny Ozz...
You are an absolutely fucking idiot douche.A couple valid points but overall,you are a whiny dick.
Please go fuck yourself.
August 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBuckeye
I've been harping on the fact that Joe Elliot's voice is shot for years now but you really notice how bad he really is the closer you are to the stage. I saw the Euphoria tour and he was in top form, the X tour was OK, and the Yeah! tour was awful twice! They use samples now and Phil, Viv, & Sav help out a lot. Then again, a lot of bands use these techniques too.

Its no secret Joe enjoys a good smoke & drink, maybe he should save his voice and cut that crap out? Or did Mutt make him sound so good on record that he can't possibly translate it live?

Heavy Metal Addiction
August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRhodeislandrock
Well, well, well.... Look everybody, its Buckeye.. Apparrantly the mayor of Dayton and the president of the def Leppard fan club. Ya know Buckeye, the only thing more pathetic than calling someone names online, like you just did, is using a fake name to cover your ass, like you just did. So its YOU thats a whiney bitch. Were you even at the show Buckeye? Probably not. And if you were you were probably one of the losers sitting down. So no Buckeye, YOU go fuck YOURSELF you little childish prick.
August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz

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