Def Leppard, Poison & Cheap Trick in concert at Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA) – 6/30/09

The summer concert season is in full swing but I haven’t been to a show since March! The good news is that I have tickets to a few shows coming up but the first on the list was the Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick show last night at the Comcast Center (formerly Tweeter Center……formerly Great Woods) in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I got together with a couple of buddies from work and we bought tickets back in April so it was a planned day off of tailgating in the parking lot and good music in the arena.

Cheap Trick setlist (abbreviated):

Don’t Be Cruel
Dream Police
The Flame
Surrender

Usually I’m in the arena and in my seat 30 mins before the show starts and I always catch all of the bands on the bill because that’s what I paid for. The guys I was with had no interest in seeing Cheap Trick, and the party in the parking lot was going strong, so we ended up getting in halfway through the band’s set. I got to hear ‘Dream Police’, always a fave of mine so I was happy. Cheap Trick had a great sound and a lot of fire to the performance. Does Robin Zander age? I ask this because he sounded the best out of all three singers performing.

Poison setlist:

Look What The Cat Dragged In
I Want Action
Ride The Wind
Fallen Angel
Something To Believe In
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Unskinny Bop
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
Talk Dirty To Me
Nothin’ But A Good Time

I forgot the pen and pad in the car so I couldn’t write the setlist down as I usually do but these are the tunes they played and I’m almost positive this was the running order. First thing that has to be said, the sound was terrible and Bret Michaels acknowledged it. The mic kept screeching and he was barely audible during the first couple of songs. The sound got better as the show went on but you could tell that this wasn’t a gimmick and Bret was visibly annoyed by the technical problems. The band had a lot of energy and played well but the setlist needs to be mixed up a bit. I’ve seen Poison just about every summer since 1999 and they never really change things up.  I had read online that the opening night set in Camden, NJ featured ‘I Won’t Forget You’ instead of ‘Something To Believe In’ and an extra song ‘Stand’ but we didn’t get either in Mansfield. ‘Stand’ would have been awesome to hear live and I am sick to death of ‘Something To Believe In’ but what are you going to do? The only thing I would change would be the solos by C.C., Rikki, & Bobby…..when you’re an opener, you don’t do solos, you add in as many songs as possible. The crowd was huge into Poison, especially the ladies.

Def Leppard setlist:

Rock Rock Till You Drop
Rocket
Animal
Too Late For Love
Nine Lives
Love Bites
Rock On
Two Steps Behind (acoustic)
Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (acoustic…..until the end)
Switch 625
Hysteria
Armageddon It
Photograph
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages
Let’s Get Rocked

I went to the show to see Def Leppard. I’ve been a fan of the band since HIGH ‘N DRY and I always go in with the hope that the band will pull out a few nuggets from the first two records. It was a PYROMANIA/HYSTERIA heavy set again with 10 songs out of 16 from those two albums…..the band knows where their success lies. Nice to see ‘Rock Rock Till You Drop’ added for the opener but I was disappointed that ‘Foolin’ was dropped from this year’s tour. The acoustic performances of ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringin’ On The Heartbreak’ were solid and Joe Elliot sounded pretty good. I’ve been critical of Joe’s vocals the last couple of times I’ve seen the band live but he had a decent voice going this time around. Better than Bret Michaels but no where close to Robin Zander! I thought the band was strong live…..Rick Allen and Rick Savage are really tight and the guitar duo of Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen are a solid tag team. Everytime I see Def Lep play, I always come away impressed with Phil Collen’s playing, he is so smooth but technical. The cool thing was that there was a mini camera at the top on the nut so you could see Phil’s fingers flying up and down the frets with ease…..a cool way to see the solos. I enjoyed the Leps’ show but I was hoping for a little more variety in the setlist but they played their biggest hits and the crowd loved it…..including myself!

Next concert: Judas Priest & Whitesnake next Tuesday!

Livenation.com presale for Heaven & Hell tour

The presale is up at LiveNation.com for the U.S. Heaven & Hell tour and it’s only for today. You need the special password, and after some searching, I found it: devil. Remember that the password is case sensitive so type it in with small letters.

I’ll see everyone at the show in Boston at the Bank Of America Pavilion on August 28.

My Top 5 Concerts

I’m starting to gear up for the Summer 2009 concert season, I already have my Def Leppard/Poison and Judas Priest/Whitesnake tix. I went online today to see who else is coming to the New England area and it got me thinking about all the concerts I’ve been to and which ones were my favorites. So I pulled out all of my ticket stubs and I realized I’m missing a few of the early tours I saw when I was a kid but I remember the shows like it was yesterday! So here we go, my Top 5 Concerts…..make sure you check out some of the ticket prices!

1. KISS – Reunion Tour (Boston, MA) – 7/30/1996 – $50: Wouldn’t it figure that a diehard KISS fan would put KISS at the top of the list?! But it’s true, the Reunion show in Boston is the best concert I’ve ever seen. I never got the chance to see the band in makeup but I had seen them several times without it…..but it was the reunion with Ace & Peter and it was the “holy grail” for KISS fans. Two nights went on sale for the show at the Fleet Center but we got shut out…..this was back in the days of actually CALLING Ticketmaster! So we got shut out. The good news was that my best friend’s father had the right connections at the Fleet Center and we were able to get reserved seats on the Ace side of the stage, one section from the exact side, in the lower arena. We were so close that you could see the facial expressions! The section in front of us was the V.I.P. section and members of Boston, Aerosmith, and Extreme were in attendance. I forget who opened (didn’t matter), and the actual show is still a blur, but I screamed so loud and sang every word at the top of my lungs that I ended up damaging my vocal chords and I lost my voice for a month! All in the name of Rock ‘N’ Roll! This was the first of four shows I would catch on this tour.

2. Saxon & U.D.O. – Metalhead & Holy Tour (Warwick, RI) – 10/31/2000 – $40: This show was at The Station Nightclub…..yes the same Station that had the tragic fire during the Great White concert. The Station was a nice small bar that got all the Metal bands for our area. What a great place to watch a show! Anyway, I was online now so I knew the show was coming and I bought my ticket at the local Strawberries Records. Getting U.D.O. in as an opener was a huge bonus. It was Halloween night so I headed over to the venue around 6pm and had a beer, at the bar was Biff Byford and Doug Scarratt from Saxon and Fitty Weinhold from U.D.O., so I was able to meet the guys and get autographs. No cameras were allowed in and I couldn’t get the guys to leave the bar and come outside while I got the camera from the car. All nice guys, a pleasure to talk to, they all autographed my show flyer. The show was awesome, I was right at the front in front of Biff’s mic stand and Saxon played two solid hours! Unfortunately U.D.O.’s set was cut short (7 songs) because the local band they had open ran late taking down their gear. I ended up with a Metalhead Tour shirt, a Holy Tour shirt, and a Wheels Of Steel long sleeve shirt…..the guy running the merch booth was Udo’s brother, Peter Dirkschneider, who was in Vanize. I ended up hanging around after the show and got a guitar pick from Nibbs Carter from Saxon and another flyer.

3. KISS w/Ted Nugent – Crazy Nights Tour (Providence, RI) – 12/12/1987 – $16.50: This was the first time I saw KISS live, I was 15 years old, and it was at my home arena the Providence Civic Center. I missed the Lick It Up, Animalize & Asylum tours when they came through because my parents thought I was too young but I started going to concerts shortly after I missed the Asylum tour. By December ’87 I was a concert veteran! I remember my friend smuggled in a tape recorder to bootleg the show and I still have that old cassette somewhere. I lived and died KISS so when the band took the stage after their intro, I was in hysterics! Great show, they played a lot of older tunes and six off CRAZY NIGHTS. As for Terrible Ted…..he was solid but I had already seen him open for Aerosmith in ’86 so I was glad to hear him play but just wanted KISS…..nothing beats the first time I heard the KISS intro with my own ears.

4. UFO & Blue Oyster Cult – You Are Here Tour (Hampton Beach, NH) – 9/25/2004 – $26: I’m a big UFO fan and when this stop on the tour was announced I grabbed a ticket and took a vacation day at work! The problem was that the tour got delayed, it was orginally supposed to be on 5/1 but there was a problem with Pete Way’s visa, etc. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is about a two hour drive from my home in Pawtucket, RI so I packed a lunch and hooked up the CD player and jammed all the way there! There was an opening act but I forget who they were (Healing Sixes maybe?). UFO and BOC were trading headline positions that tour so UFO came on first and played all the classics and a bunch off YOU ARE HERE in around two hours. I was camped in my usual spot in front of the stage but near Vinnie Moore’s side. Towards the end of the encore, I made my way more towards the side of the stage where the band entered and exited from. When the show was done, the band came off stage and by the barrier I was near and I was able to high five Vinnie Moore, Paul Raymond, and Barry Sparks. I ended up buying a shirt and hat, I where the hat all the time (I need a replacement, come back again guys!). As for BOC…..I ended up watching most of their show from the bar and I cut out early before the encore so I could get a move on home.

5. Aerosmith – Nine Lives Tour (Boston, MA) – 12/31/1997 – $39.25: Aerosmith & New Year’s Eve = a huge party! This show was at the Fleet Center in Boston and, if you live in New England, you know not to drive into downtown Boston on New Year’s Eve! This was the 2nd show of a two night stand at the Fleet Center and it was a 21 song party complete with a countdown to 1998 in the middle of the show with balloons, confetti, etc. By ’97, I’d seen Aerosmith on every tour since the Done With Mirrors tour in early ’86 so I knew it would be a good show. It turned out to be a great show because the band went over the top to give their hometown fans a New Year’s Eve to remember. The opening acts were The Upper Crust (a local Boston Hard Rock band that dressed in French renaissance gear with powdered wigs) and Days Of The New (who sucked). The original opening band was supposed to be Talk Show (Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland) and I remember my best friend getting all upset when Talk Show pulled out but he loved Days Of The New too. I watched The Upper Crust, took a nap during Days Of the New (we had been doing some drinking during the day in some Irish pubs) and was refreshed for a 2 hour Aerosmith show. My 1o yr old daughter wears my Nine Lives tour shirt now!

Motley Crue in concert at Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT) – 3/13/09

It’s Friday the 13th and Motley Crue is playing the Mohegan Sun Arena at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and I’ve got tickets! Took the night off work, met a couple of my buddies and we went to the casino. After a nice dinner at one of the casino’s buffets, we headed into the arena. There was a band playing when we got in around 7pm and I have no idea who they were, by the time I bought a Crue t-shirt and we got a beer, the opening band was gone! We took our seats in the upper arena on the exact side of the stage (the Nikki Sixx side) and waited patiently for some kick ass Hard Rock.

Up first was Theory Of A Deadman. I’ve heard of the band but never any of the music, I don’t usually go for those Hot Topic styled bands that all the kiddies like. I went in with an open mind and, after a 30 minute set, I decided that Theory Of A Deadman suck. Second band on was Hinder…..another band I have heard of before but never heard any of their music. After an hour set, I was impressed. The songs had hooks for miles and a very melodic base, I almost could compare them to a more ’80s styled Buckcherry. Hinder made such an impression that I went online and sampled some of their music when I finally got home but I was there for only one reason…..Motley Crue!

Motley Crue setlist:

Kickstart My Heart
Wild Side
Shout At The Devil
Saints Of Los Angeles (with the singers from the opening acts)
Live Wire (with guitar solo intro from Mick Mars)
Too Fast For Love/On With the Show
Mutherfucker Of The Year (with an intro from Tommy Lee)
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
White Trash Circus
White Trash Circus (2nd performance for Jimmy Kimmel Live)
Primal Scream (with a quick bass intro from Nikki Sixx)
Looks that Kill
Girls, Girls, Girls
Dr. Feelgood

ENCORE:
Home Sweet Home

Basically your standard Motley Crue setlist with a couple of new numbers from SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2008). I knew about ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’ & ‘Mutherfucker Of The Year’ but ‘White Trash Circus’ was definitely a surprise, especially getting it twice. The band announced that they were taping the song for Jimmy Kimmel Live so they gave us two performances of the new single. If you’ve seen the Crue in concert before then you’ve heard all the hits before, not much of a surprise. What I liked was hearing the two songs from TOO FAST FOR LOVE, especially ‘Too Fast For Love’ with a quick ending of ‘On With The Show’…..what I would have given to hear ‘Starry Eyes’ or ‘Public Enemy #1′ but I’ll take it. Another couple of highlights for me were ‘Primal Scream’, ‘Same Ol’ Situation’ and ‘Looks That Kill’. Missing from the set were ‘Red Hot’ and ‘Louder Than Hell’, thankfully we didn’t have to put up with ‘Anarchy In The UK’ either, but the new songs fit in well in their place. I thought ending with ‘Home Sweet Home’ was kind of a “downer” even though it’s a great ballad…..I just kind of expected one more rocker to end the set.

The overall performance was really good: Tommy still hits the skins hard, Nikki pounds the bass, and Vince actually sang most of the words this time! He was in fine voice at this show but the performance of the night had to go to Mick Mars. I’ve never thought of Mick Mars as an influential guitar player and he’s never been one of my personal favorites but seeing this shrunken, almost cripple, skeleton of a man just wail all over the stage was what made the show so much fun. He was shredding, soloing, and keeping true to all of the classic riffs. From my vantage point, he seemed to be enjoying every moment on stage with the crowd. I’ve seen every tour that the Crue has done since the ’87/’88 GIRLS Tour (except for last summer’s Cruefest) and I think this was one of the better shows I’ve seen by the band. The only drawback was that they had 3 opening acts, I would have preferred 3 more Crue songs in the setlist. After the show in the casino, I was talking with some people that were involved with the tour production and I’ve heard that the setlist that they played tonight is going to be the set they play on Cruefest 2 this summer.

Upcoming concert – GWAR & 3 Inches Of Blood

Holy smoke! Where the hell have I been? Normally I’m right on when it comes to the concert scene in the New England area but I had no idea that GWAR was headlining Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI this coming Friday. The opener is 3 Inches Of Blood! I just got into 3 Inches Of Blood and they are damn good.

Tickets are $20…..I have one Sick Day left at work…..and I haven’t been to a live show since the Summer…..guess where I’m going Friday night!