Rock of Ages

So last night I headed down to the HiFi Buys Amphitheater (which everyone around here still calls Lakewood, because that was a much better name) and caught the Rock of Ages show: Foreigner, Styx and Def Leppard.

It rocked.

The traffic was horrible, so we missed about 15 to 20 minutes of Foreigner, but we did get there during “Jukebox Hero” and listened to them run through a few more hits. They did not play “I Want To Know What Love Is”, but then, they were the opening act, meant to warm up the audience, so they stuck to the upbeat rock stuff and that was just fine with me. I got to hear “Hot Blooded” and that’s about all I needed.

Then Styx took the stage. Tommy Shaw and James Young are the only two original members still in the band. Chuck Panozzo comes out and plays with them now and then, but that’s it. Still, they played “The Grand Illusion”, “Come Sail Away”, “Too Much Time on My Hands”, “Renegade” and a few others… they did not play “Mr. Roboto”. I was disappointed. Not with the band, they rocked, but I really wanted that song.

During the break the wife went for a T-shirt and I went for drinks. This turned out to be a huge mistake. The line was slow, because like many venues they get volunteers to run their concessions for a share of the take. Some volunteer groups are good at it, some aren’t. The problem with volunteer groups is that they usually don’t have anyone with them who knows how to fix a beer tap. So, while changing the kegs, someone screwed up and all the Coors Light taps were messed up (1/3 beer, 2/3 foam). No one could fix it. Personally, I could not care less, Coors Light tastes like piss, I just wanted a Coke, a water and one of those frozen daiquiri drinks for the wife. But I was in line behind a bunch of people who wanted Coors Light, people who were already drunk. Now, to save time the volunteers could have quickly put up a sign that said “No Coors Light” and been done with it, but instead they waited until people got to the head of the line. One guy pitched a fit and demanded Coors, so the volunteers sent a guy to another concession stand to get some, this was a bad precedent to set, because now everyone wanted Coors from the other booth without having to go to the other booth. Finally, I got to the window, got my drinks and fled. Def Leppard was already on stage…

Def Leppard is on the road partly in support of the 20th Anniversary of the Hysteria album, and they played a little over half the album. Their set list was exactly as listed here (the other bands varied a bit from the this). Its kind of amazing that these guys still rock so well after 30 years of playing and 20 years since they really hit huge. I’d gush more over them, but really this is just another example, like Poison who I have written about before (and may be going to see again next week), of a band that has managed to last based on the strength of both their songs and their stage show. Joe and the guys really know how to pull the audience in, and with the strength of their hit songs the audience that comes to the show really wants to be pulled in. Did I mention this is probably the most crowded I’ve seen Lakewood since 1991’s Van Halen “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” Tour? It was. Like a tightly packed sea of people all raising their hands, clapping to the beat and signing along.

A great show. I’m glad I went.

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