Def Leppard and Styx at the Clark County Amphitheater September 12, 2007

Subtitle: Bringing On the Hottie

Last night was the big rock and roll girls night out starring Def Leppard and Styx at the Amphitheater in Clark County. I’ve never been to this venue before but I’ve heard a lot about it because there was a huge contingent of locals who weren’t too happy about it being built. Also, Clark College graduation is there so Bob gets to visit every June.

Rock and roll is tiring when you’re old. My eyeballs feel like they spent the night in a dust bowl. I was too wound up to sleep when I got home and then I woke up at 4:45am. By 5am this morning, I was dorkily fixing the photos, wondering if this outing was worthy of a Flickr stream. Given the time constraints and upon closer inspection of the photos, I decided, not.

I finally got lithium batteries for my camera and it works a million times better. They should tell you that in the user guide. Last night I accidentally hit the “scene” button which is where the camera helps you take a portrait or landscape or whatever. I never use it so I don’t know how it works but it kept making a smiley face that was creeping me out. I’d have the camera pointed at the blanket and there would be a giant smiley face on the screen.

Here we are, ready to rock. That’s me, Jenny, Meredith, and Cousin Kathy. The last concert Kathy and I went to together was Spinal Tap sometime in the 90’s. It’s been too long.

We headed out at 7pm raring to go. Before we were 3 miles down the road we all agreed that we were game to head home early, if we were ready. I wish I could go back and visit my 23 year old self and tell her how tired her 43 year old self will be. But then, why go and depress her. How excited would I be if some old lady hobbled up to me and said she was my 63 year old self and I had no idea what tired was at 43? Well, if she had lottery, horse-racing and stock tips, I would be happy.

 One of the local issues was with traffic flow and wow, this place is set up like a well-oiled machine. There were blinking signs, orange cones, flashing Washington Patrol lights and Officers waving at us from every direction. We had 4 people in our car so we qualified for Y.E.S. (your enhancement of service) Parking and I had printed out our pass and we taped it to our windshield.

As we were finding our lot, I told the ladies about

Styx was already rocking when we returned, the lights low, the smell of Otto’s jacket wafting over the grass and the keyboard pounding Blue Collar Man (Long Nights). Doesn’t get any better than that.

Last year I wrote about my teenage infatuation with Styx here. Kathy said she and Jennifer (another cousin) had a big crush on Tommy Shaw back in the day and used to fight over him. I said: “Jennifer’s not here. He’s all yours.” Kathy knew the words to all the songs and laughed at the keyboard player who had a rig where he could run around in circles and I think he was contractually obligated to do 50 circles per song.

Styx did a very Las Vegas super exaggerated show with every rock and roll cliché in the book including synchronized guitar swinging and hair flipping, and they were FABULOUS. And they played all the songs we wanted to hear.

At the break we zoomed to the bathroom which was like: Toilet Barn. I kept saying they had about 60 stalls but they had two sides so it was more like 120 stalls – no waiting! The person(s) responsible for that should have a statue at the entrance and possibly a legal holiday in their honor.

Crowd watching was fun. About as diverse as they come. Well no hipster types with distinctive eyewear. The mullet watch was a wee bit disappointing. Old. Young. People with kids. There was a group of teenagers sitting in front of us that weren’t even alive when I listened to Pyromania 10 times a day for a year.

Can you believe it? Almost 24 years to the day, I saw Def Leppard for the first time on the Pyromania tour. That is a story in itself but this post is already 10 times too long. It’s impossible to convey how insane I was over this band.

I even wrote a sort-of record review of Hysteria (which, initially, I was disappointed with) in the form of a letter to the editor of Creem magazine which was printed and reappears here.

These shots of the stage are an intentional joke because how can you get a decent shot of a stage from 5 miles back with a cheapo camera? That’s Joe Elliot in the lower left corner. See him?

I’m sad to tell you that Def Leppard was pretty much doodoo. As we returned from the bathroom (me for the 3rd visit because apparently if 1 beer goes in, 10 must come out) I said, “I’m disappointed with the sound” and Meredith said, “I’m disappointed with the setlist.” And she was right. Except for Foolin’ and a few songs off High N’Dry, they didn’t play songs that you wanted to hear.

This particular potty break took place at the end of the guitar solo-bass solo sequence leading in to cover of Rock On. Guys, I don’t care how tired you are of playing the hits, you’re playing a short set and that’s what we came for.

Shortly after we got back to our seats, the band played an acoustic version of Bringing on the Heartbreak.

Meredith says: “More unplugged? That’s enough.”

Moments later we were out in the parking lot, still empty, hearing the classic Photograph riff, the one song we wanted to hear, drifting over the barrier.

“We can listen to it at home,” I said.

It was still fun and we zoomed out of the parking lot and I was in bed by 10:45pm.

Here’s my new notepad. I can wear it around my neck for easy note taking. A couple years ago Bob gave me that pen which is also a teeny flashlight – perfect for note taking in the dark. The left side says, “Or is he [referring to Styx’s keyboard guy] original? Big lighter moment-I used my pen!” and the right side says, “wow synch guitar swing hair flipping AWESOME!”

When Styx played Come Sail Away it was the lighter in the air moment and I waved around my flashlight pen. Remember the big Come Sail Away moment on Freaks and Geeks?

Here’s a link to Meredith’s review of the show.

I hate to hit the publish button because I’m sure this is filled with errors and grammar nightmares but I’m tired and have to work for a living so this is what you get. If you’re still reading.

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