Friday, September 28, 2007

It's better to burn out than fade away

Warning: Extreme 80s flashback ahead.

So a few months ago, my mom decided she was done storing the boxes of my stuff in their house. So she sent them all to me. I wrote about that here.

One thing I found in there was my Def Leppard concert T-shirt from the 1989 Hysteria tour. It's actually in great shape, considering its age, because I had to wear a uniform in high school (which didn't allow for concert T-shirts, though I did sneak it in a few times under a sweater) and I didn't take it to college.

It got me thinking about music and how in those days, I wouldn't miss a concert of a band I loved. I have seen a *lot* of live music since then. But lately, I've probably only been to a few shows a year. Which is crazy since I actually have a REAL JOB now and can afford to go to all the rock shows I could possibly want.

That old T-shirt, and one radio commercial for the Def Leppard/Styx/Foreigner concert later, I was sold. I called up my friend Dave, who is up for pretty much any 80s metal concert, and convinced him it would be a good time. (I wasn't very good at convincing TJ, sadly.) So I went to TicketMaster (*spits on ground*) and tried to buy some tickets. Not surprisingly, there were plenty to choose from.

The tickets were a little steep at $62 each, but hey, it's 20 years later, and I have a job. Fine. When I tried to check out and pay for my tickets, TicketMaster (*spits on ground again*) tried to charge me $41 in fees for those two measly tickets. I kid you not - there was a service fee, a venue fee, a print your tickets out fee, and a too bad for you fee.

I just couldn't do it. Could not pay them a fee that was more expensive than two whole tickets for the first concert I ever went to (Poison & David Lee Roth - good times!). So I went to craigslist, and found someone who was trying to get rid of her tickets at the very last minute, and got a screamin deal for $50 each and no fees. Woot woot!

Since this is already a long story, I'll make the rest short. The White River Amphitheater is a nice venue - once you finally get there. It's both far away from Seattle, and has the most poorly planned access I have ever seen. A two-lane road leads up to it. Seriously? You're trying to squeeze thousands of people into a venue for a show that starts at a certain time, and they need to get there on a two-lane road?! Stupid.

So we missed all of Styx and half of Foreigner. Which was kind of a bummer, because Foreigner was much better than I expected, and everyone at the show said Styx had been awesome. But I was there to relive being 14 and see Def Leppard, and I was totally excited about it. On a side note, that 1989 Def Leppard concert was the first time I had seen Queensryche, who I have now seen 7 times.

So it turns out some rock stars should just retire gracefully. Sadly, Joe Elliott, lead singer of Def Leppard, is one of them. I don't care if he's gained weight (I mean, who hasn't?) and lost his mullet. In fact, his hair was gorgeous and he had a haircut *I* want. But I do care that he can't really sing anymore. He hits the lower notes just fine, but when it comes to Def Lep's trademark sound and the higher notes and that typical "sound" of his voice, it's just not there anymore. Too much partying and not enough sleep or vitamins over the years, I guess. You could see him straining on the big screens, and see the rest of the band trying to cover for him with their backing vocals and mad guitar skillz and it was just sad. I was *so* disappointed.

Fortunately, about halfway through the show, it picked up and took off - he seemed to be more warmed up, or something, because the second half of the show was almost as amazing as I remember them from 1989. The guitarists were *un*-freakin-believable. I guess getting older and cleaning up their acts has made them focus on their skills - they were en fuego. And quite honestly, still rock star cute. For that last hour I was that starry-eyed girl having the time of her life at a show. When they ended with "Rock of Ages", it was truly amazing.

And that made me realize that I still love to rock out. So I'm going to try to expand my musical horizons and see more bands live. Maybe even bands that are not 20 years past their prime! To that end, I am going to see two Finnish metal bands in the next couple of months: Nightwish and HIM. Good times.


  1. Where is Nightwish playing?!?!??!

  2. @dawn - Nightwish is playing at the Showbox (by the market), on Halloween. I assume there are still tix - we only got ours a few weeks ago.

  3. Okay, give me the scoop on these various Showbox locations. Cuz I just looked at November, and saw that Gwar is playing, and my fiance wants to go to that one more. :) (It's at Showbox SODO.)

  4. @dawn - Showbox at the Market was the first one, and is your standard small club setting. It's tiny but nice - you can see from pretty much anywhere inside. Not exactly luxurious and I think there might be a few tables/chairs, but not many.

    Showbox SODO is by the stadiums. I haven't been there but a friend reports that it's just a giant warehouse and thus has crappy acoustics. He hated it when he went. Unfortunately they seem to have a lot of good shows there...

  5. Awesome, thank you! :) Jerome is still determined to see Gwar regardless of venue, but I am gonna skip that one for sure. We're still deciding on Nightwish (we also like Paradise Lost), but he has a night class on Wednesdays, and might not get done till 9 p.m. The good news, of course, is that his school is only a few blocks from the Market, so he wouldn't have far to walk from class. :)

  6. An:
    Wasn't the Def Leppard concert the one we crossed state lines to take you and Judi to West Virginia? The things we parents had to do for you!!! Anyway, love you lots, Amma


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