The Metal Files

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KISS & Def Leppard Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 12, 2014

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Last night I saw KISS and Def Leppard for the first time.  I still have to process that in my head.  I still really can’t think of a legitimate reason on why I didn’t go see KISS in the 80s.  They were the first band I ever loved.  No matter.  I saw them last night.  Not seeing Def Leppard before is easy to explain.  Hysteria came out and I hated what they became.  I first heard them when Pyromania came out when Stephanie S. had the cassette on my middle school bus and let me borrow it.  I liked that album a lot.  Shortly after I heard the first two and thought those were even better.  But Hysteria just didn’t do it for me.  I will say, however, that I have the utmost respect for Rick Allen for coming back after losing his arm. It was also cool to finally see Vivian Campbell live, even though he wasn’t playing any of his own stuff.

As I have stated many times, my brother, Robert, was a huge influence musically on me at a very young age and when he brought home Dressed to Kill, I was hooked.  But with KISS, everyone loved them.  My oldest brother, Mark, was also a big fan.  I can remember the three of us sitting around listing to Rock and Roll Over in the 70s and those times will always remain special to me.

KISS played the Frank Erwin just a couple of years ago and I still didn’t go.  I think in recent years the fact that they have Tommy and Eric in Ace’s and Peter’s makeup bothers me.  When the show at the Austin360 Amphitheater got announced, my friend and coworker “G” and I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger and get tickets.  We’ve known each other since I moved to Texas as he was my first boss here.  He switched companies and after 7 years, we ended up working together on a current project.  It’s great for both of us most of the folks on this project aren’t cool.  haha.  We get along well and and have become good friends over the last 14 months.  He brought his wife, Ms. G, to the show and I brought my friend Lauren who accepted my offer to go just the day before the show when my original date fell through at the last minute.

Canada’s Kobra and the Lotus were on when we were walking in so I never actually got to see them play but they sounded fine from a distance.

We grabbed drinks and found our seats right in time for Def Leppard to hit the stage.  The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again was playing when the curtain dropped and DefLep played it live to end the song.  They promptly went into Let It Go and I was happy.  Great song.  They mixed the set up with a decent mix of High N Dry, Pyromania and Hysteria and one from Adrenalize (gross).  The whole band sounded excellent and Joe Elliot’s voice sounded good.  He made no effort to hit the notes he knew he couldn’t hit and that was cool.  Their set overall was enjoyable, even with many of the songs being from Hysteria.  I only liked the title track on that one.

You wanted the best, You got the best!

KISS came out opening with Psycho Circus and I was glad to see that one get out of the way early.  They went into Deuce, Shout It Out Loud and War Machine and I have no problem admitting to being a little choked up.  KISS means a lot to me historically.  They sounded great.  Sure, Gene and Paul’s voices aren’t what they used to be, but those dudes are in their 60s and still sound strong.  Paul looked in great shape.  He’s obviously working out these days as his arms are quite muscular.  Gene’s playing was fine and of course Eric and Tommy were spot on.  Consummate pros.

Towards the end of the set, they go into Love Gun and Paul flies up to a platform that was about 15′-20′ from our seats.  It was quite amazing to be that close.  He was about to go into Black Diamond and there was a quick lull in his speaking and I screamed out, “We love you, Paul!”  He looked right over at me and said, “I love you, but you gotta represent!” and then went right into Black Diamond.  It was quite awesome.  Right at the 8 minute mark of this video.  You can’t hear me but you can hear Paul respond.

During KISS’ set, G tapped my shoulder and said look up.  We saw 2 lights moving fast that were close together in the sky that split apart and then just disappeared.  Granted, the venue is right next to the airport, but it was a little odd.  Definitely not a commercial liner and with the lights just disappearing on a clear  night, it was a bit odd.

The whole show was quite special and I couldn’t be much happier right now.  It was another great night with great friends and great music.

KISS FOREVER

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