Synopsis [Show Date: 8/3/14]
Rounding out my 3 concerts in 3 days run was this unbelievable show. This would be my first time seeing Def Leppard and my third time seeing Kiss. Seeing these two bands truly provided what looked like a near-capacity crowd with hours of hit after hit.
The Dead Daisies opened the show with a phenomenal set. A supergroup comprised of past and current members of Guns N Roses, Whitesnake, and Foreigner (among others), they truly were not to disappoint. Though I was not able to catch their entire set, what I did hear was enough to make me buy their album and EP, both of which are great and I implore everyone to check out. There is kick-ass version of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” on the “Face I Love” EP. Also really cool, the guys all came out after the set to mingle with fans and sign things. This showed how all of these guys are class acts. I finally got drummer Brian Tichy to sign the drumstick that I caught when he was playing with Foreigner 5 years ago! This is actually the fifth band I have seen Brian play with (Foreigner, Whitesnake, Geoff Tate’s Queensryche, S.U.N., and The Dead Daisies – what a guy!).
As the sounds of The Who’s “Won’t Get Filled Again” filled the Susquehanna Bank Center, on the screens appeared a countdown clock to Def Leppard’s set. Opening up with the classic “Let it Go,” Def Leppard showed from the start why they are considered one of the best bands of their era. It is still amazing to see Rick Allen play knowing that he only has one arm – how does he get all of those great sounds?! An honorable mention also goes out to Vivian Campbell who was up onstage after just receiving the news that his cancer was in remission. He may no longer have the long locks that used to be his distinctive look, but the bald head kind of gives him a new tougher look. I hope Vivian continues to stay healthy and bring us all this great music! After a large sampling of Def Leppard’s gigantic ’80s hits, they came to one of my personal favorites, “Let’s Get Rocked.” It was great to hear the probably 15,000 people in the audience chanting the chorus together.
Next up was a short acoustic section comprised of “Two Steps Behind” and “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak.” While I enjoyed this nice section, I certainly felt that the audience was itching to get back to the electric guitars, a craving satisfied near the end of “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak.” Afterwards, the band broke into the classics “Hysteria” and “Rocket.” Def Leppard songs are without a doubt best known for the huge choruses, and the audience proved this by singing the choruses at the top of their lungs for both of these songs. Closing out the main set were two more mega-hits, “Armageddon It” and the biggest one of them all, “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” The energy of the crowd during the latter was unbelievable. It just seems to be one of those songs that everyone knows. After an encore performance of “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph,” the audience went wild and could not wait for the excitement of the night to continue with the almighty Kiss.
After the obligatory, “You wanted the best, you got the best” intro, Kiss kicked off what was to be a thrilling show with “Psycho Circus.” It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since that album kicked off the reunion tour. Today’s band really is talented though, despite all the criticism that it deals with from legions of fans. While this is understandable, I would like to point out in particular that while Tommy Thayer seems to be a really nice guy, I met Ace Frehley the other day, and he seemed like a jerk. Next up was the Gene-sung staple “Deuce,” followed by “Shout It Out Loud.” I love that Paul and Gene trade of vocals on this number; it certainly adds a cool element to the song. On that note, neither Paul nor Gene can sing anywhere near as well as they could in their prime, but the energy of the show nearly made up for this. During “Hotter Than Hell,” one of my favorite numbers of the entire night, Gene breathed fire, leading to enormous cheers from the audience, many of whom have certainly seen this little act before. “Lick it Up” was another great number, though it was easy to hear Paul Stanley struggling through the singing of this song. During the number, Kiss played the bridge to “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” the second time this song embellished the night.
During the Bass Solo, Gene spit blood, a feat that a Kiss show would certainly be incomplete without. This act led nicely into “God of Thunder,” which unfortunately did not feature Gene flying up to the rafters. In a tweet after the show, Gene explained that the rig was not safe enough for him to fly up to. Strange really. Up next was the lesser-known “Hide Your Heart,” which received less of a crowd reaction. I personally enjoy the song, but I can think of many Kiss songs that I would put in the setlist before this one. “Calling Dr. Love” was followed by “Love Gun,” where Paul did his usual flight into the audience. This is always a highlight of the set, though it was easy once again to hear Paul’s voice struggling to hit the high notes. “Black Diamond” was next, with Eric Singer doing a great job channeling the vocals of Peter Criss. As the opening notes of “Detroit Rock City” were played, the audience went wild – what an amazing song! Definitely a highlight of the night. Paul Stanley announced that Kiss was not going to be cliché and exit the stage before the encore, and they simply ripped into “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which saw the entire crowd rushing the stage. Kiss released more confetti during this song than I have ever seen at any other show. The confetti was literally piled up past my ankles! No one was happy to see Kiss go!
I have to say that although Def Leppard was phenomenal, Kiss stole the night with their show. There is just nothing like a Kiss stage show! All the pyro, fireworks, and lights are just phenomenal. I would definitely recommend seeing either of these acts if they come to your town. On another note, I must once again mention that I had an terrible experience with security at the Susquehanna Bank Center. One particular guard nearly ruined my experience at the show, and I am currently in talks with the head of security at the venue in regards to my issue.