Def Leppard Concert Review - Through The Eyes Of My 9-Year-Old Son

September 18, 2016
I took my 9-year-old son Zander (aka "Z") to the Def Leppard / REO Speedwagon / Tesla concert last night at Pepsi Center. This was his first big arena rock show, so I thought I would write my review through his eyes. This was Def Leppard show #24 for me, so I was much more interested in his reaction and experience.

Z picked our dinner destination (IHOP!) and then we arrived at our seats early to see Tesla. An usher spotted Z and playfully said, "I've got my eyes on you. No standing on the chairs and no crowd surfing!" After a solid opener "Rock Me To The Top," Tesla singer Jeff Keith said, "Hello Denver, Colorado! Home of the Super Bowl Champions!" JK is a huge Oakland Raiders fan, so I know it pained him to show love to the Broncos. Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen joined the band on stage for "Save That Goodness", a track Collen wrote and produced for Tesla's new Mechanical Resonance LIVE! album. I love Tesla, and of course their set was much too short.

Zander and I walked around the concourse before REO Speedwagon and then took a seat to do some people watching. Five seconds later, a lovely woman walked up and handed Z two Def Leppard concert t-shirts and quickly walked away. Unbelievable! She mumbled something about buying the wrong size and she wanted us to have them. I never got your name, but I wanted to say thank you again! You made a special night that much more memorable.

REO isn't one of my personal favorites, but you can't deny they've had their fair share of classic rock hits. Zander took one look at 65-year-old lead singer Kevin Cronin's grey hair and glasses and said, "That singer looks like [Chicago Cubs manager] Joe Maddon!" (We bleed Cubbie blue in our family…)

When Cronin introduced "Time For Me To Fly" saying "I wrote this song in Boulder!" and "Let's give these people what they came for," Zander replied, "We came here for Def Leppard, not REO!"

When Cronin introduced "Roll With The Changes" saying "This song takes me back to Rocky Mountain National Park," Zander replied, "We were just there yesterday!"

30 seconds before Def Leppard took the stage, Zander whispered, "Dad, I kinda have to go to the bathroom." So we booked it up the stairs and missed a few seconds of set opener "Let's Go" so he could answer nature's call. Def Leppard always put on a great show and their setlist is below, complete with notes and Z's song-by-song commentary:

Let's Go ("This is awesome!")
Animal ("This is one of my three favorite songs.")
Let It Go ("I have a question. Are they gonna play Rocket?")
Dangerous ("I love you, daddy.")
Foolin' ("The drummer doesn't look happy.")
Love Bites ("I know this one!")
Armageddon It ("What song is this?")
Rock On (David Essex cover) ("Cool.")
Man Enough ("Are you man enough!")
Rocket (Rocket! Yeah! Satellite of Love!")
Bringin' On The Heartbreak ("Phil is holding a guitar that looks like yours.")
Switch 625 ("He is banging his drums like crazy.")
Hysteria (Joe Elliott asks the crowd, "Remember VHS tapes? Remember McNichols Arena?")
Let's Get Rocked (A woman two rows behind us vomits and all the fans scamper out of the way.)
Pour Some Sugar On Me ("You're in the video of this song.")

Rock of Ages ("Now I have all their songs stuck in my head. That's fine by me.")
Photograph ("Boy oh boy, was that fun.")

(Photos by Ken Tomczak)