Classic Dishes...

Let’s Get Rocked

Wayyyy back in 1987, my buddy Dave called me. He had an extra ticket to the Huey Lewis And The News concert at Laguna Seca, and did I wanna go?

Huey? HELL YES I wanted to go! But at 16, one must acquire the permission of one’s parental units before taking on such endeavors. Mom said she was fine with it, as long as Dad was. Well, okay.

Dad said “No.” Didn’t want me exposed to the type of people who go to rock concerts.

AT A FUCKIN’ HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS SHOW. Even today, I don’t think there is a more clean-cut band on the PLANET. Bill Gibson STILL wears a suit behind the drum kit, I think.

I haven’t forgiven him for that one. And the day of the show (yeah, it was a daytime show, too, to boot), Dad sees the footage from the show that gets aired on the local TV news and says “Ya know, I was wrong, I probably should have let you go.”

Thanks, Pops. ‘Preciate it.

So the next summer, I get the same call from my friend Derek. Def Leppard is playing the Shoreline Amphitheater. And let me tell you, at the time I was a Leppard FANATIC. I had received “Hysteria” for my birthday that year, and the tape was already well on its way to being worn out.

Well, seeing as Dad owed me one from the summer before, I didn’t ask this time, I told them I was going, and that was that. I received no argument. :) And it was an incredible show. To this day, Def Leppard is still my absolute favorite band, and “Hysteria” is still the best album in my collection.

And the reason I bring all of this up: Last night, fifteen years (FIFTEEN YEARS!) after that first concert of August 22, 1987, I saw Def Leppard for the fourth time.

And it was amazing. It’s been at least nine years since I last saw them live, and eleven since I last saw them live at an indoor venue. And they are MUCH better indoors. I think it has something to do with the reverb of the building or something. They played ’em all, simple as that, and they played arrangements I’d never heard live before, and it was just incredible. It wasn’t the best show of theirs I’d ever seen (it would be almost impossible to beat the show in Oakland in 1992, when they were in the round, at the top of their game, in all of their laserriffic glory, and I was 30 feet with direct line-of-sight to the stage, over everyone on the floor), but it was a close second.

The thing I most enjoyed, though, was the people who came. Face it, we’re all getting old. A lot of us who listened to Leppard when they owned the world in the late 80’s have kids now. And quite a few of them took their kids to this concert. There was a mom over in the arena bowl seats from me (I was on the floor), who was wearing the trademark Leppard Union Jack shirt, ‘cept it was sequined, and you could tell she’d had it for a while. (If you’ve seen the videos for “Photograph” or “Now”, you know the shirt I mean.) She brought two kids with her, the oldest of which could not have been conceived when “Pyromania” was originally released. And all three of them had a great time. I thought it was the greatest thing. Mom, if yer watching: rock on.

Assuming they make it (and there’s no indication that they won’t, if you can kill off a guitarist and rip the drummer’s arm off, and they still keep going, what would stop them?) to 2005, they will celebrate 25 years together as a band. The Beatles lasted, what, 12? Fifteen, tops?

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