Review: DEF LEPPARD, POISON, LITA FORD - Live in Houston, Texas - With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 @ 2:21 PM

Rock of Ages Tour 2012

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My wife's birthday is in September, so when i asked her last year what she wanted for her birthday, she said that she wanted to go see Def Leppard, who was touring the States with Heart. Of course, being the good husband that I am (cough), I got a pair of tickets to the show and we sat about 11 rows back outside of the pit on the left. Fast forward now to 49 weeks later (yes, I counted) and Def Leppard once again played Houston, this time with Poison and Lita Ford in tow. When I tried to understand exactly why the band was out on the road again after such a short break, the only reason I could fathom was that maybe they were trying to capitalize on the Tom Cruise Rock of Ages movie and, of course, the current Def Leppard tour was aptly named the Rock of Ages Tour 2012. So, once again I asked my wife what she wanted. She is a big Poison fan and having never seen them live before the choice was pretty simple: She wanted to see Def Leppard again. So, three days before their September 1, 2012 show I managed to snag some 3rd row, center section tickets and the day before the concert was notified that I had been approved for a photo pass as well.

We got to the venue around 6:15 or so because even though the show was listed as being a 7 pm start, the Woodlands Pavilion had posted the set times on their Facebook page and Lita Ford was listed as a 6:55 start and I wanted to make sure we had anough time to get in, find our seats and get my wife situated before I had to leave and meet up to get escorted into the barricade to shoot photos. Lita Ford hit the stage right on time, opening her spirited but brief 6 song set with her cover of Elton John's "The Bitch is Back". I have to be honest and say that she looked much older than I expected to see. Granted, she is pushing her mid-50s and most certainly still does look fine for her age, but being that close up to her kinda shattered my expectations a bit. She played a decent set including 2 tracks off of her latest release, Living Like a Runaway, the title track and another called "Relentless", both of which sounded really good. Just as she seemed to be getting warmed up, it was time for her set to end.

Lita Ford Setlist:

  • "The Bitch is Back"
  • "Hungry"
  • "Relentless"
  • "Living Like a Runaway"
  • "Close My Eyes Forever"
  • "Kiss Me Deadly"
Next up were summer perennials Poison. When I first got confirmation of my photo pass, my wife had jokingly asked if I was going to let her use the pass to take the Poison pics. When I went to check in at the press table and get my pass I was given the okay to let her take the photos, so her birthday present was about to get lots better. Now, she has never used my camera in a setting like this, and even though I managed to give her a quick crash course in its operation I did not have any expectations that she would actually take usable photographs, not because she doesn't have the ability mind you, but because it was her first time using my camera at a concert, it was her first time to be in the barricade and because she would probably be too starstruck to remember what I had taught her about its operation. None of that really mattered because the whole point was for her to be up there and experience it firsthand how close you are to the stage and performers. She was quite apprehensive about doing it but after some prodding she finally agreed and off she went. The lights went down and Poison predictably took the stage at 7:50 with "Look What the Cat Dragged In". Can anyone tell me if they've ever opened with anything else? The band was alotted 50 minutes for their set so as you might imagine they had to stick with a somewhat shortened version of what they play every year when they headline a summer shed tour. "Ride the Wind", "Fallen Angel" and "Unskinny Bop" were included, but "Something to Believe In" was not (THANK GOD!). One thing that just chaps my ass about their set though is the need to have both a guitar and a drum solo! Seriously guys, is it that much of an ego thing? When you only have less than an hour to play, do your fans a favor and play an extra song or 2 or 3 or 4 instead of boring us with this crap. IF you're headlining and can play an hour and a half to two hours, that's one thing, but certainly not when you're an opener. That mess aside, the band put on a great show, were very energetic and into the crowd, with lots of interaction throughout. When my wife arrived back at our seats after her first 3 song photo session, she probably could not have been more excited and sure enough, had that glazed, "I almost touched Bret Michaels", look about her. And much to my surprise, she managed to get some great shots in the process!

Poison Setlist:

  • "Look What the Cat Dragged In"
  • "Ride the Wind"
  • "Your Mama Don't Dance"
  • Guitar Solo
  • "Fallen Angel"
  • "Unskinny Bop"
  • Drum solo
  • "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
  • "Talk Dirty to Me"
  • "Nothin But a Good Time"
So Poison finishes up right about 8:40 and according to the set time schedule I had seen earlier, Def Leppard was supposed to start at 9:30. The wife wanted to get a shirt so we(she) decided to brave the merch lines, and why not, I figured that we had plenty of time. She may have only been 5 people back in line, but she was there every bit of 20-25 minutes! As luck would have it, right as she got to the counter to be served, Def Leppard took the stage, FIFTEEN minutes early! Needless to say, I missed the photo opportunity in the barricade for them. We got back to our seats as the band was finishing up the opener, "Undefeated". I have to give the band credit for changing up the set just a bit from the last time they were through. One of the additions was a couple of tracks from the Hign N Dry album, such as "Let It Go" and "Saturday Night (High N' Dry)". On show days that were Saturdays, the band inserted "Saturday Night" and "Let It Go" on all other nights. Also inserted was "Gods of War", from the band's Hysteria release. The band was in top form and, considering the heat and humidity on this warm Texas evening, they had the energy as well. They played an hour and 45 minute set, obviously showcasing the hits that made them famous, but for me, i'm an old school fan who thinks High N Dry is their best album. At one point vocalist Joe Elliot strapped on an acoustic and headed out the stage walkway, soon accompanied by his bandmates, where they all sat on an equipment case and played an acoustic medley of "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Where Does Love Go When It Dies", "Now", "When Love And Hate Collide", "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" and "Two Steps Behind", a break the band probably needed at that point in the show. Counting the medley of songs, the band performed 23 songs during their set, finishing off the night with one encore, "Rock of Ages". As much as I feel like these guys sold out early on in their careers to become mega famous, they have put on a fantastic show the past 2 years and they certainly have a lot to celebrate this year: 30 years since Pyromania, 30 years of Phil Collen being in the band, 20 years since Adrenalize and 20 years since Vivian Campbell's addition as guitarist. And if the band plans on being here next year at this time, they had just better plan on putting my wife on the VIP list because it's going to be hard to top her present after this year.

The one main concern I had about the show was what kind of attendence there would be, considering the fact that they were here recently and because the ticket prices were what I considered to be a little on the steep side, with all of the front reserved sections having a price tag of $125 before TT+L. To my surprise the place was quite packed, a testimony to the band's continual drawing power.

Def Leppard Setlist:

  • "Undefeated"
  • "Rocket"
  • "High & Dry(Saturday Night)"
  • "Foolin"
  • "Make Love Like a Man"
  • "Animal"
  • "Love Bites"
  • "Let's Get Rocked"
  • "Gods of War"
  • Acoustic Medley
  • "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
  • "Where Does Love Go When It Dies"
  • "Now"
  • "When Love and Hate Collide"
  • "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad"
  • "Two Steps Behind"
  • "Women"
  • "Bringin on the Heartbreak"
  • "Switch 625"
  • "Hysteria"
  • "Armageddon It"
  • "Photograph"
  • "Pour Some Sugar on Me"
  • "Rock of Ages"
Check out the photos from the show HERE! Special thanks to my wife for contributing some awesome shots!

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