Rock and Roll road-trip number 3 of 2023 commenced early on Saturday, February 11th. The destination- Atlantic City, New Jersey to see Motley Crue and Def Leppard-a mere 6-hour drive from my home in Virginia. I hit traffic outside of DC like normal but after Baltimore it was smooth sailing! I arrived in Atlantic City took a rest and then my partner in crime, Maria, and I hit up the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where the concert was. Rick Allen from Def Leppard had an art show at the Wentworth Art Gallery inside the hotel, so we went and walked through that. We began to run into other fans that I know from different shows, and it was like a class reunion. At the gallery we ran into my friend Judy whom I had met at the show in Hershey, PA last year. We also visited with my friend Carol who is the photographer at the Wentworth Gallery Rick Allen shows. Carol and I have been to several shows together. While still at Wentworth another friend Carolyn stopped by for a quick hello. It was great to catch up with everyone! We left Wentworth and went into the venue where our friend Matt was waiting for us. I first met Matt and Maria in Las Vegas in 2019 at the Def Leppard residency and caught up with them again last summer for the Seattle and Vancouver Stadium shows. For the Atlantic City show we had VIP General Admission on the floor and secured our places in the center of the stage. While waiting for the show to start I was able to visit with some more die-hard fans that I had met over the years, Donna from Missouri, Karen from Phoenix and Vanessa from San Diego. So many of us traveled for these shows- I wonder if the bands realize the network of fans who all know each other.
Motley Crue opened the show this night, a switch from the Friday night show. I was excited to see John 5 play with them in what was his second show with the band since joining after the retirement of Mick Mars. I absolutely love Mick Mars, but it was hard to see him play last summer as it was apparent how much his ankylosing spondylitis was affecting his ability to move. Mick pretty much stayed stationary playing which left all the stage antics to Nikki Sixx. The addition of John 5 to the band brought a vitality to the stage show that had been lacking and he gave Nikki someone to play with on stage. I think John 5 is a good fit and as he becomes more comfortable, we should see more antics between him, Nikki and Tommy, for sure. Vince looked and sounded better than he did during the 2022 Stadium Tour. He is still reliant on a teleprompter which you catch him reading from time to time. The Nasty Habits-aka their backup singers and dancers- are back, but down from 3 to 2 girls now. They are more scantily clad than ever before and, in this day, and age seems to me a little over the top. Having young 20 somethings dancing on stage smooching up to men who are old enough to be their father leaves a bad taste in my mouth and feels a little disrespectful to be honest. The Crue busted out their hits as was expected, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. At the end of the show Nikki threw out a ton of guitar picks as usual and I was able to get a couple, of which I shared with some others who weren't so lucky. Sharing the wealth brings good concert karma!
Def Leppard took the stage at 10:40 and opened with Take What You Want off of the Diamond Star Halo album. The set list changed some since 2022, with the addition of “When Love and Hate Collide” which was done hybrid acoustic/electric. Rick Savage was rocking a sea foam green suit which photographed amazingly and all 5 of the boys looked fit and ready to rock. Vivian Campbell, who many of you know as my favorite guitarist, spotted me in the crowd during Armageddon it, at which point I lost my balance and almost fell on my ass. Typical me. Sorry Maria! I almost took her down with me! Like most shows, this one went by too fast. My favorite song played live is Hysteria and they continued with a changed-up song ending similar to the ending they debuted last year only now with the deletion of the large bass drum and gong that Rick Allen would play. They continue to close out the show with Rock of Ages and Photograph as they have done for years now. Honestly, I am ready for them to change that up. I miss the days when we did the sing along for Rock of Ages and when they ended with Pour Some Sugar on Me. My favorite part of each show is the photo montage that is done during Photograph. It always brings a tear to my eye to see the photos of Steve Clark, young and alive. It is a great way that the band continues to honor the legacy of their friend.
As with all shows, this show ended much too quickly. We said our goodbyes to Matt and his dad Mark and made our way to the Center Bar at the Hard Rock, where we met up with friends to hang out and replay the night. We made it to bed around 4 am tired and happy.
The next morning was brutal. I woke up with a killer headache. One of the drawbacks of being so close to the stage is that you are looking up all night. The kink in my neck was the cause of the headache as I only had a couple of drinks the night before. I rolled out of bed, said farewell to Maria and started the long drive home at 11 am. I made it home and hit the hay and slept for 12 hours. Quite a whirlwind weekend that I wouldn’t have any other way.
In the words of Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, “see you next time, and there will be a next time!”
Next show- Adele in Las Vegas!
For my ninth rock n roll roadtrip of 2018 I splurged and bought a VIP Meet and Greet package with Def Leppard. I was going solo to this show so I thought, why not? Everyone knows what a huge Vivian Campbell fan I am and that I co-admin a Riverdogs Fanpage (www.facebook.com/groups/RiverdogsBand/). I have met Viv quite a few times but never have I done a fan meet and greet with Def Leppard even though I had met the band before. I am a member of a few fan pages and one of the questions that gets asked a lot is what is a meet and greet like? So in this post I am going to talk about my experience at the Def Leppard show in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 5, 2018.
I left for Raleigh mid morning driving an uneventful three hour and forty minutes from Virginia. I checked into my hotel and got changed. I had bought a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse with the Union Jack on them and also had my vintage Def Leppard "women" shirt that I had purchased at my first Def Leppard show in 1988 when I was just 13 years old. I arrived at the PNC Arena about 30 minutes before the scheduled meet and greet time, which was 4:45. I parked close by under a tree (it was a scorcher) and proceeded to tailgate with a couple who was seeing Def Leppard for the first time in over 35 years! At 4:35 I walked over to the appointed meeting place and got in line. It was well organized and they began to let us in early. One thing that you should know is that you have to have ID and be the purchaser on record to be able to pick up your meet and greet packages. After I got my swag bag, ticket to the show and lanyard pass, we were let into the lobby area where we were allowed to shop the merch. What I loved is that Def Leppard was doing soundcheck at this time. So, while we couldn't get a peek at them, we were able to hear them play. The VIP package included a set of vintage postcards, a luggage tag, a passport holder, a signed Hysteria poster and a large canvas tote. It was a lot of loot! And NO, you can't leave to take it to your car. Once you are in, you are in for the night!
After some time in the lobby listening to soundcheck, checking out the merch, meeting other fans and ordering beverages, we were let into the main floor of the arena in order to get group photos taken. This was fun and everyone was very excited. I would imagine that there were about 60-70 people who were doing the meet and greet at this show. They took about 15 people at a time up on the stage to take a photo in front of Rick Allen's Drum Kit. The first group photo was a serious pose and the other was a fun rock star pose! On the way down from the stage I managed to get a shot of Vivian's guitars in their case.
After the group photo we were led to an area in the back of the arena. This was the working part of the arena. I even caught a glimpse of Vivian Campbell's guitar tech Wolfie! While waiting backstage there was a raffle for all the VIP Meet and Greet people (we were all given a raffle ticket with our merch) and the winner was a lovely lady and her friend. They got to sit side stage for the first two songs of the show! The crowd was very excited and chatty while waiting. It was like a group of old friends who had come together for a visit! While in line I also saw Phil Collen's two youngest daughter's with their Mom hanging out backstage.
Both the PNC Arena and Def Leppard staff were amazing. There was a young man who was watching our purses and merch so that we didn't have to carry them into the photo. He was funny and kind to a bunch of nervous nellies. Finally it was my turn. I walked around the corner and Rick Savage was there. I was a bit tongue tied but said Hi Sav and shook his hand. Next to him stood Vivian who was smiling and said Hi to me. I leaned in and got a hug from him. Next was Joe. I showed them all my shoes and told them that I had bought my shirt thirty years ago. I shook hands and said Hi to Phil and Rick while still talking about my shirt with Joe. Joe kept talking even while we were getting the picture taken. He told me how well the shirt had held up all these years and I said something like yeah, almost as good as all of us. The meet and greet goes by fast, but I did not feel rushed at all. Def Leppard has a wonderful photographer, Valerie, who takes the photos. They are then posted for you about a week after the show. The photos are good quality.
After the meet and greet was over, I went and found a Def Leppard beer (which was only on tap in Raleigh) and my seat. I realized that the woman sitting in front of me was familiar and so I introduced myself. It turns out we know each other from the Riverdogs Fan Page and another fan page that I am on. We are in the group photo together as well! It was good to meet you Kelpie! It is always good to meet people from our online support groups! I also got to see my other concert friends Liz, Cat and Louise. One of the perks of doing the meet and greet is that my seat was in the second row. I was on Vivian's side of the stage, right in front of him. I changed into my Riverdogs tank so that I didn't get my vintage Lep shirt all sweaty.
The Concert was amazing as always. Viv tossed me a guitar pick (or three, haha). He is always good to me like that. The next day my friend sent me a message to check out Journey's Instagram account (they are on tour with Lep right now and played after Lep did). Low and behold there I was! Entranced by the music from the looks of it.
Journey played a great set to close out the night. After the show I headed to the local McDonald's for a night cap and made it back to my hotel in one piece. The next day I was still on my concert high as I made my way home to Virginia. It was another great rock n roll roadtrip!
Shoot me a message if you have any questions about the meet and greet! I am happy to share my experience!
Genealogist, Historian, Activist, Rocker Chick. Life is short! Buy the concert tickets!