In the past few days I’ve been trying to think of the exact moment I became a Def Leppard fan. Now I’m not talking some guy who sings along to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” when it comes on at the bar… I was that guy. I’m not talking someone who owned Pyromania and Hysteria on tape back in 198x… I too young to be that guy. I’m talking fan. I’m talking, three shows in a year in a half. I’m talking tour t-shirts at full price. I can readily identify the moment I became an AC/DC fan. I’ve been a Beatles fan since November 17, 1990. But this Def Lep thing is a recent occurrence.

It could have been when Mirrorball was released. I bought it the first day it was in stores. My buddy and I went to Wal*Mart and I got the CD and a great picture of me under a sign advertising $49 green peppers. But what made me want to buy Mirrorball? Some sort of ironic loyalty to 80s hair metal? This seems unlikely, although perhaps it was a fit of irony inspired nostalgia. Now that I think about it, this was the same summer I bought two live Scorpions albums and the live Poison record. Perhaps it was part of Live Album Summer… but I really cannot remember. Perhaps I destroyed those brain cells with all the beer I drank at the show I went to last August.

My fandom has recently taken on a new height. It is a height previously unattained in my musical life. I have bought a ticket to hear Def Lep play live at the Hard Rock in Vegas. This required me to purchase airplane tickets. I’m a good $250 invested in this experience and I haven’t even left yet. In 2002 I swore I’d never pay more money for a show than I did that year for Paul McCartney. It seems that stand lasted a little longer than ten years. Now there are a few reasons for the splurge, and even though it’s unjustifiable it’s not completely crazy. It’s my last year in grad school. It’s relatively close by. It was going to be during spring break.

The most important reason I am excited about this show, that I am so invested in this show, is the concept itself. Def Lep are going to play Hysteria all the way through, plus some additional tunes “from their back catalog.” The concept is great because it overturns so much of how stadium rock shows go. Just to start, the hits will not be accumulated at the end. How often will I get to go to a Def Lep show and Pour Some Sugar On Me will not be the focus of the whole thing? It’ll be fifth of at least twelve songs. When was the last time they played Love and Affection live? In addition, knowing a major portion of the set list in advance gives me time to prepare emotionally, to listen to it through, to get excited about certain moments which will definitely be coming in the show.

For the next six weeks I’m going to write a blog post about each song on the Hysteria album. It’ll give me a chance to brush up on lyrics, and to have a sense of how the album really runs in its entirety. I’m super excited. I hope by the time I make it to Vegas I’ll be completely immersed in Hysteria. It’ll be great.

And, yes, I already have a playlist of all live versions of Hysteria. It’s never a bad time to rock out.

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