Tesla, Poison and Def Leppard at Sprint center

Just about a year ago we saw Tesla, Reo Speedwagon and Def Leppard at Sprint center. We saw these tickets go on sale and I personally have never seen Poison so we decided to add a couple of artists to our elusive “two time” club (Tesla and Def Leppard).

One of the first things that I noticed was the unusual amount of sound board equipment setup, I get it there are three bands but not often you see three complete sets of sound equipment and what seems like then some:

Although my picture is hard to see the Poison equipment had the Poison logo on them, not just the name like you see most times. I found this interesting and it emphasized the amount of branding/marketing you see all over with Poison at their show. Here is another shot in the dark you can kinda see the Poison logo:

Tesla opened up and, unfortunately, very much like last year I was disappointed in the sound. I think it’s not the band that seems off it’s Keith, he just seems well kinda out of it. Like he didn’t really realize he was in a concert or in front of people or something. Very odd behavior and his singing is no where near the rest of the band on “sounding like the album”:

Once again my point to this is if you’re going to tour with the powerhouse that is Def Leppard you should really bring your “A game” – else it highlights the shortcomings.

Shot of the crowd size for Tesla, lots of empty seats:

Frank Hannon is a top level player and “Love Song” is something to behold with him picking that acoustic:

Tesla played about 6 songs for about a 40 minute set. Then came Poison with Brett Michaels jumping about in his what I guess is “Modern Cowboy Glam” look?

Shot of the crowd for Poison, considerable difference (note this highlights the excellent light bars setup for Poison/Def Leppard (not used for Tesla)):

Poison was high energy and I think they are a seriously underrated bunch of musicians. Sure they didn’t do themselves any favors with the entire Glam Metal genre, dressing up like girls, and picking ridiculous name (“Ricki Rocket”, “CC Deville”).

The spotlight solo for CC Deville was borderline spectacular. He went into Van Halen “Eruption” (nailing it I might add), added some Steve Vai “The Audience is Listening” (again spot on). You don’t see that often and I was seriously impressed by his fret fingering, clarity, and speed. Well done indeed.

They also gave Ricki Rockett some spotlight time and he proved his chops banging out some drum work that was impressive (don’t get me wrong no where near Rocket’s showcase, but impressive nonetheless.)

I did get a kick of of the way that Michaels held and strummed his guitar at a near 45° strumming nearly straight and up down. Unusual but worked and gave a real “Rock ‘n Roll” type appearance (strumming without care or looking down to ensure he had the correct placement).

Poison played a short set as well about 45 minutes, it was very well done the music and singing was spot on. Angie and I were impressed at the energy, humor, and production value of the set.

Here is the crowd and pre-set image for Def Leppard:

Here is a close up of the banner used:

In case your wondering, yes it was the same banner they used last year with just different light colors, this shot from last year by yours truly:

Their production set has both times been top notch really impressive lighting, graphics, sound quality. A nearly two-hour tour de fource rarely matched in concerts we have seen:

Here are some shots of the graphics from the show:

When you have enough cameras setup you can do awesome things like this:

So last year I went to Def Leppard not really being that big of a fan, however after seeing their show twice I am getting there. Really if Def Leppard comes anywhere near you, get there.

Me and My Angie:

John Legend at Starlight

Never have I ever seen anything in a merchandise booth at a concert for $1, until John Legend with Gallant at Starlight. They had Gallant sad-face hats for $1, I guess just not wanting to carry them to the next venue. They sold out before the show began, but of course they did for $1, hell I never heard of Gallant until this and I bought three.

Anyhow the stage setup for Gallant was pretty bare for the quartet:

I got an old school R&B vibe from Gallant, and his dancing (perhaps “shockwaves” is a better way to describe it) from the snare drum shots reminded me of watching James Brown throw himself around. His band was good and his set was well done.

Gallant used the same screens as John Legend but in very simple layout:

It is kinda weird to watch a concert at 1930 and it be total daylight, but that’s the summer’ish months in Kansas for you. Kinda ruins the lighting effects but with a nice breeze Starlight even in total daylight is an awesome venue.

John Legend started off by using the, different is good word, hole created by the screen panels and then having him setting at his grand piano in the middle with some crazy visuals on the panels, an interesting effect:

John displayed his pianist skills by playing along to his powerful voice on several of his hits and also showing his dancing skills on others. His video panels were really sharp and with their ability to spin in different angles provided some a cool looking backdrops to the set:

He did bring a full band including a horn section and three backup singers (who were not only talented singers but nice to watch dance around):

Towards the end he hand some personal remarks about his family and throughout he seemed to emphasize that loving others is his thing. He made some remarks about telling the one you were with you love them and if you were on a date it would make for an interesting date. He closed with his piano coming towards the front of the stage and himself being projected onto this set panels:

John’s set was great, his voice was not what I would say as strong as it is on his albums (not saying bad just saying not as powerful and clear as his recordings) but his piano work was excellent and overall he was very entertaining.

Me and my Angie sitting in the sun waiting for the set:


Starset at Granada

I saw the tickets go up for sale for Starset at  Granada in Lawrence and the first thing that came to my mind is “How the hell do they make any money off that ticket price?”; seriously $16 a piece and the venue is 1700 capacity:I guess they plan on making money off their merchandise. Anyhow so Angie and I head off to check out Starset and some group I have never heard of “Razorwire Halo“.

Well I was wrong about the idea of these bands making money off their merchandise. What is with these bands going on tour and not having merchandise that shows the date of the show? I want to buy a shirt to wear to gain the envy of others that I was there and they were not. Sigh.

Here is the initial setup in the, ah, dive seems to be a good word for Grenada:

The screen in front of the stage threw me. Initially I thought it was a throw screen like I have seen at some punk shows but once Razorwire Halo took the stage it proved to be something that added distortion to the video they played throughout their entire 40 minute set:

You know when you have friends and they think they have a band that others want to hear so you go over and endure, ah, I mean listen to their collaborative noise? That’s pretty much what I thought about Razorwire Halo. Their efforts to feel “Rock ‘n Roll” seemed too forced to me, not natural. Perhaps they are like wine and will get better with time (read; more practice).

At any rate off with them and onto the set setup for Starset:

The middle box (I assumed, correctly, where the drum kit was setup) was interesting looking. I didn’t expect they would play videos against it from the inside of the box (videos projected from the inside against the walls of the box synchronized with the screens on each side of the box). Super cool effect:

Oh did I mention that most of the Starset band wears spacesuit type outfits? Sure it’s a bit odd the lead singer wore a bowtie the entire time and the others are in spacesuits but points for being different. Kinda a gimmick sure but its neat to watch them light up in sequence and to difference parts of the music:

Every so often the drummer box would turn off the lighting and the effect of the drummer be lite up would be seen through the box, making a neat effect:

Starset was great. Dustin Bates, the lead singer, was energetic and he did a good job keeping his vocals and (is shouting the right word?) “yells” in check. Not often you see a hard rock band keep a violinist and cellist on stage for the entire set but several times they added some excellent ambiance to the music. They mostly did stuff from their “Vessels” release, which is great by the way. Overall a definite repeat for me if Starset passes near by again.

Me and my Angie using the fancy selfie camera lighting to try to take a snapshot in the dark: