Postcards from the Pit: Lita Ford / Poison / Def Leppard, Jones Beach, 7/13/2012

It was a Friday night, hot, muggy and still. The buses to the show – now reinstated, THANK YOU, NASSAU COUNTY – were jam packed with music fans and people coming up off the sand. Mostly I was hoping it wouldn’t rain. The Jones Beach Ampitheater doesn’t have a roof and unless there’s lightening, the show goes on.

By the time we finally got there, Lita Ford was already on the stage, though I don’t think I missed more than a song and a half. This is one of my favorite pictures from the evening. Look at that grin!

Though I’m fond of these two as well. Lita Ford is a bad-ass, y’all.

And one last one, taken during Close Your Eyes Forever, her (in)famous duet with Ozzy Osbourne, which she sang by herself because as she wryly pointed out, he wasn’t there to help. Her chords crashed majestically, though. It was one of those times that I could feel why it is that I love this kind of music. The way the notes ripple and surge and tangle and then finally descend in a waterfall of sound.

She closed down with Kiss Me Deadly; the crowd let out a tremendous yell as soon as she finished the intro, and during the song there were people dancing in the aisle. I turned that song up whenever it came on the radio, and I never expected I would be able to hear it live. Honestly, it was exhilarating hearing those defiant chords ring out and watching all of the women around me – and it was mostly women, my age and older – with so much joy on their faces as they sang and waved their arms and banged their heads.
Poison was up next. And, y’all, I think I may have lost track of the number of times I’ve seen this band – its either 6 or 7 – and every time is, well, it’s nothing but a good time. (I’m sorry, that was really bad. But true!)

I really do think Bret Michaels is a national treasure, glittery cowboy hat and permanently installed bandanna and all. He’s a rock star in a way that is out of style these days, which makes him easy to mock, but you know what, he knows what he is and he owns it.

He gets up there and glitters big, does his thing for people who love him, and he clearly loves them back. And the songs he’s singing are just as much fun today as they were the first time I heard them. I still get a tremendous charge out of listening to C.C. DeVille’s solos soaring upwards.


And then it was time for Def Leppard. I think I almost didn’t believe it was really going to happen until they walked out and started playing. They began with a new one, Undefeated, which flowed gracefully into Rocket as if they had been written days and not decades apart.

They played several new tunes, but a lot of older favorites, too, including Animal, Hysteria, Love Bites and Armageddon It.

Towards the middle of the show they came out and sat on the stage where it extends out into the pit, and became a tidy little Def Leppard-pod. I took a bunch of pictures of it, but this one is my favorite:

I’m fond of this one, too:

They closed down the main set with Pour Some Sugar On Me with the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs and dancing on every available free patch of ground; the encore was Rock of Ages. It was a fabulous show.

The tour resumes tomorrow, in Florida, and continues through mid-September.

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