Def Leppard played the first of three special California Casino shows at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California on October 30th and I was lucky enough to be in attendance.

The anticipation for the band was heightened as the lights went down with The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ pumped through the Samala Showroom. The band continued paying tribute to their British influences, by rocking the last bit of the track live before kicking into ‘Let It Go.’ That was followed by Leppard’s cover of The Sweet’s ‘Action.’ Seeing the band in an intimate setting such as this was a rush that continued for the entire set.

‘Animal,’ ‘Foolin’, ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Armageddon It’ followed in the set, with the crowd loving every minute of it. A great rendition of ‘Make Love Like A Man’ lead into a mini-acoustic portion of the show, with ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringin’ On the Heartbreak,’ before the band cranked it back up on ‘Bringin’ for the later half of that track and ‘Switch 625.’

Steve Brown of Trixter did a more than admirable job filling in on guitar for Vivian Campbell, who is continuing to undergo stem-cell treatment to fight Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They found exactly the right guy to fill in for Viv, as Steve delivered with big time solos and fantastic interplay with Phil Collen and the rest of the band.

In regards to Vivian Campbell, Joe Elliott tell Billboard “The latest that I’m aware of with Viv, they were harvesting stem cells from him and do whatever they do in a Petry dish with them, and then they were gonna carpet bomb him with chemo for a week and he was gonna be kept in the hospital…Then they’re gonna put the stem cells back in and do whatever they do, wave the magic wand and say ‘Abracadabra.’ Hopefully by the middle of November they’re gonna let him out. We were under the impression he would be in the hospital until Christmas, but the last email he sent me, which was about two weeks ago, said, ‘It looks like I may be able to get out of here by mid-November.”

Fan favorites rounded out the set, with ‘Hysteria,’ ‘Rocket,’ ‘Let’s Get Rocked,’ ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ kicking the crowds ass before the set wrapped up with the encores of ‘Rock Of Ages’ and ‘Photograph.’ It was an amazing night of rock, ending with a promise by Joe Elliott that the band would return at some point to the Chumash in the future. Here’s to hoping they do!!

There was no media photo credentials issued for the show, but I had to snap this photo below with my phone.

Def Leppard California Casino Shows:
October 30th – Santa Ynez, CA (Chumash Casino Resort)
November 1 – Rancho Mirage, CA (Agua Caliente Casino)
November 2 – Temecula, CA (Pechanga Theater & Casino)

Special Thanks to Mike Traphagen of Chumash Casino Resort. For more info and a complete lineup of upcoming shows go to