When I think back to when I was a 13 year old metal-brat in 1984, I would never
have thought I’d ever get to see two of my (then) favourite hard rock bands
playing together in a massive stadium in Melbourne. But here we are, albeit
some almost 40 years later!
This was the final show of the current world tour and it was sure to go off in
I’ve seen both Def Leppard and Motley Crue play live over the decades. Motley
has been hit and miss, but usually great. Tonight was no exception. In fact, I’d
have to go as far as to say that the band was probably the best I’ve seen them
play since the Dr Feelgood tour way back in 1990. Huge call, I know.
Def Leppard has always been a massive favourite band of mine, although
admittedly, with the exception of maybe Retro Active it’s the first four albums
for me. But live, Def Leppard has always been one of the best sounding bands
I’ve ever heard. Musicianship is first class and what a massive sound.
The night began with Motley Crue hitting the stage and tearing through Wild
Side and Shout at the Devil. A brilliant opening that continued with classics Too
Fast for Love, Don’t Go Away Mad, Live Wire and Looks That Kill.
The band was playing with the vigour and intensity of a band half its age and it
seems apparent that the addition of guitar virtuoso John 5 has given the band a
new lease on life. Given that I’ve always considered Mick Mars to be the heart
and soul of Motley Crue it was hard to accept that he was no longer there. But
as a fan of John’s work since the Manson days, I knew the band was in great
hands and that Mick’s legacy would continue through him. Aside from a cable
issue with his guitar in the opening song, 5’s performance was purely flawless.
Much has been said of Vince Neil’s ability as a vocalist over the years,
particularly his struggles to maintain fitness and be able to perform adequately
live. And most of the criticism has been warranted. But last night I saw a Vince
Neil who actually sang coherently (for the most part), moved around the stage
like a seasoned frontman and never appeared to struggle or be out of breath. It
was fantastic to see him perform so well.
Nikki Sixx is the Crue’s real frontman though. From the get-go Sixx had the
crowd eating from the palm of his hand. He never skipped a beat and was his
usual entertaining self.
A Motley Crue show would never be the same without the antics on one Mr. T
Lee, and last night he was on fire. A brilliant drummer, Tommy Lee was in his
groove from the first beat of Wild Side last night. Though I must admit,
physically the dude looks like he needs a break. A long tour and the rigours of
his manic playing style appear to be taking a toll, but none of that detracted
from his performance.
With Girls, Girls, Girls, Primal Scream and Kickstart My Heart rounding the
band’s set, it was a sensational start to an epic night of 80’s hair metal
With Def Leppard you always know that you’ll be getting a top notch show.
Opening its set with Take What You Want from current album Diamond Star
Halos, it was clear that this would be yet another classic Def Leppard show.
Let’s Get Rocked, Animal, Foolin’ and Armageddon It were fired off in quick
succession and the band was only getting warmed up.
If a band was ever to have battled adversity over its career it’s Def Leppard.
From the car wreck that stole Rick Allen’s left arm, the untimely and sad death
of guitarist Steve Clark, the health struggles of Rick Savage and Vivian
Campbell’s battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, you may be forgiven for thinking
that this band of sexagenarians might just want to pack it in, call it a day and
put their feet up for a while. But if you thought that then you don’t know Def
The final show of the current world tour, the band was showing absolutely no
signs of tapering off. Rick Allen’s drumming was awe-inspiring as was Viv and
Phil’s guitar playing. One of the highlights for me is always the instrumental sojourn into Switch 625 after Bringin’ on the Heartbreak. Viv and Phil nailed this classic, taking spotlights front and centre to showcase their tandem guitar brilliance in absolute style. Rick Savage is the back bone of Def Leppard. He held the bottom end brilliantly, engaged with the crowd continuously and sang flawlessly. It could never be denied that Joe Elliot has been of the finest frontmen in the hard rock world for the last 40 years. His vocals were as strong as ever last night and his performance was just classic Joe.Rounding out the night with Pour Some Sugar on Me, Rock of Ages and
Photograph, this was a Def Leppard show that was, as expected, brilliant from
start to finish.
For years I’ve lamented at the end of each show that “well, that’s probably the
last time I see *insert old fart band name here* live…”. But I’m always proven
wrong. And I hope it’s not the final opportunity I have to see either Def Leppard
or Motley Crue grace Australian stages in all their hard rock glory! Now… where
the hell did I park my car…..