Trek kicks off final two weeks of shows
It was a night of Eighties hard rock and debauchery as The Stadium Tour stopped at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday (Aug 28th). After two summers of delays, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett returned to Southern California to perform the stadium they were meant to open in 2020.
The afternoon got started just before 4 pm with a 20-minute set from Classless Act. The group was asked by members of Mötley Crüe to open the 36 date North American trek. Fronted by Derek Day, they may be a new band, but Classless Act’s stage presence and music are classic. They won over everyone, no matter how few may have been in the seats. They are superstars in the making.
Joan Jett took to the stage just after 4:30 and performed for about an hour. Her inclusion has received some criticism as an act that is a bit more punk rock than glam rock, but it works perfectly. She fit right in as the audience cheered and sang along to her 12 song set. She ran around the stage, keeping the audience entertained as she performed “Fake Friends,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “I Love Rock N Roll.” The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild” were also played before closing with “Bad Reputation,” which earned the biggest ovation of her set.
Poison’s similarly hour-long set started at 6 pm. Frontman Bret Michaels introduced the band from backstage before they began playing “Look What The Cat Dragged In,” a song they’ve opened with since the beginning of their career. Their set was focused on hits including “Ride The Wind,” “Talk Dirty To Me” and “Nothin’ But A Good Time.” Many of their songs were extended and had the crowd on their feet. They also let C.C. DeVille and Rikki Rockett perform guitar and drum solos, respectively.
“I think you can tell I’m wicked fired up tonight, fired up!” Michales exclaimed. “We waited two years for this!”
Michaels, DeVille, Rockett and bassist Bobby Dall are all natural born entertainers. Michaels is a madman on the stage, swooping from side to side with his “Bret Bounce” and engaging with the audience. DeVille is an ultimate showman. His big hair and flamboyant but tasteful playing defined the Eighties on-stage aesthetic.
Rockett, who has been a big influence on my own drumming, is a pro at wearing multiple hats (literally) and tossing sticks while playing and never missing a beat. Dall prances around the stage with his bass and long curly hair as if it’s his playground.
Def Leppard was the first headliner, taking the stage around 7:30. As it was starting to get dark, the band from Britain opened with “Take What You Want” from their new Diamond Star Halos album. They mixed in Halos songs including “Kick” and the country ballad “This Guitar” while giving the fans hits such as “Animal,” “Rocket” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
“What a fucking crazy place this is to play,” Joe Elliott stated. “A couple of shitty years behind us. Hopefully it’s getting better now. As we all know, we were supposed to open this place in 2020. But things being what they were, we couldn’t come and visit, and same goes for last year, but we are fucking here now, aren’t we?!”
The screens during their set featured a variety of cleverly used three-dimensional graphics that enveloped the broadly-set audience. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the audience is taken on a wild ride.
Def’s vocals were top notch with lead singer Elliott hitting waling every note with perfection. The group is known for keeping their vocals pristine and eschewing assistance from backing tracks on stage.
Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell, Rick Allen and Rick Savage tore up the stage. Collen’s solos are amazing and Allen holds down the fort with his hybrid drum setup. To see him solo is a sight to behold.
I would’ve loved to have heard “Let’s Get Rocked,” in their 16-song set, but overall, their performance was superb. They are still at the top of their game.
Mötley Crüe closed the night with what they do best, ass-kickin’ hard rock sing-a-longs! The group kicked the night off with a fun opening video before tearing into “Wild Side.” Their set consisted of hit after hit like “Looks That Kill,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)” and others with “Saints Of Los Angeles” and “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” featuring Machine Gun Kelly contributing his rapping parts on video.
“Honestly, I do not know what to say to you guys other than this has been a glorious, reckless, wild fuckin’ ride and none of it would’ve happened without you guys! And let’s not forget the fact that this is actually home town for Mötley Crüe, so how’s that?” bassist Nikki Sixx says to wild applause. “Long way from the Sunset Strip. I just wanna say thank you very very much.”
And if one thought the band could get through the night without mentioning the Tommy Lee nude social media photo, they’d be wrong. Lee received many laughs as he explained why the intimate photos were published.
“Some of you might’ve heard this before, but a couple of weeks ago we had a break on this tour and I went to some fuckin’ island in Bora Bora and I got fuckin’ loose, drunk as fuck, fuckin’ wobbler. I fuckin’ fell the fuck off,” Lee says ahead of sitting at a piano for “Home Sweet Home.” “So what happened is I got all drunk, took a bunch of pictures of my dick, tossed ‘em up on Instagram, and so I figured they took ’em down from Instagram, and you guys wanna see my wiener? You guys wanna see the shit? Is that a yeah? Alright, let’s go. Let me show you my fuckin’ weiner. Ready? There he is,” he adds as he pulls out a live Dotson from his pants.
Lee, who typically encourages women to show their breasts for the large screens, was actually encouraging men to show their privates, instead.
“I guess the boys are a little shy, huh fellas?” he joked after no one volunteered to display their junk on the 60-foot screens.
The Crüe were in fine form in LA. Despite being turned up to 11 with emphasis on the lower end, the group was tight. Frontman Vince Neil didn’t seem to have pitch issues, at least to me, but his vocals were often hard to understand. Some may disagree his approach hasn’t been top notch as the group’s glory days, but he’s sang this way for years.
As usual, Lee is a monster on the drums, he took charge as he pounded beat after beat. Sixx is a beast with the bass and provided ample backing vocals. Guitarist Mick Mars didn’t speak words, but his guitar playing captivated the entire stadium.
The Stadium Tour is winding down the North American run and is a must-see event! There are six shows left for fans in San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton, San Francisco and Las Vegas with tickets available via Ticketmaster. It’s the biggest North American stadium tour this year. In 2023, this bill may head to Europe, according to some band members. We’ll have more on that should it be confirmed.
Twenty-five stops of The Stadium Tour sold out while amassing over one million tickets sold to eager fans wanting to see Mötley Crüe return seven years after their Cessation of Touring agreement. The band destroyed the contract following a massive surge in new audience after the huge success of their Netflix biopic The Dirt.