Thursday, July 18, 2024

Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe Review – From Pathetic to Sublime | def Leppard


“Do you wanna rock? Joe Elliott asks, engaging 23,000 partisan fans with a mischievous glint in his eye. This is pure rhetoric. Introducing Let’s Get Rocked, Def Leppard’s voice is so loud that the hospitality staff at the football stadium are scrambling around to get more earplugs for their nervous VIP guests.

This Steel City rendezvous marked the start of the European leg of the Sheffield band’s co-headlining tour with Mötley Crüe. Leppard’s infamous Los Angeles glam metal tourmates retired eight years ago, concocting an apparently legally binding agreement barring them from performing beyond New Year’s Eve in 2015. Roll panto fashion, he swiftly announced his comeback regardless.

Nikki Sixx and John 5 of Mötley Crüe. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for Live Nation UK

On showing this, it is a disaster that said the termination contract was not irrevocable. In 2023, Mötley Crüe’s live fare is a relic in real time. There’s no denying the propulsive stomp of Dr. Feelgood, or the high-octane riff of Kickstart My Heart, but both Vince Neil’s range and his ability to project his voice have eluded him, and the singer from the get-go struggles to stay. But it’s drummer Tommy Lee – a married, 60-year-old father of two – who best explains the vibe. “Where are the bangles? I don’t see a pair of tits,” Lee says, lounging in front of the stage. “Shall we take our cocks out?” Thankfully, he goes back to his kit.

Three days earlier, Def Leppard played an intimate warm-up gig at the city’s legendary Leadmill venue. That performance harkened to the band’s early, metallic edge at the forefront of the new wave of the British heavy metal movement. Tonight, at the home of newly promoted Sheffield United, the approach is a stadium show masterclass, packed with hits from the rock Premier League. Fittingly, Elliott is wearing a red, white and black Union Jack jacket for the occasion – the colors of his beloved Blades.

Hackney-born lead guitarist (and “honorary Yorkshireman”) Phil Collen ushers in Animal & Promise with his crisp, electrifying licks, while Rick Allen oozes inspiration. The one-armed drummer – due to a car accident in 1984 – blasts through an inexplicable solo on Switch 625. Overwhelmed by the response, he leans back in his stool and begins to explode.

Hysteria remains the quintessential rock ballad as countless smartphones light up the arena. Signature song Pour Some Sugar on Me turns the volume up another notch with its hook-filled, bottom-heavy rumble. “Sheffield will always be Def Leppard Land!” Elliot declares. Having sold 100 million albums over five decades – and now doing a big streaming business – Leppard has the metrics down. This blockbuster homecoming confirms the band’s status as Sheffield’s most iconic musical export.

Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe The World Tour Continues till 18th August.