Thrash Hits

December 16th, 2011

Live: Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe + Steel Panther @ London Wembley Arena – 14 December 2011

Def Leppard 1980 tight jeans band promo photo logo thrash hits

Where is Def Leppard? Where is Mötley Crüe? When Steel Panther asked these questions in their debut single ‘Death To All But Metal’ – little would they have known that a few years later, they would actually be on tour with them. We managed to find our leopard print trousers and guy-liner in time to race over to Wembley for the ultimate hair metal night out.

Six things we found out when we went to see Def Leppard at Wembley:

1) It’s an early start for Steel Panther tonight and Wembley is already looking quite busy, proving how solid this line-up really is. £50 a ticket is not cheap: but when you get one Brixton Academy level band, one Hammersmith Apollo level band and then an arena headliner, you’d be hard pressed to argue this isn’t value for money.

2) Steel Panther might be the opening band, but they deliver the goods tonight as if they were headlining. They look right at home on the arena stage, burning their way through choice cuts off new record Balls Out and some new jokes – politely replacing Vince Neil with Brett Michaels as the butt of their gags.

3) Having heard mixed reports about Mötley Crüe’s performances on this tour, a lot of people seemed equally as worried as they were excited about them. Unfortunately, it’s all over the place and almost gut-wrenching for any genuine fan to see them like this. Vince Neil has never been the greatest singer, but tonight he reaches an all-time low, resembling something closer to a chubby hamster on helium. He kindly lets the crowd sing the notes he clearly can’t hit and it’s probably for the best. To see such a legendary band balls up ‘Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S)’ – a song they’ve been playing for 22 years – may be a sign it’s time for them to hang up their tasseled boots.

4) Whilst Mötley Crüe sound terrible, their stage show is truly remarkable and it’s obvious that they spent a lot of money on making themselves look good. How nice of them. Tommy Lee’s rollercoaster is just about as impressive as drum theatrics can get and one lucky fan gets to join him for the ride. There’s also a shitload of pyro and buckets of blood, but it is hard to counteract how lethargic and sloppy rock n roll’s “most dangerous band” are today. At the end of the set they thank Def Leppard and say what a fun tour this has been. No mention of Steel Panther… a wee bit threatened perhaps?

5) In comparison, Def Leppard haven’t gone quite as far with their stage show – but then they don’t really need to, these headliners look more comfortable than ever and sound absolutely phenomenal tonight. Joe Elliott keeps fairly quiet and lets the music do the talking, it’s just hit after hit and the crowd lap up every second of it. Phil Collen not only has one of the best guitar sounds in the game, but also a body that people half his age would die for. What a sexy, sexy man.

6) Def Leppard have so many massive tunes that it is inevitable that some will get left out. We don’t get ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)’ or ‘Make Love Like A Man’ but the inclusion of acoustic numbers like ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringin’ On The Heartbreak’ make the dynamics of this monster rock show even bigger. Ending the set with ‘Lets Get Rocked’, they leave this sold out crowd no opportunity to do anything but that. A last minute entry for Gig Of The Year.

5/6

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