The package is proof that Eighties hard rock still rules
Looking out across the vast pop culture landscape, folks might be wondering if they accidentally got into Doc Brown’s Delorean. Kate Bush’s hit “Running Up That Hill” and Metallica’s monument “Master of Puppets” are charting again thanks to their inclusion in the retro sci-fi smash Stranger Things, the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun is breaking box office records, and Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe are selling out stadiums. With over four decades of decadence under their belts, the two platinum-selling bands are reminding us all that Eighties hard rock still rules.
The Stadium Tour has topped Pollstar’s 75Live Chart, which ranks all active concert tours worldwide by the average number of tickets sold. Over the last 11 shows, the tour moved 96% of the available tickets for an average of 36,934 seats sold per show. The performances averaged a gross of $4.9 million, beating out acts like Billy Joel, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Halsey, and more.
The numbers don’t lie.
Along with very special guests Poison, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and rising rockers Classless Act, The Stadium Tour poured a whole lot of sugar on a sold out crowd in the Sweetest Place on Earth – Hersheypark Stadium in Pennsylvania. The show was a special one for this group of artists, as their roots run deep in the state. Joan Jett was born just outside of Philadelphia in Wynnewood, PA. Poison formed down the road in Mechanicsburg, PA in 1983.
Upstarts Classless Act cranked one song out before the sky unleashed a furious thunderstorm which forced them to bag the rest of their set. While fans in Hershey were unfortunately robbed of the chance to fully experience these guys, they’ve been killing it all tour long, garnering praise from fans as well their legendary tour mates that they look up to. If you’re planning on catching a show later on the trek, start tailgating early so you don’t miss Classless Act.
After a brief weather delay, rock icon Joan Jett started the party again. She opened with Victim of Circumstance from her multi-platinum selling sophomore album I Love Rock ‘n Roll. She made sure to let the record’s title track rip later on in the set. Jett crank out solo songs and treated fans to a few hits from The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild.” She wrapped things up with back-to-bang bangers “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and her punk rock anthem “Bad Reputation.”
To open their set, Poison brought it back to where it all started with “Look What The Cat Dragged In,” the title track from their multi-platinum debut LP. “Talk Dirty To Me” had the crowd singing the signature line back to the band at the end of every chorus. Midway through, guitarist C.C. DeVille ripped through a guitar solo that included a small slice of Van Halen’s “Eruption” in tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen.
Several times throughout the set, frontman Bret Michaels thanked the fans for all their support and expressed how happy the band was to be back in Pennsylvania.
Poison are not short on hits, but on a tour this size they were short on time. Missing from the setlist were gems like “Unskinny Bop,” “I Want Action,” and the power ballad “Something To Believe In.” They did wrapped things up with two of their biggest hits – the chart-topping single “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and their party anthem “Nothin’ but a Good Time.”
Poison are always a good time, and hopefully they return in the next few months with a headlining run of their own.
Mötley Crüe started their set with “Wild Side,” wasting no time letting things rip with one of Mick Mars’ best opening riffs. It almost immediately answered one of the biggest questions heading into his tour – how’s Mick gonna handle it? The searing scale of the “Wild Side” intro was enough for us to question Mick no more.
From there, the Crüe unleashed a barrage of hits spanning their entire robust catalog. The launched into their headbanger “Shout at the Devil” then dusted off “Too Fast for Love.” Not wanting to overlook their last proper studio LP, the band performed their self-homage “Saints of Los Angeles.” It’s a track that should always have a place in their live show.
Another glaring question surrounding The Stadium Tour was whether or not Vince Neil would be able to perform at a high level, or even finish the tour at all. After a lot of doubt, Neil showed up having shed a few pounds. His energy is great and he sounds far better than he did on the band’s Final Tour a few years ago. This is the best version of Vince Neil fans have seen in quite some time.
Midway through the sent, Mötley unleashed “Live Wire” and “Looks That Kill” back-to-back. To squeeze some more songs in, the performed a medley of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” “White Punks on Dope,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Anarchy in the U.K.”
The band bumped their traditional gathering around Tommy Lee’s piano for “Home Sweet Home” to earlier in the set. From their, they pushed their foot down on the gas even harder and didn’t let up until the lights went off. They burned through a few of their biggest heavy hitters including “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.),” Girls, Girls, Girls,” and “Primal Scream.” The ended their time with their fist-pumping anthem “Kickstart My Heart.”
Compared to their faux final tour a few years ago, Mötley Crüe not only sound and look better, but they look like they’re having a hell of a lot more fun. Perhaps it’s because there’s no strings attached this time; no “end” looming off in the distance. Whatever it is, let’s hope they keep this train rolling until the fuckin’ wheels fall off.
Def Leppard are back with a brand new studio album Diamond Star Halos which arrived on May 27 via UMe. They wasted to time exposing fans to the new material, kicking off their set with “Take What You Want.” They premiered two more tracks from the new record – “This Guitar” and the lead single “Kick.”
It was their 1987 diamond-certified crown jewel Hysteria. The first was “Animal,” which is unmistakable from the very first note. The sold-out crowd immediately erupted. The band proceeded to let loose five more tracks from the record, and rightfully so.
A Def Leppard show is seemingly anthem after anthem. Highlights included “Foolin’,” “Love Bites,” “Rocket,” “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” an acoustic performance of “Two Steps Behind.” Their performance of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” garnered an extra big response, given the fact that the show was taking place in “the sweetest place on earth” – the home of Hershey’s Chocolate.
The band wrapped things up with “Rock of Ages” and their seminal hit “Photograph.” As one of the greatest chart-topping rock acts of all time, a Def Leppard show is rarely a disappointment. It’s clear that fans still want to hear these songs in a live setting. Once this tour wraps up, it will be exciting to see what the band has in store for the rest of their new album cycle.
The Stadium Tour rolls on through the end of the summer, wrapping up on September 9 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe will alternate headlining slots on respective dates. Tickets are on sale now.