home > tour history > 2011 > birmingham > Media Reviews

Tuesday, 6th December 2011

Birmingham, England - Media Reviews


This was a stunning evening of rock entertainment with added emphasis on entertainment, headline length sets by two of the biggest names in rock and an opening set by one of the most outlandish, gloriously fun rock bands around.

Opening act Steel Panther put smiles on the faces of everyone in the audience but importantly alongside all of their saucy pantomime fun and games they also really rock, they play glam/sleaze classic rock numbers full of power, riffs and knockout choruses (with of course a touch of the Spinal Tap's) and use every exaggerated rock pose in the book in the process.

The band look fantastic with plenty of sparkly outfits, spandex and feather boas on display, and their obviously well rehearsed banter with each other and the audience went down a treat, of course slightly sexist in nature but as a great man once said "What's wrong with Sexy !!".

Numbers included an electric 'Supersonic Sex Machine', the possibly libellous but hilarious 'Just Like Tiger Woods' and the (does what it says on the tin) '17 Girls in a Row', what a start to the evening and the mood was well and truly set.

Time to visit sleaze town next with Motley Crue who opened with a pulsating 'Wild Side', the stage set up looked fantastic like a back street from the Sin City movie and this was a real crowd pleasing best of set including classics 'Shout at the Devil', the sing-along 'Same OL' Situation', and an emotional 'Home Sweet Home' complete with Tommy Lee playing a grand piano which somehow magically appeared (with the stage lights only out for a couple of minutes !) at the end of the stage's centre platform which went out a great distance through the audience like a pier, all of the bands made great use of it giving more fans the up close experience.

As this was a co-headline tour the Crue had full use of the excellent lighting system and a full range of stage effects, the Motley boys chose to go for numerous pillars of flame and explosions to compliment their set, the last four numbers really brought the house down, one of the bands real anthems 'Dr. Feelgood', 'Girls,Girls,Girls' one of the all time rock classics complete with complimentary back screen projections, a down and dirty 'Smokin' in the Boys Room' and they closed with the adrenaline fuelled 'Kickstart My Heart'.

I cannot leave the Motley Crue part of the review without mentioning Tommy Lee's spectacular roller coaster drum solo, his huge kit which was attached to a huge circular lighting rig almost touching the LG ceiling started to rock from side to side and travelled around the frame, for a while stopping upside down at the very summit (with Tommy still playing), in a nice touch a fan selected from the front of the crowd was strapped in and went for the ride of a life time.

Spectacular stuff from one of the best bands in the business, Vince and Nikki worked the crowd all set, Mr Mars (in usual cool head gear) revving up on the guitar and Tommy when not on his fairground ride rocking up a storm as well as showing his prowess on the piano earlier in the set.

From one of the best rock bands around to another, this time our very own Def Leppard, as was the case with the Crue this was also a crowd pleasing greatest hits set.

Also like the Crue they had a spectacular stage show, rather than the flames and fireworks of the previous set Leppard went for sensational back projections the complete length of the stage with ramps also stretching over the huge stage area, front man Joe Elliot announced from the stage that they had bought their full American 'Mirror Ball' stage set over to the UK for the fans and I must admit it was some spectacle, an amazing combination of lights and projections.

The band were on top form, Joe's vocals spot on, the twin guitars of Phil and Vivian rocking and the two Ricks that make up the bands rhythm section holding it all together perfectly with the band also making full use of the mammoth stage area throughout set.

Seventeen tracks made up the Leppard set, most of which the entire crowd could sing word for word, after impressive new number 'Undefeated' it was time to visit hit city, an explosive (sorry for that one !) 'Rocket' was followed by their top cover of Sweet's 'Action', the mega album Hysteria was of course well represented including a power packed 'Gods of War', the uplifting title track and the knockout one - two of 'Armageddon It' and 'Animal'.

The softer ballad side of the set was taken care of with 'When Love and Hate Collide' and a beautiful 'Two Steps Behind You', the latter making great use of the centre platform, the main set ended with the stadium anthem to beat them all 'Pour some Sugar on Me', before they returned for the encores, a pumped up 'Let's Get Rocked' and a rocking 'Wasted' from the bands debut album On Through the Night.

This was one entertaining rock and roll show, three bands playing at their peak, hits by the bucket load, a crowd ready to rock and a visual delight from start to finish.

By Andrew Lock @ Get Ready To Rock 2011.

Def Leppard get rocked at the LG Arena By Ian Harvey

'Do you wanna get rocked?' Def Leppard enquired of the LG Arena and the response was a very clear 'Hell, yeah!'

But on the night when Leppard and US rockers Motley Crue launched their UK co-headlining tour, it was up to filthy-minded, spoof glam rockers Steel Panther to get Birmingham warmed up at the very un-rock 'n' roll hour of 6.30pm.

An hour later and Motley Crue exploded, quite literally, onto the stage with Wild Side, taking fans utterly by surprise because the lights hadn't even gone down.

Their 90 minute-set took in Crue songs old and new, all brutality and testosterone on hits like Girls Girls Girls, Dr Feelgood and Kickstart My Heart, only slowing down for the piano-led Home Sweet Home.

One fan called Tom found himself literally head over heels as he joined drummer Tommy Lee during his spectacular solo on a big wheel set-up which had then both spinning through 360 degrees to the roof of the arena.

Def Leppard responded to the challenge laid down by the Crue boys with their own 90-minute set which was cleverly laced with the obvious hits as well as some rare treats for the die-hards.

Bringing over their full US stage production, with a walkway into the crowd and screens galore, they guaranteed a big singalong with the likes of rock classics Photograph, Animal and Pour Some Sugar On Me, as well as new track Undefeated.

Then, as well as the instrumental Switch 625, there was the additional treat of an ultra-rare performance of Wasted, all the way from 1979.

By Ian Harvey @ Express & Star 2011.

Motley Crue and Def Leppard 6 Dec 2011 By Katie White

The LG Arena was transformed last night with the invasion of just over 11,000 rock fans. The crowds were a sea of backcombed hair, tight leather trousers and lots of thick, black eyeliner. The atmosphere was electric as everyone awaited the arrival of an incredible line-up: Steel Panther, Motley Crue and Def Leppard; all in one place, playing one stage.

Upon entering the arena, I was asked if I would describe myself as a 'rock chick'. I had to admit that it wasn't something I had described myself as before, but maybe they should ask me again by the end of the night.

The show was kicked off by Californian rockers, Steel Panther, whose daring outfits and slightly risqué backdrop were a great start to the night. The band played classics as well as their new single, 'Just Like Tiger Woods', where they encouraged fans to 'fill in their neighbourhood divots, just like Tiger Woods'. Despite admitting that he was in is late fifties, lead singer Michael Starr was as energetic as ever and played up to the crowds by completing a series of high kicks and choreographed steps with guitarist and bassist, Satchel and Lexxi Foxxx.

After a thirty minute interval and bar stop, it was time for the almighty Motley Crue to take to the stage. Mick Mars took to the stage in his customary platforms and top hat, starting off the set as his fellow band members took to the stage. The pyrotechnics and stage design were incredible, with flame throwers and fireworks going off with every rise and fall of the music.

Following an hour of some of their best-know songs, such as 'Home Sweet Home' and 'Shout at the Devil', it was time for Tommy Lee to take to the stage for his drum solo. Now, if you haven’t heard about Tommy Lee's 360° drum rollercoaster, then be prepared to be amazed. A roadie popped on stage and begun to strap the drummer into his kit as the bass kicked in and a giant hand appeared on the LED screen. The hand seemed to pick Tommy Lee up and spin him literally upside down on a rollercoaster track, all while playing his drum solo. If that wasn’t enough, Lee opened up the stage to an extremely lucky member of the audience who was given the opportunity to be strapped into the drum rollercoaster and spin the full 360 degrees while literally sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with the drumming legend.

The whole set was finished off by the band grabbing buckets of red paint and throwing these across the audience to the dying bars of 'Kick Start my Heart'. The whole performance was dramatic and everything you would expect from such a notorious band.

An army of riggers and roadies took to the stage to do an incredible set change. Multiple levels and tens of screens appeared, along with a lone gem-encrusted microphone. The crowd, by this stage, were really getting into the swing of things and numerous Union Jack flags had appeared, as 'Def Leppard' begun to be chanted. There was a deafening roar as the band appeared to 'Undefeated'. Phil Collen showed off his well-built physique as he played the entire set topless with a bright green, glow in the dark guitar.

The band were keen to get the audience involved and took 10 minutes out to play an acoustic set where they asked everyone to singalong.

Whether you are a rock fan or not, the show was incredible to both listen to and watch, with one of the best stage sets I've seen to date. Crowds were reluctant to let the bands finish and I have to admit, for someone who wasn't sure if they were a 'rock chick', I left with a huge smile on my face and absolutely buzzing with adrenalin.

By Katie White @ LGArena 2011.

Steel Panther / Motley Crue / Def Leppard, LG Arena, Birmingham By Simon Price

We are gathered here today to take a look, two decades after its alleged demise, at that improbably deathless genre, hair metal.

Or poodle rock. Or glam metal. Whatever it's called, we know it when we see it: the music from that peculiar period between 1981 and 1991 when LA metal-lite ruled the world.

What did it all mean? Hair metal was built around an unusual incarnation of the rock'n'roll Rebel Male: ravenously heterosexual, but distinctly feminised. Not just in appearance (lipgloss, Lycra, bandannas, heels, hairspray and eyeliner) but in its precise sexuality: the primped poodle rocker wasn't so much a traditional stud as a male slut, beautiful but brainless, there to be used. Whether by accident or design, this role-reversal was strangely liberating. No wonder girls loved it.

If anyone's got a handle on this Like Grunge Never Happened stuff, it's the parodists. Steel Panther, spoof rockers who extol the virtues of "heavy metal, pussy, hard drugs and not working too hard", are on and off before The One Show's begun, but it doesn't matter. Glam rock crowds start early: at 6.01pm, half an hour to stage time, the first fan's already been carried out legless.

Before they've played a note, Steel Panther have cracked their first joke: even though they're third on the bill, Stix Zadinia's riser is so tall that his bass drum's at head-height. A movie-trailer, "In a world ..." voice begins: "It is the future, the year 6969", and the rest is hysteria.

The headline news is this: Steel Panther genuinely rock. Were they merely a Bad News/Spinal Tap extended gag, it would wear thin. But their act, honed in a House of Blues residency, is underpinned by some truly phenomenal musicianship. (They're seasoned session men underneath the blond locks.)

Songs such as "17 Girls in a Row", new single "Just Like Tiger Woods" and "Death to All but Metal" are irresistible. "Asian Hooker" rhymes "South Korea" and "gonorrhoea", and makes a sushi joke I don't need to spell out. And there's the obligatory change of tempo with "Community Property", the least romantic power ballad ever written.

The crowd absolutely adores them. When Michael Starr, their red-robed, Roth-a-like singer, asks, "How many people love heavy metal so much that they'd kill a baby seal?" he's met with roars of agreement. When guitarist Satchel says, "If we don't get some of your tits out, we're gonna get fired and replaced with Reckless Love", there are plenty who oblige.

Going on after Steel Panther is a bad hand of cards: watching the "proper" bands is like watching the news after The Day Today. Your senses are ultra-heightened to the absurdity.

Mötley Crüe draw the short straw. The idea of Crüe has always been better than the reality. Their orgies-and-all autobiography The Dirt is a jewel, but the songs have never been there, give or take the ultimate hair metal anthem "Girls Girls Girls", and no amount of pyros can hide that fact.

Nikki Sixx is cool as anything; a living breathing archetype of the tattooed badass rocker, his Heroin Diaries is up there with The Dirt, and his hanging-down mic is admittedly an awesome prop. Tommy Lee, the attention-seeking drummer, provides spectacle by playing upside down on a roller-coaster loop, although he shouldn't be allowed to play that mirrored piano on "Home Sweet Home", a fifth-rate "November Rain" (even if the former came out first).

But Mick Mars's solo spots consist of tuneless, pointless pedal distortion, and Vince Neil, gambolling like a 50-year-old puppy, is as shrill as ever, with none of the power of a true metal screamer like Dickinson or Dio. A lot of fun can be had comparing the vocals on the Carnival of Sins DVD with fans' hand-held YouTube clips from the same tour. I don't know who the guy on the DVD is, but he's great.

Incidentally, when they segue Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 1" into "Smokin' in the Boys' Room", do you think they know?

There's an unmistakable exodus of foxy vixens from the barrier, and an influx of mums and dads, for the headliners. Def Leppard, being down-to-earth, sensible, prosaic Yorkshiremen, never had the filth factor. From their Silvikrin hair down to their glittery sneakers, their clothes look like they've come straight from the dry cleaners.

They have their moments: the wonderful "Photograph" is marred slightly by Joe Elliott's shaky falsetto; "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is a fist-in-the-air classic, and one-armed drummer Rick Allen's solo is astounding. But Leppard were always the ultimate mullet band: business at the front, party at the back. Their vanilla metal is summed up by "Rocket", which namechecks Elton John songs for heaven's sake, and "Hysteria", which is the least hysterical song imaginable.

What have we learned? That the joke band seriously rock, and the serious rockers are a joke.

By Simon Price @ The Independent 2011.

Def Leppard + Motley Crue + Steel Panther @ LG Arena, Birmingham By Graham Finney

Whether you see them as a spoof act or not, there is no getting away from the fact that LA hair-metallers Steel Panther are clowns. However, when they're not talking about 'hot bitches' or messing with their hair, it's also hard to ignore the fact that these four fools can actually play and play really well. Making the most of their short time on stage, the LA twits rattle through their set even prising a smile out of security during 'Asian Hooker' with frontman Michael Starr joking "it could have been worse, Reckless Love could have played instead of us."

Clearly a big draw card on this tour, LA bad boys Motley Crue are back in the UK complete with Tommy Lee's infamous 360 Degree 'Rollercoaster' drum set-up. Playing a headline length set, the LA rockers show how rock 'n' roll should be played. They're loud, they're brash, they're obnoxious and their set is littered with hits like Wild Side, Home Sweet Home and Kickstart My Heart. The undoubted highlight of the pyro-drenched set is Lee's drum solo but, even from our vantage point somewhere at the back of the venue, it's hard to deny that, theatrics aside, the infamous LA rockers are sounding more alive than they have in a long time.

It's hard to ignore the fact that, while the venue is busy, the first night of this tour is far from a sell-out and, at times, it all seems like a little too much effort for everyone but the hardcore fanbase. This is none more evident than during the intro to When Love And Hate Collide with Leps frontman Joe Elliot having to ask the audience twice if they want to sing the intro with them. Is the muted response down to the fact that the early part of the set is a little pedestrian or is this a safe set clearly geared towards their infinitely larger US audience? Either way, the early part of their show and tracks like Gods Of War and Make Love Like A Man seem too much like hard work tonight.

Having said that, there is no doubt that there is little wrong with a band who newest member - Vivien Campbell - has, in Joe Elliot’s words, 'been in the band longer than the Beatles were together'. The show, comprising of their full US production, is both a visual and sonic treat and when the band shift up a gear the hits start flowing and it all looks way too easy for the Sheffield rockers. Animal, Photograph and Pour Some Sugar On Me breathe life back into the LG Arena and the band head towards to the home straight having survived a tough opening night.

By Graham Finney @ Safeconcerts 2011.


share this page:

get def leppard news

Stay in touch with the latest updates.

explore def leppard tour history
All News
Tour News
Album News
All Tours