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Wednesday, 14th December 2011

London, England - Media Reviews

LIVE: Def Leppard / Motley Crue / Steel Panther - Wembley Arena 14/12/11 - By Karl Eisenhauer

Seventy two hours on from playing host to X-Factor's SyCo circus, it's time for this famous London venue to detox. Or given tonight's tantalizing trifecta, should that be retox?

Walking down Wembley Way as the masses assemble, tonight's audience splits conveniently into three clear groups. There's the Cruettes, hundreds upon hundreds of young teenage girls with Shout at the Devil era war paint and Nikki Sixx haircuts pour out of Wembley Park tube station. Some of them bring boyfriends in similar attire. Some of them are the boyfriends. It's very hard to tell the difference.

Next there's the Steel Pantheists; mostly blokes, wielding inflatable guitars and hiding under those generic off-the-peg 80s rock outfits available from gaudy party shops. And finally, there's the Lepheads - all weathered leathers and weathered faces. It's tough at the rock-face.

With the first band due on at half-six, a curiously early start is made to feel even sillier when security insist those of us in the main arena spend our pre-gig minutes sat on the floor. Curious, as I was sure the ticket I paid for stated 'STANDING'.

First out on the prowl are Steel Panther, who show themselves as an inspired choice of opener. A 'parody' glam metal band, they ply a distinctly less subtle, cruder brand of humour than legendary rockumentary heroes Spinal Tap, but what they do have is a barrage of infectious, cherry-picked riffs and an ear for a pop-metal chorus. Between song banter forms a fair chunk of the attack, and whilst the comedy doesn't match up to the musicianship, save for the 'Garth Algar' deadpans of bassist Lexxi Foxxx, its bearable and occasionally smirk-inducing.

Questions could be asked of just how funny sexism, misogyny, and swearing really can be, but by turning the baser points of the glam and sleaze years up to eleven, they've found a way to bring a diet of Dokken, Ratt and Poison to a whole new generation.

Holding up the mid-card are 'I say Motley, you say Crue', or based on tonight's showing, The Vince Neil Colostomy Explosion. Shortly to embark on a Las Vegas casino residency, the 'Drug scouts of America' pack one impressive stage show. A replica London Eye doubles as a creative lighting rig centre stage, humungous video screens spell out the word SIN and there’s enough pyro let off to melt the faces of the first twenty rows. Presumably this is to blind them from the human car wreck that is Vince Neil.

Tonight, Crue's bulimically-challenged front man is a disaster squawking his way through the early numbers like a chipmunk with intermittent laryngitis. Same Old Situation is murdered, buried, dug up, murdered again, butt-fucked and finally abandoned a few bars short as Neil, with unprecedented gusto, pegs it off stage for the first of many stage breaks.

For the rest of the set it seems clear the band is covering, which is fine - all hail professionalism - but even that feels half-arsed. Nikki Sixx makes a late audition for The Inbetweeners, displaying true dedication to curse words, whilst Mick Mars stretches out the solos. Once or twice the notes are even where they should be. Sections of the crowd eat it up, which proves that whilst you can't polish a turd, you can vomit up a garnish and serve it as a turd sandwich.

The real crime here is the combined ego to pretend nothing is wrong - Crue as a unit were sloppy, lethargic relying on stunts and theatrics to justify the hefty ticket costs. I genuinely hope this wasn’t the formative gig experience it looked like it could have been for so many in the audience.

The high marks both come courtesy of Tommy Lee, first via a gorgeous, delicate and refreshing Piano introduction to Home Sweet Home and then, in total contrast, tonight's WTF moment. A giant-hand appears on screen behind the former Mr Anderson and our mini-Millennium Wheel reveals itself as a rollercoaster for Tommy's entire drum-rig. Lee is sent left, right and twice into a full 360. For the second circle Tommy beckons up an audience member to ride side-saddle. Oh to be at the show where the guest decides to hurl…

Stunt drum kits are clearly not the preserve of fellow stickman Rick Allen. In fact, save for some classy use of the video screens for Leppard, there's not a fizz, flame or firework in sight. Guess they left their Pyromania back in 1983. Instead what we get is hits - lots of them.

Always a band reluctant to abandon all hope of future sales, wannabe anthem Undefeated opens tonight's set and C'Mon, C'Mon follows soon after, but those aside we're given a pre-grunge era fix. Tonight's show, like so many, sees the band air some rarer tracks - Action, Let It Go, Woman - before hanging almost the entire second half on the double-diamond selling pop-rock monster Hysteria. Its business as usual, a slick, tightly packaged two hours of bright lights and big-production.

Speaking of tight packages, there seems to be some weird Dorian Grey style trickery afoot with Leppard of late. Bassist Rick Savage bounces around stage in PVC strides that would put to shame a man half his age, whilst guitarist Phil Collen provides the dictionary definition of ripped. Be it his abs or his guitar licks, the hometown hero is tonight tighter than a gnat's chuff.

The Leppard sound might miss the spiky edge of Crue, but that was always a given. Tonight they provide a lesson in professionalism, delivering gang vocals and guitar harmonies precision engineered for soft-rock arena headline sets.

Final Score - Motley Crue 1, Def Leppard 5 (Oh, okay 4 and a half)

By Pure Rawk 2012.

Media Review - Def Leppard Plus Motley Crue, Steel Panther Wembley Arena, London By Nick Ruskell

'Where is Def Leppard / Where is Motley Crue?' shrieks Steel Panther's Michael Starr on Death To All But Metal. The answer: they're backstage, you daft sod. There's a funny mental image to be had of Hollywood's biggest-haired glam tarts wandering around Wembley looking lost in search of their touring buddies, but the most rib-tickling thing about SP tonight is that the Crue follow them and show just how accurate the pastiche is. There are moments of brilliance - Girls, Girls Girls, Live Wire, Shout At The Devil - but Vince Neil spends as much time disappearing into the wings when he's not singing as he does wheezing about onstage when he is. And as awesome as Tommy Lee's drum solo is - performed to a dubstep backing track while his kit spins around on a rollercoaster wheel - when it segues into a Mick Mars guitar solo, you do find yourself wishing they'd stop farting around and get on with, y'know, a song.

Songs - big ones, perfectly built for reaching the back corners of cavernous sheds like Wembley Arena - are something Def Leppard have an enormous stockpile of. And even though they don't deploy their best one - Rock Of Ages - they way they roll out classics like Photograph, Animal and Let's Get Rocked is the work of masters who have spent their entire career getting very, very good at this 'big audience' thing. Even the schmaltzy When Love And Hate Collide sounds terrific, although Lepp are definitely at their best when the guitars are loud and Joe Elliott's swinging his sparkly mic stand around, as evidenced by their wood-killing acoustic bit. But even then, few bands can rock an arena with such casual, confident ease as this.

By Kerrang! 2011.

Review: Def Leppard, Motley Crue - 14th December By Emma Webb

"Where is Def Leppard? Where is Motley Crue?" Heading to the UK is where they were. It was a line up that old school metal heads and classic rockers had dreamt of with the addition of the brilliant Steel Panther. Def Leppard and Motley Crue had joined forces to bring their almighty powerful arena tour over shores to the UK to rock the faces of those young and old all over the country. At an expensive £50 a ticket they had to make sure they didn't disappoint…a mission that they successfully completed.

Arriving at Wembley arena on a cold winter's night, the doors had already opened and the arena was already filling up to full capacity. It was clear that people were here for the whole show, a sold out show might I add, and why wouldn't they be? It was going to be hours of rock filled heaven!

Now for those people who didn't know who Steel Panther were, were in for a treat let's say that; you'll either love them or you'll hate them and personally I love these guys. There is no denying how talented they are; with Satchel and his powerful guitar solos, Lexxi Foxxx and his bass playing skills, drummer Stix Zadinia slamming away at the back (no sexual pun intended, read that as you will) and of course not forgetting front man Michael Starr with his stunning vocals. Now I get asked all the time if these guys are a joke…yes ok their lyrics are all about sex, drugs, rock n roll, and more sex, they look like they've travelled back in time with their long flowing hair, bandanas and leopard print leggings, and they take the piss out of each other in interviews and on stage between songs but what's the problem with that? They get the job done (again no sexual pun intended), and they rock your faces!

Their set was filled with songs mainly from their most recently released album 'Balls Out', songs including 'Supersonic Sex Machine', 'Just Like Tiger Woods', '17 Girls In A Row' and one of my favourites 'Gold Digging Whore'. With every song being sung back to them by the almost packed out arena, you could tell that this tour was most definitely a dream for these guys and are taking it more seriously than you may think. Debut album 'Feel The Steel' favourites were also not forgotten; 'Asian Hooker', 'Community Property' and 'Death To All But Metal' were huge hits with the crowd tonight and they easily proved why they were chosen to complete this awesome bill.

With Panther's set over and the stage needing to be set up for the mighty Motley Crue, the arena had filled up to the brim for what was supposed to be a pretty awesome set from the guys from LA, and having had the announcement that Tommy Lee was to bring his rollercoaster drum kit with him for the tour, the excitement in the atmosphere was building in anticipation. I had read mixed reviews of the previous shows on this tour about Motley Crue's performance and it not being up to scratch with Vince Neil's vocals, but I never judge until I witness it for myself and I have to say that in some sense I did have to agree with the reviews.

Undoubtedly their visual performance was incredible; with enough fireworks and pyrotechnics to have burned down the venue, and of course the drum kits of all drum kits, the show was faultless and you could see that had spent a serious amount of money to bring this all with them. But with Vince Neil's voice going rather high pitched at times and him getting the crowd to sing back the high notes that he can't do anymore, it was a bit of a shame to see. Guitarist Mick Mars hid under his hat for the duration of the set, but that doesn't mean he can't play a shredding guitar. Nikki Sixx was his usual self; running around the stage, batting his unusual microphone around his head and squirting water and blood over the first few rows of the crowd…including myself! Tommy Lee however was the star for me tonight, that guy can seriously drum. Watching him go round that rollercoaster whilst playing a killer dubstep style drum solo was something I'll always remember, simply amazing.

Despite some of the downsides of the bands set, they still managed to knock out classics such as opener 'Wild Side', 'Girls Girls Girls', 'Dr Feelgood' and 'Kickstart my Heart', songs that caused an echo of cheers, chants and sing a longs. With 'Shout at The Devil', 'Home Sweet Home' and 'Smokin in the Boys Room' also pleasing the crowd, there is no denying that Motley Crue are and always will be hugely loved by their fans.

Last up tonight were Def Leppard, a band who last headlined this same venue back in 2008 with Whitesnake and now they were back with a slightly bigger stage set up than before, not quite like Motley Crue's but it didn't need to be. Earlier this year, Def Leppard opened up Download Festival, a cold and wet Friday night but tonight things were different, for one it was warm but also because it just seemed like the band were having more fun! They seemed so comfortable tonight and got through the set with ease. The great thing about Def Leppard is that the older they get, the better they get! Joe Elliott totally owns the crowd tonight as he belts out hit after hit with tracks including 'Rocket', 'Action', 'When Love and Hate Collide' and 'Hysteria' to name just a handful.

This band couldn't have attempted to play every classic track in their back catalogue otherwise we’d have been there all night, but what they did play was a perfect selection of what we all know and love. Accompanied by a spectacular digital display of visuals of old photographs, graphics and videos, and wide screens for the whole arena to see, it was hard to know what to look at but quite frankly, the music was enough to satisfy us all. The acoustic brilliance of 'Two Steps Behind' and 'Bringin on The Heartbreak' were performed beautifully and almost brought a tear to my eye; and of course it wouldn't have been a Def Leppard show without 'Animal', 'Photograph', 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' and 'Let's Get Rocked'.

So that was the show! A last minute entry to contend for the best possible gig of the year…3 bands of pure rock n roll, 3 bands who know how to entertain a crowd, 3 bands who epitomise what rock music is all about.

By Indulge-Sound 2011.

Def Leppard, Motley Crue + Steel Panther @ London Wembley Arena - 14 December 2011 By Thrash Hits

Where is Def Leppard? Where is Motley Crue? 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 Motley Crue'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 Motley Crue 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.

By Thrash Hits 2011.

Def Leppard/Motley Crue, Wembley Arena By David Smyth

You have to work hard to upstage a drummer with one arm. Tommy Lee managed it when his band, Mötley Crüe, shared a bill with Def Leppard last night - he put his drum kit on a rollercoaster.

His track didn't form a corkscrew but a mini London Eye, a single circle that shot out beams and fireworks like a noisy taster for New Year's Eve at the Thames. His loop-the-loop while soloing, and a second round trip with a volunteer, was the undoubted highlight of an evening well served for spectacle.

And swearing. The Crue couldn't get from one word to another without a big F in between, with Lee announcing at one point that he had been for "a f**king walk" that afternoon. But while Mick Mars's brutal guitar solos were impressive, Vince Neil's squeaky squawk was not. What they lacked in comparison with their co-stars was tunes.

Def Leppard produced chorus after chorus that were so big they could be heard from space, from Armageddon It to the inevitable Pour Some Sugar on Me. A feeble acoustic segment including Two Steps Behind showed how much they need volume to impress but with all guitars blazing they were the clear victors here.

By London Evening Standard 2011.

Steel Panther; Motley Crue; Def Leppard, Wembley Arena, review By Catherine Gee

Def Leppard may have sported mullets and Lycra back in the Eighties, but these days the Sheffield hair metallers are postively sedate. Or that is certainly how they seemed when they followed hairsprayed, gyrating, glitter-covered Californian bad boys Steel Panther and Motley Crue. The Brits barely stood a chance.

Parody metal band Steel Panther resemble a rockier, much sleazier Darkness with the humour of Spinal Tap. The lyrics and between-song gags are as blue as they come and gleefully send up the fast-living lifestyles of bands such as... well... Motley Crue mostly. Every inch of them is daft (their song titles include 17 Girls in a Row and Eatin' Ain't Cheatin') and the joke would soon wear thin but for the fact that the band are genuinely talented and here proved that they could play along with the big boys.

And Motley Crue were out to prove they were big. The word "SIN" was lit up across the stage, pyrotechnics set up ready to blow our eyes, ears and eyebrows off, and notorious drummer Tommy Lee's kit was placed on looped rollercoaster track.

Singer Vince Neil just about managed his way through hits such as Shout at the Devil and Same Ol’ Situation before Lee was given an opportunity to tinkle out half of ballad Home Sweet Home on a sparkly piano. The latter was possibly a dubious decision, but he made up for it with a drum solo like no other, as a giant hand on a screen at the back seemed to guide him on a journey around the rollercoaster. Few men, one imagines, could quell their envy of the drummer as he dangled upside down, sticks pointed at the ground, yelling "F--- yeah!"

Def Leppard didn't have a single flame or firework, nor a rollercoaster - though you could argue that, with only one arm, drummer Rick Allen can show off well enough without the big props. There was also comparatively very little glitter.

What Def Leppard did have, however, was hits and, following opener Undefeated (the only new song in the set), those hits just tumbled out.

From ballads When Love and Hate Collide and Two Steps Behind to powergrabbing numbers Hysteria, Pour Some Sugar on Me and triumphant closer Let's Get Rocked, the more mature rockers did just what they came to do - belt out their songs.

Some may have grumbled that they were dull by comparison but musically Leppard were the stronger band and their fans soaked up every moment.

By Telegraph 2011.

Media Review Quote (Translation) - Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Steel Panther By manfred | Original (Austrian)

"One can accuse this band what you want, their live shows are always and in every respect an experience."

By Stormbringer 2011.

Media Review Quote (Translation) - Motley Crue, Steel Panther, Def Leppard By Pietro | Original (French)

"Joe Elliott, he demonstrated charisma and features a beautiful set-up micro glitter glittery micro-sequined Converse!."

By Les Eternals 2011.


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