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Tuesday, 13th December 2011

Sheffield, England - Fan Reviews

Show Report/Fan Review - By dltourhistory


Interesting is probably the right word to use. Flying beer, people barging into each other. Maybe some people already knew what type of crowd Motley Crue would attract and that would explain the attendance, which was, not good!. Probably the least attended UK show I've seen to date.

Then again I don't really spend time thinking about the rest of the crowd. But it is hard not to notice them when all you see for much of the show are flying beer plastic beer cups and Motley Crue fans barging Lep fans out of the way on their way to get more beer and bring it back - ready to throw over any Lep fans in the front rows and then a couple of times (maybe more) at Lep themselves.

So one of the overriding memories of this show will be the stench of beer. Maybe it's just me but if I'd bought some I would've drunk it, just an idea!

It wasn't exactly a horror show but it just didn't really feel like a normal Lep atmosphere. Until that is Motley Crue ended and half the crowd left (ouch). OK, a fair few came back (with aforementioned beer in hand) but the floor thinned out a hell of a lot. Which is good! More room to relax in and enjoy what was surprisingly the best Lep performance I've seen in this 2005-2011 era (the Greatest Hits for 90mins (or less)). I'm even choosing to overlook my 'extreme' annoyance and disappointment of the omission of 'Gods Of War' in favour of 'Slang' (really, Slang?! whoever made that choice wants shooting!). Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester but not Sheffield. Judging by the overall response, or lack thereof, I doubt it'll ever get played here again (good, play 'Gods Of War' instead!) which means no doubt, they will do later at Wembley (which I was originally going to go to). Joe's intro of 'and here's something we haven't played for a very long time' fell kind of flat when it was followed up with 'Slang' = anti climax.

The evening began with almost 90mins of queuing in the arctic sub zero temperatures of Sheffield (so cold I don't think the word temperature even applies!). Jesus Christ! it was cold. Hypothermia had set in as well as icicles before the venue decided, after giving it plenty of thought (should we? shouldn't we?). Ah yes, let's let the crowd at the Green entrance in, after all the show is starting - right now! In fact, sod the show I just want to get warm! And I'm not even exaggerating! people were actually visibly shivering.

Apparently some dodgy tickets weren't scanning properly - really? I don't give a shit, I'm freezing! let me in!.

Yes, so it was cold, very cold. And It took me about an hour to regain feeling in - everywhere and stop shivering. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if it was snowing up there, actually I can, I'd be dead. A frozen block of ice outside the arena. Face caught telling the staff something, mouthing a word beginning with C. I don't know how those who live up in the hills around here can cope with it.

Not really the best start to a gig. And the last two times here it was over 80 degrees outside (and probably over 100 inside). I guess being an Ice Hockey arena they like extremes. "Extreme Beer Throwing For Twats" - Motley Crue fans passed the course with flying colours. Fortunately me and the (recording guru Andylgr) managed to escape with a mere few drops hitting us. Probably due to being a bit further back. Looks like no one escaped nearer the front and the ever useless Thrust Stage. Although tonight it doubled as another kind of stage when Steel Panther were on (thanks, that did help with the warming up part!...).

Def Leppard

Obviously what I came to see. And things had improved significantly by the time they came on. From Sturgis Biker Rally (reference for US Lep fans) back to normal Lep show. When Lep are on I'm oblivious to anything else and just taking in the experience. I'd never stood this far back on the floor and with the amazing new video screen production it doesn't matter if you are further back, you still get to see a great show. And a great show it was.

Kicking off with 'Undefeated' and the new intro 'faces' (in your face?) sequence. And it became clear this show really is vastly different to the (starting to become a bit) same old one big video screen across the back show of the last few tours. The changes to the production make it far superior from a visual point of view. Which makes sense as eleven videos screens are supposed to be quite visual!. It just seemed way better to me than 2008. Possibly because in 2008 I'd seen the show (or felt I had done) during the 2006/2007 tours via YouTube and DVD's. So it didn't really have the impact you were hoping for if they got some big production back here. That and the fact that the 2008 setlist seemed to be devoid of 'rock' and by that I mean a 'Let It Go' or a 'Foolin'' (still quite elusive despite all the London/Sheffield shows I've seen) or even 'Action'.

Speaking of 'Action'. After the rousing second number/visual feast that was 'Rocket', this song kicked in and things really started to kick into gear. And when the following two songs sound epic (the erstwhile 'Make Love Like A Man' and 'When Love & Hate Collide'...ugh!) you know it's a good gig. It's probably a case of having some more interesting songs around them (or indeed, after them) to offset them you might say. Kind of like the X tour where they had 110/120 mins to play with and the variation of song made you enjoy the whole gig. Recent tours to me have been a bit like releasing 'Hysteria' with three of four tracks taken off, and you know the ones that they left off, and heard them, and knew how good they were, so you - would want them included as well and it's more well balanced. Or to put it another way, the end part of the set is like only eating the icing on the cake, it's good sometimes, but in the end you want the whole thing. It hasn't been quite a return to the glory of those shows in 2002/2003 (outside of Japan) but if these UK shows are an indication of things to come, longer shows with a brilliant production, then we are in for a treat.

Those of us who turn up, that is. Sheffield is their home town right? Where the hell were you?. Shocking. Big black curtains at the back. I only noticed this after Steel Panther ended and turned around. What the band made of it we'll never know. Unless it results in fewer shows here again. A combination of ticket prices and being put off by Motley Crue? Advanced warning of the arctic winds outside?.

The rest of the show? Well, I've seen them quite a lot for a number of years (but still very much one of the younger ones in this crowd!) and I thought it was awesome. Almost effortless and spellbinding at times. There really is no substitute to actually attending a show. It's just a shame not as many people did this time.

So a great show. One that's already been seen 60 plus times so I wasn't going to go into too much detail this time. No really interesting speeches or talking between songs that doesn't happen everywhere else. No 'Sheffield' or Home town moments as such. Well, maybe one little blurb from Joe but nothing major. I was expecting a reference to his Dad but maybe that would have been too much for him and especially if his mother had been up in the private boxes as she had at recent shows here. He did do the kiss to the sky after his vocal in 'Love Bites' before Vivian's end solo. Probably a few tears from him backstage before the show ended with 'Let's Get Rocked'.

It would be interesting to hear the arena staff comments after tonight (14th) when Duran Duran play here (one support act, 8:45pm start, over by 10:30pm - by 'eck, those were the days...) to see the contrast between that and last night. Maybe they too were expecting the people mentioned above and that's why they had that straw stuff on the arena floor, to soak up all the beer before the Durannie massive invaded the night after.

Despite what I said earlier I did enjoy 'Slang', this stuff is being written after the fact, not at the show but I really did want to hear 'Gods Of War'. Why? well my expectation for the show before this tour leg started in Birmingham was quite low. Same set as Australia, with eternal UK setlist mainstay WL&HC thrown in. A 15-16 song set and much the same as 2008, You know you'll have a good time but it wouldn't be 'extra special'. You thought, until the setlist in Birmingham came through and the expectations were raised through the roof. And further still in Nottingham - 'Women' followed by 'Gods Of War'! Memories of the X tour!. Yes, they did play 17 songs but for me 'Gods Of War' is much more of a surprise or rarity (as people now call songs that have been played hundreds of times). Of course this is me talking about a show I DID see, and paid to see.

A little bit different than some twerps talking about shows they didn't go to see or ever intend to. Just my two cents on a show I did see, some personal opinion if you will, after the show has ended. And also aimed at other Lep fans, or the people who would read this stuff (what the hell is wrong with you?!...). I personally think they got the main set spot on for the first two shows, covering every type of song they do in under 90mins. For instance if the main set (from Birmingham) up to and even including the encore of LGR had been played at every show on this tour. You wouldn't have read a single negative thing about the setlist. But I have to say I think 'Slang' wasn't the special treat we might have expected in Sheffield, a big mistake!.

Motley Crue

LOUD-er than Hell! and with more explosions than downtown Baghdad on a busy weekday. BOOM! And 'Wild Side' kicks in as the white curtain pulls away. I may not think much to the type of crowd they brought to a Lep show but the show itself is great! The sort of thing you would never see from Lep, but then they are a different type of band. Leppard never have and never will be saying 'Fuck You' on stage. But somehow with Motley Crue you expect it and it works. Musically tight and apart from one ballad it rocked from start to end. Even Vince (why bother singing the whole line when you can just sing every other word) Neil sounded not that bad tonight. Tommy Lee was on fire as well as Mick Mars on guitar (quite mobile despite his illness but as sinister looking as Satan himself! In fact, he may just be him!).

The drum rollercoaster was quite a sight and the fire and pyro were cool (they also helped with the thawing). Highlights would have to be 'Dr. Feelgood' and 'Shout At The Devil '97'.

It was kind of weird seeing them again as from a distance they didn't look that much different to my second ever concert at Wembley Arena in 1989 on the 'Dr. Feelgood' tour. They actually had more of a show tonight as back then there were minimal lights and the only extra spectacle was the original 'spinning' drum kit solo (from the 'Wild Side' video).

Steel Panther

Funny in places and a couple of OK songs. Which was a surprise but not enough to make me want to hear them again! Their promo pics didn't suggest much (see them for yourself) other than being a joke. I guess they kind of were but not in the way I thought they might be. The moment mentioned before was 'interesting' but funny for the fact that it made tons of old 40+ guys in front of us suddenly get their cameras out. Not me though as I'm above such nonsense (honestly!).


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