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Tuesday, 13th December 2011

Sheffield, England - Media Reviews

Local heroes' hits package By Derbyshire Times

FAMOUS, as we all know for its past metal refineries, Steel Panther didn't forge ahead in Sheffield as maybe some would have hoped.

With tongues firmly in cheeks and doing their best to mimic past decades, this hairspray gang did knock out a few decent tunes, but sadly peppered their set with huge vulgarities.

Not clever, when some fans had brought their young offspring.

That said, special guests Motley Crue did the same. Why do bands have to keep doing this??

Song-wise they opened with huge pyrotechnics and the classic Crue track, Wild Side, setting the tone for the night which was predominantly a "greatest hits" package.

Not shy to spend cash, their set highlight had to be Tommy Lee's drum solo.

This was truly amazing, as he and his strapped-down drum kit did revolutions around a circular frame to back beats, video footage and more mobile phone filming than you could imagine.

And to make it even better, he took an audience member for a ride too.

Then it was time for the main attarction. Opening with their last single Undefeated, the home team seemed pleased to be back as they too did a predictable "best off" set.

This is a shame as Def Leppard have made some monstrous music since 1992, yet apart from a tiny clusters they tend to ignore this era completely as commercially these albums didn't shift huge numbers, which disappoints me for one.

They did play Slang, which I love, and Love And Hate Collide, but mainly it was the normal Animal, Photograph, Women, Hysteria and the like which made the play-list.

What has to be said is how Joe Elliott commands the audience. He speaks to us, he doesn't swear and he and the band seem genuinely touched by the home-town welcome they got.

Rick Savage and Vivian Campbell are natural players and Rick Allen never puts a foot wrong.

Even Phil Collen, who according to Joe was as sick as a dog, never slowed down.

The lighting and stage set up was first class as it normal is, which really does transcend into a huge production.

With time moving on it was soon time to end, which they did to huge cheers with Pour Some Sugar and set-closer Let's Get Rocked.

Def Leppard are, and always have been, a polished unit which shows no signs of slowing down - and for fans like me, that's a happy sign.

I just wish they'd vary the tunes.

By Derbyshire Times 2011.

Steel Panther/Motley Crue/Def Leppard - Sheffield Motorpoint Arena By Caris Smith

Tonight sees one of the most anticipated tours of 2011 come to Sheffield, hometown of one of the bands playing this evening. Yes, the mighty Def Leppard are back again, this time bringing Motley Crue and funnymen Steel Panther along for the ride.

Pretty much a dream tour for many people, as the crowds begin to fill the Motorpoint Arena the night kick off with Steel Panther. I have to say, they are one of those bands that seem to divide people, you either love them or hate them, but after their set tonight i am most definitely a lover. Not sure what that says about me, or my sense of humour but they got the night off to a great start.

They genuinely rock. Michael Starrs voice probably outsings both frontmen from the headlining bands this evening, and he has the crowd in hysterics. Satchel produces more guitar licks than, well, I'll leave that joke to them, while Lexxi Foxx takes the lead on lipgloss and hairspray, and Stix Zadania pounds the hell out of his drumkit.

The sound of the crowd singing along to classics like Asian Hooker and Death To All But Metal drowns the arena, which is pretty hilarious given the lyrical content. Tracks from the new album Balls Out go down a storm also, favourites of mine being 17 Girls in a Row and Tomorrow Night.

Tonight Steel Panther prove they are not only hilarious, but they have the musical ability to back it up and actually be a great band. After a short 45 min set, it's a shame to see them leave, but no doubt in my mind they have won round the people of Sheffield and will see many of them again when they return to the UK in March.

Now the excitement really sets in. As the arena fills and the crowd reaches capacity, it is time for the bad boys of hair metal Motley Crue to emerge. Literally exploding onto the stage they immediately burst into Wild Side. Lights, fireworks, and a massive circular rollercoaster housing Tommy Lee's drumkit accompany a full set of classic rock anthems. Think Dr Feelgood, Girls Girls Girls, and the truly beautiful moment that was Tommy Lee playing piano on Home Sweet Home, and so on.

But, and it is sad that there has to be a but, I can't help but feel like all the pyro, fire, stage props and fake blood are making up for the fact that in all honesty the band aren't all they used to be. Vince Neil really isn't up to scratch, missing every other word in the songs making it a little frustrating and disappointing to watch. Saying this, Nikki Sixx looks cool as ever, Mick Mars is an absolute genius on guitar, he is so under rated it is painful, and Tommy Lee's drum solo completely blows everything out of the water, ever the attention seeker.

Kickstart My Heart brings the house down, and Sixx covers the crowd in fake blood, spitting here there and everywhere, before buckets of the stuff are thrown over those lucky enough to be up close. Crue certainly know how to put on a great show, but whether they still have the ability to back it up is questionable, sadly.

The same cannot be said however for Def Leppard. Tonight was always going to be a great show for them, back in their hometown and no doubt the place is packed with friends and family to cheer them on, but nevertheless, they put on an amazing show. Not taking note from their American co-headliners, Leppard don't have any crazy pyro or stage props, but truth is they don't really need it. Although, the huge video screens at the back of the stage are pretty special.

It is easy to forget just how many amazing songs Def Leppard have when you compare them to the hits of Crue, or any other band of that time, but tonight they do a great job of reminding us. Opening with anthem Undefeated, then onto Rocket, Sweet cover Action, followed by hit after hit. Joe Elliots voice still holds up, and shirtless as always Phil Collen alongside Viv Campbell play out the riffs with confidence as the crowd sing along.

In the middle of the bands set they take to the front of the catwalk stage to play an acoustic version of Two Steps Behind which is really special, they also start Bringin' On The Heartbreak acoustically before taking it to a full on crescendo ending, amazing to watch. Without doubt the highlights of the set are Hysteria, Animal and Pour Some Sugar on Me which gets everyone on their feet that aren't already and dancing along, its kind of hard not to. The band leave to enormous cheers from the crowd, only to return for an encore of the stunning Love Bites followed by Lets Get Rocked.

Tonight the night belongs to Def Leppard, again not to say that Motley Crue weren't brilliant also, as they were, but something missing. Besides, a fantastic night on a greatly anticipated tour, Sheffield really did get rocked!

By LetTheMusicDoTheTallking 2011.


With the holiday season fast approaching and everybody getting into the party mood, an evening with Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Steel Panther was the perfect way to kick off the revelry in style.

Steel Panther seem to be getting a ton of press at the moment, so the chance to see what all the fuss was about was just too much to resist, and they certainly didn't disappoint. Being an amalgam of every '80's Hair Metal cliché you can think of, combined with a fine line of between song banter that makes American Pie seem more like Shakespeare, Steel Panther grabbed their opportunity to shine with both hands. Backed with trashy songs like "Supersonic Sex Machine" and "Gold Digging Whore", Steel Panther will win no awards for subtlety, but the crowd simply lapped it up.

For all the brash and flash, these guys can actually play. Lead guitarist Satchel has plied his trade over the years with the likes of Rob Halford's post-Priest outfit, Fight, as well as Jeff Pilson's War and Peace, before donning the sequins and glitter. Whether they are able to develop beyond a flash in the pan novelty act is anyone's guess, but with anthems like "Death To All But Metal", they'll have a lot of fun trying.

Whereas Steel Panther were forged in the image of '80's excess, Motley Crue are the real deal (having lived through it, died through it, and survived it). Crue have continued to flourish when many of their peers now ply their trade at County Fairs and on board cruise ships.

With a stage set built around Tommy Lee's ginormo-drum rollercoaster, incorporating a light show of Pink Floyd-esque proportions, Crue created an impressive backdrop to their firework-fuelled frenzy of a show.

Motley Crue may not be the most virtuoso of musicians around, but they more than made up for it with their energy, attitude and collection of Glam Metal anthems such as "Wild Side", "Shout At The Devil", "Looks That Kill", "Girls, Girls, Girls", to the shit-kicking "Kickstart My Heart", and the menacing "Dr. Feelgood". Newies like "Saints Of Los Angeles" slipped perfectly into the set alongside the long established classics.

Nikki Sixx was an imposing sight on stage, stalking around like an outcast from The Walking Dead, while Vince Neil, who was in fine voice, personified the flamboyance of the Sunset Strip era. Tommy Lee's rollercoaster ride of a drum solo was a jaw dropping showstopper, and ensured absolutely no-one left the hall for a swift pint or a pee. One lucky punter was strapped in behind Tommy for the ride of his life. Mick Mars, in his own understated way, just let the music do the talking as he delivered riff after riff with some stylish slide guitar chucked in for good measure.

Motley Crue may no longer be the hot young things from LA, but they don't half know how to put on a cracking show. One thing's for sure is that Def Leppard had their work cut out to match that.

With only half an hour between bands, major kudos was due to the road crew who not only managed to remove all traces of Crue's huge stage set, but in the blink of an eye assembled the stepped pyramid construction across the backline just in time for Def Leppard to hit the stage to "Undefeated".

Being Def Leppard's hometown, this was going to be a special show as the crowd welcomed them back as conquering heroes.

While Motley Crue had the rough Rock 'n' Roll edge with plenty of dirt and grime, Def Leppard had a polished, glossy sheen that a times was a little sterile ... not that this bothered the legions of their fans who lapped up hit after hit with "Hysteria", "Animal" and "Photograph" eliciting huge roars, while thousands of arms shot into the air for "Pour Some Sugar On Me" . Only "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" and "Switch 625" survived from their early days as naive young whippersnappers from the suburbs of Sheffield, but it would have been a real treat to hear something like "Wasted" from their debut release. But alas, it was not to be.

Although a long, hard year of touring took its toll on Joe Elliot's voice at times, Def Leppard made sure the crowd went home happy with "Love Bites" and the anthemic "Let's Get Rocked" still ringing in their ears.

With three bands over four and a half hours, few people could complain that they did not receive value for their hard-earned cash. Steel Panther provided the laughs, Motley Crue the Rock 'n' Roll edge, and Def Leppard the polish to ensure that there was something for everyone ... and what better way to get into the party spirit than this?

By Metal Express Radio 2011.

Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Steel Panther Live In The UK By Steve Mascord

Our fearless rock correspondent Steve Mascord gives us the lowdown on Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Steel Panther's epic United Kingdom tour.

When Tommy Lee told this writer that touring with joke-metal masters Steel Panther was "f***ing weird", he was derided on his own facebook page as being out of touch, humourless and even a bit scared. After all, the Panther do have a drummer called Stix Zadinia and Tommy Lee is known for... you get the drift.

But after attending all six shows in the UK, headlined by Def Leppard, Triple M can report that Tommy was right. It was weird. If there was such a thing as an irony-o-meter, it would have been spinning wildly as this the hair metal tour of the year passed through Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield and London this month. Even in the crowd, some guys wore skin tight white leather pants with cowboy boots in all seriousness while others in leopard print spandex were clearly taking the piss - we think.

The thing about Steel Panther, who will tour ditties like "It Won't Suck Itself", "Just Like Tiger Woods" and "Death To All But Metal" in Australia early next year for the Soundwave Festival, is that they can still get girls to flash their tits because it's all in the name of parody, right? In Sheffield, their onstage "guest" didn't bother to put them away for the entire time she was up there.

But when Motley Crue singer Vince Neil gestures with his fingers and says "this means you like pussy" an hour after Michael Starr spoke about the subject in graphic detail, repeatedly, it seems a bit too serious. At least Neil worked out between Birmingham and Nottingham that "f*** yeah" is not "one magic word", it's two.

Lee need not have concerned himself with Crue and Leppard fans not liking Steel Panther. In Manchester and London, the arenas were almost full for the upstarts' 6.30pm set and by the end of the tour, Steel Panther were going very close to blowing the "serious" bands off the stage - even if Starr politely made fun of Bret Michaels being overweight instead of his normal target, Neil himself.

Night after night, this was a cock rocker's wet dream - Lee's rollercoaster drum kit, Phil Collen's shirtless axework ("that guy takes lots of creatin," SP's Satchel observed) and Lexxi Foxx's glittering hand-mirror all in one pelvic thrusting evening of supersonic entertainment.

Mick Mars blew up his amp. In London, Neil was handed his guitar before "Same Old Situation" by two strippers with whom he watched a few Leppards songs from the side of the stage before the three of them retired to his dressingroom. Collen and Nikki Sixx (Lexxi Foxx, Nikki Sixx, geddit?) each had "Happy Birthday To You" performed in their honour.

In Nottingham, Spinal Tap-style, the smoke at the beginning of the Crue's set hung around so long you couldn't see the band until the fourth song. In Glasgow, right next to me, a drunken yob causing trouble was summarily knocked out cold. When the bouncers finally brought him round, they showed him very little sympathy...

Probably the only lowlight, aside from Neil singing every third word as he is wont to do, was Def Leppard marking their return to home town Sheffield by playing limp pop song "Slang" when "Let it Go" - included the following night at Wembley Arena - would have been far more fitting. Oh, and SP only did "The Shocker" once....

But the question left hanging over Heathrow as Motley Crue and Steel Panther jetting back to LA yesterday was: as Steel Panther get bigger and bigger, how can the real survivors of the big haired 80s continue to play with straight faces?

By Triple M 2011.


Phil Collen was a little off colour. Joe Elliott was occasionally off key. And Rick Savage was simply off with the fairies. But it is testimony to one of British rock's true national treasures that Def Leppard still delivered a typically exhilarating set in front of the Sheffield faithful.

This was the penultimate show on the band's co-headline tour with Motley Crue and, against all the odds, the hometown heroes were determined to get the Christmas party season started.

Flashing lights, giant silver baubles and a sackful of 80s gifts guaranteed the merriest of moods - even if the inclusion of Slang was akin to receiving socks from your old auntie (a kind thought but hardly appreciated).

Had Elliott donned a big red suit and a long white beard the festive effect would have been complete but instead he chose sparkly pumps to match his glittering mic stand. And perhaps that's just as well.

Leppard's bullish frontman has always been more about substance than style - he never appeared entirely comfortable chasing the tails of Tempest and Bon Jovi in the race for Smash Hits covers or MTV specials.

And for all his obvious pain in attempting to hit the high notes of Hysteria and Animal, Elliott is, in every other respect, in the form of his life as the powerful force behind one of live music's last remaining juggernauts.

There was a time in the late 80s when a Leppard show became more about the visual than the aural but these days the balance is bang on.

Wide-eyed punters will forgive big Joe the odd bum note when faced with an array of high definition films and a stunning light show. And when Elliott gets it right he really gets it right - the acoustic interlude featuring a fabulous version of Bringing On The Heartbreak sending shivers down the spines of all those present.

Throw in the sensational work of Collen and Vivian Campbell - plus the innovative 'Sav Cam' - and Leppard offer full value for money at a time when finances are tight.

Choosing to roll out a quite wonderful version of Love Bites to kick off an emotive encore was the inspired decision of the night. Elliott nailed it and Sheffield loved it.

Whether they loved - or simply marvelled at - Motley Crue is open to debate. Vince Neil makes Elliott sound like Frank Sinatra but the Crue are the antithesis of this month’s welcoming hosts - all style and just a touch of substance.

Take out Tommy Lee's awe-inspiring 360 degree drum set, strip away crowd favourites Girls, Girls, Girls, Dr Feelgood and Kickstart My Heart and it's difficult to recall how the US sleaze metal legends managed to stretch out a 70 minute-plus set.

There were Mick Mars' toe-curling solo slots (the display immediately following Lee's drum spectacular sounding uncannily like a five-year-old getting to grips with Guitar Hero), an unhealthy amount of swearing and some lovely pyrotechnics. An otherwise heartwarming rendition of Home Sweet Home was spoiled by the frankly embarrassing group huddle.

Nikki Sixx’s 2011 album blows Crue’s most recent output out of the water and it's time for the bass player to put his side project centre stage. This was a theatrical event, rather than a coherent concert, and a good one at that. But there was a time when Motley Crue was mostly about the music and those days are much missed.

Steel Panther manage to entertain and energise with their tongue-in-cheek pastiche on hair metal and some sparkling musicianship to boot. It was Elliott who referred to the band's 'talent' when thanking Leppard's tour buddies and only the most narrow-minded of critics (step forward Mr Lee) fail to see the value in a band born to entertain.

A half-full floor was a sea of smiles as 2011's answer to Spinal Tap sent up all of their 80s heroes (Leppard and Crue included) with the on-stage banter to match their laugh-out-loud lyrics. Those overly familiar with the cringeworthy quartet are crying out for some new lines but as Panther would surely attest - the old ones are the best.

Mixing tracks from new album Balls Out - including the fantastic Just Like Tiger Woods – with a few key cuts from their major label debut, a short but oh-so-sweet set was a lesson in commitment and professionalism. And who would have believed that from four comedy characters making a mint from playing dumb?

By RushOnRock 2011.

Def Leppard, Motorpoint Arena By David Dunn

HOW do you follow a band with a drum-kit that rotates on a circular rollercoaster track?

Such was the challenge for Joe Elliott’s men as they returned to Sheffield with a show that boasted less frills than US flame-throwing touring buddies Motley Crue brought along but arguably hit the mark harder than their Download headliner this summer.

A vast wall of screens flashed news clippings and band snaps past as the Lepps leapt across a career that has sustained them as one of the UK’s biggest rock exports. Joe indulged nostalgia further as he reminded fans of their spoon factory origins before launching into enduring hits that made them musical millionaires.

If they rued teaming up with Tommy Lee’s lot they didn’t flinch, the LA hair metal hedonists delivering an OTT contrast prior to the hometowners; Girls Girls Girls and Shout At The Devil recalling an era breast-worshipping openers Steel Panther clearly revel in.

By The Star 2011.

Def Leppard/ Motley Crue By Rachael Clegg

JUST as they blasted the airwaves in the 1980s as one of the world's biggest rock acts, Motley Crue take to the stage like a bombastic storm.

Here, at the Arena, pyrotechnics blast off, vivid visuals form a back-drop and Vince Neil struts around the stage like a leather-clad peacock.

But it doesn't stop there.

Tommy Lee’s colossal drum kit is built on to a huge steel ring. Then, as if by magic, the kit moves around the ring and upside-down while Lee drums.

The price tag on this roller-coaster novelty beggars belief but it certainly makes an impact.

Fans are aghast as the Crue tear into a set of hard -ocking classics and then, at 9.30pm, the band everyone’s been waiting for join the stage - Def Leppard.

Thousands of fans clad in Def Leppard uniform chant as Sheffield's biggest act takes its perch at the arena.

Tribal drums clatter to tantalise the crowd and gradually the band appear.

Joe Elliot greets his home city and within minutes the band are playing a set of Leppard classics, including 1987 hit Rocket, which is accompanied by an epic visual backdrop of rockets blasting and motorcyclists crashing.

The imagery flickers in sync with the music - a powerful force in itself.

Other hits include the very Eighties-sounding Everybody Wants a Piece of the Action, which is performed to seductive visuals of girls in various poses.

All the while Rick Allen plays mean, storming drums, thumping a visceral energy into the set.

The crowd are loving. Fists are thumped into the air, women are dancing around their handbags and others sing verbatim to Leppard's lyrics.

Musically Def Leppard are tight and their repertoire is repetitive but this doesn't bother the band's enormous following.

And then, towards the end of the set, Leppard throw their biggest number at the crowd - Pour Some Sugar On Me.

And while it may have been released 24 years ago, it still possesses its anthemic power.

Now, more than half the crowd have their fists in the air. And that in itself, is worth a trip to the Arena to see.

By Sheffield Telegraph 2011.


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