MOTLEY CRUE STEALS THE SHOW IN BIRMINGHAM
10am on a cold December morning and fans for the triple headline show at Birmingham’s LG Arena began to descend on what staff call, ‘The Hardcore Queue’ — but they had a long wait, because the door that allows them in didn’t open for another 7 hours, and some fans had flown all the way from Barcelona just to attend the show!
Steel Panther kicked off the exquisite proceedings with a 45 minute set that went by so quick, if you blinked, you’d have missed it. A large chunk of the band’s set list consisted of material from their latest album ‘Ball Out’, and that was something fans were only too happy with. Having had a few weeks to get to know the new stuff, the crowd belt back every word, much to frontman Michael Starr‘s delight.
Flamboyant as ever, charging straight into opener “Super Sonic Sex Machine”, Starr appeared red-robe attired, and bassist Lexxi Foxx showcased his famous pouting with mirror checks throughout. Just before banging into “Gold Diggin’ Whore” the band treated us to a sleazy rendition of “Just Like Tiger Woods” and “Tomorrow Night”. The new stuff may have been going down a treat, but it was the band’s classics “Asian Hooker” and “Community Property” that sparked the biggest reaction this night. Just before crashing into “Death To All But Metal”, the David Lee Roth-a-like Starr asked, “How many people love heavy metal so much that they’d kill a baby seal?”, and it was met with roars of agreement. Reaching the same climatic high they achieved last month, during their one night stand show in London, Steel Panther proved they could easily be an arena band — although playing down the smut-led periphery just slightly, this evening’s efforts were electrifying. Make no mistake, fans were sure ‘feelin’ the steel’ once again.
Achieving an apocalyptic impact on the night’s hardcore fan base, Motley Crue well and truly stole the show with their impressive and wacky stage effects. Not only did they warm up the crowd — they pummelled them into submission with a 90 minute set full of extravaganza lights, sound, pyrotechnics and video effects. And Tommy Lee showcased his famous show-stopping revolving wheel, where one ‘lucky’ fan from the audience went upside down experiencing rock ‘n’ roll’s ultimate thrill ride. The ‘lucky fan’ however turned out to be a reporter from the Sun newspaper, rigged, but alas he was pumped with excitement.
Kicking off with “Wild Side”, proving they’re still the same ‘Live Wire’ Crue we all love and know, the ’80s hair legends played all their classics — “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Dr. Feelgood” and the Brownsville Station cover “Smokin’ In The Boys Room”. But it wasn’t just Tommy Lee‘s drum rollercoaster of sin that substantiated a key highlight — it was also the mosaic-mirrored piano that was lifted onto the stage where the magic really kicked in. Fans screamed out for Tommy as all four members crowded round at the very front for a melodic rendition of “Home Sweet Home”. The onstage chemistry between these boys was on absolute fire, the bromantic bond between them during gang vocals oozed out of each and every note and the body language towards one another said it all.
Living up to its meaning, “Kickstart My Heart” saw bassist Nikki Sixx as the only member of the band to spit fake blood over the audience (much to their delight). And in true Ozzy Osbourne fashion, picking up a bucket of the stuff each, they tipped the entire contents over the front row. Like true ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ there was no doubt about it, Motley Crue well and truly owned Birmingham and took the place by storm.
Def Leppard really had their work cut out for them after the exhilarating performance lead by Motley Crue — the storm they left behind gets choppy. Kicking off with the likes of “Rocket”, “When Love And Hate Collide” and “Two Steps Behind”, and receiving a lethargic response, it was clear as to which bands the crowd mainly came for this evening.
But nevertheless, taking the night’s school of rock back to the class of ’86, Def Leppard scored high with top notch notes in “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Animal” and “Hysteria”. It wasn’t until encores “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Wasted” though, that the audience really made their presence known. Running from side to side of the stage and up the stairs like the old days, frontman Joe Elliot and bassist Rick Savage enjoyed every minute — it was sheer ’80s entertainment before youngster eyes, able to relive the blistering decade of rock n’ roll.
Def Leppard may have struggled early on in their set, but one thing’s for sure… each and every fan went away from this show having had an absolute ‘mirror ball’ of a time — see you in Sin City!