Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe live at Allianz Parque in São Paulo, Brazil Concert Review
DEF LEPPARD AND MÖTLEY CRÜE PERFORM TO LIKELY MUCH SMALLER AUDIENCE THAN ANTICIPATED
Date: March 7, 2023
Venue: Allianz Parque
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Reviewer: Marcelo Vieira
“This was a show for a much smaller venue”, said a friend as soon as we passed through the access gate to Allianz Parque. That’s because the audience at the stadium to witness what was most likely the last time Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe will ever play in Brazil was around 10,000 people, including all sections with tickets on sale. “I’ve seen B series soccer games gather a lot more people”, he added.
Emergency measures were taken to make the night look good in pictures. The stage, normally set up at one end of the field, was now located in center field. At the box office, both online and in person, tickets were available for the special price of two for the price of one. It was of no use. The ease of movement throughout the general admission area meant that there were few people in the stadium.
Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe’s current South American tour is an offshoot of their successful The Stadium Tour in which both bands, joined by Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, sold out stadiums across North America. Unfortunately, in Brazil, the reality was quite different, and so much so that two dates, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, were dropped due to low ticket sales. But regardless, the two veteran bands produced shows that were as exciting as they could be.
Edu Falaschi was responsible for opening the night’s festivities. Although he is a notable hard rock fan, the Brazilian doesn’t necessarily play the type of music that pleases Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe fans and, consequently, he didn’t seem to excite the crowd as much as a band more aligned with the hard rock style such as Electric Gypsy, Landfall, Nite Stinger… There’s no shortage of good Brazilian hard rock bands. With his stage time reduced to 15 minutes, Edu bet on the concert attendees’ affective memories given that of the five songs that he performed, four were from his old band, Angra, who would have likely been a better choice for the occasion.
Eduardo Falaschi’s setlist (as per setlist.fm):
01. Acid Rain
02. Fire With Fire
03. Heroes of Sand
04. Bleeding Heart
05. Nova Era
Starting with Mötley Crüe, who took the stage shortly before 7:30 pm, the crowd seemed to be buzzing with contagious excitement. Compared to what I saw at Rock in Rio in 2015 — when it seemed the band’s disappointing performance was the final nail in the coffin for them in Brazil — Vince Neil (vocals), Nikki Sixx (bass), Tommy Lee (drums) and John 5, replacing the recently fired-or-retired Mick Mars on guitar, seemed motivated to deliver an above average performance.
Neil‘s performance was supported and corroborated by all kinds of off-music aspects. The big screens were filled with clichés from a distant era that arose nostalgia for those who were there and fascination for those who did not live. Additional visual stimulation came with backing vocalists Bailey Swift and Hannah Sutton who were dressed as femme fatales of yesterday. All of this for those who do not understand is part of the mystique — a festival of misogyny. But what can you expect from the band whose 60 year old drummer shows his dick whenever he can on the internet?
In terms of the setlist, a true parade of hits were played at a slower tempo so that Neil didn’t lose his breath. Whether thanks to a Dukan diet or some sort of modelling belt or some unknown reason, the lead vocalist appeared to be fitter with a smaller waist circumference that is less risky for his health. Nikki Sixx, the one whose heart stopped for a few minutes from a heroine overdose back in the 1980s, never looked better. With partially dyed red hair, a tattooed face and around 3% body fat, Tommy Lee rejects the perverse majesty of age by presenting and acting like the tomboy he’s always been. “I’d like to see some boobs,” he said into the microphone. The answer? “Show your dick! Show your dick!” in chorus.
With John 5 on board, Mötley Crüe gained in both precision and mobility. Mars’ chainsaw guitar tone was replicated to perfection, but the solos acquired a cleanliness that even the band’s records don’t have. In his moment in the spotlight, John 5 played excerpts from “Eruption” as well as up and down scales at impressive speed, and his guitars were part of the show too, with emphasis on the Telecaster coated with leds used during “Live Wire”.
Posts on social media by both the band and various members the next day seemed to rank the concert in São Paulo as one of the best of Mötley Crüe’s career. I don’t doubt it was but it just lacked more people there to nod and respond with louder applause to each song played.
Mötley Crüe’s setlist (as per setlist.fm):
01. Wild Side
02. Shout Out At The Devil (with “Immigration Song” snippet)
03. Too Fast For Love
04. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
05. Saints of Los Angeles
06. Live Wire
07. Looks That Kill
08. The Dirt (Est. 1981)
09. Guitar Solo
10. Rock And Roll / Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room / Helter Skelter / Anarchy In The U.K. / Blitzkrieg Bop
11. Home Sweet Home
12. Dr. Feelgood
13. Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
14. Girls Girls Girls
15. Primal Scream
16. Kickstart My Heart
Mötley Crüe performing “Home Sweet Home” live at Allianz Parque in São Paulo, Brazil on March 7, 2023 (video from Wanderson Fernandes‘ YouTube page):
Afterwards, it was Def Leppard’s turn to try for the second time to erase the still vivid memory of the fiasco that occurred during their passage through Brazil in 1997. Okay, the album that was being promoted is by far the worst of their career — the weirdo, to say the least, Slang (1996) — but not even the most nihilistic of pessimists could expect less than 200 people in a venue with a capacity of 8,000. In 2015, at Rock in Rio, the Def Leppard fans’ excitement was diluted by the disinterest of those who were there waiting for Aerosmith. It turned out to be a show that failed to really captivate the majority of the crowd.
This time around at Allianz Parque, Joe Elliott (vocals), Phil Collen (guitar), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Rick Savage (bass) and Rick Allen (drums) delivered a performance similar to six years ago, only slightly more bureaucratic, with peaks and valleys very well established. If “Animal”, “Armageddon It” and “Love Bites” attracted a collective of karaoke in poor English, “Kick” and “This Guitar” — representatives of the still fresh Diamond Star Halos (2021) — and the fragile “When Love & Hate Collide” which was even more weakened in an acoustic version, gave the cue for the audience to go for a pee or beer.
Communication is not the strong point of the British rockers. Unlike the Mötley Crüe band members, who turn and move to address the public, the Def Leppard bandmates are economical in words and give their message through music, performed to seemingly precise millimetres. In fact, all the movement around the stage, the faces and mouths, everything seemed to have been extensively rehearsed and was too perfect for video but too inorganic for a rock concert. Nevertheless, Def Leppard‘s performance on this night was infinitely better than their performance at Rock in Rio back in 2015.
Def Leppard’s setlist (as per setlist.fm):
01. Take What You Want
02. Let’s Get Rocked
05. Armageddon It
07. Love Bites
09. This Guitar
10. When Love And Hate Collide
12. Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
13. Switch 625
15. Pour Some Sugar On Me
16. Rock of Ages
Def Leppard performing “Photograph” live at Allianz Parque in São Paulo, Brazil on March 7, 2023 (video from Eduardo Pinheiro‘s YouTube page):
The concert review was first published in Portuguese via Marcelo Vieira Music‘s website.