Last night (01/07/23) Def Leppard took to the stage at Wembley Stadium, this was a bucket-list gig for me having wanted to see them since 2009! They shared the stage with Mötley Crüe, which is enough to get any rock fan excited. I’ve been brought up in a family where music is special, and sharing experiences with those within our family means a lot – from this gig, it’s evident that it’s not just us, but a trait of the rock community. I was surrounded by people that crossed generations and a mini rocker singing along to hysteria brought so much joy to me. 

After arriving at Wembley, the sight of the relatively empty stadium was a reminder of the extortionate cost of these tickets and challenging times we live in. From those I spoke to, there was a general sense of confusion as to why such a large venue was chosen for this show as it was unlikely to be a sell-out. Although the absence of a packed stadium was a disheartening backdrop, Def Leppard’s ability to fill the stadium with their music and create such a powerful experience speaks to the talent that they have.  

Def Leppard’s setlist of 17 songs was a collection of greatest hits, pretty much guaranteeing every fan’s favourite was given the spotlight. The setlist included: ‘Let’s Get Rocked’, ‘Rocket’, ‘Hysteria’, ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’. One of the standouts for me was their performance of ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak’ – the ability to seamlessly blend rock energy with heartfelt emotion was something special. Throughout the setlist, the band blessed us with their exceptional musicianship, seamlessly weaving in guitar solos, bass lines, and thunderous drumbeats. To me, they’re withstanding the test of time, and continue to deliver top-tier performances.

Def Leppard surpassed all of my expectations. Joe Elliot’s vocals felt age-defying? Generally, we expect (and accept) that over time vocal abilities diminish but the power behind his voice was phenomenal. Rick Allen’s ability to create such a powerful and dynamic rhythm given the complication of his accident is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Collen and Campbell create a duo that is complimentary and layer songs so well. Savage’s depth and groove undoubtedly contribute to the distinctive rock sound we all love and expect from the band.

Having seen Mötley Crüe the previous night at the Underworld, I knew this wouldn’t quite be the same. Having read the reviews of previous dates, I was apprehensive of how their sound would carry through such a large venue. For the opening songs, the sound just wasn’t right. This improved as they moved through the setlist and ultimately, they delivered a solid, high-energy performance. The 16-song setlist included hits such as ‘Live Wire’, ‘Girls Girls Girls’, and ‘Kickstart My Heart’. The band completed a compilation of ‘Rock and Roll, Part 2’ / ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’ / ‘Helter Skelter’ / ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ / ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ / ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)’, and as you can imagine, it went down well. 

During what was an overall impressive performance from Mötley Crüe for me it was dampened by Tommy Lees request for females in the crowd to “get their titties out” and subsequently pressuring these females. There was something quite infantile about this, and for it to be coming from a 60-year-old man felt quite uncomfortable. Now, I don’t doubt that for some, seeing a few boobs added to the experience. However, for me, in the context of 2023, where there is a growing emphasis on creating safe and inclusive spaces for all concert attendees (including children), Tommy’s remarks and subsequent pressures were out of touch and inappropriate. Nowadays, the use of cameras, phones, and large screens could be really damaging to the individuals that willingly participated in this. Concerts should be an opportunity for people to come together, enjoy music, and feel a sense of community, and safety, it should be free from derogatory and objectifying comments.

Author: Evie Brooks