While it's unusual to see the legendary green bleachers in the outfield of Wrigley Field empty, they were when the long-awaited Stadium Tour made its stop in Chicago.
However, the bleachers, which were behind the stage, were the only seats empty as over 41,000 eager fans packed the field and the stands. Fans had been waiting for the Def Leppard and Motley Crue tour for a staggering 2 1/2 years, but it was well worth the wait.
The audience was treated not only to Def Leppard and Motley Crue, but to special guests Poison, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and newcomers Classless Act.
Starting off the show was Classless Act and while they were not originally on the tour 2 1/2 years ago, they were added after members of Motley Crue discovered them in 2021. They did an amazing job warming up the eager concert goers that were finding their seats. With vocals that sound like a wild-child of Robert Plant and Axl Rose and a duel guitar setup that would make most 80's bands jealous, Classless Act delivered quite the show in their 5 song set.
Up next was the legendary Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan has been a staple in the music industry since her work with The Runaways in the mid to late 1970's. She has aged like a fine wine and her vocals have stood the test of time, unlike most artists from that time period. Joan also earned her stripes by fronting the uber-successful Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Keyboard player and original member Kenny Laguna helped culture the crowd by sharing the band's origins. Since they are a female-fronted band, they struggled to get a record deal and had to sell records out of the back of their car. However, their hard work paid off and they became one of the most legendary bands of all time.
As if rock anthems such as "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and "I Love Rock n Roll" weren't enough, Joan played Runaways songs such as "Cherry Bomb" and even material off her new album, which was just released a few months ago. Joan and company truly put on a show, however that was just the beginning.
Next onstage was the 80's glam powerhouse, Poison, which was practically a miracle since frontman Bret Michaels was hospitalized not even a week prior. Despite that setback, in true Bret Michaels fashion, he gave the crowd 1000% and got everyone on their feet.
While their set was trimmed of a few key songs such as "Unskinny Bop" and "Something to Believe in", everyone in Poison truly brought their A-game. Their 9 song setlist packed a punch of 80's rock anthems such as "Fallen Angel", "Talk Dirty to Me", "Ride the Wind", "Every Rose has its Thorn", and more.
Guitarist CC Deville even went into a captivating version of Van Halen's "Eruption" during his guitar solo. All 4 band members (Bret Michaels, CC Deville, Bobby Dall & Rikki Rockett) all truly gave their all, and the crowd loved it. Their onstage antics had the crowd on their feet, talking dirty and having "Nothing but a Good Time".
Up next, Motley Crue took over the stage, quite literally. With enough props and pyrotechnics to fuel a 4th of July celebration, Motley took the show to a whole new level taking the stage with practically enough smoke to shut down O'Hare airport for a few minutes.
Once the smoke rose, it revealed both famous and infamous gang of 80s rockers consisting of Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx & Mick Mars. It was almost a dream and having the Crue tour after their 2015 "Cessation of Touring Agreement", and in this case, it was a dream come true for many.
Fueled by their successful Netflix biopic "The Dirt" they blew up that agreement and took to touring again. Motley's 90-minute set was filled with surprises such as a performance of their new song "The Dirt" with Machine Gun Kelly on tracked vocals and a medley of hit songs such as "Helter Skelter" & "Smokin in the Boys Room".
Their set also included a plethora of hits such as "Girls Girls Girls", "Dr Feelgood", "Wild Side", "Kickstart My Heart", and more. A crowd favorite "Home Sweet Home" consisted of Tommy Lee on both the piano and drum set...as well as 41,000 fans swaying their cellphone lights and singing along.
Frontman Vince Neil really got his act together and sounded the best he has in years, so credit where credit is due. While the bombastic bass playing of Nikki Sixx and monstrous drumming of Tommy Lee did seem to overpower the music at times, the Crue still sounded solid. Legendary guitarist Mick Mars dazzled the crowd with his unique guitar tricks and legendary riffs that have stood the test of time.
Closing out, and in my opinion stealing the show, was Def Leppard. The legendary British rockers have been a staple in the music industry for over 45 years and truly lived up to their reputation.
While most bands chose to hunker down during the 2 1/2 year break during Covid, Def Leppard decided to make their twelfth "studio" album Diamond Star Halos...but they did it all remote and from all over the world. The album was received so well that they decided to dedicate almost a quarter of their set to it, and it really paid off.
Opening the show was their hit single "Take What You Want" featuring Joe Elliott's powerhouse vocals, Rick Allen's booming drums, Rick Savage's melodic bass lines and dueling guitar goodness from Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen. Their 80 minute set also included "Excitable", a deep cut off their 1987 diamond certified album, Hysteria.
Material from Hysteria made up a solid chunk of the setlist with hits such as "Rocket", "Love Bites" & the uber-popular "Pour Some Sugar On Me".
"Hysteria" was also accompanied by a melodic outro and hundreds of pictures and memories from the bands 45+ year career displayed across the gigantic video wall, which was an amazing touch.
The band also broke into a semi-acoustic set for songs such as "This Guitar" off Diamond Star Halos, "Have you Ever Needed Someone so Bad" off 1992's Adrenalize and a singalong of "Two Steps Behind".
They also went back to their 1981 album, High n Dry playing "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and "Switch 625", which featured Campbell and Collen's magnificent guitar work. This medley also featured a drum solo by one-armed drummer Rick Allen, who is affectionately known as "The Thundergod".
Even through things such as alcoholism, cancer, the loss of drummer Rick Allen's left arm in 1984, and the passing of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991, Def Leppard has stood the test of time and lives on to be one of the biggest and best bands of all time. They were truly on their game all night and went note for note with some of their biggest hits.
This was truly an action-packed night as the concert went from 3:45pm - 10:50pm. Audience members truly got quite a bang for their buck with some of the biggest bands of the 1980's all the way to today. While all of them sounded amazing, the crowd did get a little restless at times and some even got a little too "Excitable" as some people couldn't even stand by the time Def Leppard took the stage. Regardless, countless memories were made and the thousands in attendance witnessed a show to remember. This goes down in my book as one of my favorite concerts I have attended and seeing bands like this still on the road selling out the world's biggest stadiums further proves that Rock-N-Roll is still alive and kicking!
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