When the Stadium Tour was originally announced back in 2020, I knew it was going to be the pinnacle of my concert life, both personally and professionally. Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts all on one ticket? I had to read the post several times to make sure that it was right. As a high school kid growing up in the early 80s, I had the opportunity to see all these bands when they were just coming up or were still pretty early in their careers. Pyromania, Shout At The Devil, Look What The Cat Dragged In, and I Love Rock ‘n Roll were some of the best, if not the best, albums and tours that these icons have ever had. My excitement was quickly dashed as the tour had to be postponed several times due to the pandemic.
As June 19th, arrived I knew the wait was finally over. As I loaded my gear and drove to Camping World Stadium in Orlando Florida, I couldn’t help thinking that this show was really going to happen, and nothing could stop it now. Not so fast. This is Florida in the middle of June and an outdoor event could easily fall victim to the wrath of Mother Nature. As I pulled into the lot my worst fears were starting to materialize. The rain pelted my windshield as lightning and thunder made a very unwanted appearance. A quick glance at the radar did nothing to ease my concerns. Thunderstorms were predicted through 9 pm. As soon as there was a slight break in the rain, I gathered up my gear and made a beeline to the staff entrance. During my trek I caught a glimpse of fans waiting in line and they were not about to be deterred by the nasty Florida weather.
The 1st, and only, setback of the day came early. While waiting in the media/staff room we were told that due to weather delays the 1st band, Classless Act, was going to be nixed. I was totally bummed because I had just finished doing the review for their debut album, Welcome To The Show. A short time later we were told that the band was actually on stage, but it would be difficult to get to the pit in time. Just because the weather was determined to screw things up, I’m not about to skip over these guys. I didn’t get to see their performance, nor did I get any pics, but please take the time to read my album review and follow them online (social links are at the bottom).
Derek Day: Vocals
Dane Pieper: Guitar
Griffin Tucker: Guitar
Franco Gravante: Bass
Chuck McKissock: Drums
Sometimes the music gods shine down upon us and today was one of those days. As quickly as the storms came, they were gone. It was time to get down to business and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were 1st up. Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” blared through the house speakers and then the Blackhearts ran onto the stage followed by the queen of rock, Joan Jett. Wearing a silvery spandex jumpsuit, Joan was on top of her game. The band started out with “Victim Of Circumstance” and then followed it up with the Runaways‘ hit “Cherry Bomb.” The Blackhearts were stellar as they kicked out hit after hit including the Tommy James & The Shondells‘ hit “Crimson & Clover.”
Joan’s Gibson guitar was sporting a pink “Girl Is Not A 4 Letter Word” decal and she totally nailed performances of “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” and “I hate Myself For Loving You.” The final song of the set was 1980’s “Bad Reputation” and by this time the crowd was primed and ready for whatever else the evening had in store.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts:
Joan Jett: Vocals. Guitar
Dougie Needles: Guitar
Hal B. Selzer: Bass
Michael McDermott: Drums
Intro: Rebel Girl (Bikini Kill)
1.Victim Of Circumstance
2.Cherry Bomb (The Runaways Cover)
3.Light Of Day (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
4.Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone Cover)
5.You Drive Me Wild (The Runaways Cover)
6.Do You Wanna Touch Me(Oh Yeah)(Gary Glitter Cover)
8.Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & The Shondells Cover)
9.I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Arrows Cover)
10.(I’m Gonna) Run Away
11.I Hate Myself For Loving You
As Poison’s set time drew near, the excitement resonating throughout the crowd was undeniable. Bret Michaels’ voice could be heard as he introduced the band. Rikki Rocket, Bobby Dall and C.C. DeVille all came out and took their spots. Rocket even took a second to use his drumsticks as horns. Bret came charging out as the band started playing “Look What The Cat Dragged In.” From there the party was in full swing. The band took full advantage of the long runway style ramp and made frequent trips to be closer to the fans. C.C. wore a black and red top hat while Bret opted for his signature red bandana although he later switched to a black cowboy hat with a skull and crossbones.
This set had everything. I even got a double fist bump from Bret. C.C. shredded his solo which was a rendition of Van Halen‘s “Eruption” and then they went straight into one of my favorites, “Fallen Angel.” Whether he was playing his harmonica or strumming his guitar, Bret had this crowd in the palm of his hand. He is definitely the ultimate showman. He wished all the father’s a Happy Father’s Day and prior to “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” he gave a shoutout to all the veterans and military personnel. Due to the initial weather delay Poison shortened their set by one song and unfortunately it was “Something To Believe In,” another one of my favorites. No one wanted this to end but Poison did it in style with a raucous performance of their anthem “Nothing But A Good Time.” It was so great to see these four together again.
Bret Michaels: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica
Rikki Rockett: Drums, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall: Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
C.C. DeVille: Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
1.Look What The Cat Dragged In
2.Ride The Wind
3.Talk Dirty To Me
4.Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina Cover)
5.Eruption (Van Halen Cover)
7.I Want Action
10.Every Rose Has Its Thorn
11.Nothin’ But A Good Time
A fake breaking news alert and a huge red and black flashing sign that read “The Future Is Ours” was the lead-in for one of my favorite bands of all time, Motley Crue. The Crue took the stage with a vengeance and exploded into “Wild Side.” Vince Neil, wearing a long white cloak, serenaded the crowd while several attractive females danced in the background. Tommy Lee looked great although we knew his appearance would be limited to a few songs due to his rib injury. Tommy later told the crowd that he wished that he had a cool story about how he broke his ribs but in fact it was “bullshit.” Tommy Clufetos filled in on drums after the 3rd song and let me tell you, he is a beast. To see Mick Mars still shredding was simply incredible. His stoic and mysterious persona was the same as it always was.
The Crue’s set took us on a journey through their entire discography and included “Too Fast For Love” and “Live Wire” from their debut album Too Fast For Love. The legendary Nikki Sixx never fails to impress, and he took time to address the crowd. He thanked the fans for coming and said that it was probably a good idea because they would probably break up in a couple weeks and then get back together. He went on to say that if there’s one thing that he’s learned it’s that you can’t cancel Motley Crue. Nikki described how back in 1981 the band didn’t have enough songs to play a gig, so they started playing song’s from other bands. This led into a fantastic medley that included “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Anarchy In The U.K.”
For Motley Crue’s set, the photographers were only allowed to shoot songs #11 and #12. As we were ushered to the front of the stage to get ready, I saw the piano placed near the front of the ramp. I knew that “Home Sweet Home” was song #10 and sure enough, Tommy sat down at the piano and started playing. To be so close and not be able to shoot was frustrating but somehow, I managed to chill and just enjoy the performance. Throughout the show a bevy of beautiful dancers performed non-stop, and Vince took time to introduce each and every one of them. The unmistakable sound of a motorcycle signaled the beginning of “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and when the lights came on 2 gigantic futuristic female statues rose from the stage. I’m no expert, but they had to have been between 60-70′ tall. I could go on and about the Crue’s performance but I’m on a word count, so I’ll wrap it up. Ignore all the critics. Motley Crue was awesome.
Vince Neil: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica
Nikki Sixx: Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Backing Vocals
Mick Mars: Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tommy Lee: Drums, Keyboards, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tommy Clufetos: Drums
2.Shout At The Devil
3.Too Fast For Love
4.Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
5.Saints Of Los Angeles
7.Looks That Kill
8.The Dirt (Est. 1981)
9.Rock and Roll, Part 2 / Smokin’ in the Boys Room / White Punks on Dope / Helter Skelter / Anarchy in the U.K.
10.Home Sweet Home
12.Same Ol’ Situation
13.Girls, Girls, Girls
15.Kickstart My Heart
Somewhere north of 10 pm, the stage glowed from a black and white Def Leppard display that featured the logo from their new album, Diamond Star Halos. A countdown clock appeared in red on both sides of the stage and when it hit zero the stage lit up and out came the band. Joe Elliott was clad in a red and black-striped jacket, and he wore a fashionable black hat. The set started off with “Take What You Want” and “Fire It Up” both of which are from the new album. During “Animal” images of circuses and carnivals flashed across the big screens, reminiscent of the 1987 video.
Elliott’s vocals were great and Phil Collen looked jacked. Collen kicked his Jackson guitar into overdrive and was outstanding. His partner in crime, guitarist Vivian Campbell, was also brilliant. I saw him years ago with DIO and was ecstatic to see him again. Elliott brought Campbell to the front of the ramp where he played the beginning of “Armageddon It” under the spotlight. The band played “This Guitar” which is also from the new record. For this performance the entire band, including drummer Rick Allen, performed from the front of the ramp. The guys stayed there for an acoustical version of “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad.”
“Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” was one of only two songs from the High ‘n’ Dry album that were played and the fans loved it. Bassist Rick Savage provided the thunder and did so wearing a mint green silk suit. At the end of “Switch 625” Allen got his drum solo and he tore it up. The set ended with fan favorites “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Rock Of Ages,” and “Photograph.” During the latter, old pics of the band were splattered across the big screens, and then just like that, the Stadium Tour 22 in Orlando was over.
Joe Elliott: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Piano
Rick Savage: Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen: Drums, Backing Vocals
Phil Collen: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vivian Campbell: Guitar, Backing Vocals
1.Take What You Want
2.Fire It Up
10.Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
11.Two Steps Behind
13.Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
16.Pour Some Sugar On Me
17.Rock Of Ages
After waiting so long for this show I have come away with a few thoughts. I had heard a lot of negative criticism about some of the performers over the last year or so. I feel that once you take the time to put it in the proper perspective you will see what an amazing event this is. Most of these artists are in their late 50s and early 60s. Mick Mars is 71 for God’s sake. Most have experienced or gone through enormous personal and/or health issues. Throw in the fact that the aging process is neither fun nor kind, and it’s incredible that these artists are still out here bringing music to the fans. A tour like this must be grueling. Florida is no joke, and the heat and humidity can take its toll on anyone.
I’m 56 years old now and there are things I could in my 20s that I no longer can. Things I could do in my 40s are suddenly a little harder to do now, but that’s life. I compare this show to the act of reading a great book. If you enjoyed chapter 1 why in the world would you not read the last chapter? This was more than just a single concert for me, it was the culmination of 40 years of good times and great music. As I walked around the venue and spoke to different people, I realized that I wasn’t the only one that shared this sentiment. Seeing people of all ages singing, dancing, and having the time of their lives made me hold out some little ray of hope that this isn’t the last chapter, but if it is, I was there.
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