There are stadium tours, and then there are STADIUM TOURS. The Mötley Crüe / Def Leppard stadium tour was definitely the monster rock tour one would expect from them and worth the two-year wait. With lots of leather, big hair, and spandex pants, the crowd rolled into SoFi Stadium in a mood to be thoroughly entertained!
At first you have to ask yourself, with L.A. traffic the way it is, would this be worth the trip? I would soon have my answer as I braved the 405 traffic and walked into the majestic stadium that is becoming the measurement for great concert halls worldwide.
As I took in the sights and sounds of the crowd filing in, one thing was clear; everyone was happy to be there. No sooner than I took my seat, the opening band hit the stage. Classless Act, a L.A.-based band, is young, but took the stage and commanded it like seasoned veterans. Despite being dubbed a Los Angeles band, the members come from all parts of the planet – Poland, Argentina, Hawaii, Dallas, and oh yeah, L.A.
With the energy that a young band can bring, Classless Act was loud, in your face, and the right band for this show. The band played some of their songs that the crowd will not forget, “This Is For You,” “Give It To Me,” “All That We Are, “Storm Before the Storm” and “Classless Act!”
After a brief intermission, the crowd was ready for more, and more came in the form of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
I have been very lucky to catch this band multiple times. Not sure what it was, maybe because it’s been a minute since I saw them last, but the band looked and sounded better than ever!
They were engaging and Jett looked fresh and sounded fantastic. The crowd got what they came for – new and classic songs from the Divine Ms. Jett.
They opened with “Rebel Girl,” “Victim of Circumstances,” then got a well-deserved acknowledgement from the older composition of the crowd when they went into the Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb,” which Jett handled brilliantly!
Other classics the crowd ate up included “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” “Fake Friends,” and “Everyday People” (Sly and the Family Stone cover). After a second to allow the crowd to catch its breath, Jett thanked everyone for coming out and urged them to get ready for Poison, Def Leppard, and Mötley Crüe, and then she launched into a cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover.”
With the Blackhearts at her side, Jett was animated and dove in to “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” before doing a very cool rendition of “(I’m Gonna) Runaway” from her last album before calling it a day with her uber-hit, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The sun wasn’t even down yet, and people were losing their minds. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts definitely delivered, and the crowd appreciated every moment they were onstage.
As the stage was being prepared for Poison, I got to witness a moving moment and it wasn’t part of the show; it was a sincere act of kindness. As you would expect for a show of this magnitude, you should be prepared to see fans from all walks of life, and trust me, they were all there. It was like a John Hughes film where you pan along the wall at a high school dance. There you would see the punker, the metal heads, the stoners, the goths, and the stripper adjacent types (male and female).
After taking in that panoramic view of my fellow concertgoers, I noticed a SoFi Stadium employee escorting an older man, maybe in his 80s, and in a wheelchair. I thought he was going to keep going, but no, he stopped at an end seat. Without hesitation, almost in unison, a punk guy and a metal head guy stood up and helped the man out of his chair and into his seat, one of the ladies seemed to ask if he needed anything and just like that, I saw her open a bottle of water and give it to him. Say what you want about any music scene, but it is music that truly shows who we are as people. Ironically, the gentleman seemed to be very entertained by the ladies dancing next to him, ahh… long live rock and roll!
The reason the ladies started to dance because Bret Michaels and Poison took the stage. Truth is, I’ve seen a lot of bands in my day and Poison was not one of them, so I had no idea what to expect. I was in for a very nice surprise.
First thing that stood out was Michaels looked genuinely excited to be there, and he told the crowd that after they opened to “Look What the Cat Dragged in.”
He mentioned the show was two plus years delayed and thanked everyone who supported them when they first landed on the Sunset Strip and played venues like Gazzarri’s. The crowd erupted and went nuts as Michaels led them into “Talk Dirty to Me.”
As the sun started to dip into the Pacific, the festival atmosphere was taking shape. Michaels was in a festive mood and like the Pied Piper, he went into “Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins and Messina cover). The crowd was animated and sang-a-long to every word. Then a kick-ass guitar solo by C.C. DeVille left the crowd mesmerized and would have gotten a thumbs up from Eddie Van Halen.
In the end, the crowd heard all the hits, and I understood what all the fuss was about. I am sure we have all heard Poison’s classic “Every Rose has Its Thorn” a bazillion times on the radio, but I have to admit, seeing Michaels perform it live as 65,000 screaming fans sing along gave me a new appreciation for the impact this band has on the world of music.
In true Poison fashion, or the best I could tell, the crowd lost its proverbial mind with their closing song, “Nothing but a Good Time.” The band and the crowd were animated and engaged. Michaels threw down the gauntlet and set the bar of the energy for today’s show.
As another brief intermission took place, the tension was palpable with British rockers Def Leppard up next. The legendary MTV sensations from Sheffield, England were also excited to be at SoFi.
Joe Elliott emerged to a roar of the crowd as he took the stage to “Take What You Want.” The stage show was impressive; like a kick-ass Vegas show, the lights, smoke, and pyrotechnics expressed us all. Elliott took us through a stroll down Memory Lane with newer and not-so-new songs, “Let It Go,” “Animal,” and “Foolin’” which drew an enormous response from the crowd.
The band electrified SoFi and they sound as sharp as ever, and Elliott – being the master showman he is – dazzled in the delivery of his harmonic prowess. Other hits on the Def Leppard ride included “Armageddon It,” “Kick,” “Love Bites,” “Rocket,” and “Switch 625,” which included a cool drum solo by Rick Allen.
Before Def Leppard exited the stage, they blew the roof off SoFi with “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Rock of Ages” and closed with “Photography.”
NOW it was time for the main event. A heavyweight battle for the ages for sure, but like in “Highlander,” there could only be one, and for fans at SoFi, they were elated to see Mötley Crüe.
As the curtain lifted, you saw the drum kit and Tommy Lee was beating on those drums while surrounded by three very lovely back-up singers/dancers. It was like being thrust back into a “Girls, Girls, Girls” video, the opening to “Wild Side” was that epic. The Crüe segued into “Shout at the Devil!”
With Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars at his side, Mötley Crüe’s front-man Vince Neil asked “Who likes the old shit? We’ll do something to help you feel real fucking old.” They slid into “Too Fast for Love,” as the crowd cheered on the music, but the dancers became part of the electric feel.
While in this moment in time, being a little older, a little greyer, those in the crowd were thrown back in time with these larger-than life songs. That is the true magic and gift music brings.
Each member of the band took time to speak to the crowd and during his moment, Sixx stared down the audience and said, “Long way from the Sunset Strip!”
As many of his fans expected, Tommy Lee emerged from behind the drum kit. He lamented on a few things he’s done, most recently his Twitter dick pic. He said he was “drunk as fuck in Bora Bora” and the crowd ate that up. He said, “So you guys wanna see my wiener?” It was a setup for a gag, of course, as Lee brought a small dachshund puppy out of his pants. Yes, a wiener dog!
Afterwards, the pandemonium hit the aisles at SoFi as the Crüe went into “Live Wire,” then “Looks That Kill,” definitely a good bump moment. As if that wasn’t enough, it was cover time as they went into a medley of “Rock and Roll, Part 2 / Smokin’ in the Boys Room / White Punks on Dope / Helter Skelter / Anarchy in the UK.”
Neil gave the crowd a minute to catch their collective breath by switching it up as the crowd simmered down to “Home Sweet Home.” But the mayhem resumed with “Dr. Feelgood” followed by “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.),”and then “Girls, Girls, Girls.” My 80-something-year-old friend across from me really seemed to enjoy that one.
Before Mötley Crüe called it a night, they serenaded their fans to “Primal Scream” before finishing off with “Kickstart My Heart.”
It’s really hard to say who the band of the night was as there were so many great performances and the way the crowd reacted differed by band. I will say, hats off to Bret Michaels; his energy set the tone for the rest of the night. SoFi is a great place to take in a show of this magnitude and these bands delivered for all of their fans!