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8th July 2023

Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard Live: A double bill of thrills

Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard headlined the fifth and final day of Lytham Festival – and they went out with a bang!
Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard Live: A double bill of thrills
Def Leppard. Photo: Ryan Sebastyan

Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard are two of the most iconic rock bands in history. Hailing from the US and the UK, respectively, they joined forces a few years ago for The Stadium Tour in North America. The success of that tour led to this year’s The World Tour, which included four stops in the UK, including Def Leppard’s hometown, Sheffield.

They also co-headlined the fifth and final day of Lytham Festival. This year’s stellar line-up included Lionel Richie, and a double bill of Sting and Blondie. Last year’s lineup included The Strokes and Diana Ross, my favourite 20th-century artist.

Sunday’s opening act was VIVAS, who also hail from Sheffield, but it took us 3.5 hours to get from Burnley to Lytham (thanks to two motorway closures) so sadly we missed them. Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard alternate the closing slot on tour. In Lytham, it was Mötley Crüe’s turn.

Def Leppard came onstage looking dapper. They even had a costume change midway through; I think lead singer Joe Elliott just changed blazers but it was a nice touch nonetheless, especially in a set that was no longer than 1.5 hours. Rick Savage looked particularly camp; he has real rockstar energy. Phil Collin was as cool as ever; he did not take his top off but it was a little cold so he is forgiven. Rick Allen, inarguably one of the greatest drummers in the world, received a lot of love from the audience. This man lost an arm and learned to drum with only one; that’s talent. Vivian Campbell, the newest member (1992), loved every moment onstage.

Their setlist included most of their hits, from their highest-charting UK hits (no. 2) ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘When Love & Hate Collide’, to ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Armageddon It’, which reached no. 1 and 3 on the US Billboard 200, respectively.

The last section of the set was electric. Following ‘Hysteria’, my second favourite Def Leppard song, they performed my favourite song from their catalogue – and probably yours too – ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. In all honesty, that song is the reason I was there; it’s one of my all-time favourite songs, and there’s nothing quite like seeing your favourite songs performed live.

Whilst the guys are older now, their voices have aged like fine wine, and they’ve not lost any of their musical skill (again, Allen learned to drum with only one arm!). Elliott does not sound too different from his prime; his voice is just richer and huskier, and that works wonderfully with rock.

The last two songs were ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Photograph’. I was a bit humoured seeing the former performed because I recently reviewed the jukebox musical of the same name; it was named after the song but they could not secure the rights to it so seeing it sung live, by the actual artist, was a treat.

Mötley Crüe. Photo: Lucas Englund

After Def Leppard left the stage, scores of people left the venue. They were not fussed about seeing Mötley Crüe, who did not enjoy anywhere near as much success in the UK as our own Def Leppard (though they were bigger in their native US).

Worried about motorway closures on the way back, especially on a work night, I decided to leave during Mötley Crüe’s set, meaning we missed the hits ‘Dr. Feelgood’, ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, ‘Primal Scream’, and ‘Kickstart My Heart’, all of which were performed towards the end of their set. We did, however, manage to catch ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’, which was a thrilling performance. I loved it when three of the members stood together at the front of the stage and sang into the mic.

Lead singer Vince Neil has not updated his look in decades, and I absolutely love that about him. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee have gotten cooler with age, and new member John 5 fits in perfectly; it’s no surprise they have upgraded him from a touring member to a full member.

Like Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe looked and sounded amazing, and it’s a shame we could not stay for the entirety of their set. However, I am glad that Def Leppard were on first because, like most people in the audience, they were the act I was more excited to see.

Whilst I listened to both bands on Spotify in the lead-up to the festival, the only song I knew previously was ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. I can’t say I’m a fan of either band but I cannot deny their sheer talent, especially at their age, after decades in the industry. They are a pair of rock legends.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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