I am honestly still trying to sort through my thoughts regarding the show on Sunday night. It was an epic line-up regardless of how you look at it. Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts– I mean, come on. Full disclosure- I did not grow up on these bands and am a bit too young to remember their heydays but I know a killer line-up when I see it and I was so excited when offered the chance to check it out but was it worth the hype? Or are all of these bands just a bit too far past their prime to make it worth the stress and expense of going to a stadium show at a stadium that has terrible acoustic to start?
Unfortunately, as it seems to go with stadium shows, I was running a bit late and missed the majority of Classless Act’s set. Luckily for me I found out about their early start from their PR rep. The show was only advertised as starting at 4:30 PM with doors at 3 PM (holy early show!) and there was no mention of Classless Act anywhere. What a shame and I felt terrible that I was late because they really had a great sense of energy on stage during the few songs I caught. Their grunginess mixed with a little glam was the perfect way to kick the night off and I just wish they would have been given the respect that they deserved by at least being mentioned in the promo materials. I’m not sure that would have gotten more people there early but at least they would have gotten a bit of the spotlight that they deserve.
The Sunday night show really did start off strong with Classless Act being followed by the one and only Joan Jett. Even at age sixty-three, this woman still has it. Backed by The Blackhearts, Joan and her amazing band powered through a twelve-song set that included a brilliant cover of “Everyday People” from Sly & The Family Stone along with other hits songs and ending with a personal favorite of mine, “Bad Reputation”. Overall, it was a stunning show of talent but the audience didn’t seem to be as into it as they would be for the following sets. As my friend who came with me said, “It was a very age-appropriate response.” Which, albeit funny, felt very very true. Joan’s set was understated for how big of a deal she is but I was honestly just honored to be in her presence and there’s no way I was alone in that.
What happened next was absolutely the highlight of the night for me and, safe to say, the majority of the rest of the audience. Poison has been around since 1983 and although their music hasn’t really stayed relevant and they haven’t even released an album since 2007, frontman Bret Michaels has stayed relevant and has continued to put out music on the solo front. Is that music for me? Absolutely not but, due to a friend’s obsession with this man, I found myself at one of his shows a few years ago, and honestly it had me sold on him. That show was a much smaller performance than Sunday night but the feeling was the same. The entire band was having a great time and you could feel that throughout the enormous stadium. He addressed the audience and thanked them time and time again all the while mentioning his love for Minnesota. Sure, he probably does this at every show but the appreciation mixed with the undeniable energy that came from him running all around the stage was more than enough to have me excited to be crossing this epic band off my bucket list. On top of that, the entire band just felt polished and every song turned into a sing-a-long but, instead of relying on the crowd to sing the choruses, Bret Michaels held his own in a perfect way. Honestly, Poison stole this show and I knew that before they were even done with their all-too-quick nine-song set.
Closing the epic throwback night out was Def Leppard. Out of all of the main acts playing on Sunday, Def Leppard was the one I knew the least about but they, like Poison, seemed to have a very polished set. I couldn’t sing along like I could to Poison or Joan Jett but I loved the energy that was radiating off the stage and throughout the audience. It was impossible to not get lost in it all and led to a new appreciation for this band. Although their dated songs felt, well, dated and even the few new tracks from their 2022 album ‘Diamond Star Halos’ felt as if they were from a different time, that was the whole point of the night, right? It was a night of nostalgia for those who grew up in the era and that just wasn’t me so it didn’t hit me the same way. At seventeen songs, Def Leppard’s set felt like it lasted just a bit too long but I will chalk that up to my lack of attachment to this band and the trainwreck that had happened just before they took the stage. What was that train wreck you may ask?
Did you see it? The Tommy Lee photo that he “accidentally” posted the other day on social media? If you had asked me that day what I thought about it, I would have just said that he was just being a bratty diva and trying to stir the pot but after seeing Motley Crue perform on Sunday night part of me wonders if this was just a desperate attempt to keep relevant because, unlike the other bands on the Stadium Tour, Motley Crue has not aged well. We all know that Vince Neil can’t sing. That has been apparent for years but the mess that was their fifteen-song set was not a nightmare just because of the clear lack of talent. It was because of the obvious toxic masculinity that plagued their set. From relying on the scantily clad female dancers who the cameras seemed to focus on more than the actual musicians to the demand from Tommy Lee for women in the audience to flash them (which some did), I was completely turned off by their set. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that back in Motley Crue’s heyday, this was the thing but it’s 2022 and it’s just no longer acceptable. Like the Tommy Lee photo, the overt sexism that rang louder than their music throughout the set just seemed like a desperate attempt to keep relevant when, really, they should just stop as they had said they were going to years ago.
Okay, okay, take out the smoke and mirrors, you may say, and just focus on the music. Fair. I get that. I am a “music reviewer” and that is my job but the problem was, the music wasn’t even good. I know that the sound in U.S. Bank Stadium isn’t good. Hell, we all know that, but it was more than that. Vince Neil struggled to find any of the notes he was supposed to be singing and relied mostly on the audience during the parts where he should have really stolen the spotlight. Sure, the other band members were chugging along on their parts and that was fine but there was just too much bad happening throughout their set where it didn’t even matter and I honestly couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
Long story short- Poison stole this show. Hands down. Def Leppard would have stood a chance had they not had to follow the absolute mess that they did. Classless Act at the very least deserved their name on the billing and Joan Jett is still a force to be reckoned with. Motley Crue should have been done years ago but refuse to stop which is a shame because, at this point, they have become nothing more than a parody of whatever glory they had in their hey day.