Chronicle | Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard: sexism and eternal hits in Madrid
A dream night for hard rock fans and a reminder that times are very different now.
Outstanding Debt: Here’s What I Had Motley Crew With Spain from a long time ago. Or Spain with Mötley Crüe, I guess. The truth is that the Nikki Sixx band never really worked in our country: a certain promoter from Madrid almost went bankrupt in 2005, losing a million. they were playing Madrid and Zaragoza, and between the two shows the band performed for the first time on Latin American soil to just over 8,000 people with a gigantic production typical of their reunion tour, including a circus. The subsequent performance at the Kobetasonik festival in 2009 also did not become a panacea and was remembered for a rather mediocre Crüe concert.
Almost fifteen years later, the band returned to Spain for a new world tour with def leppard thanks to which they entered the largest stadiums in the USA with great success under the brand “Stadium Tour”. Crüe have undeniably capitalized on the exposure that Netflix’s The Filth gave them, access to the band’s music through streaming platforms for the younger generation – something that has grown exponentially since their last tour in 2015 – and this “stadium orchestra” status, which was intended but never certified in Spain.
It must be said that as soon as we reached Miguel Ríos de Rivas Auditorium, it was like landing in another dimension: a place with 20,000 fans of classic hard rock is not something you often see. A style that doesn’t enjoy mainstream acceptance, lives outside of mainstream media and is based on bands that can be considered obsolete from a 2023 perspective. And also the audience: curly hair, tight dresses straight from 1987 on some of the girls and a lot of provincial metal pakism. For some reason, everything cool from the point of view of 2023 causes controversy or criticism.
Has it been 42 years already?
but there they were Motley Crew and Def Leppard in front of 20,000 people in an auditorium in Madrid 40 years after its foundation. Some after going through addictions, (brief) deaths, some without arms, and others with fairer voices. Where will Rosalia be in 2060? Or the weekend? And Bad Bunny? And Aitana? Moreover, can anyone imagine any current artist surviving – collectively and individually – beyond 2030? They did it. And they came out stronger, at least numerically, maybe less musically.
The same goes for the public: there was a lot of ritual of celebration in what happened on Saturday, “we’re still here after all this time.” Some are already with children. The rest are with no one. But everyone was singing “SOS” and “Let’s Get Rocked”.
After four years of post-pandemic turmoil, the tour, which never took place, did. Although the concert was announced back in November last year, the first movements date back to 2020. And, let’s face it, the passing years do not bring any benefit to a group like them. But I left Rivas feeling like they still had gas in the tank, perhaps more for a rejuvenated Mötley Crüe and wanting to show things now with John 5 as guitarist than for Def Leppard who I saw was very focused on taking it for a walk on the greatest hits and doing exactly what everyone expects. There is nothing wrong with that: they have been doing it for decades and have done nothing wrong.
Only five minutes late, Mötley Crüe took the stage under a scorching sun that was beginning to fade over the horizon but was still doing its job. They did it with “The Wild Side” and “Scream at the Devil” almost like a statement of intent. The double whammy, as soon as it started, sent the audience into a state of madness, or as mad as can be at 30+ degrees in an inhospitable place like the Rivas Auditorium.
The first thing that becomes clear when looking at the group is, as I said, hunger. I’ve seen more loss-making Crüe gigs. Despite his ability to pay, he shows when the group is out of place. I had a chance to see them on their farewell European tour back in 2015, and the feeling coming from the stage was different, even if it’s not noticeable to the audience who came to have a good time. However, last night in Madrid they gave it their all and there’s something wonderful about a band that’s back from everything taking the stage with such enthusiasm. They probably needed to get rid of Mick Mars in order to look to the future, as bad as his absence from the band seemed to me. Having life and movement on the right side of the stage changed the band’s stage dynamics.
The set list was a well-crafted compilation of their entire career, with a few current references – only The L.A. Saints (most recently, 2008, but nothing in rock terms) and The Filth. The rest was the hard rock festival of the 1980s. It’s impossible not to get carried away by the memories of the best and free times with “Too Fast For Love”, “Live Wire”, “Looks that Kill” or “Dr. Feel good.” That’s what the 80s were all about: hedonism, innocence, and a world that was definitely getting better, or so we thought.
Hedonism reached its peak when Tommy Lee, so reviled and so loved for his youthful enthusiasm, appeared at the tender age of sixty and stood in front of the stage, asking to see boobs. He took a few and threatened to show his weapon, although almost all of us have already seen it. He also got a hairy butt that got the audience laughing.
Thing is, seeing Lee asking for boobs (“I want boobs!”) on the same day people were wondering if Rammstein should disappear from the face of the earth due to sexual harassment allegations surrounding their vocalist Till Lindemann , was… curious. The juxtaposition of both approaches was paradoxical: from free sex as a sign of freedom, despite the obvious objectification of women in the misogynistic rock of the 80s, to parallel trials of the vocalist for facts that have yet to be demonstrated and clarified. Maybe it’s a matter of generation. Or maybe if Twitter had existed in 1987, Mötley Crüe would have been very socially cancelled. They wouldn’t last even five minutes in a social media environment.
Lee, along with the rest of the group, performed the soulful song “Home Sweet Home” before the provocative scene, another return to better days and the general feeling of being far away from the ones you love. The final stretch of the show clashed with the winning Girls, Girls, Girls, which, again, creaked when viewed through the lens of 2023. 60.
The thing is, people were having a good time, the group’s choir dancers sexualized themselves uncontrollably with lewd moves, and everything is left as it was: a cabaret with guitars that shouldn’t have more reading than that. At the end of the show, two bombs in the form of “Primal Scream” and the explosive “Kickstart My Heart”, which ended the concert after 22:30.
Def Leppard: Downsizing
Seeing Def Leppard after an energetic Mötley Crüe show was a little depressing. Even though there are anthems, it was clear that the audience was much more connected to Mötley than to Leppard. Some, not many, led to the exit when changing groups. Compared to Crüe and their “hyper” approach, Leppard looked like elegant, accomplished gentlemen, playing an unrivaled repertoire of 80s pop metal anthems.
They started with a countdown and “Take What You Want” from their new album “Diamond Star Halos”. But the first great moment of the night will be “Let’s Get Rocked”. For those now 40, it’s hard to forget the ubiquity of this song on Los 40 Principales in 1992 and 1993. That’s how hits were made: constantly bombarding them. And the public reacted accordingly.
With a more relaxed band on stage – discreet and elegant but not lacking in energy – Def Leppard sounded good enough, better than Crüe. Also because his music is generally much cleaner. So ‘Animal’, ‘Foolin” and ‘Armaggedon It’ took us back in time, despite Joe Elliot, who appreciates his vocal efforts well and gets a lot of help from the rest of the band and maybe the tracks. accompaniment in choirs. It is impossible to reproduce these harmonies, sung with a helium balloon in 1987, without dying in the attempt in 2023.
There was an acoustic set in a provocateur, a sweet moment. They did so with “This Guitar”, another of their newest productions, and the nearly forgotten “When Love and Hate Collides” from the 1995 compilation Vault. But it was in the second half of the concert that Leppard forged ahead: the energetic “Rocket”, “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” and the heartbreaking epic “Switch 625” with solos from the always affable Rick Allen and “Hysteria” sounded great.
At the end, there were the inevitable “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” that could have been avoided, which closed the night, and the audience was generally very pleased. Because, let’s not kid ourselves, the concerts of bands with a certain history do not always go well, and you can end up worse than they came in, seeing the inevitable fall of their idols. In Rivas, this was not the case: it was a night when everything went exactly as expected. If there’s a catch, it’s that Crewe had to close the night by switching roles with Leppard.
I don’t know how the decision to rotate the account would have been made (streams, record sales, social media followers maybe), but in Spain it was a mistake not to rotate it. It has been shown that despite Leppard’s more commercial success, Crüe has more appeal. Of course: both groups individually, alone, would have placed a maximum of 6,000 people in the corral.
The great thing about this tour is the added value: for a reasonable price, you can see two legends on the same stage and cross them off your list, especially for those who have never seen Mötley before. No doubt a good night of classic hard rock, a reminder that any time in the past was better or at least less difficult, and timeless hits that have played a huge role in our lives.
Text: Sergi Ramos | Photos: Blas Herrero
Hall:Miguel Rios Auditorium