The Stadium Tour Rocked Indianapolis [REVIEW]
Show review by Tom Antonson – All photos © 2022 by: Roman Sobus
Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts & Classless Act
The Stadium Tour – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis Indiana
August 16, 2022
The long-awaited and uber-popular Stadium Tour made a stop at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this past Tuesday. While this was one of the more recent additions to the tour, tens of thousands of eager fans packed the stands. Averaging close to forty thousand tickets sold per stop, this is one of the most popular tours this year. Eager fans were treated not only to Def Leppard and Motley Crue, but also to special guests Poison, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and newcomers Classless Act.
There were still long lines outside when the opener Classless Act hit the stage at 4pm, a mere half hour after doors opened. While they were not originally on the tour 2 ½ years ago when this tour began, they were added by members of Motley Crue. They did an amazing job warming up the eager concert goers that were finding their seats. With vocals that sound like a wild-child of Robert Plant and Axl Rose and a dual guitar setup that would make most 80’s bands jealous, Classless Act delivered quite the show in their 5 song set.
Up next was the legendary Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan has been a staple in the music industry since her work with The Runaways in the mid to late 1970’s. Her guitar playing and vocals have stood the test of time. Joan also earned her stripes by fronting the uber-successful Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Keyboard player and original member Kenny Laguna helped culture the crowd by sharing the band’s origins. Since they are a female-fronted band, they struggled to get a record deal and had to sell records out of the back of their car. However, their hard work paid off and they became one of the most legendary bands of all time. As if rock anthems such as “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and “I Love Rock n Roll” weren’t enough, Joan played Runaways songs such as “Cherry Bomb” and even material off of her new album Changeup, which was just released a few months ago. Joan and company truly put on a great show, however, that was just the beginning.
Next onstage was the 80’s glam powerhouse, Poison, which put on quite a captivating show. Their 10 song setlist packed a punch of 80’s rock anthems such as “Fallen Angel”, “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Ride the Wind”, “Every Rose has its Thorn”, and more. Guitarist CC Deville even went into a captivating version of Van Halen’s “Eruption” during his guitar solo. They also included “Unskinny Bop”, which was a treat as they had not played it on this tour before. All 4 band members (Bret Michaels, CC Deville, Bobby Dall & Rikki Rockett) truly gave their all, and the crowd loved it.
While the stadium made it sound somewhat like a tin can, Poison absolutely rocked everyone that was there. The sound improved dramatically as people filtered inside and took their seats. Their onstage antics had the crowd on their feet, talking dirty and having “Nothing but a Good Time”. Poison truly put on an amazing show and helped to prove that they earned their spot on this tour. This was my third time seeing this tour and Poison and Def Leppard absolutely stole the show again!
Next up, and in my opinion worth every minute of the four hour drive to be there was Def Leppard. The legendary British rockers have been a staple in the music industry for over 45 years and truly lived up to their reputation. While most bands chose to hunker down during the 2 ½ year break during covid, Def Leppard decided to make their twelfth “studio” album Diamond Star Halos…but they did it all via remote conferencing and from all over the world according to lead singer, Joe Elliott.
The album was received so well that they decided to dedicate almost a quarter of their set to it. Opening the show was their hit single “Take What You Want” featuring Joe Elliott’s powerhouse vocals, Rick Allen’s booming drums, Rick Savage’s melodic bass lines and dueling guitar goodness from Vivan Campbell and Phil Collen. Material from Hysteria made up a solid chunk of the setlist with hits such as “Rocket”, “Love Bites” & the uber-popular “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. “Hysteria” was also accompanied by a melodic outtro and hundreds of pictures and memories from the bands career displayed across the gigantic video wall, which was an amazing touch.
The band also broke into a semi-acoustic set for songs such as “This Guitar” off Diamond Star Halos and a singalong of “Two Steps Behind”. The band also went back to their 1981 album, “High n Dry” playing “Let it Go”, “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “Switch 625”, which featured Campbell and Collen’s magnificent guitar work.
This medley also featured a drum solo by drummer Rick Allen, who is affectionately known as “The Thundergod”. In a setlist refresh from the first leg of the tour, they included the hit “Promises” off their 1999 album, Euphoria. This song encapsulated the true talent and sound of Def Leppard and showcased some of the strongest background vocals and overall sound I have ever heard live.
The only “disappointment” of the show was the snub of material off their 1991 #1 album Adrenalize. Granted, Def Leppard’s catalogue of hits is so large they could easily double their setlist and still have hits left out. Even through things such as alcoholism, cancer, the loss of drummer Rick Allen’s left arm in 1984, and the passing of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991, Def Leppard has stood the test of time and lives on to be one of the biggest and best bands of all time.
This show was also particularly special because it was the 36th anniversary of Rick Allen’s triumphant return to the Donington festival and playing live shows after losing his arm. They were truly on their “A” game all night and went note for note with some of their biggest hits and truly blew the roof off the stadium, since this was one of the few stadiums on this tour with a roof.
Motley Crue then took over the stage with the help a fake emergency broadcast message, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, & Mick Mars took the stage in a haze. It was almost a dream and having the Crue tour after their 2015 “Cessation of Touring Agreement”, it was a dream come true for many. Fueled by their successful Netflix biopic “The Dirt” they blew up that agreement and took to touring again.
Motley Crue has been both famous and infamous for the better part of 4 decades thanks to their music, crazy onstage behavior, and even crazier off-stage antics. Some of this was recently fueled by a scandalous photo drummer Tommy Lee posted on Twitter or by Tommy asking women to expose themselves at the concert. Even through the test of time they have powered through and still put on an amazing show. Motley’s 90-minute set was filled with surprises such as a performance of their new song “The Dirt” with Machine Gun Kelly on tracked vocals and a medley of hit songs such as “Helter Skelter” & “Smokin in the Boys Room”.
Their set also included a plethora of hits such as “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Dr. Feelgood”, “Wild Side”, “Kickstart My Heart”, and more. A crowd favorite “Home Sweet Home” consisted of Tommy Lee on both the piano and drum set…as well as fans swaying their cellphone lights and singing along.
Frontman Vince Neil really got his act together and sounded the best he has in years, give credit where credit is due. While the bombastic bass playing of Nikki Sixx and monstrous drumming of Tommy Lee did seem to overpower the music at times, the Crue still sounded solid. Legendary guitarist Mick Mars dazzled the crowd with his unique guitar tricks and legendary riffs.
This was truly an action-packed night as the concert went from 3:45pm – 10:50pm. Audience members got quite a bang for their buck with some of the biggest bands of the 1980’s all the way to today. While all of them sounded amazing, the crowd did get a little restless at times and some even got a little too rowdy as fans were drinking too many signature Def Leppard beers or beverages of choice.
In fact, there was an unfortunate incident of a fan falling from the balcony during the show, the fan was not seriously injured but was rushed to the hospital as a precaution. Regardless, countless memories were made and the thousands in attendance witnessed a show to remember. This goes down in my book as one of my favorite concerts I have ever attended and seeing bands like this still on the road selling out the world’s biggest stadiums further proves that rock n roll is still alive and kicking!
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:
Lucas Oil Stadium: