It was a night to remember at Busch Stadium on July 5, 2022. Fans of all ages (some of which would be reminiscing about Super Jam days at the Checker Dome) would gather, drink, laugh, sing, dance and headbang to two of the greatest rock bands of the 80s. The heat and temperatures of over 100 degrees was not enough to stop us from rockin’ out all night. Hot summer nights, cold beer, old ripped-up band tees and tank tops, of course it was the same ol' situation…
While I wasn’t able to arrive early enough to catch the future of rock n roll Classless Act (who is an AMAZING band, already gaining major props from Vince Neil and the rest of The Crüe) and a badass female rock n roll legend Joan Jett, the crowd was already eccentric by the time Poison took the stage, as led by Brett Michaels. While standing in line, tons of concert-goers sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” as loud as they possibly could, while others sat outside embracing the classic 80s love song. As I was graced with the song that is played all too often during Cardinals games at Busch Stadium, “Nothin’ But A Good Time” was blasting over the speakers as the crowd embraced the hit. As fans were decked out in their classic Def Leppard 1983 tour shirts and Mötley Crüe Theatre Of Pain shirts, the crowd seemed to already be content as they travelled back to the 80s.
Taking the stage at exactly 7:30 pm, the roaring thundercats Def Leppard kicked off their set with “Take What You Want.” As the band lead right into their 1987 hit from their best-selling album with over 20 million copies sold, Hysteria. Fans were overjoyed with what they were seeing before their eyes as we were all finally able to gather at this concert. But it was during the band’s ultimate love song “Love Bites” where things got serious and the ladies hearts began to melt (including mine). With perfectly in-sync harmonies, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen playing that insanely catchy riff, and lead singer Joe Elliot’s ethereal vocals, it was enough to give me chills.
For the acoustic portion of the set, the band went to the front of the stage (closer to the crowd) and performed songs such as “This Guitar” and “Two Steps Behind.” But it was when Def Leppard performed yet another love song, “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” when hearts melted yet again. Their hit from 1992’s Adrenalize enlightened the crowd with the powerful vocals and soft acoustics to embrace. “Rocket” brought fans to their feet as they chanted along during the chorus. “Switch 625” brought on the ultimate drum solo from extremely underrated Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen. Having been playing with only one arm since 1984, there’s no other drummer in history who can play like him and deliver a breath-taking performance. As we neared the end of the band’s 18-track performance, “Hysteria” brought the the slow-track vibe back one last time. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” as always brought the scooped the crowd up again as nearly everyone in the stadium would jam out to this song. As “Rock Of Ages” blasted over the PAs, chorus chants excelled from the crowd as we were ready for one more song. Closing out their set with “Photograph”, fans were forever in love with what they were hearing as they soared back to the 80s. Even fans who weren’t alive in the 80s but embrace the nostalgia of it (like myself) were immensely content as Def Leppard’s set came to a close.
Busch Stadium was nearly at full capacity at exactly 9:30 pm for The Crue who was fashionably late of course… A public service announcement was made regarding that Mötley Crüe owns the future and is determined to take over the world again with their obnoxiously loud guitars, screaming vocals and the bad boy charm all four members still carry. Opening up with 1987’s “Wild Side”, singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee and guitarist Mick Mars proved they are still Motley Crue and can still put on a kickass show instantly. Following with fan-favorite “Shout At The Devil,” fans were completely in-sync chanting with the band during the chorus as fans rose to their feet. Traveling further into the night with their still 80s glam rock looks and barely-dressed women dancing on stage, “Looks That Kill” blasted through the speakers as the crowd was in full rage. Carrying into the next track was a newer fan favorite based on Mötley Crüe's 2019 Netflix film and book, “The Dirt (est. 1981) and even featured Machine-Gun Kelly (who played Tommy Lee in the movie). Although I’m used to people hating and booing MGK (like people did during his Aftershock setlist), I was pleasantly surprised to see people into it and enjoying it.
Vince explained that when The Crüe first became a thing, they were playing in every single venue across Sunset Strip… But they had no original songs. Even after a few months of officially becoming a band and playing the iconic venues, the band was still doing covers every night. These covers included “Rock n Roll pt 2”, “Helter Skelter” and “Anarchy In The UK”, all of which they so kindly performed for us along with “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” and “White Punks On Dope.” As soon as Tommy Lee hopped off the drums, he ran to the middle of the stage closer to the crowd and screamed, “What the fuck is up everyone? How are ya?” as the crowd roared. He continued stating to the rest of the guys, “I told you… St. Louis, man! I knew it would be big.” As Tommy sat down at the piano while Vince, Nikki and Mick joined him in the middle of the stage, as Tommy played the first sweet notes of “Home Sweet Home.” Featured on The Crüe's 1985 album Theatre Of Pain, the song defines the band’s era at the time of becoming physically broken and ill, being gone for so long and the desire to go back home. Although the song was written to define the band’s feelings at that time, the fans have claimed it as their own as they feel at home at Mötley Crüe shows. Following was a track I’ve heard my entire life and ulimately a jam, “Dr. Feelgood.”
If they hadn’t proved it all night by now, Mötley Crüe confirmed it was the same ol’ situation with soul-busting guitar solos and gut-renching drumbeats, as they led into “Girls Girls Girls.” With the crowd still fully alive through the long night and baring temperatures of over 100 degrees, the night was finally coming to a close. As those motor-cycle-sounding guitar riffs began, the crowd roared with pleasure to complete a fantastic night that was spent in 80s nostalgia.
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