Review: Def Leppard & Motley Crue @ Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane)

Def Leppard played Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane) on 8 November, 2023 - image © Clea-marie Thorne
Senior Writer.
A seasoned all-rounder music writer and storyteller with a specialised interest in the history of rock.

The hearts of Brisbane rock fans were certainly kickstarted at Suncorp Stadium (8 November) with a double shot from Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.

The transatlantic attack brought together two of the greatest '80s rock icons, delivering over three hours of their classic and modern hits to a rapt and devoted audience.

Dirty bad boys Mötley Crüe were first up, hitting the stage with 'Wild Side' following a news-style video introduction that proclaimed: "the future is ours."

Accompanied by their dancers/ backup singers Ari Rosado and Hannah Sutton, Mötley Crüe treated fans to a set list featuring classics like 'Shout At The Devil', 'Too Fast For Love' and 'Looks That Kill' as well as more recent songs like 'The Dirt', the title track to their 2019 biopic.

Motley Crue
Motley Crue - image © Clea-marie Thorne

While far tamer than the hedonistic performances of Mötley Crüe's glory days, they did not disappoint the throng of Crüe faithful who sang along with Vince Neil and generally revelled in the rock & roll party atmosphere Mötley Crüe are known for conjuring.

Part way through the set, bassist Nikki Sixx took advantage of getting some facetime with the locals, waving an Aussie flag and inviting two young ladies onstage for selfies before introducing lead guitarist John 5 for an impressive spotlight solo.

John 5 replaced Mick Mars earlier this year and has made himself right at home with the riffs and licks of Mötley Crüe's beloved catalogue while bringing his own signature sonic quality to the band.

Dressed in a sleeveless, white, head-to-toe coat emblazoned with a large red 5, John 5 looked every part the guitar god as he wowed us with a shredding solo that featured a cheeky nod to 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC.

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Motley Crue - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The full band returned to the stage for a rousing medley of 'Smokin' In The Boys Room', 'Rock 'n' Roll Part 2', 'Helter Skelter', 'Anarchy In The UK', 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'Fight For Your Right'.

The stage lights dimmed, and the crew produced a piano, inciting a cry of "I'm on my way," from those in the crowd who knew what was coming. First though, Tommy Lee demounted his drum kit for an exposing interaction with the audience, asking: "Where's the titties?"

Several women and one enthusiastic gentleman answered Tommy's call, allowing the band to plough on with power ballad 'Home Sweet Home'. By then, we were all on our way to the grand finale of 'Dr Feelgood', 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and 'Kickstart My Heart', bringing a close to Mötley Crüe's set.

After a short break and stage changeover, a 15-minute countdown timer announced the imminent arrival of the evening's main event, British rock powerhouse Def Leppard.

In the six years since Def Leppard were last here, the love and loyalty for them among Australian fans has only grown stronger. Those who came out in force were witness to a masterclass in classic rock performance and showmanship.

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Def Leppard - image © Clea-marie Thorne

When I spoke to lead guitarist Phil Collen earlier this year, he claimed Def Leppard were at the apex of their career. Last night, there was no question that every member of Def Leppard is operating at their peak. Where Vince Neil's vocals were at times lost in the mix, Joe Elliot dominated with projection and impeccable form.

From opening track 'Take What You Want', he was enamouring as the consummate frontman, engaging the audience with both his masterful vocal ability and his witty banter between songs.

Def Leppard indulged fans with a set list of mostly classic hits interspersed with songs from their latest studio album, 'Diamond Star Halo'. However, the focus last night was celebrating the many songs that have made Def Leppard one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

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Def Leppard - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The athleticism of the group was also impressive, never once letting the energy drop as they poured some sugar on us with a cavalcade of hits like 'Let's Get Rocked', 'Animal', 'Foolin'' and 'Love Bites'.

Def Leppard's famously one-armed drummer Rick Allen provided an incredible highlight to the evening with his solo on 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak'.

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Def Leppard - image © Clea-marie Thorne

By the time Def Leppard played 'Hysteria', title track to their bestselling 1987 album, the crowd was brought to sheer rapture and fully primed for the show-stopping finale of 'Photograph', closing the curtain on an unforgettable evening of classic rock for the ages.

More photos from the concert.

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