When The Stadium Tour was announced on December 4th of 2019, it was hands down the most anticipated tour of the summer. The show was absolutely stacked with some of the most talented bands of one of the greatest era’s of music. The tour could have been a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame introduction class all in itself with legendary bands like Joan Jett, Poison, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.
But, as so many tours over the last two years, ultimately the COVID pandemic derailed the tour. There had been attempts to get back on the rails and push to hit the road in the summer 2021, with no prevail. But the anticipation of this incredible tour over the last two years will certainly make these shows that much more special to those in attendance. And Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia would be no exception.
On a steamy 90 degree day in June, all the action on the stage would continue to heat things up throughout the course of the day. Starting things off are the hard rocking five piece outfit Classless Act. The band set off their set with the high energy of This is for You. Singer Derek Day worked the stage like a seasoned veteran, engaging in fans around the stage while twirling the mic stand like a 5 foot piton. Their fast paced rhythms, rocking guitar riffs and blistering solos had fans locked in right out of the gate.
The guitar pairing of Dane Pieper and Griffin Tucker wowed the crowd both visually and audibly. Both put on a clinic with their Sunburst Les Pauls as they sprinted around the stage without skipping a beat. Classless Act had such a full wall of harmonies when Piper, Griffin and Bassist Franco Gravante would step up to the mic behind Derek Day, as their voices filled up the large venue. Drummer Chuck McKissock would be the conductor of this Rock & Roll locomotive with his crushing fills and thunderous hits behind the kit.
Though they had a shorter set then others on the tour, Classless Act absolutely made their presence known as they served up high octane rock music on a platter to everyone in the park. The band would close out their time on stage with their high powered single Classless Act which on the release, would feature none other than Motley Crue frontman Vince Neal. In total honesty, I had not heard of the band prior to this show. But I can say I was a fan before they finished their first song. This band is another in the army of acts that are the future of Rock & Roll and I have no doubt that Classless Act will be out there headlining their own tour soon enough. Make sure you check out the debut album Welcome to the Show.
As the crowd starts to fill up the seats, the chants of “JOAN” start to echo through the air when fans catch sight of the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts embroidered gear starting to make its way across the stage. Soon the stage would be set and The Blackhearts trot out to a wave of applause. The ovation grew until “The Queen of Rock & Roll” herself walked out with a smile as she waved to the screaming fans on her way to the mic. Once she is in place, the band drop into one of Joan’s classic tunes with “Victim of Circumstance” and with a full head up steam rolls right into The Runaways vivacious anthem “Cherry Bomb”.
It was just a bit surreal to stand in front of such a music legend. For almost fifty years Joan’s music has been both iconic and inspiring to a generation of music lovers and musicians alike. But it hasn’t just been the originals produced by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts that have rocked this show. Joan and the boys would break out some really killer covers some of you may have heard of, including Sprinsteen’s Light of Day, Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People, and of course Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch had the entire stadium thunderously clapping along. Only Joan Jett could put such a hard edge punk spin on songs like those.
But it would be the last few songs of the set that would bring the crowd to their feet. Starting off with the song has inspired so many to pick up a guitar just to learn that opening lick of the iconic I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. Fans could probably be heard in New Jersey as they belted out every word right along with Joan. Without missing a beat, the band jumped right into I Hate Myself for Loving You before wrapping it all up with the song that really launched the career of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts with the anthem Bad Reputation. The band just released their first ever acoustic record Change Up in March of this year. So make sure you check out this new chapter in the band’s history.
Victim of Circumstance Fake Friends
You Drive Me Wild I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
Everyday People I Hate Myself for Loving You
As soon as fans got a look at Rikki Rocket’s drum kit being set up they had no problem giving a premature round of cheers. Luckily they wouldn’t have to wait long before the man himself pops up on the drum riser as Guitarist C.C. Deville and Bassist Bobby Dall make their way out as well. And as soon as Singer Bret Michaels flies out from backstage the band kickoff the title track off their 1986 debut Look What the Cat Dragged In. You could feel the band’s energy right away and that just fed the excitement of the crowd.
The four piece kept the adrenaline going through hits like Ride the Wind, Talk Dirty To Me and the irresistible swing of Your Momma Don’t Dance. Shortly after, Bret walks out onto the stage runner and gets the thousands in attendance to start a “C.C.” chant while Rikki helps build the momentum. Michaels gives way as Deville takes his place front and center and unleashes a tirade of note blistering playing, occasionally stopping to wave on more cheers from the fans. After throwing in a quick lick from The Munsters theme song, C.C. explodes into that legendary finger tap section of Van Halen’s Eruption and fitting enough, that’s exactly how the crowd reacted in turn.
What rock show would be complete without both a guitar and drum solo. Later in the set Rikki Rocket would unleash a flurry of rolls, fills and triplets, sounding like the 4th of July came a little early this year. But when Bret Michaels straps on his acoustic guitar with its signature thorn rose, the back display panels illuminate with burning candles and the fans go wild. Soon he starts strumming the chords to one of the biggest ballads of the last thirty-four years with Every Rose Has Its Thorn. The crowd’s voices were as clear and powerful as they had been all day and really made this the pinnacle of the show so far. Poison would switch gears and close it out with their energetic party anthem Nothin’ But A Good Time. And judging by the smiles they had on their faces throughout their set, and the crowd’s continuous ovations, I’d say that’s exactly what we had.
Look What the Cat Dragged In Fallen Angel
Talk Dirty to Me Rikki Drum Solo
C.C. Guitar Solo Every Rose Has Its Thorn
As night starts to take over the sky, the stage lights up with images from Def Leppard’s new album Diamond Star Halos. Soon, a countdown starts to tick away. Once it hits 10, the fans begin to chant their own countdown. When it hits zero, the LED barricade lifts up, revealing the band as they serve up a fresh new track Take What You Want. The stage from top to bottom glows so brightly that it not only lights up the entire stadium. But could most likely be seen clearly in orbit above Philadelphia. I can assure you though. The view was much better down here at Citizens Bank Park.
With the beginning of the set consisting of solid Leppard hits including Foolin, Love Bites and a rockin’ track from their latest release with Kick. Def Leppard would however transition into a more intimate time with the fans with a trio of acoustic performances. First would be a moving track off of Diamond Star Halos with This Guitar then right into a beautifully re-imagined version of the band’s 1992 hit Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad. Then rounding off the acoustic hat trick, Joe Elliot performed another off of the Adrenalize record. This time as a soulful solo effort with Two Steps Behind.
From here on out, it was like living a greatest hits album live. Def Leppard gave us everything we could want from their catalog with Bringin’ on the Heartbreak, Hysteria and of course Pour Some Sugar on Me. We also can’t leave out Drummer Rick Allen’s incredible drum solo. And they weren’t done yet. Rock of Ages would have Guitarist’s Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen front and center dueling out on each other’s guitar solos. Def Leppard would wrap up their time with the fans with the classic track Photograph, which would have photos of the band from over the years displayed large and proud on the screens across the back of the stage. After another amazing set of music, that leaves us with just one more band.
Take What You Want Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
Fire It Up Two Steps Behind
Armageddon It Switch 625 (Drum Solo)
Excitable Rock of Ages
This Guitar Photograph
When the lights on stage go out, the entire stadium goes pitch black. Soon the video monitors high on either side of the stage light up with a National Alert message, followed by a breaking news report from MCN News (Motley Crue Network). After the buliten, a red banner that read “The Future Is Ours” starts to raise off the stage. And when it reaches its destination in the rafters, Drummer Tommy Lee counts off four through the darkness and when the stage lights flash on, they revealing the rest of the band darting across the stage as they open it up with Wild Side. Despite outtings in the past, Singer Vince Neil hit the stage like he was shot out of a canon. Full of energy and made sure the vocal range did the talking.
Something that immediatley stood out, was that Tommy Lee paid tribute to his good friend Taylor Hawkins by having his picture across his kick drum head. It’s impossible not to have been touched by his music in one way or another. After a couple of classic Crue songs including Shout at the Devil and Too Fast For Love, Tommy’s backup drummer Tommy Clufetos would jump in for a handful of tracks before Lee’s triupmhant return for the high octane of Dirt. Vince Neil would have help from none other than Machine Gun Kelly as he popped up on the video screens on a couple verses. Next we would get a hell of a Motley Montage of songs including Smokin’ in the Boys Room, White Punks on Dope, Helter Skelter and Anacrhy in the U.K.
For me. The highlight of the entire set was watching Motley Crue reconviegn around the chromed out piano on stage and you could genuinley see that friendship that these guys have with one another. Which just hieghtened the mood for the heartfelt performance of their stunning ballad Home Sweet Home. Crue would kick it back into high gear as they drop right into the hard hitting Dr. Feelgood. The song would give Guitarist Mick Mars a chance to shred on his Fender Strat and wow the fans.
The intro to the crushing Primal Scream had fans on every level of the stadium head banging with devil horns high in the air. The momentum would carry us right into Motley Crue’s iconic Kickstart My Heart which had the crowd giving it all they had on those chorus lines. The energy from the fans had Bassist Nikki Sixx running all over the stage interacting with those close to the stage. As the bands set and this incredible show comes to a close, columns of smoke fire high into the sky as while a message displays over the stage that said “Thank You Philadelphia”. And just like that. The biggest tour of the year concludes and no doubt left a lasting impression on all those in attendance.
Don’t Go Away Mad Same Ol’ Situation
Saints of Los Angeles Girls, Girls, Girls
Smokin’ in the Boys Room/ White Punks on Dope/
Helter Skelter/ Anarchy in the U.K.