Rock and Roll road-trip number 3 of 2023 commenced early on Saturday, February 11th. The destination- Atlantic City, New Jersey to see Motley Crue and Def Leppard-a mere 6-hour drive from my home in Virginia. I hit traffic outside of DC like normal but after Baltimore it was smooth sailing! I arrived in Atlantic City took a rest and then my partner in crime, Maria, and I hit up the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where the concert was. Rick Allen from Def Leppard had an art show at the Wentworth Art Gallery inside the hotel, so we went and walked through that. We began to run into other fans that I know from different shows, and it was like a class reunion. At the gallery we ran into my friend Judy whom I had met at the show in Hershey, PA last year. We also visited with my friend Carol who is the photographer at the Wentworth Gallery Rick Allen shows. Carol and I have been to several shows together. While still at Wentworth another friend Carolyn stopped by for a quick hello. It was great to catch up with everyone! We left Wentworth and went into the venue where our friend Matt was waiting for us. I first met Matt and Maria in Las Vegas in 2019 at the Def Leppard residency and caught up with them again last summer for the Seattle and Vancouver Stadium shows. For the Atlantic City show we had VIP General Admission on the floor and secured our places in the center of the stage. While waiting for the show to start I was able to visit with some more die-hard fans that I had met over the years, Donna from Missouri, Karen from Phoenix and Vanessa from San Diego. So many of us traveled for these shows- I wonder if the bands realize the network of fans who all know each other.
Motley Crue opened the show this night, a switch from the Friday night show. I was excited to see John 5 play with them in what was his second show with the band since joining after the retirement of Mick Mars. I absolutely love Mick Mars, but it was hard to see him play last summer as it was apparent how much his ankylosing spondylitis was affecting his ability to move. Mick pretty much stayed stationary playing which left all the stage antics to Nikki Sixx. The addition of John 5 to the band brought a vitality to the stage show that had been lacking and he gave Nikki someone to play with on stage. I think John 5 is a good fit and as he becomes more comfortable, we should see more antics between him, Nikki and Tommy, for sure. Vince looked and sounded better than he did during the 2022 Stadium Tour. He is still reliant on a teleprompter which you catch him reading from time to time. The Nasty Habits-aka their backup singers and dancers- are back, but down from 3 to 2 girls now. They are more scantily clad than ever before and, in this day, and age seems to me a little over the top. Having young 20 somethings dancing on stage smooching up to men who are old enough to be their father leaves a bad taste in my mouth and feels a little disrespectful to be honest. The Crue busted out their hits as was expected, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. At the end of the show Nikki threw out a ton of guitar picks as usual and I was able to get a couple, of which I shared with some others who weren't so lucky. Sharing the wealth brings good concert karma!
Def Leppard took the stage at 10:40 and opened with Take What You Want off of the Diamond Star Halo album. The set list changed some since 2022, with the addition of “When Love and Hate Collide” which was done hybrid acoustic/electric. Rick Savage was rocking a sea foam green suit which photographed amazingly and all 5 of the boys looked fit and ready to rock. Vivian Campbell, who many of you know as my favorite guitarist, spotted me in the crowd during Armageddon it, at which point I lost my balance and almost fell on my ass. Typical me. Sorry Maria! I almost took her down with me! Like most shows, this one went by too fast. My favorite song played live is Hysteria and they continued with a changed-up song ending similar to the ending they debuted last year only now with the deletion of the large bass drum and gong that Rick Allen would play. They continue to close out the show with Rock of Ages and Photograph as they have done for years now. Honestly, I am ready for them to change that up. I miss the days when we did the sing along for Rock of Ages and when they ended with Pour Some Sugar on Me. My favorite part of each show is the photo montage that is done during Photograph. It always brings a tear to my eye to see the photos of Steve Clark, young and alive. It is a great way that the band continues to honor the legacy of their friend.
As with all shows, this show ended much too quickly. We said our goodbyes to Matt and his dad Mark and made our way to the Center Bar at the Hard Rock, where we met up with friends to hang out and replay the night. We made it to bed around 4 am tired and happy.
The next morning was brutal. I woke up with a killer headache. One of the drawbacks of being so close to the stage is that you are looking up all night. The kink in my neck was the cause of the headache as I only had a couple of drinks the night before. I rolled out of bed, said farewell to Maria and started the long drive home at 11 am. I made it home and hit the hay and slept for 12 hours. Quite a whirlwind weekend that I wouldn’t have any other way.
In the words of Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, “see you next time, and there will be a next time!”
Next show- Adele in Las Vegas!
Genealogist, Historian, Activist, Rocker Chick. Life is short! Buy the concert tickets!