“Long way from the Sunset Strip,” Nikki Sixx stated as he took in his environment, and that was actually true sufficient: As a substitute of the Roxy or Gazzarri’s or one of many different sweaty West Hollywood nightclubs through which his band Mötley Crüe made its identify, the 63-year-old bassist was peering out on the cavernous expanse of Inglewood’s gleaming SoFi Stadium, the place Mötley Crüe touched down Saturday night time for a hometown cease on the group’s newest tour.
But some issues by no means change.
As he addressed the tens of 1000’s of followers earlier than him, Sixx was interrupted — or at the very least he pretended to be — by a younger lady close to the stage making an attempt to get his consideration.
“You want this towel?” he requested her. “This is exactly like the towel I gave your mom in 1987.”
Fidelity — and power in numbers — is the idea behind the so-called Stadium Tour, which packages Mötley Crüe with two fellow survivors of ’80s pop metallic, Def Leppard and Poison, in addition to Joan Jett, who laid essential groundwork within the mid-’70s for all of the glammed-up guys to return. (Formally, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard take turns headlining, although one presumes organizers began with Mötley’s place atop the L.A. date and labored backward from there.)
Individually, these acts could be hard-pressed to fill an area like SoFi or Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the place the months-long highway present is ready to wrap subsequent week after raking in a mean of $5 million an evening, in line with the commerce journal Pollstar. However working collectively to pack stadiums with their overlapping audiences, the bands supply reassurance that the traditions of yore haven’t died in an period when music’s most seen rock star is Harry Kinds.
“Who likes the old s—?” Mötley Crüe’s frontman, Vince Neil, requested not lengthy into the band’s set Saturday. “We’ll do something to help you feel real f—ing old.” That was his cue for the title observe from Mötley’s 1981 debut, “Too Fast for Love,” and the large cheer that went up within the constructing allow you to perceive that right here, at the very least, age was a badge of honor.
Certainly, there was a proudly unreconstructed high quality to Mötley Crüe, which promised to interrupt up after a 2015 farewell tour solely to reunite at the side of Netflix’s 2019 adaptation of the group’s salacious memoir, “The Dirt.” (The countless Mötley mythologizing continued this 12 months with Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy,” about drummer Tommy Lee’s eventful relationship with Pamela Anderson.)
At SoFi, photos of bare ladies gyrated in silhouette on a video display screen behind the band, identical to within the good previous days; two monumental female-shaped inflatables finally got here to life to finish the sexy tableau. At one level, Lee got here out from behind his drum package to share just a few rambling ideas a few nude selfie he posted this month whereas “drunk as f—,” as he put it, in Bora Bora. “They took ’em down from Instagram, so you guys wanna see my wiener?” he requested — Lee’s setup, it turned out, for a sight gag through which he pulled a small dachshund pet out of his pants.
Musically, Mötley Crüe — rounded out by the band’s straight man of a guitarist, 71-year-old Mick Mars — was an absolute mess (in a enjoyable approach), with squalling riffs over pummeling beats that made Neil’s screeching vocals nearly unimaginable to discern as something past extra noise. The set checklist ran by a lot of the group’s classics — “Dr. Feelgood,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Kickstart My Heart,” for which the singer donned a Rams jersey — however it didn’t actually matter: Every member was cranked so excessive that you simply couldn’t inform what music they had been enjoying anyway.
Def Leppard was a lot tidier because it doled out the polished pop-metal hits that made the English band an early MTV sensation: Although Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant lately made good-natured enjoyable of frontman Joe Elliott’s elaborate vocal-warming routine, the precision with which Elliott hit the excessive notes in “Love Bites” and “Photograph” was indication that he is aware of what he’s doing.
Nonetheless, method goes solely to this point in a stay setting, and little about Def Leppard’s extremely managed efficiency made you ponder the which means of endurance. This set felt prefer it might’ve gone down in 1992 or 2012 (or might go down in 2032) — an achievement, for positive, however not a really thrilling or emotional one.
The identical would possibly’ve been true of Poison aside from the endearing reality of frontman Bret Michaels’ deep gratitude to be onstage in a stadium a long time after his glory days.
“We’ve been waiting 2½ years for this,” the singer informed the gang, referring to the Stadium Tour’s pandemic-inspired delay from 2020, and his smiling earnestness made you glad to be there to see him carrying a Poison T-shirt together with his face on it. (In truth, three out of the band’s 4 members wore their very own merch Saturday.)
Like the opposite acts at SoFi, Poison caught to the hits: “Talk Dirty to Me,” “Fallen Angel” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” the final of which Michaels thanked the gang for making a No. 1 hit. Earlier than the band’s cowl of Loggins & Messina’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” the frontman talked about — “with zero politics,” he clarified — that he’s the son of a veteran and that he’s glad to stay in a rustic that also ensures “the freedom of opinion.”
It wasn’t laborious to detect his subtext, after all: Rock ’n’ roll — America — has gotten too delicate about all the things. However this was a protected area.