The Stadium Tour: A Young Millennial’s Hair Metal Experience
The "Stadium Tour" has been one of the most highly-anticipated American tours since it was announced in 2019. Featuring a headlining slot that rotates between Motley Crue and Def Leppard and is supported by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Poison and openers Classless Act, the trek is essentially a dream for fans of hair metal.
Here's my experience attending one of the shows as a young millennial.
I wasn't even alive when any of the main acts were in their prime (born in '96), but I was raised on rock 'n' roll, and I experienced my own hair metal phase during my youth, which included nights falling asleep to VH1 Classic's Metal Mania almost every night and waking up to Dee Snider's face on the television. I never had the chance to see Motley Crue's "final tour," which concluded in 2015, and I was escorted out of a Def Leppard concert when I was 19 for reasons I will not get into.
So needless to say, I was excited to have the opportunity to redeem myself when "The Stadium Tour" was announced.
And then, of course, my excitement was put on hold along with the rest of the world in March of 2020 when the COVID-19 virus caused a global pandemic. The tour, in addition to pretty much every single other one that had been scheduled for that year, was postponed. In 2021, live music made its triumphant comeback, but it was still a bit risky to head out on the road, so this Crue/Def Leppard run was rescheduled for 2022.
I finally had the opportunity to catch the June 24 show at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y. Unfortunately, due to my proximity from the venue as well as masses of traffic, I was literally only able to catch the two headliners. No Classless Act, Joan Jett or Poison for me. However, I still had a great time at the show. Here are some things I learned attending a hair metal revival concert as a tail-end Millennial.
Note: Another one of Loudwire's writers — an older millennial — was in line before doors opened and caught all three sets though. Classless Act may as well have been playing for a packed stadium even as fans just began to trickle in because their energy was unmatched. Extra points for sweating it out in a gold and black sequin jacket, too! Joan Jett is ageless with a guitar tone just as snarling as that of Mick Mars and Poison were the ideal pump-up band for the co-headliners as Bret Michaels is among the best of the era at working the crowd and the stage. His mom, who was also there living her best '80s life, agrees and says Derek Day of Classless Act reminds her on Aerosmith's Steven Tyler onstage a bit.
The Crowd Is Full of Fans of All Ages
I always considered myself a bit of a weirdo for having such an old soul, but attending a show by bands that are so widely loved makes for quite a diverse age group within the crowd. There were people who obviously lived the hair metal days, there were even some parents of those people, there were other weirdos like me and there were a ton of kids even younger too. It's nice to see that a passion for rock 'n' roll exists across so many generations.
Animal Print, Leather and Big Hair Are Cool No Matter What Year It Is
Animal print did make a bit of a comeback in recent years, cycling through snake, leopard and now... cow... but it's always appropriate at a rock show. So is leather. And big hair is awesome, except for when it obstructs your view.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Whether you saw these bands back in the '80s or are a younger fan seeing them perform for the first time, face it — these musicians are in their 50s and 60s. This point isn't meant to serve as a dig toward anyone by any means, but it's important to be realistic. At least some parts of these bands' performances are going to sound different. Some of the songs may be slowed down a bit, some may be sang in a slightly different key.
Don't expect the songs to sound the way they did 30 or 40 years ago. If you should expect anything at all, it should be for the rockers to give the show their all, which they absolutely did. I appreciated the fact that I was able to witness them perform several decades after they formed.
The Nostalgia Is Real
Whether it was Nikki Sixx making comments about having relations with fans' moms 30 years ago or Def Leppard flashing slideshows of pictures and video clips from the '80s during their performance of "Hysteria," the nostalgia factor is strong. It's emotional in a good way, and I felt it even though I wasn't around during that times. I can only imagine how some of the older fans felt during those tender moments.
It's a Party As Much As It's a Concert
One of the best aspects of hair metal is that the songs are generally upbeat, positive and meant to inspire a good time. The show is a party as much as it is a concert. Everyone appeared to be having a blast, whether they were screaming along to the words or dancing to the beat. If you go to the show planning to have a good time, it's more than likely that you will.
Get tickets to Motley Crue and Def Leppard's Stadium Tour here.
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