On Saturday, three of the biggest names in rock music kicked off their next leg of the Stadium Tour in Syracuse, NY. Together, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Alice Cooper packed the home of the Syracuse Orange. It was just last year when the Stadium Tour hit Buffalo, NY at the home of the Bills. Although this year’s show features less bands, Alice Cooper does more than enough to make up for the absence of Poison and Joan Jett.
The evening started off promptly at 5:45pm with Alice Cooper. Going into the show, it was pretty clear Alice was going to give Motley Crue and Def Leppard some competition for best act of the night. Having opened for Motley on their farewell tour back in 2015, the Alice Cooper band knows how to win the crowd over. Alice started the show with a shortened version of “Lock Me Up,” coming out onto the stage behind a newspaper themed backdrop that read “Banned in New York, Alice Cooper.” The entire set consisted of nothing but the best of Alice Cooper. Everyone in The Dome knew the words to “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “I’m Eighteen.” One of the biggest surprises of the Alice Cooper set was having the snake around his neck for “Snakebite.” It has been quite a few years since Alice has had the boa in his live show. Cooper also does an incredible job of letting his band have some of the spotlight during the show. Guitarists, Tommy Henriksen, Nita Strauss and Ryan Roxie can do it all. The three of them play off each other and take turns ripping through solos. While the guitar trio does their half, bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Glen Sobel help keep the beat going. Overall the production and theatrics for Alice Cooper were top notch. This was worth the price of admission alone.
Up next was Motley Crue who had their work cut out for them after Alice Cooper. Like last year’s show, the set started off with a warning video on the big screens to get the fans ready for the Crue. Only difference between this year and last is the addition of guitarist John 5. After the initial Stadium Tour, there was a decision to replace Mick Mars with John . Although Mars is truly missed by hardcore fans, John 5 is more than capable of filling those shoes. For anyone unfamiliar with the name, John has quite the resume. After playing with artists such as David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and most recently, Rob Zombie, John 5 could land any gig he wanted. The show started off with “Wild Side” and “Shout at the Devil.” Most of the set consisted of the classic hits fans would expect with a few new tracks sprinkled in. One of those newer tracks was “The Dirt,” which was the title of their hit Netflix Biopic. The studio track featured rap/punk rock artist Machine Gun Kelly, who played Tommy Lee in the movie, but sadly MGK didn’t show up to Syracuse. Crue also recently released a cover of the Beastie Boys “Fight for Your Right,” and added this into their live show as part of a medley with “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” “Helter Skelter” and ” Anarchy in the UK.” During the show Motley Crue had their two backup singers/dancers help lead singer Vince Neil tackle the backing vocals for songs such as “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Kickstart My Heart.” During the show, bassist Nikki Sixx brought a young fan on stage to take a selfie with him and also gave his bandana to a young girl in the front row. Seeing an entire new generation of Motley Crue fans at shows definitely helps fuel the band to keep going.
Last up on the Stadium Tour bill was none other than Def Leppard. Making sure everyone was in their seats in time for the show, a countdown clock began to tick down until they came on stage and opened with, “Take What You Want,” which was off their most recent album Diamond Star Halos. The setlist for Def Leppard consisted of a good mix of songs from Hysteria, Pyromania and Diamond Star Halos. The entire JMA Wireless Dome was singing along with songs such as “Animal,” “Foolin'” and “Love Bites.” Guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell were flawless all night hitting every note and added some great harmonies with singer Joe Elliot. In the middle of the show, Def Leppard did a semi acoustic version of “This Guitar” along with “When Love and Hate Collide.” Over the years of seeing Def Leppard come to Upstate New York, Saturday’s show has got to be one of the best they’ve done in quite some time. From start to finish, the show was flawless and sounded as good as can be for playing inside a giant stadium. Some classic rock bands tend to get lazy and just show up without caring how they sound or look. Then there’s Def Leppard, the band looks great and performs like they still have everything to prove. There are just five more dates left on this short US Stadium Tour and then it’s off to Australia and Japan later this year.
Alice Cooper Setlist:
Motley Crue Setlist:
Def Leppard Setlist: