Feb 10, 2023

Motley Crue / Def Leppard - Etess Arena

Category: Live Reviews



Etess Arena

Hard Rock Hotel
Atlantic City, New Jersey


Motley Crue Set List:  Wild Side, Shout at the Devil, Too Fast For Love, Don’t Go Away Mad, Saints of Los Angeles, Live Wire, Looks That Kill, The Dirt, Guitar Solo, Rock & Roll Pt 2 / Smokin In The Boys Room / Helter Skelter / Anarchy in the UK / Blitzkrieg Bop, Home Sweet Home, Dr. Feelgood, Same Ol’ Situation, Girls Girls Girls, Primal Scream, Kickstart My Heart

Def Leppard Set List:  Take What You Want, Let’s Get Rocked, Animal, Foolin’, Armageddon It, Kick, Love Bites, Promises, (Acoustic Set) This Guitar, When Love and Hate Collide, (electric set) Rocket, Bringing’ On The Heartbreak, Switch 625, Drum Solo, Hysteria, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Rock of Ages, Photograph


This show was a special show within the history of Motley Crue because it was the first time in the bands career that Mick Mars was not with them.  In his place was John 5John 5 has played with everyone (not really, but there’s a long list of musicians) and he first gained notoriety in the rock world when he joined the Marilyn Manson band.  5 went on the join the Rob Zombie band and remained a full time member of that band until he left to join Motley Crue.

 John 5 remains an active solo artist and released a brand new single titled “Strung Out” which came out the same week as this show.

 This show felt very similar to when John Corabi joined Crue because it ushered in a new era for the band and it definitely felt weird with Mars gone.  In all honesty Mars was unable to deliver strong performances due to his health deteriorating and it’s bitter suite to see John onstage with Crue because John adds new energy, strength, and power to what Motley Crue do onstage, but the fans had to say a sad farewell to Mars performing with the band ever again onstage.  It has to be weird for Mars to see Motley Crue on tour without him because he created that brand along with Nikki Sixx.  Neil & Lee have both been out of Motley at various points thus making Sixx the only consistent member of the band through every line up.

 The Etess Arena is inside of the Hard Rock Casino on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey and the venue holds 7,000 bodies which makes this show the smallest show thus far for the Motley/Leppard bill.

Motley/Leppard did 2 nights at the Etess Arena and neither show were sold out prior to show dates; both shows had plenty of seats left and prices were marked down the week prior to the shows.  The $300+ GA Pit #2 tix were marked down to $149 day of show as were all remaining seats.  The VIP GA Pit was the closest you could get and remained $599 per ticket.  If you purchased that ticket the day of show at the venue box office you only paid tax, there were no service fees added.

 Night #1 featured Def Leppard opening the show at 8:30 PM and their set ran flawlessly with no flubs, no lateness, and absolute perfection.  The bands set list was tweaked slightly and featured all of the hits, their latest single, “Kick”, and an unplugged portion which featured Joe Elliot on guitar.  Def Leppard were finished by 10 PM sharp and the breakdown between sets went a lot longer than anyone expected.  Motley Crue’s stage set up was elaborate and their crew took a while to load everything into place.  The saving grace was that the next night Motley Crue were opening the show so their set did not require breakdown which meant that the show on Saturday would run on time.  Motley Crue took the stage a little before 11:00 PM and their set went until 12:30 AM.  

 Opening with “Wild Side” this was a new era for the Crue and served as the first show ever to feature John 5 on guitar.  The show was not without flubs; John tripped on the drum riser and fell, Vince missed a singing cue during “Helter Skelter”, a dancer walked into John while he was playing, and John could be seen throughout the show rubbing his forehead and going, “Shooooo”.  Nikki and John interacted a lot and John smiled non stop as he joked with Nikki over small flubs and random errors in the set which the crowd probably didn’t notice.

John replacing Mick Mars was the main topic of conversation throughout the night and here’s what I took away from the first show.  John’s doing his best to maintain the integrity of the band and each song while also adding his own style, flavor and sound to the bands brand.  John’s tone is different than Mick’s, John is a shredder whereas Mick was more blues based and simple.  Mick had a simple sound and was meat and potatoes whereas John adds a more technical style and sound to what Motley does.  John covers the stage and runs back and forth like a hyper child whereas Mick was never one to run a marathon while playing.  John’s energy makes Vince and Nikki work harder to keep up and John brought his own crowd to the show which made it an interesting situation because 5’s fans were to support him.

Set wise the band changed it up a bit and made it fresh; this was something much needed and hopefully with the addition of John to the band they will change the set more frequently.  The second night their set list was identical and these two shows served as a warm up before they started their overseas Stadium tour.

Vince sounded good, his vocals were decent, and he sang almost every word.  Vince Neil deserves a lot of credit for getting his act together and tightening up his performance.  Tommy Lee left the drum kit to play “Home Sweet Home” on piano and he spoke to the crowd briefly and thanked John 5 for bringing his A game.  John’s guitar solo featured excerpts from “Without You” and “God Bless The Children of the Beast”.  

 The show itself was strong, fast, and to the point.  Motley had a few “issues” on their debut performance with John and it’s a no brainer that after a few shows they will have it all figured out and be ready to take on the world.  The future is theirs and while they make it a point to pay homage to Mr. Mick Mars throughout their existence it’s clear as day that John 5 is the new permanent guitarist for Motley and he’s here to stay.

 At the merch table none of the shirts featured John with the band, the only Motley “band” shirts featured Mick Mars and the only John 5 shirt was a solo J-5 shirt that featured John by himself.  All short sleeved shirts were $50.

 At the second show former KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss showed up to show support for John 5.

Author: Bob Suehs