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London, Wembley Arena
14th December 2011

Tina Saul

tina saul

Tonight is every glam metaller's dream; three bands so perfectly suited to tour together, and my entire Facebook newsfeed was rife with people talking about it.

Steel Panther kicked off proceedings with a set that was the perfect way to warm up the crowd. A great set mixing songs from both albums and with plenty of banter in between. They did take it a little too far regarding a young girl, in my opinion, but we all know this isn't a band to be taken seriously.

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Michael Starr, sporting a very festive red glitter jacket, couldn't have looked happier, and this definitely showed in his performance. Of course, there was the obvious track to finish off their set, 'Death To All But Metal', a premonition of this night to come: where are Def Leppard? Where are Motley Crue? They're backstage, of course, and Steel Panther had the delight of making the most of this.

The last time I saw them at Wembley was when they supported ZZ Top, and they looked completely lost on the big stage, but tonight they shone and proved that they can take on the big boys. I've seen them three times in the last three months, all very different shows, but tonight's was by far the best.

You'd expect the stage switchover to take a while, as we all knew that the ultimate drumriser needed to be put in place; so the whole of Wembley jumped out of their skins when Motley Crue's pyrotechnics unexpectedly launched less than fifteen minutes after Panther had exited the stage. As the curtain dropped, the rollercoaster stood centre stage, adorned by a neon SIN sign to the left and a single star to the right. In fact, you'll get a feel for just how unexpected it came, with this video of two girls singing along to 'Hot Child In The City' as it happened:

'Wild Side' was the opener which set everyone in Wembley into a wild frenzy, and this is the first time you get to experience the best lighting and effects that I've personally seen, and the pryos were loud. Exactly what you'd expect to accompany the world's most notorious band, right?

The way the screen sat in the middle of the giant circular drumriser and how the videos were choreographed made for a truly spectacular visual feast. There was a great gag during 'Girls, Girls, Girls' where photos of girls of all different shapes, sizes and colours flashed by, including the ultimate girl, Justin Bieber.

Pic: Ben Gallagher

There were a couple of sound issues throughout the show and too many breaks in between tracks, which irritated a lot of people. In fact, towards the end of 'Same Ole Situation', it got so bad that the song finished prematurely. Mind you, Nikki quickly came to the front of the stage and kicked off 'Primal Scream', which got everyone singing and dancing along again.

Every member of the band got their turn to shine front of stage, but it was certainly Tommy's night. First up was his shiny piano for 'Home Sweet Home' and then the infamous drum rollercoaster. Whoever came up with that idea kicks some serious butt. You can watch this video to see exactly why words just don't do it justice.


Then Tommy invites a member of the audience up for the ride if his life. Hamish is picked and after a quick check, off he goes while Tommy drums along to 'Love Rollercoaster' by The Ohio Players. An incredible thing to witness, but the only downside was that the music to accompany it was more befitting to an Ibiza dance crowd, not those gathered here tonight.

The show ended with a stunning version of 'Kickstart My Heart' and Wembley was set alight, not just by the pyros, flames and mesmerising screen show, but by the smiles of their adoring fans. Again, it really is difficult to describe it with words, but luckily Motley fans were busy uploading videos, so you can experience it here for yourself.

I know a lot of fans were disappointed by Vince's vocals, but let's face it, he's never been the greatest singer, but he's a great frontman. Tonight proved that after three decades of decadence, Motley Crue still know how to Save Our Souls.

As hoards of people headed to the bar to refresh their sweaty bodies, the chatter seemed to be centred around how Def Leppard were going to put the icing on this already very tasty cake. They've had great stage setups before, including their own rotating drumkit, which I remember from the Adrenalize 'Seven Day Weekend' Tour back in 1992.

So as the curtain pulled back and they opened up with 'Undefeated' from their latest album 'Mirror Ball', the stage just looked drab in comparison to LA's bad boys. Giant screens flanked the entire length of the stage, and there were a few ramps, but that's about it. Choosing to open with a new track was an odd decision too, if they were trying to really compete.

Pic: Ben Gallagher

Following this up with 'Rocket' rectified things, and the crowd soon got right into it. However, it just felt flat and not a patch on what Crue delivered. I feel bad writing this, as Def Leppard didn't really do anything wrong, apart from play after Motley. Oh yeah, and play one of their worst tracks, 'C'mon C'mon'.

It was at this point that the crowd thinned out noticeably, which was a real shame for one of England's finest bands. The screens were impressive, however they could have been more creative with them than do things such as show photographs of them through the years while performing the penultimate track of the main set, 'Photograph'.

'Pour Some Sugar On Me' always goes down well and was a great way to close the main set. The encore opened with 'Love Bites', which is a bit of an odd decision and, of course, they finished their set with their 1992 chart topper 'Let's Get Rocked'.

All in all, a solid performance. 'Bringing On The Heartbreak/Switch 625' was my personal highlight as it really took me back, but I really do think they would have benefitted from playing second on the bill.

The night as a whole was truly superb and clearly my favourite gig of 2011. This is a show that, with a tweak or two, I could happily go to every single night of the year.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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