Review by Richard Henry for MPM
Well, the circus has rolled into Dublin tonight, a lot of firsts, Motley have never played Ireland in 42 years and Mammoth WVH as well, as far as Def Leppard, Joe did say it’s like a hometown gig as he has lived here for so long! By all accounts there is well over 20000 in the place tonight, and once inside the ground it’s really well laid out, early start for Mammoth, the guys coming on just after 6pm, let’s get stuck into a good 5 hours of music!!
Mammoth – Opening with a drone and Garrett hitting a floor tom groove pattern before the main riff comes in, it’s a really bouncy riff, Wolfgang and the guys urging the crowd to have some fun, if you haven’t heard these guys before, its more in that Alter Bridge style than what you might expect, nice solo harmony section, there are three guitarists on stage, and one guy is taking a more textural approach to parts where the other guitarist is playing straight rhythm, also I might add, great vocals and harmonies as well!
Mr. Ed– Starting with harmonics from Wolfgang before we hit the main riff, tapping more harmonics, I mean obviously with the name of the song you’re going to get a bit of Eddie in it, again a mid-tempo rocker, pretty straight ahead, some nice Alice in Chains style harmonies in the section just before the solo, where Wolfgang gets to flex a bit, some tapping in there and a tasty solo, the guy has a strong voice, something I kept thinking all night, great register and he gets way up there!
Epiphany – Solid pumping bassline to start this and then a riff sort of peppering accents, and then straight into harmony vocals again, the advantage of the three guitarists is when Wolfgang stops playing to sing there is no drop in space and then when they all come in playing counterpoint parts the sound fills up massively, much like the first song, no real solo section, the song is doing all the talking and its being carried on the vocals and harmonies, really impressed with these guys live so far!
Like a Pastime – New song, this one is from the new album that’s coming out on August 4th, I love the riff, its moving around all the time with Wolfgang and one guitarist playing the part and the other guitarist playing a different part, it’s a driving rocker of a song, and again you hit that chorus and there are huge vocal harmonies, really stomping slower middle section, and the riff that comes after that, that’s a heavy riff, that’s a mosh pit worthy part right there, as Wolfgang said at the end of the song, shows we can do metal as well!
Take a Bow – Love the higher guitar part to start this one, it’s a more laid-back feeling song but it’s still driving along, this is another track from the new album due out, this one massively reminds me of Alter Bridge/Tremonti and I think that’s probably the best way I can describe these guys, they obviously have ties to Tremonti as both Wolfgang and Garrett played for them, but they have their own identity within that sound, that heavier middle section is sublime, if this and the other new song are the direction they are taking, it’s a bit heavier than the first album and I love it! First time we get Wolfgang taking an extended solo on a song, and I mean the guy can play and he’s not just tapping, some nice figures on there, nice picking and legato parts before he does start tapping in the solo, some really tasty playing!
Distance – I mean it’s a tough song for any son to have to sing when you know the context or seen the video and I will admit I cried watching it, and I think you can tell it’s still raw obviously, if you haven’t seen the original video then go watch it, it’s a beautiful tribute to his dad, great track and a few people singing along to this one, I love the tip of the hat when the band breaks and there is Wolfgang trem picking that solo part much like his dad done, again if you take away the playing the guy has a massive voice on him and when he climbs up the register he doesn’t lack any power, that’s for sure!
Your to Blame – Stuttering riff to start this one before the band builds and builds into an absolutely slamming part, breaks down into the verse, then when all the guitarists come into the chorus the sound just gets huge, and again the chorus is so singable and massive, Garrett just swinging side to side slapping the cymbals in the chorus, really driving the band along, great bluesy solo on this one, I just realized though there really isn’t that many solos in the set, really letting the music and the songs do the talking where I suppose it would be easy to make the focus Wolfgang, it’s all about the songs!
Another Celebration at the End of the World – And the award for longest title goes to, the most up-tempo song so far, it’s almost like a metal boogie, is there ever a thing as too much wood block, no is the answer and it makes an appearance in the verse to this one, everyone is soaked to the skin at this point with the Dublin weather but I don’t think anyone cares, the crowd bopping along to this one, love when the song breaks down in the middle and then builds, then the thrash tempo comes in and a bit of double bass, before a break for a tapping section and solo, into the chorus and then back to the thrash till the song ends!
Don’t Back Down – Just like that we are on the last one of this evening, great set from these guys, full of energy and just great songs, vocals and playing, that riff reminds me of Nickelback and has that same sort of groove, heavy on the floor toms to drive the verse, love the descending singing and riff part just before leading into the middle section, where it drops down and then builds back up, really liked the way that middle section was, you could easily have put a solo in but instead left it to let the riff do the talking! Mammoth WV, take a bow, that was a stunning set and the crowd loved it!!
Well, I much like the rest of the crowd are very excited to finally see these guys, now I’m not going to lie when I first seen the stage I thought the two hanging diamond looking things on each side where for the girls to swing from, but ah no, they are actually hanging microphones, really clean looking stage though apart from that which ultimately meant no gimmick’s no spinning drum kits, just the band on the stage to deliver!
Wild Side – After Mozart’s Requiem in D minor and a public service announcement, we hit straight into this one from Girls Girls Girls, the sound definitely got louder for these guys from the pa, Tommy sideways on to the crowd, Nikki to the right, John 5 to the left and Vince prowling the stage, I could be wrong but I think they are tuned down a bit from the record, either way, Vince sounds really good, and the addition of the two girls, dancing and adding backup vocals really enhance the chorus, in fact it was only later I notice that Tommy also had a mic and was singing on the chorus, there is so much to keep your eyes on with the guys switching sides and moving about!
Shout At the Devil – Off to the second album, the girls leave the stage for this one and it’s just the guys, the screens at the side announcing the song as well, the ego ramp gets used for the first time with the guys starting to use it all night, there are fists in the air and Dublin finds its voice chanting along to the chorus, Tommy is working hard up there, he doesn’t hit light, that’s for sure, everyone singing shout along with the band as we hit the end of another classic!
Too Fast for Love – Back to the debut for this one, this really is a crowd pleaser of a set, lots of clapping and hands in the air for the start of this one, it’s still a really raw almost punk rock song live, crowd participation is a must on the chorus for this one and Dublin certainly agrees as its loud in here for this one, again the guys are always moving and the screens are showing them singing away from those hanging mics, it’s a party in here tonight at Marley!
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) – We hit a track from Dr Feelgood, that’s a track from the first four albums hit by the fourth song of the set, Vince is out with the acoustic on this one, after the first three songs, this one sort of brings the tempo down a bit, the girls adding harmonies onto the vocals in the verse to great effect, again we get a big singalong from the crowd on the chorus, John playing pretty much the exact same solo as is on the album but adding a little twist as well, he’s a great player and a solid addition to the band!
Live Wire – Now the last song makes sense, give Tommy an easy one before he has to hit the double bass for this up-tempo beast, the first song people knew of Crue, it’s a simple but effective riff and it’s so recognizable as well, then a couple of accents and we are off to the races, this is one of my top three Crue songs so I was very happy to hear it live, Vince spot on with the verses and then getting the crowd to join in with the breaks before the chorus, the girls filling in the sound on the chorus, it’s a heavy track live and that mid-section where it breaks down is a welcome reprieve, and yes he does hit that scream after that section and yeah it was good despite what many critics say, the guy is up there working his ass off all night!
Looks That Kill – Again we just went song from the debut right to the second album, can you say crowd pleaser with your set list, yeah! I love that riff on this one in the chorus, the crowd singing away to this, obviously loads of visuals of the two girls dancing around the stage, appropriate for the title, again John 5 hits the solo and all the harmonics exactly as they should be, the chant Looks That Kill with all the guys singing along to it is killer, adds lots of heft to that chorus!
The Dirt (Est. 1981) – So a break from the classics and we have the song from the movie, now what is really cool about this one live is the visuals that are on the screens from the movie running the same time as the song, really brings the theater element to this one, eastern melody kicks off this one, before the bass and drums kick in with the syncopated riff, it’s a proper up-tempo rocker, now this is the one where I am sure the song would lack a bit without the girls adding an upper harmony to the chorus as you can hear the guys lower down and then the two girls covering the higher part!
Guitar Solo – Now here’s the thing, I am a guitarist of 30 years, not many bands give someone an unaccompanied solo in a set anymore, I for one was glad to see it, its all there, sweep picking, fast scale runs, chicken picking, we all know the guys is amazing but there was one thing is thought was super cool and maybe not everyone picked up on it, as a nod to Eddie and probably Wolfgang as well, he played the trem picking part of Eddies eruption solo right in the middle of his solo and then went on about his own solo, I thought that was a really classy touch!
Medley – (Rock n Roll, Smokin in the Boys Room, Helter Skelter, Anarchy in the U.K, Blitzkrieg Bop, You Gotta Fight) – So we get a melody of songs, with Smokin in the middle of it, some people knew the lyrics to some of these other ones and some didn’t, I mean everyone seemed to know Anarchy and You Gotta Fight, Blitzkrieg maybe not as much?
Home Sweet Home – A big silver piano has appeared on the ego ramp, as Tommy leaves his drum stool to come down and tinkle the ivories for the start of this one from Theater of Pain, now the crowd on this one was in full voice, all the guys down the front, John on acoustic, it was a great rendition of this one, Vince sounding rich on it, and then we had Tommy run back to the drums to kick it off, the solo was 100% the original, as it should be, it’s an iconic solo that most fans could probably sing as well as the lyrics!
Dr Feelgood – It’s my favorite Crue track, so as you can imagine I was well happy they played it, its monstrously heavy when it kicks in with the drums and bass, that’s even before the guitar joins in with the harmonics, then when it all comes together, that’s a kick in the ribs, again cowbell, you need it! The guys moving about and using full space of the stage, the chorus again gets lifted with the female harmonies adding to it, John adding a bit of his own flavor to that solo but then ends it with that descending pull off lick that Mick originally played on it, what a track!
Same Ol Situation – Staying with the same album as the last track, it’s all bopping away from the crowd, and sometimes its only when you see the screens you realize how massive the crowd actually is tonight, again the crowd are singing away to that chorus, the whole place is back in 89 for this one, it’s a proper feelgood (excuse the pun, I had to) night in Dublin!
Girls Girls Girls – Two massive blow-up inflatables go up each side of the stage, of two cyber looking robot girls and that tied in nicely as the two girls on stage were wearing the exact same outfits, I mean everyone knows this one and the volume level on the chorus was massive with every single voice in the place chanting along to the chorus, again you always have something to look at on stage, the guys constantly moving, the girls dancing and moving around the stage, it’s been nonstop for the whole set so far!
Primal Scream – From the Decade of Decadence album, grinding bassline and drum groove to start this one, John 5 with the slide out for this, this one just drags along menacingly, great chorus with the slide guitar part underneath it, everyone singing, scream and shout along with the guys in the chorus, it’s a great riff right after the chorus as well, great solo on this, with John sliding around it, we are 14 tracks in and one to go!
Kickstart My Heart – Is that a cello bow, ala Jimmy Page is see, yeah it is, to start this one off before we get the trem bar employed to do the motorbike noises at the start of this one, that’s a serious boogie of a riff, live its powerful as hell, everyone joining in with the title part through the chorus before we all sing, WOW YEAH for the chorus, this has been such a great set list of classic after classic with two or three others. Nikki said, we will be back so I am hoping they keep their word and we haven’t witnessed their only every date in Ireland, so please come back!!!
Take What You Want – We get a 5 min countdown on the screens and then boom, they are there, this is the first track from the new album “Diamond Star Halos”, straight away it has a Beatles vibe with that intro before the band kick into a slamming riff, it’s clear that we are going to have a mix of a set, and there it is in the chorus, that wall of vocals that is the trademark of the band, loved the dueling solos Viv starting and then Phil finishing, really slamming first track to kick us off!
Let’s Get Rocked – A question for us from Joe at the start, and Dublin apparently does want to get rocked, off to the Adrenalize album for this one, the crowd in full voice for as they are for the rest of the set, I love the change in the solo, Viv played the first double stop part before Phil played the fast run at the end, it’s something some might not notice but, really cool the way they have done little touches like that!
Animal – Off to the classic Hysteria album, now, the screaming harmonic dive from Phil into the verse, you sometimes forget how old these guys are, because they are flawless live, and that’s what you expect when you see these guys, it really is like the album, when you hit that chorus, you can hear the guys vocals, Phil is easily identified but so is Sav and Viv, they fill that sonic space in the chorus and you just get this massive wall of sound that sounds like the album, it’s an immense thing for a band to pull off live, the crowd are in fine voice and everyone around me is singing away to the whole song, not even the chorus!
Foolin – Album number three, Pyromania gets under the spotlight next, Viv kicking this one off, it’s the first sort of break if you will as it’s been pretty full on, well that is until it gets to the pre chorus and its steps up a gear, Joe in full falsetto for that part, that’s such a great chorus when all the guys kick in, it’s a full on shred fest from Phil on this, who is an absolute lunatic and uses ridiculously heavy guitar strings, yet bending and shredding away, back into the huge chorus again and we are out!
Armageddon It –Joe realizes it’s raining, but says your all used to it, it’s like this all the time, I only live around the corner, another one from Hysteria, Viv again starting this one off for us, that’s a cracker of a riff, but you realize how heavy it is when the band join in, “are you getting it”, yeah we all are, the whole crowd shouting back at the band for the whole chorus of this one, Viv getting the spotlight on this one for the solo, the band are pitch perfect, I will say it again, when they all kick in for the vocals, it’s just immense!
Kick – Second track off the new album, I really like how they are not just doing the hits but they are adding the new tracks into the set as well, it’s an almost 70s T Rex style song and riff, in fact it’s really in that vein, even when you get to the chorus it has that vibe to it sort of crossed with a Beatles style vocal part, little lead lines from Viv during that second verse, then its Phils solo, some blues based stuff and a bit of shred and then we are back into that chorus again and we are out!
Love Bites – Back to Hysteria, I mean what can you even write about this, it’s a staple of the set, it’s an absolute classic, Joe is absolutely bang on with this, and then when you get to that pre chorus and all the guys come in on the vocals it’s just a wall of glorious sound, and the crowd, well everyone in here is singing every word of the song, although some people are trying to sing the high parts and that is interesting to hear, sore throats in the morning, the little parts Phil adds with the sustainer, all the mix of the guitar parts, it’s just perfect, again I think you expect it from these guys but you maybe don’t realize how much work it is to get it this good!
Promises – We are off to the Euphoria album for this one, starting off with what you can only call a Leppard riff, Phil starts with this descending figure on the guitar, and if you played just that on its own, most rock fans would know who it was, see the pre chorus when it’s just Phil and Joe singing that’s big sounding and then Sav and Viv come in and that’s what I mean about live it just fills the space so much, really melodic solo from Phil with a bit of open string pull offs before he heads back to the mic and we have another pre chorus and chorus, the crowd despite the constant on off rain are having a whale of a time out there!
This Guitar – Back to the new album again, the acoustics are out for this one, Joe, Phil and Viv all playing them, it’s a nice break in the set and brings dynamics and everything down as it really has been pretty full on so far, it is more of a country style song, the vocals sound incredible on this one and are probably more highlighted as it’s not the full electric band, nice solo from Phil taking advantage of the Fender acoustasonics capabilities, then we have a bit of just Joe playing acoustic and singing before the guys all come in again for that chorus
Love and Hate Collide – Joe and Sav both up front for this and both on acoustic, it’s really interesting when you hear the two, there is such a massive core of the sound and harmonies come from these guys when you think about it, and then after the chorus, the rest of the band kick in, with Viv and Phil both having a bit of a solo part, before, they all come in for the chorus and there it is, there is that sound when they are all singing!
Rocket – Back to Hysteria, and you hear all the people singing that part at the start of the song along with Joe, the stage show itself apart from the visuals going along with the songs for certain songs, is pretty sparse and the focus is the band itself and they guys do move around a lot, there are mics up on risers and down at the front of the stage so there is movement everywhere, it’s something to hear all those people singing ROCKET, YEAH, SATELLITE OF LOVE, so loud in the place, it’s awesome, I realized how high Viv’s vocal part is on the chorus of this one, it’s a tough one for all the guys, love the split up of the solo parts before the harmony guitar come in into the chorus again, just huge sounding!
Bringing on the Heartbreak – That classic twin guitar intro part, from the High N Dry album, I love the way that the verse lays back and calms it down a bit, giving Joe a chance to breathe because this is a tough song for him vocally, and he nails it yet again, now I did notice yet again, its Sav and Viv doing the high harmonies, I love Viv and that solo is just him even though he didn’t play it originally, it’s just got that snarl to it that Viv really has in his own playing, its only after the solo and last chorus that Phil adds a vocal to it, adding a bit of heft to the chorus
Switch 625 – Straight into the song that’s next on the album originally, Sav kicking this one off with a pulsing bass note with Viv adding an arpeggiated part and Phil dancing around it all with sustainer notes, love Phil and Viv doing that harmony section while Sav and the ever-smiling Rick are holding down the groove underneath it, and speaking of Mr. Rick Allen, we get a drum solo, now if you ever haven’t seen what he does, its mad, the foot pedals controlling all the triggers for each drum, you can see it on YouTube and I would highly recommend it so you can see for yourself, staggering, and the solo, well it was awesome, the man is an absolute legend!
Hysteria – Well not even the lovely Dublin rain could stop the smiles on people’s faces on this one, really nice use of the displays as well, the two outer screens showing the band onstage and the middle screen showing the original video, again the whole place erupts into voice on this one, I mean anything off this album and everyone knows every line of it, I will say it again, when they all come in on vocals, just wow, it’s so cool, Phil and Viv making the way down the ramp to play the solo together and enjoy the rain I assume, bit of audience participation with Joe getting everyone to clap and sing along with him, there was a shot on the screens at the end of the song and you realize how many people are here, I was near the front but wow, that’s a lot of people!
Pour Some Sugar on Me – Hysteria again, it’s just banger after banger as we are getting near to the end of the set, straight into this one from the last, and as you can imagine, the crowd are going nuts for this one, every word being sung along with the band, it’s just like the album live, so good, again you expect it but to witness it live is something else, Viv getting a play out over the final chorus of this one, it’s just an absolute classic song, what more can you say!
Rock of Ages – We got something to say, Joe booms out with that cowbell drum groove going on underneath, back to Pyromania, Dublin what do you want “I want Rock N Roll”, “Long Live Rock N Roll”, no one stopped singing the whole way through this, the pre chorus, the chorus, the verse, everyone round me was trying to keep up with Joe, lots of trem bar abuse and tremolo picking on the solo from Phil and then back into the sing along with Marley Park!
Photograph – It’s unbelievable how fast time has gone tonight, 40 songs from 3 bands and it has flown in, but what a song to finish off the whole night, back to Pyromania for the last track, lasers everywhere, the side screens had the guys onstage but in a polaroid picture which was a class touch, the middle screen had loads of polaroid pics of the band as well, for the guitar geeks, the xplorer of Phils is lovely, Joe still hitting that long note before the chorus, and then Phil makes his way down the ramp to play that iconic solo, and just like that it’s all over!
What a night, you have to stand back and think, you have two bands well into the 40th years of their careers still delivering, still out there doing what they do. Both put on amazing shows, both set lists were just rammed with audience favorites. Then you have Mammoth who are relatively new and sat in and delivered as well, a fantastic night of music and I hope we will see all these bands back over here again!
Photography by MPM