Def Leppard // Motley Crue // Mammoth WVH // Live Review // Marlay Park // Dublin

When a gig of this scale gets announced, you immediately stick that in your diary and count the days down! July somehow managed to sneak up on all of us this year as 2023 disappeared into the rear-view mirror quicker than expected. But alas here we are, Independence Day, July 4th and one such gargantuan gig is on the horizon.

I was fortunate to catch this very line-up many years ago, in 2011 I believe, myself, my bestie and a trip over to Manchester to catch Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Steel Panther in the flesh, it was quite the trip as we hadn’t realised we were staying at the hotel next door to the bands and the crew. We hung out with Joe Elliott in the green room after, Steel Panther the next morning as they got ready to depart and chatted with Tommy and Nikki’s techs as they chewed the fat about life on the road. Tonight, however, is a totally different affair, a big ass 200-mile round road trip North to South, Marlay Park the destination and shitty Irish summer weather looming ahead. We arrive around 5pm, park up and make our way to find where we collect our passes and ready ourselves for a killer night’s music. Up first though, we have the majestic Mammoth WVH, who in my opinion released one of the best albums in June 2021 with his debut self-titled solo album. So I was really looking forward to catching Mammoth live for the first time, I was due to catch him back in Dec whilst supporting Alterbridge and Halestorm at the 3Arena but alas flights back from the good old US of A scuppered those plans.

Mammoth MVH

It’s an early start and at 6pm Mammoth and the guys hit the stage and get stuck right in, banging out an array of tracks from the debut album as well as teasing us with the latest single/new music off Mammoth II due out in August, we were treated one seriously polished performance from the former Van Halen bassist and of course son of the late great Eddie Van Halen. Mammoth now is a monster player in his own right, a multi-instrumentalist playing all the instruments, yes ALL the instruments on his debut album as well as laying down some killer vocals, which live, absolutely stood up against his recordings. A mighty impressive set all round, the band are tight, a well-oiled machine who lives for the live stage, and it shows as they more than whip the Dublin crowd up into a frenzy for the arrival of the senior bands. I can’t wait to catch these guys in a more intimate setting, they were a little more sedate and respectful I feel today holding back as they know their place in the pecking order and equally know how this game should be played, but goddam they laid down a killer set and was well worth turning up early to catch live.



Motley Crue

Motley Crue are due on at 7:15pm, the clouds look ominous and as the hour gets closer the first drips of rain start to fall. Then boom! The skies open, at this stage we are back out by the guest/press area and as we watch people scramble to get into the arena to try and duck out of the rain it’s time to grab the aul poncho from the bag. #smartme. The crowds are now streaming into Marlay, post work, post tea-time the weather not deterring a soul, the time has arrived, The Crue are here, it’s happening!

 Crue are going down so well with the Irish masses. I have to say there is a seriously strong crowd out this evening and there’s probably a 50/50 split regarding Leppard and Crue fans, The arena is filled front to back and they are here to party, the weather aside, has not dampened spirits, just the clothes and flesh of the poor Irish souls. The music is red hot and Motley Crue do not disappoint, with Mick Mars on sabbatical John5 is here slaying the riffs and solos showing off his new Ghost signature Tele, Tommy’s slamming those skins, Nikki’s thumping that bass and Vince has the Irish crowd in fine voice warbling along with every line he spits out. All the classic hits are in full flow and they even toss in a few covers to boot, the atmosphere is electric, Crue can do no wrong and the Irish fans who have waited a lifetime are living their best lives with the soundtrack of their youth. Crue play a 90 minute set that sets alight Marlay Park and it’s bloodthirsty 80’s rockers as they hang on every word tossed out from the stage, between 8:30 to 8:45 we go back into the arena to prep for Def Leppard and we catch the last few minutes of Crue’s magical set and of course the one and only Tommy Lee whipping the crowd up just before he goes, “I Say Motley You Say” … “CRUE” the Irish hoardes scream, “I Say Fuck ,You Say”…. “YOU’ the reply, ah Tommy you haven’t changed a bit luv!

This is what the Irish crowd wanted from the arrival of one of the US’ most iconic rock bands, the stream of photos going out on social media over the show, the enthusiasm for this band and the hunger to enjoy the live show after waiting so many years is palpable, and greatly appreciated by both the fans down below and the guys on stage, they know what this means to this Irish crowd, Ireland gave everything tonight and we still have our beloved Def Leppard to come.

Def Leppard

Def Leppard have a love affair with Ireland, with the “Belfast Child” Vivian Campbell on guitar and frontman Joe O’ Elliot practically an Irish citizen after living so many years in Dublin now, this their biggest Irish show to date, will mean more to them than any show they have played before. I have Def Leppard amongst others to thank for my musical education in my teenage years, I was a rock-child of the 80’s hitting my teens just as some of the best rock albums arrived on the scene, Whitesnake’s ‘87’, Bon Jovi’s ‘Slippery When Wet’, Van Halen’s ‘5150’ with new vocalist Sammy Hagar and of course the one and only ‘Hysteria’ by Def Leppard. It was a good time to be alive! Formed back in 1976 just two years after my birth, crazy to think, these guys have done it all, and managed to keep themselves up at such a high level for so many years, of course there were years of graft, miles on the road in the back of a small mini-van eating each others farts, but sheer determination, drive and talent lead them to greatness and global success and it’s all been gravy baby ever since!

Fast forward many, many moons and our favourite rock band are now playing their largest Irish date at the infamous Marlay Park, and it is packed with excited fans, Def Leppard t-shirts as far as the eye can see, as 9:15 arrives a countdown appears on the stage screens and a roar breaks out, then one by one the guys take their places looking sharp in their colourful suit jackets as they lay into ‘Take What You Want’ and then right into ‘Lets Get Rocked’, Dublin goes wild! The fans clambering to the railings at the front as Joe Elliott strides forward egging them on, the set is the perfect balance of older fan favourites from ‘Pyromania’ as well as those off their iconic ‘Hysteria’ album, the night was filled with gargantuan anthemic numbers that had Marlay Park in fine voice. Joe himself commented that it felt like a hometown gig as he only lives down the road, and rightly so, ever regulars on the emerald isle, Def Leppard have a magnetic appeal to the Irish audiences and have been forever welcomed north and south of the border, regularly selling out the SSE and the 3Arena when called upon. Its not hard to see why, that catalogue is timeless and we appear to have gone full circle with new generations joining the 80’s gravy train celebrating a magical era in music. Both Def Leppard and Motley Crue delivered exactly what the Irish crowd needed, two classic bands, two killer sets, one very wet, magical night in Dublin.

A big shout out of course to Mammoth and his band, the new kid on the block of modern rock made his mark and shared the stage with two of the greats and didn’t look out of place, a big thanks to MCD for having us down and of course the lovely Sabrina for navigating us through the murky world of backstage at Marlay Park.


Photography: Mark McGrogan

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