If you put four legendary rock bands together on one bill you cannot expect anything less than spectacular! And when I heard Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were finally coming to Las Vegas I wanted to go but wasn’t sure I would. The more I thought about it, I felt as though everyone would be shocked if I didn’t show up knowing my long history of supporting these bands as my favorites over the years with my magazine. So two weeks before the show I put in for press credentials through Live Nation. I didn’t want to bother the bands for tickets and passes because I knew they were overwhelmed with requests so I went the press route. I went from feeling intimidated covering a stadium show and not sure if I wanted to go. But as time went on and I never heard a word back, the more desperate and anxious I became, wanting to go. I kept in touch with other press outlets and they hadn’t heard back either. But at 3pm the day BEFORE the show, I finally heard back from Kelly Frey at KF Publicity and they said I was approved for two review tickets and a photo pass. YAY! I’m in!I got to the Allegiant Stadium early to not miss any of the acts and figure out where in the devil I am supposed to go in that intimidating Death Star that looms over the freeway. I got to the Will Call with my paperwork and they said they didn’t have anything for me. Great. So I started to head to the opposite side of the stadium in the heat. Luckily half way there I hailed down a golf cart that took us to the Southwest entrance where I was about to melt and begged workers for cold water. I called my point person Tiffany Miller and she came out and said I need to go back to the front for my tickets. She made some calls and I headed back to the Will Call on the opposite side. When I got to the Will Call I shoved my paperwork under the window and I had barely got my name out of my mouth and they said: “Yes – Sally Steele! Here are your tickets! Cool. But now it was time to head back around the stadium once again to get my photo pass from Tiffany. I huffed and puffed and made it back to the Southwest entrance and called Tiffany. She said: “Oh, you’re just in time let’s go!” So the other three other photographers and I were ushered through what seemed ten miles to the stage where Classless Act was in full performance mode opening up the show. They sounded really good but they were just finishing up when we got there. Then I got some bad news. I was informed that now I was with the “press pack” I have to be escorted to a holding area away from the main area until the next act started if I was going to take photos. I just assumed I could go to my seat after I shoot the first two songs because I wanted to watch the show with my boyfriend. But this was not the case. I had two options: give up my photo pass and go sit in the audience or stay in the holding area under supervision. I started texting my boyfriend that I was sitting on the ground feeling as though I was in a concentration camp held hostage against my will. He texted me back and said “You are a rock and roll prisoner”. Yep he got that right! It was not Tiffany’s fault. These were just Allegiant employees following orders. I didn’t know what to do. But I went and shot Joan Jett and the Blackhearts when they took the stage. I love Joan and I brought her Greatest Hits CD just two weeks ago. But although we had excellent placement in front of the stage thrust, Joan never came up to the front and just stayed in the background with the band. Which sucked because I really wanted some cool shots of her. And because of that I felt she just didn’t have the connection she had with the audience at other times I have seen her. But if you like Joan Jett you would’ve loved her show.
I went back to the holding area and sat on the floor and told my boyfriend I was miserable and starving and was giving up my photo pass and coming to sit with him. He texted me back to stay there and do my job. So I decided to stay and we headed out to shoot Poison. Then things got really exciting. Bret Michaels and the boys seemed to shoot out of a cannon full of energy and excitement when they took the stage. Bret zoomed right up to the front of the stage thrust with CC DeVille and Bobbie Dahl right behind him. It was hard to shoot such a moving target like Bret and it was like focus – move- shoot- focus in- focus back- get him! It was exciting to be right up so close to the energy being put out by these guys into the stadium. During the excitement Bret recognized me and pointed to me and said: “Hi Sally!” on his microphone which was cool! Yes I have witnesses! They opened up with “Look what the Cat Dragged in” and then “Ride the Wind” which are two of my favorites so that was a bonus. I have heard some people say Poison was the best act on the tour. I am not surprised. I have always felt these guys never got the credit and especially the critical acclaim they deserved. Maybe because they had long hair and the girls were all in love with Bret? Maybe because they wore make-up when they started out? I don’t care what anyone says I love what the cat dragged in and always will! As I was walking out of the photo pit I saw Rikki Rockett and I waved to him and he took his drum stick and pointed to me and waived with a huge smile recognizing me. Rikki always was my favorite – don’t tell Bret! LOL. I managed to get a few good shots from the session and found CC’s guitar pick on the ground so that was another bonus.
Back at the concentration camp things were looking up. They got us some chairs. During the Poison set we had a new addition. His name was Eric Little. He was a trip. He had blood shot eyes and said he was in from Salt Lake City and said he was just planning on getting drunk and watching the show when they announced they were sending him a camera. He was very entertaining and at least I had someone to talk to. We had a casualty with the Ultimate Classic Rock photographer who went and got a ticket to review the show instead of sitting in the holding area. I was shocked hardly anyone got approved for credentials to shoot this show. I knew three other photographers who were not approved. Then I heard who ever leaves won’t be getting Motley Crue photos from the Allegiant Stadium photographer because Motley’s manager wouldn’t let him shoot. So I was for sure going to stick it out to get some photos of my boys.
Def Leppard hit the stage with first class rock royalty. They were all in tip top shape and the visuals of photos of them on the back screen were incredible. It was as if these first class stoic legends were performing for the Queen. That’s how classy they seemed. I was excited because after saying absolutely no video whatsoever for any of the performers, Def Leppard’s management announced at the last minute we would be allowed to shoot 30 seconds of video of the first two songs and then for the remainder of the two songs shoot photos. This was a challenge doing both with limited time but I actually got some amazing video and photos as well of my “Hysteria Sugar Gods” which will be shown on my Youtube.com/SallySteele page for my Sally Steele Rocks Show! What an amazing performance by these legendary musicians!
Before Motley, I was on the backstage side of the stage for a short time and saw so many people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Then we filed down to see the bad boys of rock. I was excited because Nikki Sixx’s mic stand was right at the edge of the front stage thrust and I wanted to get some good shots of Nikki.
These Hollywood boys came onstage like an explosion with energy, charisma and excitement. It was quite a switch from Def Leppard. It was like it went from royalty performing for the Queen to heading down to the road house on motorcycles to booze it up and get in a fight. There were movie cameras on each member especially Nikki as he growled and swirled around and ran across the stage. Tommy Lee thrashed around beating his drums like he was in the jungle as Mick Mars stood like a powerful statue with a guitar tone that is stronger than twenty rock bands put together. Mick is the Iron Horse of rock in my opinion. The others get more attention but Mick is responsible for the band’s powerful sound as much as all the other members. When I interviewed Mick, he mentioned that Vince Neil had distanced himself from the other band members. So I was happy to see Nikki and Vince close together and smiling during “Home Sweet Home”. Vince’s soprano voice was still as powerful as ever. It really bothered me how Vince has been so criticized this whole tour about his weight and voice. I admire Vince for being there and a part of the unit that has been a one of the most spectacular bands in the world. And that goes for all the band members. And with that said, I can’t believe that all four members in this band are still alive! Have you read the dirt?!? Booze, drugs, women 24/7 were these guys lives during the 80’s. But I am sure glad they are all still with us! In fact I admire ALL the bands who participated in this amazing tour. And then there is Tommy Lee aka T-Bone. The comic relief of the band who came out to the audience and talked about his recent trouble he got into exposing himself in the nude on Twitter. Tommy announced he wanted to see some Penis of the men in the crowd. There didn’t seem to be many takers other than someone who waived a giant blow-up Penis in the audience so Tommy asked for the usual boobs to be exposed from the babes in the audience. Tommy was hilarious and said “You show me yours and I will show you mine”. So it was only a matter of time before Tommy undid his pants and dropped his drawers claiming “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…” But with me filming the entire ordeal along with others I don’t think that will be the case. I thought the Crue were amazing. But I felt a tinge of sadness as I watched the show with my boyfriend and said I felt like that might be last time I would see all four members perform together.
We headed out just before the encore because I was desperate for a t-shirt of the tour. And with this being the final date on the tour I was worried because I wanted a certain one. I picked up my camera at bag check and every time I asked someone where they got their shirt that I came there to buy they said they got if off someone in the street. I was upset because the “knock-off” t-shirts looked so much better than the authorized ones. I wish the tour had gotten together with the entrepreneurs on the street so I could get the good ones. I noticed three men with a bunch of shirts in their arms and I ran after them I asked them if I could buy a shirt. They informed me that the shirts had been confiscated from the street sellers. I was so upset. I did buy a shirt for $50 at the show but the one I wanted is nowhere to be found.
But when the night was over I felt like I had really accomplished something and witnessed rock and roll history and was so glad I got to go.
Thank you so much to Live Nation and Kelly Frey for approving me for credentials and to Tiffany Miller for all her help.
Be sure and check out all the action of this crazy day that I filmed for my Sally Steele Rocks Show at www.Youtube.com/SallySteele.
Long live Rock and Roll!
Photos: Sally Steele