Let’s get girls, girls, girls… Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe rock Lytham Festival 2023

80's juggernauts of rock music bring their stadium show to Lytham Festival

Words and Pictures: Ange Cobham / Cobspix Photography

Lytham Festival hosted double headline show with Def Leppard & Mötley Crüe on the biggest rock night in the history of the festival. With support from Vivas

I knew I was in for a treat with this joint headline bill ! The rock gods Def Leppard were teaming up with bad boys of Hollywood Mötley Crüe and have stormed the US and UK at festivals and stadium gigs so far. I was so excited to have the chance to shoot this amazing pairing at Lytham Festival which has played host to legends like Lionel Richie, Sting, Jamiroquai and more over the previous few days. I had heard very good things about the past 3 days of this festival so was very much looking forward to ‘my day’.

I had an hour and a half journey from my house, but not today, no this would be doubled and then some due to an overturned milk lorry on the M6 causing huge disruptions following the motorway closure! I left a lot earlier and luckily my friend and I made to the very windy seafront of Lytham in time, where there were already a sea of rock t-shirts around the festival gates and spilling out onto the street of the pub opposite. I saw a mixture of older and young rockers, already giving off an excited atmosphere amongst the sea air. I collected my photo pass and made my way to the stage with 5 minutes to spare before the support band VIVAS entered the stage.

VIVAS

The young 4 piece bounced on stage opening with their latest single ‘Feel’ followed by ‘Step Out’ The music was very uplifting and the lads have loads of high energy and I’m sure I can hear a lot of Arctic Monkeys influence in there as well.

They announced they are from Sheffield, which links in with Def Leppard’s home town. If we delve a little deeper then we discover that lead guitarist Tyler Savage, as the surname may suggest, is in fact son of Leppard’s bassist Rick. Nice to see the music genes being passed down in good order.

Vocalist James Wilson said how it was a huge honour to be playing at the festival ahead of the legends to follow. Their setlist was tight and they received a warm reception from the crowd who cheered them along during their set which you couldn’t help but have a boogie to. I could definitely hear an Artic Monkeys inspiration in their style of music. You can see why these guys have already sold out a fair few gigs after only starting out this year! I predict they will do really well.

James announced their new track ‘Vinyl Girl’ which saw the debut performance at the festival. To do it in front of such a large audience takes some stones and the huge crowd responded in kind. They continued their set with a fresh sounding ‘Out to get me’ and rounded off with ‘Episode’, announcing their last song ‘Sweet Talker’ before thanking the crowd and the headliners for having them. Great set, I recommend you check out the young, up and coming, band’s music. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Before Def Leppard was due to appear, I had chance to take a look around the festival, which I am very impressed with. The layout is really good, stage in prime position in a nice setting including a windmill at the edge of the site. All stalls etc were easily accessible as they were placed all round the stage area. Plenty of food, and drink choices including an eye catching “Oh Crepe” stall and a cocktail bus! I didn’t get chance to visit this, but it looked fab and what a great idea.

Def Leppard

I went back to the stage front to get ready for the first of the rock gods Def Leppard, who came on a little later than scheduled…. but so what! When they did arrive, it was to a very loud cheer and warm welcome from the huge crowd which I have had confirmed as 22,500!!

Their set list kicked off with ‘Take What You Want’ the whole band making use of the huge stage, the guys looking as great as ever, Joe in his snazzy blue jacket, Rick Savage in his shiny gold jacket, a very cool Vivian Campbell looking suave and Phil Collen rocking skinny jeans and boots, they all still look as slick as they always have. I grabbed couple of shots of the legendary Rick Allen hiding behind drums, who just smiles all the time!

Joe asked the crowd “Do you wanna get rocked?” Huge cheer of “YES!!” which opened a crowd favourite of ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ drifting into ‘Animal’ after that as I sang away whilst tracking the band members around the stage with my camera. The crowd were loving this from the off, receiving each song well, proving beyond doubt that the guys still have what it takes to pull in the crowds.

After my 3 songs of shooting I went mid crowd to join the buzzing atmosphere and sing along to the next batch of tracks that included ‘Foolin’ and ‘Armageddon It’ which triggered the loudest chants of “Yes I’m a geddin it” from the crowd, ringing around Lytham Green. I was thinking, with a wry smile on my mouth,  I bet the residents are loving their free gig as it was right opposite a row of houses. Next up was ‘Kick’ taken from their 2022 album ‘Diamond Star Halos’ then ‘Love Bites’ which carried on the 80’s nostalgia trip flowing into the 90s with ‘Promises’.

Joe brought Phil Collen to the front to open for ‘This Guitar’ a slower country style tempo also taken from their 2022 album, I quite like this one live and it really suits the live setting, making me wish lighters in the air was still a real thing. Joe joined in with this one on his blue guitar.

Joe and Rick started ‘When Love and Hate Collide’ acoustic, yet another banger sing along track, then continued as electric with Phil returning to the stage – what a guitar maestro he is, cool as ever showcasing his skills up front regularly.

We were treated to a Rick Allen solo next, and what a solo it was. I’m not usually one for a drum solo, but this blew me and the crowd away! This guy is a machine! Such talent and the video camera angles caught every move he made on the big screens, what a show! As he finished there followed a roar of huge appreciative cheers which got louder when he appeared from behind the drum kit to thank the crowd, and smile of course.

‘Rocket’ was next from the ever popular 1987 album ‘Hysteria’ and my fave ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ kept the crowd singing and dancing. ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Photograph’ from their 1983 album “Pyromania” rounded off their set.

Throughout the whole set the screens in the background were ever changing from nostalgic videos of the band and polaroid effect photos during Photograph which included some crowd shots which I thought was a nice touch. This band are all about their fans and they put on an epic performance showcasing their tight musicianship. They remain so close as a band and still sound as great as they did in the 80’s. For me and I’m sure the huge crowd, an absolutely brilliant show.

  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Def Leppard, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023

Mötley Crüe

The crowd were buzzing once more as we took our places for shooting the mighty Mötley Crüe. We knew we were in for some dirty rock n roll as the titans of hard rock entered the stage. Nikki Sixx, John 5 and Tommy Lee appeared first to a backdrop saying “The Future is Ours” The crowd were very loud now, and already fans were on shoulders cheering their heroes. Vince walked on shortly after and they launched into their set with ‘Wild Side’ what a great opener with fans shouting the lyrics out when prompted by Vince. ‘Shout at the Devil’ was next up, and fists were punching the air while repeating the track title during the song. ‘Too Fast for Love’ saw the band joined by 2 exotic dancers who also doubled up as backing vocalists as the guys then continued their set with ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’.

“Do You like the old shit?” Shouted Vince Neil, as crowd responded with a very loud “YES!” Following with ‘Live Wire’ from their 1981 album “Too Fast For Love” and ‘Looks That Kill’ from “Shout at The Devil” The band were running around the stage delivering their entertaining spectacle, the crowd were lapping it up. At one stage Nikki shouts “Who wants to come up on stage?”, and selects a willing female who came up to take a selfie on stage with him…… a moment that fan will never forget !

It’s interesting to see the new guitarist John 5. He brought a softer, chilled approach to the band with his retro look, dressed in a big fleece coat and dark shades. He seemed to fit nicely though and it worked. The speculation around the band and (like Harmony Hairspray adverts from the 70s and 80s, the question of is she or isn’t she.?) is Vince or isn’t Vince using backing tapes for his vocals was pretty much stamped out. No, they’re not the band they were 40 years ago, but NO band sounds as young and energised as they did when they first started out in their career. You can say the same about any of the juggernaut touring bands doing the circuits these days. You’re paying to hear the songs you love played live and on the night, I thought the guys from Mötley Crüe were tight and sounded and looked great. They ratcheted up another gear for ‘The Dirt (Est. 1981)’ and they then delivered a medley of glam rock songs from the 80’s which was a brilliant addition to the setlist.

Tommy jumped on the piano for the track ‘Home Sweet Home’ one of my personal favourites, and the crowd sang along to this slower tempo version. 2 huge inflatable models were dropped either side of the stage to roars of approval from the crowd before ‘Dr Feelgood’ blasted out through the speakers. Did everyone feel good, no need to ask. Tommy (of course) jumped from behind his drum kit to shout at the crowd “Ya know what I haven’t seen tonight? Any titties! Where are they all”

It was as if 1988 had reappeared. With Marty McFly’s DeLorean just out of shot, some very willing women obliged and off went the titty cam to capture it all! Tommy has done this for years…. it’s not a surprise and if you were a Crüe fan you’d know it was all part of the show!

Of course, people took to socials to complain after the event, but I thought it was very funny. I’m not sure what you expect from a Mötley Crüe gig, but if you get offended easily this isn’t the place for you. A satisfied Tommy thanked everyone and ran back to his drums before the band launched into ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ , ‘Primal Scream’ and ‘Kickstart My Heart’ which closed the eventful and entertaining set.

Well what an experience, and a reassuringly good one! The band delivered what the fans wanted and played hard. Myself and everyone else departed with smiles on our faces. You can’t ask for more…. 

  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023
  • Mötley Crüe, Lytham Festival, July 2 2023

And that is how you close a festival! Lytham didn’t know what hit them when this rock n roll train rolled in! The Fylde Coast was rocked to the core.

I want to thank Sarah at Rhodes Media for sorting my pass and looking after me and the other photographers at the event.

I will be checking out next year for sure. Grab tickets now they are on sale when the festival returns on 3rd – 7th July 2024. Line up will be announced later this year. www.lythamfestival.com

Ange Cobham \ Cobspix Photography

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