The last time I saw Motley Crue with the original lineup intact was back in 1998 when due to declining sales they were forced to play the Peoria Civic Center Exhibition Hall to a crowd of a few thousand. The show was laboured and tired, with Tommy Lee leaving the band not long after to puruse a solo career, disenchanted with the bands direction, and Vince Neil most of all. Seven years later Lee is back and suddenly the Crue are selling out arenas all over the nation, the original lineup together once more for another run at glory. Rehashing the bands history further is an exercise in futility, it's all been said before to excess. The main question I had about this show was whether the chemistry was still as explosive as it was in the bands heyday or if they were flogging a dead horse. After all how many times did Tommy Lee say he was tired of performing the same songs?
Playing without an opening act meant a lengthy show. This didn't stop everyone sitting around me from asking 'who's the opener'? What it meant was a dull period sitting waiting for the show to start. The drudgery of waiting for a headlining act must be one of the most galling and maddening in a concertgoing experience. Having to endure the person sitting next to you getting up five times for beer or listening to someone behind you eat nacho chips with disgusting cheese sauce in your ear is akin to death. Or seeing some friends spot each other and high five or shake hands. I've seen it too many times and it gets worse every on each occasion. Of course no one can find their seats either, looking for their row with confused glares before sitting in the wrong seat and eventually being asked to vacate them by the rightful owner. And I paid sixty six dollars to view these events.
The Crue took the stage an hour later than the ticket said, opening the show with a midget performing some shenanigans before the band appeared, kicking things off with 'Shout At The Devil'. It sounded like the weak 'Shout 97' version, leaving it limp wristed. The band all looked healthy, especially ailing gutarist Mick Mard who moved around well all night despite his chronic back condition. The first part of the show was devoted to older Crue classics, which wasn't a wise move as I realised all the stale hits from 1987 onward would dominate the show after the intermission. Suffice to say the older tracks were the shows highlight, as the band pumped out hoary old chestnuts like 'On With The Show', Ten Seconds To Love', 'Louder Than Hell', 'Too Fast For Love', 'Live Wire', 'Red Hot', 'Looks That Kill' and 'Too Young To Fall In Love'. An impressive selection of songs, especially 'Red Hot' and 'On With The Show' which were handled powerfully.
After the intermission the band tore through the predictable portion of their history, cue the likes of 'Girls, Girls, Girls', 'Wildside', 'Home Sweet Home', 'S.O.S.', 'Glitter/Without You', 'Dr Feelgood', 'Kickstart My Heart', 'Primal Scream', 'Don't Go Away Mad' and the two new tracks 'Sick Love Song' and 'If I Die Tomorrow'. The crowd ate it up, and as much as I enjoy the songs they lack the force of the first two Crue albums, passable hard rock rather than animalistic metal. There were some sidetracks along the way, namely Nikki Sixx egulfing himself in sparks while performing an industrial synthesizer beat while a model shot flames out of her ass. Tommy Lee got in on the act, boring the crowd with a prolonged drum solo which took the route of trance beats while he flew on a harness. He redeemed himself by resucitating the 'Titty Cam' which he used to film a slew of women in the crowd, his glee at viewing the breasts quite amusing. He picked some quality pairs, leading Sixx to note Peoria had 'the best tits on the tour so far'.
I left before the encore, but from other reviews I've read the band has been playing 'Smokin' In The Boys Room' and 'Anarchy In The U.S.A', which means I missed nothing.If they'd churned out 'Bastard' or 'Take Me To The Top' I might have reconsidered. It was a decent performance however which proved there is still life in the band as long as they can tolerate each other for an extended duration on tour. Vince Neil looked nowhere near the bloated lazy boozer of the past, in fine voice, while Sixx and Lee still retain their looks and energy from yesteryear. Mars was on target throughout, no matter the pain he is in. Still the total disregard of the 1994 self titled album with John Corabi was predictable, a shame as after the first two albums it's the bands best work.
Still the crowd gave the band all the applause they could dream of and I spotted a couple arm in arm during the ballad portion before the male forced his partner to kiss him agressively against her will, which led to a punch and security intervention. He was wearing a cut off denim jacket with a 'Dr Feelgood' patch on the back. If I were to be honest it was of more interest than the majority of the show. Not the bands fault. Their hands are tied. Surely they realise that when nobody knows what 'Red Hot' is. But they know 'Girls, Girls, Girls'. And that's why the Crue are on a roll.