August 29th, 2014 – Jones Beach, Wantagh NY
Who’d have thought that Motley Crue would retire before Alice Cooper did?
Motley Crue was one of the first metal bands I ever heard, thanks to their song “Too Young To Fall In Love” from the Grand Theft Auto Vice City soundtrack. It had been almost 10 years since I first heard it, about 9 years since I picked up the Red White & Crue 2-disc best-of collection, and 4 years since I read The Dirt, which is still one of my top 10 most entertaining reads.
It had been one year since I last saw Alice Cooper, and he was the headliner then. So he did a truncated show in support of the Crue that was very similar to the last time I saw him. Though I had seen it before, it was great to see Alice do his thing. It’s telling that Motley Crue didn’t start their show…until Alice Cooper was finished with his.
And what a show Motley Crue put on!
It was easily the most pyrotechnics I had ever seen at a show (advantage of seaside Jones Beach Theater being outdoors!). My uncle and I could feel the heat from the flames even all the way back in the mezzanine seats where we sat. There were showers of sparks, tremendous booms, strobe lights–everything one would expect from a big show during the Crue’s heyday. In some quarters, this pagaentry is frowned upon as excessive and unnecessary.
Screw that. Shooting off lots of fire is awesome.
So the Crue was coming in hot, and they brought on all the hits (pretty much all of Red, White and Crue Disc 1!). For the purist rocker, this setlist was as good as it got–power ballads and new songs were kept to a minimum. The energy was up the whole time, and scenes from The Dirt ran through my head at various points–especially when Nikki Sixx told the story of Motley Crue’s first-ever rehearsal on a song called “Live Wire.” On “Shout At The Devil” he turned his bass guitar into a flamethrower and appeared to be having a blast with it. I want one of those….
Tommy Lee’s drum set went up, down, and upside down in a giant rig called The Cobra during a wild, entertaining drum solo. He was actually suspended over the crowd for part of it!
The only thing I could say was subpar was that Vince Neil needed some help singing. He only sang every other word at times and sounded exhausted. But he IS the only guy who can properly sing for Motley Crue, and it was valuable to have him there with his other 3 survivors in crime. It would not have been the same without him.
1. Saints of Los Angeles
2. Wild Side
3. Primal Scream
4. Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
5. Looks That Kill
6. On With the Show
7. Too Fast for Love
8. Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
9. Without You
10. Mutherfucker of the Year
11. Anarchy in the U.K.
12. T.N.T. (Terror ‘N Tinseltown)
13. Dr. Feelgood
14. In the Beginning
15. Shout at the Devil
16. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
17. Live Wire
18. Too Young to Fall in Love
19. Girls, Girls, Girls
20. Kickstart My Heart
21. Home Sweet Home
“Kickstart My Heart” was a rip-roaring riot of pounding fury, with a spectacular finish. Quite simply, everything let loose onstage at once. “FUCK!!!! YEAH!!!!” Tommy Lee roared with undisguised glee.
But for their touching encore, the band snuck onto a tiny platform in the middle of the audience that was barely big enough to hold the 4 of them, a piano, and a drum kit. As they rose dozens of feet in the air above their adoring fans on the platform, they brought out “Home Sweet Home” for the last time. Everybody sang along, and the scene was touching for what it meant.
That platform was probably about the size of that tiny room in Hollywood where they first jammed in 1981. 33 years later, the four of them were staring not the peeling, yellowed walls of that room, but out at thousands of fans on a perfect oceanside evening. And despite all their efforts to the contrary, there they all were, alive and kicking.
Gliding towards the finish line with confidence and pride, the band’s motto on their tour shirt rang true: ALL BAD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END..
So I’d like to offer a toast to Motley Crue: 1981–2015. Thank you Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy! And Godspeed.
Written by Matt P