Mötley Crüe bring bombast to final shows
When Mötley Crüe announced its Final Tour proclamation in 2014, most fans kind of shook their heads and or gave a wry nod. Farewell tours, as we have so often seen, are seldom final. However, after witnessing the Crue’s performance this week in Boise, Idaho, it seems clear, the band is not kidding around. After this tour, there is simply nothing they could do to improve on a stage show that was nothing short of a bombastic spectacle. If you have not seen it yet, get out to one of the remaining dates.
The Tuesday night performance at the Taco Bell Arena was opened by New York’s highly-regarded rock act, The Cringe. The quartet, fronted by founder and songwriter John Cusimano, has been something of an underground buzz-band for a decade now. The band, which also features guitarist James Rotondi, bassist Jonny Blaze, and drummer Shawn Pelton, played a tight 25-minute set that mixed older songs with a couple of newer tracks. They closed out their set with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak”.
While most people bought their tickets to see Mötley Crüe, everyone seemed equally excited to see ageless shock rocker, Alice Cooper. As usual, Cooper and his amazingly talented band did not disappoint. When the curtain dropped, the group opened up with “Hello Hooray”, Alice’s classic take on an old Judy Collin’s tune. Alice then peeled off one hit after another, tearing through “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Under My Wheels”, “I’m Eighteen”, “Poison”, and “Billion Dollar Babies”. During the latter, he waved a sword into the audience impaled with fake money. During “Dirty Diamonds” he tossed fake diamond necklaces into the crowd.
Smoke billowed across the stage as Cooper began the opening refrain of “Welcome to My Nightmare”. He was then strapped to a large upright table to be electrocuted during “Feed My Frankenstein” and later placed in a straightjacket and taunted by a sexy and sadistic nurse in “Ballad of Dwight Fry” before being beheaded during “Killer”. The band, which features the immense talents of drummer Glen Sobel, bassist Chuck Garric and guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen, treated the crowd to “I Love the Dead” before Alice returned to close it all out with “School’s Out”. During the set Sobel threw in a nice drum solo over Garric’s rumbling bass, and Strauss lit up the crowd fretastic guitar solo. Cooper will release a cover’s album later this year entitled Hollywood Vampires.
Mötley Crüe learned from the masters, like KISS and Alice Cooper. They packed their final tour with everything they could think of that seemed possible to bring to life. The band played for close to two hours, performing 16 songs spanning their 35-year career. The set opened with “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Wild Side” and “Primal Scream”, plus enough pyrotechnics to last the entire show–but the band was just getting started. Bassist Nikki Sixx came out in Kabuki-style make-up, and guitarist Mick Mars moved about the stage in a long coat, top hat and platform shoes. Drummer Tommy Lee sat perched behind his kit on high, and frontman Vince Neil shared the stage much of the night with two lovely back-up singers/dancers; Sofia Toufa and Allison Kyler. Neil strapped on a guitar for “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)” and “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”.
The band dipped back into its 1983 breakthrough album, Shout at the Devil for “Looks That Kill” and the title track. During the latter, Sixx played a bass mounted with a blowtorch, shooting flames into the air and setting his swinging microphone stand on fire.
During every song there were various levels of shooting flames, billowing smoke or loud explosions. The Crue intro’d and outro’d “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” with Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll”. Men in jumpsuits and stocking masks with large water rifles came out and blasted the crowd as part of “Anarchy in the U.K.”, which ended with Sixx tossing his bass in the air and slamming it on the stage. Before the song, Sixx wiped the thick paint from his face and took a moment to talk about his time living in Jerome, Idaho, and making treks into Twin Falls to buy records when he was young.
Most of the evening’s songs came from the band’s 80s heyday, but they also performed “Mutherfucker of the Year”, and the title track from 2008’s Saints of Los Angeles. The former being perhaps the lowlight of a show packed with highlights.
Mick Mars turned in a ghoulish and entertaining guitar solo following Lee’s epic drum solo. Most fans had already heard rumors of the infamous roller-coaster drum solo. The stage-set included rails that ran from the back of the stage up into the rafters and down behind the soundboard. Lee’s kit rose into the air rotating backward and forward, and spinning upside down the length of the track all while Lee smashed away at his kit. It stands as just one moment of an entire set packed with over-the-top showmanship.
Sadly, the band played only one track from its 1981 debut album Too Fast for Love, giving fans a dose of “Live Wire”. “Dr. Feelgood” led into the band’s final song, “Kickstart My Heart”. Crüe pulled out all the stops visually, making it a kitchen sink sort of performance. Flames in two colors fired off into the air in all directions, cannons exploded with streamers and all manner of confetti, a large pentagram circle went up in flames behind the stage. Sixx and Neil were lifted into the air on large rotating trusses, riding out over the crowd to the upper levels. The front of the stage rose into the air with Mars front and center. Explosions blasted loudly. The lights flashed and rotated in all direction, color, and form. It was a celebration of celebrations, and the stage looked like Times Square after the New Year’s party had ended. But the show was not over….
Mötley Crüe returned one more time, appearing on a small stage behind the soundboard to perform “Home Sweet Home”. Lee began the song on piano, switched to drums, and ended on the piano again. They worked Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” into the mix for what seemed a fitting finale to the show and the tour. Fans got their money’s worth from Cooper and Crüe: Overblown spectacle and bombast, and a show no one will ever forget.
All photos © 2015 Katarzyna Cepek Photography.
Unfortunately, Mötley Crüe only gave photographers one song to photograph and made them shoot from in front of the soundboard on the floor over the heads and arms of fans.