From their earliest days on the Sunset Strip, the members of Mötley Crüe set themselves apart from their hair metal contemporaries. The band, vocalist Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, and drummer Tommy Lee, aligned themselves more closely with theatrical performers like KISS and Alice Cooper. Mötley Crüe placed nearly as much emphasis on their image and stage performances as they did their music, and the combination paid off for the band and the fans. As 2015 came to a close, so did the band’s iconic 35-year career. When the group’s four original members sat down in January 2014 and announced their Final Tour, it was not just for show, and fans knew The End was near. Two years later, just a couple of weeks shy of the band’s 35th anniversary, Mötley Crüe played three final nights at The Staples Center to conclude their Final Tour.
To cap off their legendary career Eagle Rock Entertainment has released Mötley Crüe: The End – Live in Los Angeles. The performance, available in Blu-ray or DVD with CD, is a culmination of the two-year, 164-date tour and the band’s larger than life career. The disc features nearly the entire 18 song New Year’s Eve concert (“Anarchy in the U.K.” was cut) as well as final words from the band. Mötley Crüe took every trick they learned over the years and packed it into one special show featuring more pyrotechnics, bombs, and special effects than an entire KISS tour.
The setlist for The End – Live in Los Angeles captures the emotion and heart of the Mötley Crüe’s career. Opening the show with the seminal 80’s classics “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side,” the band immediately engaged the crowd. “Primal Scream,” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.),” and “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” followed like a raucous freight train of fist-in-the-air anthems. A rowdy rendition of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” rolled into “Looks That Kill.” Mötley Crüe served up two songs off its most recent album, 2008’s Saints of Los Angeles; the title track and “Mutherfucker of the Year.” During “Shout at the Devil,” Sixx played a bass with a built-in flame thrower which spit fire 30-feet into the air. They also included the deeper cut, “Louder than Hell” from 1985’s Theatre of Pain album.
Mötley Crüe treated the crowd to bombast and spectacle, with flames spouting high in the air and a dazzling light show. During his drum solo, Lee’s “Crüecifly” drum kit rose high in the air and rolled out over the crowd like a maniacal rollercoaster, flipping forward and back, and spinning upside down and around. Mars delivered a mammoth guitar solo, further solidifying what a highly underrated fretsmith he is.
During the set Sixx spoke words of wisdom and Neil delivered a speech of heartfelt thanks to the audience. Mötley Crüe took the crowd down the final stretch with their first hit from 1981’s Too Fast for Love, with “Livewire.” They followed it up with “Dr. Feelgood” and an over-the-top performance of “Kickstart My Heart,” during which the band fired off enough pyro, confetti, and bombs to level the city. The song’s finale saw Neil and Sixx floated out above the crowd on crisscrossing cherry-pickers while Lee’s kit rose high in the air and Mars stood center stage. For their encore the band set-up on a mini stage at the back of the arena for a stripped down show-stopping take on their massive hit, “Home Sweet Home”. It was a perfect way to end such an inspired and emotional event.
On and off throughout the show, back-up vocalists Sofia Toufa and Allison Kyler stalked the stage and helped out Neil whose own vocals were often limited. Throughout the set Neil seemed out-of-breath, unable to sing any song completely without skipping words or enlisting the audience to sing instead. It is the show’s only real flaw.
Mötley Crüe: The End – Live in Los Angeles is an energy and passion fueled, high octane explosion of historic rock and roll performed by one of the genre’s greatest acts. As the band suggests during the intro, it is important to the band’s legacy that they go out with same way they came in, full of attitude and bluster. Mötley Crüe was never built for the fairgrounds tour circuit and limping along, but rather to slide headfirst into the abyss in a fiery blaze of glory. The End – Live in Los Angeles deftly captures that final burst of magic, and every fan should own this performance as a keepsake of that legacy.