NateHarris, Guest Writer
Let me start off by saying that I’m not a huge fan of either group, but I know both of them and know and listen to some of their songs.
So after some unknown band trying to be the next Mötley Crüe finally got off the stage at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Aug. 16, the sold out crowd of true 80’s rock fans, sporting fake big hair and trying to squeeze into their leather pants one last time, and their spouses making sure they stopped after the sixth beer, cheered as Alice Cooper took the stage. I don’t know many Alice Cooper songs, but judging by the crowd’s reaction and ability to sing along while mildly inebriated leads me to believe that he spanned many of the big hits of his long career. As far as performances go, as I have been told, most of Alice Cooper’s concerts go the same way as this one, mainly resembling a corny and underfunded middle school production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Still, for sixty-six years old, Alice Cooper was still able to walk back and forth across the stage with his usual swagger, wielding a different prop and/or outfit for every one of his songs, ranging from a cane to a boa constrictor to a fencing saber which he used to pop large white balloons that the audience tossed around. Overall though, it wasn’t a bad warm-up to what I would later discover is the true Mötley Crüe.
Finally, the moment had arrived. The lights at the amphitheatre went dim, and the speakers blared “All bad things must come to an end” repeatedly, and then, in a moment of three-sense titillation, my eyes, ears and nose were swarmed with the essence of Mötley Crüe: blinding strobe light, screeching guitar riffs and pulsing drum and the odor of kerosene and cigarette smoke. The crowd went crazy as the music and the band that fueled their high school years blasted through the speakers. From then on out, it was drums and guitars and flames and lights and fireworks and screaming and, well, Mötley Crüe. It wasn’t all music, though. Bassist Nikki Sixx took a moment halfway through the concert to sit everyone down and explain the origin of the group, introducing drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil one-by-one before launching right into another song. Later in the show, Mars showed off his true skills on his instrument with a long and loud solo.
Seeing as this is the band’s final tour, they seemed to pull out all the stops. There sadly wasn’t a drum roller coaster, but plenty of pyrotechnics, guitar flame throwers, pentagrams and girls dancing around. They covered many of their big hits, including “Dr. Feelgood,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” and “Girls Girls Girls.” They went out on “Kickstart My Heart” with enough light to illuminate the bottom of the ocean and enough flame to launch a space shuttle into orbit. And then, after the four members wrapped their arms over each other’s shoulders center stage and took a bow, they walked off stage, and the lights faded. The crowd was left stunned because, through all the songs, they group had not played “Home Sweet Home.” Half the crowd was upset while the other half wondered how long they were going to make us wait.
Sure enough, after about three minutes, the band came out into the audience with flashlights beaming out among the smoke. They hopped up on a small platform in the middle of the crowd and, as the soft notes of the song echoed from the grand piano out among the crowd, the platform rose high in the air. The crowd sang along in chorus, and when the platform lowered back down, and the final note faded away, it was over. Mötley Crüe was gone.
“I thought the concert was amazing, and they are great performers always. It was better than their last concert because they played their most popular songs and I knew them all. I’m upset that they are retiring; I’ve listened to them my whole life. I’ll still always love and enjoy their music,” says Gillian Daniels (SR).
Overall, the concert was as pure a heavy rock concert as one could hope, and an amazing send off to a band that, for thirty-four years, wanted nothing more than to fight conformity and keep true rock alive.
(cover photo courtesy Gillian Daniels)