Exclusive Review : Mötley Crüe

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

    This week Mötley Crüe played their last shows in Pennsylvania as they made a final stop in Hershey on the second leg of their Final Tour. 35 years of musical legacy, debauchery, infamy and notoriety were celebrated and not mourned despite the fact that Mötley Crüe has been billing this tour as a living funeral of sorts. The band made a pact and signed a legal document that December 31 of this year will be their last day performing under the Mötley Crüe name. From there Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars will part ways going out with all cylinders firing as oppose to limping into the sunset as many iconic bands tend to do.

    The first leg of the Final Tour was a great success and Mötley Crüe certainly took this into account before setting out on this second and final leg. The setlist had been tweaked to contain even more of the songs fans wanted to hear as well as the inclusion of some rarities from the archives, not to mention the fact that the “Crücify” stage set up was amped up even further than before. But before the pyro, the confetti, the drum roller-coaster and the new surprises; the show started as the roar of a motor cycle engine engulfed the arena and the stage lights beat to an erie echo of a pulse in the background. As promised Mötley Crüe had entered the building and each member respectively came out swinging as “Girls, Girls, Girls” was the first song of their last show in Hershey. A fitting start to the show as fans were instantly catapulted from their seats as they waved their phones, children, flags, beer, and basically anything that wasn’t bolted down in their hands.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

    Mötley Crüe wasted no time in making true to every promise they had issued before the start of this tour as they gave themselves a proper send off to the packed Hershey Giant Center, a venue that could barely hold their massive stage set up on this tour. In place of a backdrop a massive pentagram loomed over Tommy Lee’s drum-kit and countless lights shined in all directions all cued perfectly to the band’s fast paced music. Colors flooded the venue, production values were at levels I never thought possible and the band was barely into the second song as they spared no expense and pulled out all the stops.

     As Nikki Sixx strutted to the center of the stage ripping the bass into of “Primal Scream” the crowd was treated to a dancing display of pyrotechnics the shot back and forth across the stage until Vince Neil rejoined the mayhem as he belted out the lyrics. The crowd sang along like they had waited their whole lives for the moment. There was no shortage of crowd participation during the evening as many knew this was their last chance to sing the songs they either grew up on. All ages and all types were in attendance all there to give their all to the band’s final send off and their commitment to the show was notable. An urgency of sorts fueled the performance and gave the crowd a vigor that most shows lack, Mötley Crüe being the showmen they are fed off this energy like cannibals and used it to their advantage all night long.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

    From start to finish Mötley Crüe put on one of the most memorable rock shows I have ever witnessed and truly showcased the vast size and scope of their musical library. The band was certainly aware of their roots as Mick Mars slammed his guitar around with ease on the opening riffs of “Looks that Kill” but it didn’t stop there as the band dove even deeper into their expansive catalog digging out a surprise inclusion of “Louder than Hell” and even their iconic cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK.”

     At the same time the band wasn’t afraid to look forward towards the future as Tommy Lee embraced his new found love of EDM during his incredible, venue spanning, flying/spinning drum-kit, solo that ended as Lee yelled “pow, pow” and hurled drum sticks across the venue. The band even remixed their classic “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” with an intro and outro from Gary Glitter’s “Rock n Roll Part 2.” A risky but bold move from Mötley Crüe that spoke to their inventiveness as musicians in my opinion as the song was well received from the audience, so much so it is a shame a studio version of it will never be released.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

    Vince Neil gave Nikki Sixx the floor in the middle of the set and as many Mötley Crüe fans knew it was time for a speech about the band or something along those lines but many were shocked at what happened that evening. As Sixx approached the center of the stage he took his bass guitar off his back and set it down next to him as he kneeled down and just looked out across the massive ocean of a crowd assembled for their final performance in the area. Emotionally moved, Sixx simply thanked the crowd numerous times for everything over the past 35 years and admitted that it had started to hit him pretty hard that this was it. A humble statement from one of the most iconic musicians in rock n’ roll history and a shared moment that none will soon forget. Without a moment’s pause Sixx returned to his hanging, pentagram infused microphone stand to hold down his part on the next song of the evening.

mattchristinephotography-9
Photo by Matt Christine

     There were moments in the set that were stronger than others, such as the knock out performances of “Saints of Los Angeles” and “Mutherfucker of the Year” but in complete honesty there was never a dull moment or even an instance were the band sounded winded. In fact this was probably the tightest I have heard Mötley Crüe perform in the past 5 years, like I said in the beginning when presented with a sense of urgency incredible things can transpire. From start to finish Vince Neil worked the stage as he ran from side to side, even playing guitar for a few tracks all the whiling delivering high notes in his classic fashion. There was no doubt that the stage belonged to Nikki Sixx as commanded it from the moment he walked out. Even from a far you could see his skeleton face paint and hear him roar at fans in the front roar whenever he got a chance to step away from his massive microphone rigging. Mick Mars and Tommy Lee are the bar for technical live perfection but are polar opposites in delivery as Mars goes for the subtle, modest approach and Lee goes for the flashy, booming way. When you combine all four of these personalities you get Mötley Crüe, an anomaly of differences coming together and blending as such. For many fans 18 songs could never do Mötley Crüe justice but in reality their setlist was a carefully crafted showcasing of their range, diversity and domination of rock music for the past three decades.

Mötley Crüe – August 11, 2015 Setlist
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wild Side
Primal Scream
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room (Final Tour Mix)
Looks That Kill
Mutherfucker of the Year
Anarchy in the U.K.
Shout at the Devil (In the Beginning Intro)
Louder Than Hell
Drum Solo
Guitar Solo
Saints of Los Angeles
Live Wire
Dr. Feelgood (T.N.T. “Terror ‘n Tinseltown” Intro)
Kickstart My Heart

Encore:
Home Sweet Home


      As the set began to come to a close you began to see a flurry of emotions overwhelm the crowd and in turn the band, these were the final moments that they would share together and in typical Mötley Crüe fashion it was memorable beyond belief. Both Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil floated above the crowd for “Kickstart My Heart,” the final song of the main set. As if sending Tommy Lee across a roller coaster wasn’t a big enough milestone in amongst itself the band had to find a way to once again out do themselves and leave a last impress on how to deliver a live show. Confetti rained down across the venue and the final thunderous notes rang out leaving only one thing, a final parting for fans and band a like. Home, Sweet, Home – Mötley Crüe’s shining ballad and the perfect note to end their show one. Lighters and phones of the fans out shined the band’s lighting rig as every person in the building sang together as one, one last time for old time’s sake and just like that it was done. Mötley Crüe had came, saw and conquered just like they had since 1981. As the band said themselves “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” but this doesn’t mean the world won’t miss Mötley Crüe. Their legacy will live on and the events of this final tour will never be forgotten as Mötley Crüe have cemented themselves amongst the giants of rock history.

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