Mötley Crüe’s “All Bad Things Must Come to An End” Farewell Tour is coming to a city near you. Should you go if you haven’t already committed to going? How much do you love Mötley Crüe? Have you ever seen them in concert before? Lastly, do you even care?
Having attended the third show in their long goodbye tour, 72 dates just this year alone, I recommend getting a ticket just to see their “Very Special” Guest, Alice Cooper, even if you aren’t a diehard Crüe fanatic.
Alice Cooper brought his theatrical style of concert performance to Klipsch Music Center by kicking off the 13-song set with “Hello Hooray”, a Judy Collins cover. Cooper, stage veteran that he is, changed outfits more times and more quickly than a teenage girl getting ready for a date. He started out in full black and red leather regalia with his face painted, plus spats and gloves. After throwing a crutch across the stage at the end of “I’m Eighteen”, more like he’s 18 times 4 but with as much energy and more professionalism than most artists half his age, Cooper launched into “Billion Dollar Babies”.
“Welcome to My Nightmare” showcased Cooper’s menacing growl as he emerged in all black leather with red and black top hat. The atmosphere at Klipsch didn’t quite feel doom-and-gloomy as the Indiana sun slowly faded behind the stage. The quick-change artist donned a white lab coat with blood stains complete with a white gas mask for “Feed My Frankenstein” as his macabre nurse strapped him down to a lab table. Bangs, shouts, fog, and darkness then Alice was gone. A giant, 8-foot Frankenstein monster appeared in Cooper’s stead.
During the “Ballad of Dwight Fry” the nurse disrobed Alice down to a black shirt and pants then restrained him with a straight jacket. Cooper sang on his knees, while the creepy nurse pantomimed behind Alice with a doll. This all led up to a struggle with two goons that put Alice into a guillotine for “Killer” which segued into “I Love the Dead”. The crowd enthusiastically chorused, “I love the dead” with Alice who had just thrown his freshly chopped-off head. For the final song, “School’s Out For Summer”, Cooper morphed into a horror version of Uncle Sam with a patriotic top hat and riding crop. “Schools out for summer! School’s out forever!” which transitioned smoothly into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”. Alice Cooper ended the show by introducing the band members: Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, Chuck Garric, Nita Strauss, and Glen Sobel. He shouted, “School’s Out Indiana!” to finish an action-packed stage show.
Oh, you were wondering how Mötley Crüe’s set panned out? Oddly enough, it began with “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music being piped through the speakers. Then in a complete emotional 180, the bad boys of rock and roll came out swinging with “Mutherf*cker of the Year”. Vince Neil, decked out in black and gold spandex with matching floor-length vest, seemed out of breath and out of sorts throughout the entire show. However, he did give a very good performance considering the mishaps that occurred during the first show of the tour in Grand Rapids. Flashing lights, pyrotechnics, and two sexy ladies dominated the onstage antics for the most part. Lacking was the emphasis on Tommy Lee’s drumming, with no insane, over-the-top, roller coaster, strapped-in and inverted set-up with a truly raging drum solo that has been a hallmark of the Crüe’s since the Girls, Girls, Girls tour.
Indiana’s own Mick Mars, though suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, rocked every one of his guitar solos, usually at stage right although he did move to the center a few times as he did on “Primal Scream”. Neil reminded the audience that Mötley Crüe has been creating music and reeking havoc for 33 years before he proceeded into “Same Ol’ Situation”.
The cavalcade of the Crüe’s greatest hits, continued with “Looks That Kill”, “On With the Show”, and “Too Fast for Love”. Underneath the pentagram-within-a circle light structure, Vince Neil introduced Mötley Crüe’s newest song, composed especially for this tour, “All Bad Things Must Come To an End”. With the backup singers decked out as sexier versions of Maleficient, replete with horned headpieces and pitchforks shooting flames, Mick Mars ended the song with flaming licks of his own.
The classic sports, crowd-pumping song, “Hey” aka “Rock and Roll” prefaced one of the Crüe’s biggest hits, “Smoking in the Boy’s Room”, originally done by Brownsville Station. The tempo slowed for the ballad “Without You” then stepped up the strobe lights and fire for “Saints of Los Angeles”.
Bassist Nikki Sixx took the mike yelling, “I can hear you but I can’t see you so turn up the light. I love you.” He commanded the audience to “sit the F**k down, you’re in church”. Unapologetically he stated, “We’re not sorry for being Mötley Crüe!” Trying to encourage the crowd to controlled vocal mayhem, the Crüe performed the Sex Pistols’, “Anarchy in the U.K.”
Tommy Lee’s drumming stayed consistently awesome throughout the second half of the concert even as Vince Neil’s vocals were spotty in sections. At times, Neil didn’t sing the first lines of the songs or missed lyrics. By and large, the audience was forgiving of his omissions and enthusiastically filled in the words when Vince botched his lines.
“Too Young to Fall in Love” was followed by Sixx shooting flames out of the back of his bass for “Shout at the Devil”. Neil strapped on a guitar for “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”. The nurse theme resurfaced for “Dr. Feelgood” as the Crüe’s naughty nurses pranced around the main stage while Nikki Sixx sauntered to the raised side stage.
Vince referenced the Fourth of July holiday of the previous day, talking about freedom and riding motorcycles to lead into “Girls, Girls, Girls”. As the motorcycle sounds roared out of the speakers at the end of that song, they moved directly into “Kickstart My Heart”. After twenty numbers, Neil thanked the crowd and asked them to put “their goalposts” (WTH?!-read: devil horns \m/) in the air. The foursome assembled center stage, backs to the crowd, and took a selfie with as many of their fans as possible in the background.
A more subdued than expected audience regrouped enough to make noises worthy of an encore. The strains of “Home Sweet Home” emanated not from the main stage but a smaller one in the middle of the reserved seating. The spotlights shone on Mötley Crüe, gathered more closely together than they probably wanted to be on the miniature platform, which also contained a grand piano. Rising about 20-30 feet above their fans, as the platform slowly elevated during the song, lighters flickered and cell phones were held aloft as the bittersweet “Home Sweet Home” signaled the end. With a final send-off of “Good night F**kers, we love ya!” Mötley Crüe sealed their farewell to central Indiana.
Fittingly for the contentious rockers, the crowd dispersed as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” serenaded them on their journey to the parking lot. If you are a big Crüe fan, by all means, find a way to say goodbye and attend that last Mötley musical montage in person. If you are nostalgic for that 80’s and 90’s glam metal/heavy metal sound, go for that alone. If not, spend your money on one of their DVDs from their earlier heyday. It will be a very long farewell tour throughout the U.S. and Canada over the next several months, so there is ample opportunity to tell Mötley Crüe “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!”
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