In high school I was never into Motley Crue, and did not understand Alice Cooper at all. But over time I have started to appreciate them more, and when I saw that the Crue was on their “final tour” with Mr. Cooper opening up for them, I had to get tickets. I was able to see them this past Monday night at the Hollywood bowl, and it was just about what I expected.
The Hollywood Bowl is Los Angeles at its finest, and it is usually a good place to see a show. The acoustics are good, and since it is in an urban area they keep the volume in check. There was a nice vibe this evening, and a lot of energy in the air which is why this is usually my favorite Southern California outdoor concert venue. The audience was a strange mix, and quite a bit more diverse than I figured it would be. For a change, I got the $6 express bus ride from Lakewood, which turned out to be stress free and saved me from having my trusty Toyota trapped in the Bowl’s $23 stacked parking lots. It worked out really well, and I recommend this to anyone who is heading to a show there.
The show kicked off right on time at 7:00 PM with an unbilled opening act, The Raskins from New York City. The twins did an ok warm-up of some originals and covers, and they only got about 20 minutes in before the power was shut off on them. They had a schedule to keep, you know…
It took about 20 minutes to get their crap off the stage, and Alice Cooper hit the stage for his 50 minute set right as it was getting dark. He puts on a really fun show! There was plenty of schtick and oodles of props that he used as he played through all of the expected favorites (“School’s Out”, “Poison”, “Feed my Frankenstein”, “Welcome to my Nightmare”). With his growly and low style of singing he has not blown his vocal cords out, and he proved to still be a prime entertainer, which almost makes his guillotine act, the 12-foot monster and the fake blood kind of unnecessary. But it would not be the same without this stuff, would it? His band was in good form too, though three guitarists might be a bit too much, and for a show this short I could have done without the bass and drum solos. Special props go out to guitarist Nita Strauss, who brought her A game to the show!
After Cooper’s set, it took more than a half hour to complete an epic stage re-set before Motley Crue could take the stage. And they hit it big, with an abundance of explosions and fireballs during the opener, “Saints of Los Angeles.” The sound was terrible and it took a minute or so for me to even figure out which song they were playing. Unfortunately the sound did not get any better over their 90 minute set.
Vince Neil is looking old and weird, and his outfit with its knee-length sleeveless coat looked like something my mother would wear. He uttered a truckload of F-bombs throughout the evening, certainly no longer has the voice to do a full-length rock show. So, he relied on the age-old standby of singing a few lines and then holding the microphone out so the audience could sing the choruses for him. He used this crutch a lot as the evening went on, but the fans didn’t seem to mind as they knew the words to every song. Maybe after this “final tour” he can focus on his strengths, such as killing drummers, driving under the influence and beating on women.
The rest of the band did well. Guitarist Mick Mars looked like he was in terrible pain that night, and he probably was as his health issues are taking their toll. He was never the most blazing artist, but he turned in a solid performance on this evening. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee are still stars, and their backline was rock-solid. Of course Tommy gave the fans a hell of a drum solo, and proved that he is still the most talented guy in the band.
Crue did not hold back on playing the fan favorites, and one of the highlight of the evening was “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” with included Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part II” as the intro and the outro. They also did their take on the Sex Pistol’s “Anarchy in the UK” that actually worked, which was a nice contrast to their arsenal of hits, including “Dr. Feelgood,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and their closer, “Home Sweet Home.”
Don’t get me wrong, Neil was not good and the sound was terrible, but it was still a fun evening. You cannot go wrong with dancing girls, catchy (but sadly misogynistic) tunes, heavy drums, fireworks and a guitar that becomes a flamethrower. Due to Mar’s health issues, this probably will be their last tour so if you ever wanted to see Motley Crue, now is the time. Having Alice Cooper on the bill will make the evening complete, so check them out if you get the chance.