Motley Crue’s Farewell Tour Blows Into Sioux City With A Lot of Help From Alice Cooper
It was part head banging, part ass kicking, part ear drum assaulting, part over-the-top rock and roll show, and part music history lesson at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Wednesday night, as Motley Crue’s ‘All Bad Things Must Come to an End’ farewell tour stormed into the Upper Midwest.
The Crue channeled every ounce of energy from the past 33 years and crammed it onto one high intensity, high volume set, running down the list of all of their legendary hits, tossing in some newer material, plus a surprise or two.
Vince Neil has certainly undergone the biggest transformation in the quartet over the years, with the help of plastic surgery and one or two (or 10,000) cheeseburgers, but that didn’t hamper his ability to dig down and belt out the full range of notes from the band’s expansive catalog.
The one thing I did notice about Neil, more than any other lead singer I’ve seen: when he wasn’t singing, he wasn’t on stage. No costume changes, just taking a breather I guess.
It’s been eight years since I last saw the Crue live and I was anxious to see what kind shape lead guitarist Mick Mars was in. Mick has had a series of health issues over the years, including a bone disease that makes it very difficult to move about, but when you put a guitar in his hands, he’s as good as he’s ever been!
Tommy Lee is, well, Tommy Lee. I don’t know if there’s ever been a better showman behind a set of drums. How many concerts have you been too where you LOOK FORWARD to the drum solo?
Only at a Motley Crue show.
Tommy continues to outdo himself, taking to the skies on a roller coaster-type track that sends him spinning head-over-heels right over the crowd, from the back of the stage, to the back of the house, and back again.
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Bassist Nikki Sixx provided one of the unexpected highlights of the night – by telling a story.
This wasn’t just any story though, this was the tale of how he, Lee, Mars, and Neil – one-by-one – came together in the early 80’s in the Sunset Strip area of Los Angeles to form this rock and roll powerhouse.
Sixx talked about his love for the punk and heavy metal music of the late 1970’s, his deep disdain for the new wave movement of the early 80’s, and the band’s earliest attempts to run through their first single ‘Live Wire’.
At that point, I was fully expecting the Crue to launch into that 1981 song, when instead they ripped into the Sex Pistols classic 1977 protest song ‘Anarchy In The UK’, switching the lyrics to ‘USA’ in the chorus. It was a great moment, and a great tribute to the type of music that was the foundation of this band.
And if the music wasn’t loud enough (and the ringing in my ears 12 hours later says it was), there were the fireworks, and bursts of steam and fire from the stage throughout the set. Just because the band is saying goodbye, didn’t mean they were toning anything down!
On a night like that, it would be very easy to overlook the opening act, but when the opener is Alice Cooper, that’s not about to happen.
The 66-year old legend kicked things off and left no doubt as to why he’s been the standard bearer for live shows for the past four decades.
Not only did Alice sound great on his classics ‘Poison’, ‘No More Mister Nice Guy’, ‘I’m Eighteen’, and more, he pulled out all the stops with snakes, pyrotechnics, props, an appearance from Frankenstein, and a guillotine.
Alice’s band provided the high energy backdrop, with a trio of guitar players and a bass player who, judging by the looks of them, weren’t even on this planet when Cooper first hit the charts in 1970. That didn’t stop them from tearing it up!
One of the highlights of Alice’s set was his first top ten hit, 1972’s ‘School’s Out’. Not only did it sound as raw and exciting as it did when it jumped out of radios 42 years ago, but when he wove in the ‘We don’t need no education…teacher leave them kids alone’ lyrics from Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2′, it became a truly memorable moment.
It was a great night of rock and roll history!
R.I.P. Motley Crue…