July 21, 2014
Whether we are to believe all the fanfare about Mötley Crüe calling it quits forever, last night’s Los Angeles stop of their “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” tour at the Hollywood Bowl was undeniably poignant, even while it bombarded the senses with non-stop pyro and rockstar posing and prancing. The Crüe are quintessentially “L.A.” after all, and the Bowl backdrop really brought this home (sweet home).
For better or worse, these guys kick-started the hair metal scene that emerged on the Sunset Strip and paved the way for a slew of big-haired bad boys in spikes and spandex. While their image was a huge part of their appeal, the band really did have the chops and the hooks to back it all up. And, though all are old enough to be grandpas, they still do. Well, mostly.
Though they opened with a few weaker, newer numbers — the fitting “Saints of Los Angeles” and “Wild Side” — the set consisted of a nice smattering from their gritty early period and anthemic sing-a-longs from their heyday. “Looks That Kill,” “On With the Show” “Too Fast for Love” and “Smoking in the Boys Room” (mashed with Gary Glitter's stadium fave, “Rock and Roll Part 2” as intro and outro) were busted out in rapid succession and each sounded as seductive and vibrant as ever. Lead songwriter Nikki Sixx may be a fiery vamp onstage, but he has a gift for writing super-catchy, pretty poppy songs that hold up, even when they’re being pounded over by Tommy Lee’s brutal drums.
Mick Mars is often sited as the band’s most skilled member and his guitar work over the years has always made for a solid yet ballsy foundation, particularly in a live setting. Spinal problems have plagued him since he was a young man, so he never moved much on stage. Now that he’s 63, his stoic style seems sort of mandatory, but his fingers obviously still work fine. The riffs sounded sharp and shreddy the whole night.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Vince Neil’s vocals. In contrast to his commanding turn at the 2011 Sunset Strip Music Fest (which we reviewed here), this time he sounded weak and winded on a lot of the tracks. He was never the best singer even in his prime, but he could hit some pretty high notes when called for, and his chesty croon always fit like a tight leather glove over The Crüe’s metallic come-ons. Last night, Neil’s less than robust vox didn’t much matter though — everyone was singing along to every song anyway.
Though Lee’s roller-coaster drum kit set up from this tour had to be scrapped due to the bowl’s space restrictions, we did get to see a lot of him via a drum cam and arena monitors. Notably, the monitor visuals appeared more softly focused than we’re used to seeing. They needn’t have worried about seeming old though. The band was virile and vicious last night, with a strong — and long — set they can be proud of.
With continuous fireworks and novel visuals like hanging pentagram mics and dancers that also also served as back-up singers, not to mention a fun and freaky opening set by one of the band's own forefathers (Alice Cooper), The Crüe's L.A. farewell brought all the excess it needed to, an exclamation point to a crazy career that may or may not be over. And we wouldn't blame them if it's not.
Set list on next page.
Saints of Los Angeles ?
Wild Side ?
Primal Scream ?
Same Ol' Situation
Looks That Kill ?
On With the Show ?
Too Fast for Love ?
Smokin' in the Boys' Room
Without You ?
Mutherfucker of the Year ?
Anarchy in the U.K.
Dr. Feelgood ?
In the Beginning ?
Shout at the Devil ?
Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) ?
Live Wire ?
Too Young to Fall in Love ?
Girls, Girls, Girls ?
Kickstart My Heart ?
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