By MIKE CHAIKEN
If you’re going to go out, you might as well do it big and go out with a bang.
And that’s exactly what metal merchants Motley Crue did on Aug. 16 at the Mohegan Sun.
Out on the road for their final tour ever (they’ve signed the legal docs to underscore that fact), the band seems to have tossed out all the stops musically and performance-wise for this fond farewell.
Simply put, the show at the Mohegan was simply insane.
The band, which is celebrating its 35th year (egad!), brought plenty of firepower to the show. There was pyro for the first song, “Girls Girls Girls” and pyro continued throughout the night with everything from explosions, flames, and Nikki Sixx stepping onto stage with a bass equipped with a flame thrower (which he used to set ablaze a pentagram dangling over the stage.)
And the pyro for Motley Crue’s show was big. Really big. I was sitting toward the back of the auditorium and I could feel the heat of the flames.
(Before the show, fire marshals were on hand to inspect the gear.)
This show, pardon the pun, was really hot.
With its final days as a live act, the band clearly wanted to epitomize “rock and roll” excess.
And nothing epitomized the excess of this tour dubbed, “All Bad Things Must Come to An End,” than the Cruecifly drum coaster.
As soon as I walked into the arena, I looked above there was metal contraption that ran the length of the auditorium way above our heads. And about 3/4ths of the way through the show, this skeletal construct— came to life as drummer Tommy Lee was propelled across its length, flipping upside down and sideways, as he played a drum solo strapped to this percussion roller coaster.
Thus far, I’ve focused on the spectacle of the Motley Crue show. But, I’m sure you’re thinking, what about the music?
I read a couple of reviews about the tour, and the critics I caught skewered the Crue’s live show.
But, I’m not sure what world they were coming from. At the Mohegan Sun, the band was red hot.
Forget about the special FX firepower, the band—singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, and drummer Tommy Lee- were crackling with energy as they played tracks from the breadth of their career.
The pace was break neck with hit after hit, such as “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” “Wild Side,” and “Shout at the Devil,” as well as deeper tracks such as “Saints of Los Angeles” and their covers of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.”
Neil was in fine voice all evening. Mars’s offered up an array of mind melting riffs, Sixx, as usual, expertly held down the bottom. And Lee proved that he is probably one of the most underrated drummers in the business.
The barbs tossed at Crue for the tour, however, aren’t totally unexpected. Motley Crue never were critic’s darlings. In the metal universe, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Metallica earned far more critic kudos than Motley Crue. But I’m sure that never really bothered the band or the fans, who took delight in the celebrating hedonism rather than earning the respect of scribes.
You can place Motley Crue squarely in the company of bands such as Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad, and Poison as musical entities who earned the hearts and minds of oodles of fans while critics ineffectively sharpened their poison pens.
But as Motley Crue zipped through their set in Uncasville, it was amazing how many great songs they had in their career.
And they clearly have adoring and devoted fans. The nearly sold out crowd stood up from the beginning to end of Motley Crue’s set. Most of the crowd never put their fannies in the seat once the band opened its 1 1/2 hour plus set.
Motley Crue has signed paperwork saying that they will never go out on the road again. And it’s a shame. But it’s great to see that at least for the Mohegan Sun show, the group went out in a blaze of glory.
If you haven’t caught the band on its final victory lap, Motley Crue will be coming back to the Nutmeg State on Oct. 16 when it plays the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. If you have a chance to check them out for their final hurrah—the tour and the band’s live career ends on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles— make way to that show.
I give Motley Crue at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville 3 ½ out of 4 stars.
By MIKE CHAIKEN