Almost 30 years ago, give or take a couple of months, I went along to the Edinburgh Playhouse to see Motley Crue who at that point were riding high on the success of their ‘Theatre Of Pain’ album. What a show it was (I still have it on tape somewhere) and you could see then that the band had the potential to have a long and productive career.
Over the years things may not have gone strictly to plan in the Crue camp and the fact that all four original members are still alive to entertain us one last time is something of a miracle! The music however was never compromised and the fans stuck with the band through all the trials and tribulations. The fact that this final tour has played to packed arenas around the world is testament to the promise shown that night in Edinburgh.
The fog was most definitely on the Tyne as we arrived at the Metro Arena, fortunately there was a suitable foghorn on hand in the shape of tonight’s first band, The One Hundred, to keep any errant ships at bay.
The London based metalcore crew blasted onto the stage in a hail of blast beats and jagged riffs much the bemusement of the gathering crowd. During their 25 minute set the crowd which had started to gather dispersed just as quickly. I am not sure how the band were selected as the opening act for this tour as I really can’t see it doing their career any good apart from the kudos on their CV. They got polite applause at best from a crowd which was a generation away from The One Hundred’s target demographic.
Alice Cooper however had the crowd caught firmly in his web from the opening bars of ‘The Black Widow’. If you have seen Alice in the last few years then you know exactly what you are going to get but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. This was 50 minutes of classic Coop with all the visual extravaganza that goes with it. ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, ‘Eighteen’, Billion Dollar Babies’, the crowd roared along to them all.
Alice’s current band are a real powerhouse and were given plenty of opportunity to take the limelight. There is only one Alice though and his performance on the ‘Ballad Of Dwight Fry’ was the set highlight, playing along with the demonic nurse he genuinely looked crazed. Another high point was during ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ when Alice transformed into the monster who then continued to sing along to the song!
All too soon the guillotine was out and Alice once again lost his head, but as always he was back for a blast through ‘School’s Out’ complete with big balloons and bubbles. Another top performance from a man who never fails to entertain.
If entertainment was what you were after then Motley Crue were here to provide the party and then some. As the taped intro of ‘So Long, Farewell’ from The Sound Of Music faded out Mick Mars appeared on stage and cranked out the opening chords to ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ both the pyro and the crowd went off with a bang.
Vince Neil was in good voice, although he did let the crowd and the backing singers get some of the higher notes on occasion. Tommy Lee was back at his kit pounding best after sitting out a few shows in the weeks prior to the European jaunt due to tendonitis and Nikki Sixx looked like he was loving his work.
The setlist was a ‘greatest hits’ affair which came as no surprise with likes of ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’, ‘S.O.S (Same Old Situation)’and ‘Looks That Kill’ going down a storm with the packed crowd.
The on stage visuals were a sight to behold with a great lightshow, flames and more fireworks than a bonfire night party, there was always something going on to enhance the performance. ‘Shout At The Devil’ was a crowd pleaser complete with mass fist pounding accompanying cries of ‘Shout’, it was like 1984 all over again. It was also good to hear ‘Louder Than Hell’ live again.
The anticipation was raised mid-set when the strains of ‘O Fortuna’ from Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ rang around the hall heralding the arrival of the Tommy Lee drum rollercoaster. I had seen footage on the internet of the rollercoaster in action but seeing it in the metal was amazing to watch.
Starting from the stage, Lee and his drum riser passed over the heads of the crowd out into the middle of the hall. Tommy was drumming along to a pumping backing track all the while with the drum platform rotating as he went. Lee said that the rollercoaster was a realisation of his dream, I can only assume he had eaten a lot of cheese before heading to bed that night!
Once safely back on stage Lee took a breather whilst Mick Mars took centre stage for his guitar solo. Mick has written some great riffs in his time but his solo was mostly a wall of noise. Thankfully the rest of the band reappeared shortly after and the set headed back into classic territory once again.
The set ended with ‘Kickstart My Heart’, again complete with more pyro and flames, but the band weren’t finished and returned with Lee taking to the piano for ‘Home Sweet Home’, a fitting way to round off an evening that had been a rollercoaster of emotions as well as drum solos.
Tonight the capacity crowd were reminded in no uncertain terms why Motley Crue have been at the top for so many years. Put simply they are showmen through and through and the embodiment of the rock ‘n’ roll dream.
As the strapline for this final tour puts it ‘All bad things must come to an end’ and thankfully Crue ain’t about to go quietly. Guys, It’s been a blast…
Review by Dave Wilson
Photos by by Steve Goudie
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.
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12:00-13:00 MAD MAX Stormchild Rising (SPV)
14:00-16:00 MARY COUGHLAN Life Stories (2020)
Power Plays w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
SOUTH OF SALEM Cold Day In Hell (indie)
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THE JAILBIRDS Dull My Brain (Golden Robot Records)
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