All bad things must come to an end so they say. Since 1981 we’ve gotten the good, the bad and the ugly from the Sunset Strip bad boys. Drugs, booze, sex, countless nights of untold, unseen debauchery and decadence. They’ve never been shy about pushing the envelope, before setting it on fire. They’ve sold over 80 million records and have over 2500 different branded items sold in 30 countries. For all the headlines, documentaries and tales of legend and lore, it’s a miracle they’re all still alive and healthy let alone finishing their three decade plus career with a ‘final goodbye tour’. Yes, many bands have done retirement tours only to come back (in one variation or another) a few years later to give fan’s more. However, Vince, Tommy, Nikki and Mick have made good on their word signing a legally binding Cessation of Touring Agreement stating after their last show (Mick’s mentioned the idea of having their final show at or on top of The Whisky on Sunset) they will never tour again as Motley Crue with each pursuing their own endeavors afterwards.
The show itself; was over 20 songs of classics, favorites and obscure tunes from Too Fast For Love-Saints of Los Angeles, excluding possibly Generation Swine, New Tattoo and the self-titled disk. This is, the Crue giving each city one final chance to Shout at the Devil. Presented by Dodge and produced by Live Nation the 72 date tour covers the country with the band playing a fire breathing, scantily clad show at each stop till the end of the year, going overseas in 2015. Though it started off a bit rocky in Grand Rapids a few nights earlier with technical glitches and issues with Tommy’s arena wide Cruesifly kit malfunctioning and the setup being too big for some venues to hold. You’ll still get Sixx’s bass-neck fire starter, the always present hot vixens and a solo only Mick Mars can do.
Touring with the original pioneer and godfather of shock rock Alice Cooper, it seems that the creator/teacher is helping say goodbye to the students and having started in the late 60’s may have ‘continuing’ bragging rights.
New York born/LA transplants The Raskins opened the show with brothers Logan and Roger throwing down their own brand of rock n roll, trying to win over the early crowd.
Opening with Hello Hooray with the huge, hypnotic, menacing gaze of Alice starring at the crowd, old black eyes still said No More Mr. Nice Guy. Quite possibly the greatest teenaged angst and rebellion anthem ever made, or at least one of the first. We’re all eighteen again and we like it. Alice pulled out the Cooper confetti cash and spread the mean green. We went from cash to Trash and tasted the bitter sweet Poison. Diamonds and pearls are a girl’s best friend, even dirty ones.
The demented ringleader emerged top hatted and snake bit. Alice haunted your nightmares way before Freddy was conceived. The blood caked mad scientist brought out the high voltage to feed his larger than life creation. Gas masked and ready, lightning struck and his Frankenstein was alive!
A few decades before Silent Hill, Alice dressed in straight-jackets assisted and tormented by demonic sexy nurses. Good ole Dwight. He loves the guillotine as much as the dead and he’s a Killer showman. Alice, sweet Alice, the principal every student wished they had, Schools Out…forever! He said goodbye, but unlike Motley, we will see him again.
The number of times The Sound of Music and Motley Crue were spoken in the same sentence is (probably) nary a one but the boys introduce the show with a sly, sarcastic So Long, farewell tear down the eye. If all bad things Motley are coming to an end then on Sunday July 6th it was time to kick Cincinnati’s Red, White and Crue ass.
No ride through Tommyland for Riverbend that night but it was no less the spectacle accustomed to by the Crue, even if it was scaled down a bit from the carnival and The Tour’s stage.
The biggest, baddest Mother Fucker’s of the year from Los Angeles started the show. Doesn’t take long to take a ride on the Wild Side, bathed in downtown beckoning crimson and assorted lights, the first of the night’s beastly beauties seduce on stage. The Primal Scream sent flames shooting in all directions. Nikki proudly announced it’s been 33 years, starting on Sunset Strip with four brothers and the rock n roll family. The Same Old Situation never gets old; it’s a very ‘feel good’ moment.
Our first chance to shout at the devil came with Looks That Kill with the tempting hot silhouette of an unnamed lady giving the crowd an early kick start. Close your eyes, its 1981 again, On With The Show! Too fast, Too Fast For Love, do you remember? Smokin ain’t allowed in school but there’s plenty in the boys room. We got an older one they hadn’t played in a while. The girls screamed as Tommy hit the first beats to Without You as dreamy, emotional confetti poured from the ceiling. Mick hit a few off notes in the solo, but it’s forgivable.
This city full of plastic angels will seduce you, welcome to Los Angeles. It’s a dirty job but they all did it after Sixx met Tommy, drunk in leopard pants at the Starwood and Mick through a fucking insane guitar player ad in The Recycler. One long persuaded audition later after singing Cheap Trick at The Starwood Vince joined and ‘a motley looking crew’ was born, drenched in Lowenbrau.
They’re no strangers to anarchy, debauchery or heresy, in the US, UK or elsewhere. Vince asked where all the young people were at. You’re Too Young To Fall In Love. Darkness eclipsed the stage as a symbolic, subliminally faded pentagram appeared on screen. The flames of hell bellowed on stage and Nikki’s flame thrower bass shot out balled up infernos singeing the air. Come now children of the beast be strong and Shout At The Devil. Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away.
Mick played a truly mind-bending solo of Pink Floyd meets Van Halen fit for a mad scientist or a vintage horror movie villain. Live Wire, the very origin of the band, was another historical feel good moment followed by the good doctor’s Frankenstein remedy. The national anthem for all the lovely ladies of the CrueNation started as the bikes revved up for the cruise. Mick kick-started the finale with the adrenaline fueled riff and an extreme assault of fire, steam and explosions as all other on stage nasty’s exploded and boomed.
Tranquil music played at the Motley’s traveled to mid-pavilion, performing Home Sweet Home on the small, rising makeshift stage.
Then all good things Motley that were bad did end, for Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky. No matter when they finally call it quits their legend and legacy in rock n roll, metal, LA and music will live forever. Vince capped the night off best “We’re gonna miss you fuckers, man. Thank you, goodnight.”
Photography by Dave Gabbard.