Motley Crue are currently on a small winter tour, supporting their album Saints of Los Angeles. The Last Vegas, Theory of a Deadman and Hinder are providing support.
Last night, Motley played to a nearly full crowd at the Rockford, Illinois MetroCentre. For me and Heather, the show started like always: a few missteps, a near death experience and a giant line in the cold.
There’s always a line in the cold.
The near death experience was a ride in a unmarked cab with no meter, so it’s highly possible Heather and I just wandered up to a strange man that needed money. The driver was pretty adamant that we’d called for his services, but with no number on the side of the station wagon...how could we be sure?
Scary cabs be damned, we arrived at the concert venue unharmed, only to find that security hadn’t opened the doors when promised and there were literally thousands of people snaked around the building. Standing outside in 20 degree weather for 45 minutes isn’t the most fun thing to do on a Sunday night, but at least there was free entertainment. Did I mention there were protestors?
Oh yes, the protestors.
I’ve been to a lot of rock shows and never actually encountered a group of people carrying signs, holding Bibles and reading scripture. The signs talked a lot of sins and evil. I guess they heard Motley was in town and might know a few things about both, I’m not sure. At any rate, I fully support a person’s first amendment right to exercise free speech and assembly. Some of the Motley concertgoers were not quite as patriotic as Heather and I. The protestors were heckled a lot and ended up with police protection by way of a cop car. A street separated the concert crowd from the Jesus fans.
Once inside and through the massive security detail, I was not pleased to learn I’d missed The Last Vegas. I was certain the curtain would be held a few minutes since, well, no one was actually inside for the show. I’m sure The Last Vegas played for 500 people, which sucks. The MetroCentre screwed up big time on not opening the doors earlier.
I picked up Theory of a Deadman’s Scars & Souvenirs over the weekend, mainly because the song “Hate My Life” makes me giggle. Sure, Theory of a Deadman sounds a lot like Nickelback (for obvious reasons. If you don’t know why, read the Wiki article), but I still like this band. They were pretty good live – their set was high energy and there wasn’t much stage banter, which basically everyone knows I hate. The best part of the set – aside from “Hate My Life” was, of course, “Bad Girlfriend.” Heather pointed out that every member of Theory of a Deadman must be damaged considering all the “I hate women” songs.
So then it was time for Hinder. Everyone that reads this site with any regularity knows I do not like this band. That doesn’t mean I’m going to suck a lemon and scowl at a rock show. No, I stood the entire time – and I clapped. Even if I don’t like Hinder’s music, I realize I can’t get on stage and perform for thousands, so that deserves some applause. Hinder’s set was not so long, but they did play their most radio friendly songs like “Use Me,” “Lips of an Angel,” “Without You” and “Get Stoned.” Now, I’ll admit: Hinder sounded much better last night versus when I saw them in December in Dayton. In Dayton, Austin Winkler’s voice was literally just shot to hell. He didn’t sound nearly that strained last night, which is a good thing. He also moved around on stage a lot more. Actually, the entire band moved around a lot more and at the end of the song, Austin came into the crowd. Yes, at one point he was singing right to me and Heather. No, I didn’t say anything mean. I just observed.
So now it was time for Motley Crue. Ok, so again everyone knows this wasn’t my first time. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I figured the set would be identical to Crue Fest, and that would be that. I also thought the band would phone it in because, well, they can.
Motley got off to a really rough start with “Kickstart My Heart.” Vince Neil ran on stage and was immediately skipping words and I sighed. After this rough song, something happened and the band actually started performing as a highly functioning unit. Moreover, the band looked happy to be on stage together.
Here’s the set:
Kickstart My Heart
Shout at the Devil
Saints of Los Angeles
Mick guitar solo
Too Fast For Love
On with the Show
Looks That Kill
Jailhouse Rock with Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick
Mutherfucker of the Year
White Trash Circus
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Old Situation
Band introductions (seriously, they introduced themselves)
Girls, Girls, Girls
Home Sweet Home
Now maybe you noticed that Motley played “Jailhouse Rock” with Rick Nielsen. Remember, Motley covered this on Girls, Girls, Girls but I’m sure they haven’t played in it a long time. Motley brought Nick on stage to jam with the band – a very cool bonus to the Rockford show. Vince admitted the song may or may not go well. The tune sort of fell apart in the middle and Vince was reading the words for awhile, but that’s o.k. The band was having fun. At the end of the song, there were hugs all around and everyone was all smiles.
Did I mention Motley were honestly having fun? I mean, they really acted like they wanted to be on stage with each other. Fist bumps, hugs, mic sharing – the whole bit. And it wasn’t contrived, either. You can tell when a band is forcing affection. This was actually real. I was impressed. The show was so much better for the congenial atmosphere.
Nikki addressed the crowd before “Primal Scream” and admitted to Rick Neilsen – and everyone in the audience – that Motley stole “Too Fast for Love” from Cheap Trick, saying “...it’s too late now and you can’t sue us!” Something tells me Cheap Trick knew this a long time ago.
So, midway through the show, Vince is actually singing the words. I mean, there are a few times when he lets the crowd carry him...or he just forgets, but overall, he did a really good job. Mick’s solo was longer than usual, too. Best part of all? No titty cam. That’s right, Tommy kept his childish camera to himself, allowing the band to play more tunes. In fact, Tommy only really came out to the crowd once during the show to hand his Jager bottle to the pit. He said Motley were thankful for their “fans, friends, family...and a new president.” Much applause. After all, I was in Illinois.
During “Shout at the Devil,” Motley inserted photos of George Bush, who “seemed” to be flipping off the camera. Seemed appropriate to me.
The band introductions were odd, if not loveable. Tommy flew off the stage and onto a barrier railing when it was time for his name. Again, seemed appropriate to me.
Overall, I’ve got to say it was a great show. Motley were better last night than they were at Crue Fest, at that’s saying something because I liked the Cincinnati stop of tour quite a lot. Great show, worth the money. Still mad I missed The Last Vegas.