Motley Crue Live in Ft. Lauderdale

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Monday, March 7, 2005 @ 9:42 AM

Motley Crue Live at the Office

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If you saw Motley Crue on the Sunset Strip during their start-up daze, if you saw them get their big-exposure break at the US Festival in front of 400,000 people in 1983, if you caught them opening for Ozzy and blowing away the crowds in ‘84, or if you were raising your fist and yelling during their headlining ‘Theatre Of Pain’ tour, you know that what you saw was special. Their live show was the essence of 80’s rock & roll. If you witnessed the bloat and slur of the ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and ‘Dr. Feelgood’ tours, or the last-grasp-at-fame days of subsequent attempts at past glories, you probably left the arena feeling like something was missing. The later music had lost lots of its punch and energy.

And so it was on the opening night of the 2005 ‘Red White & Crue’ tour, played in front of a packed, loud, enthusiastic mass in the hockey-less (ha-ha-ha) arena in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

The stage set was reminiscent of a once-beautiful circus tent that has fallen into disrepair and neglect over the years, yet is presentable enough to drag out on the road one more time. It was a great metaphor for what the truth of this tour is. All of the props you’d expect were on hand; the strippers, freak show on side video screens, fire towers, boom-booms, and motorcycles. There was no opening act, just a few minute Claymation video of the band cursing and titting their way into the decision to do their current tour.

A freaky clown introduced the Crue and they launched everyone into a 3-part (The Early Days, The Later Haze, and Encore), 23-song hit parade with a few deep-cut surprises. The electricity, excitement and connection with the crowd was established from the opening crunch of “Shout At The Devil” and continued feverishly through super renditions of “Too Fast For Love,” “On With the Show,” “10 Seconds To Love,” a flaming, red-hot blasting of “Red Hot,” “Too Young To Fall in Love,” “Looks That Kill” and “Live Wire.” Vince Neil’s voice sounded great, and he reproduced the trademark early-Crue vocal style. He looked in great shape and was the blond rock star you remember. And Nikki Sixx hasn’t changed hairstyle or outfits in 25 years, nor has he lost any of his stage presence or energy.

If the band stopped right there and said goodnight, there would have been lots of happy people who remember what a great band early Crue was. The band captured the energy and song quality that was their original intention 24 years ago, during the first hour of their set.

Instead, the band took a 10-minute refresher, changed outfits and came roaring back out with “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Wild Side,” “Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Primal Scream,” “Glitter/Without You,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Louder Than Hell” (a highlight), “Dr. Feelgood,” “Afraid,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” then 2 of the songs from the new disc, “If I Die Tomorrow” and “Sick Love Song,” and they ended with “Kickstart My Heart.”

Tommy Lee’s solo antics were a personal tribute to himself: he started at his kit with a little heavy-metal thunder, then was rappelled to the top of stage left where he had a small stand-up kit complete with tape samplers, and played a few minutes of bottom-heavy hip-hoppy rappy crap that was his look back at his Methods of Mayhem days. He then rappelled, 30 feet above the stage, to stage right where another kit was set up, hanging from the rafters. He played a short DJ set of good-sounding electronic trance, which displayed his current musical interest.

Encore was two well-presented Crue covers, tributes to their influences: “Helter Skelter” and “Anarchy In The USA.” The crowd was grateful to see the original members of one of the great acts in metal reunited and bowing triumphantly at show’s end.

Overall, this was a good-to-excellent show that was loud, energized, visual and contained all the Motley Crue you could wish for in one evening. If this circus comes to your town, GO. Go because, with so much terrible music out there in 2005, this tour is a refreshing look at the difference between going to a live-music show and actually attending an event.

Go because Mick Mars, while he handled every lick he played with gusto, appeared quite frail, walked with a noticeable limp, and was very stiff in his motions. It will be interesting to see if he can hold up for the entire tour.

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