The hills were alive with the sound of rock n' roll as I anxiously awaited my favorite band of all time to take the stage. The cool air, accompanied by that green California smell (if you catch my drift), embraced the Hollywood Bowl and its guests, who were quickly filling the area. Not much time passed by before the opening band hit the stage for a small warm up set. Looking like the bastard children of The Ramones and LA Guns, clad in their leather jackets and shagged haircuts, The Raskins, broke into song. At first, I was not liking what I heard, a pop punk type of feel accompanied by vocals that sounded kind of like a drunken Gerard Way. The sound was up and down, but their enthusiasm on stage made up for it. It grew on me pretty quickly. I think their set went on longer than anticipated though, because midway through their last song, their sound was cut completely. This did not stop them though. Playing in silence, they finished the song with the same enthusiasm that they had with sound, and ran off the stage. I think the crowd appreciated their drive, as they were met with cheers from the crowd before exiting. Next up was someone I was dying to see. Alice motherfuckin' Cooper. The legend himself. The man who pretty much invented shock rock stage antics. From the makeup to the music to the performance, it is inarguable that without Alice we would not have Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Murderdolls, etc. The white backdrop, with those famous painted eyes upon it, rose as the fog began to roll over the stage. "The Underture" played across the bowl as Alice's band took the stage. Out came Alice, cane in hand, presenting himself to the crowd before breaking into "Hello, Hooray". The crowd, including myself, cheered and stood in complete awe. It was the absolute perfect song to hit the stage with. Over the course of the show, from "I'm Eighteen" to the closing of "I Love the Dead" and "School's Out", Alice's short set of about an hour told a story and embodied everything that is him. I was a little worried that I wouldn't get to see him in all of his glory, but out came the snake, the giant Frankenstein towards the end of "Feed My Frankenstein", the straight jacket during "Ballad of Dwight Fry", the zombified nurses, and of course, the guillotine (which even after seeing it in person, I have no idea how he does that trick). If you get the chance to see this spectacle, do it. It will be one of the best, and coolest, concerts you ever get to witness. Trust me.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Welcome to My Nightmare
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
School's Out (with snippet of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall")
What came next is hard to put into words. The sky had darkened by the time the bad boys of Hollywood took the stage. Nikki Sixx's bass line rumbled the hills surrounding the Hollywood Bowl and the band hit the stage greeted with screams of delight as they broke into "Saints of Los Angeles". I began to bang my head and dance as I sang along with every word. After a hello to the crowd from Vince Neil, the band crashed into "Wild Side" off of Girls, Girls, Girls. Now, people have been complaining about Vince's voice, how Mick Mars has screwed up song entries, etc. during this tour. Every band has shit nights, sure. I am here to tell you though that Vince sounded AMAZING, and not one guitar lick was missed by Mr. Mars.
Motley Crue LIVE in their hometown of Hollywood- Hollywood Bowl July 21, 2014 ( from You Tube)
What came next was a real delight. "Primal Scream" is probably my least favorite Motley Crue song off of any album, but whenever they break into it live, you can't help but pump your fist and let it fill you up. Out came Nikki using his bass to control the fire along with every long guitar note in the opening of the song. The pyrotechnics during this song, and throughout the show really, could put KISS's to shame. Nikki Sixx tweeted after the show that the fire marshall had to control the pyro because supposedly the hills were going to catch fire if they continued. Of course, it still looked amazing to me. Tommy Lee, who I swear to God when he is playing he is not human, but a part of the kit, seemed to become completely engulfed in flame and smoke at times.
After a few more tracks, they began my all time favorite Crue song, Too Fast For Love's "On With the Show". I've seen them perform this at every Crue show I have attended (with the exception of seeing them in 2009 when they played Dr. Feelgood from beginning to end in honor of the 20th anniversary). Although the last verse of the song was left out, it was still amazing. It was followed up with "Too Fast For Love" itself, which is always a treat to hear live.
After Theatre of Pain's "Smokin' in the Boys Room" Vince took a moment to talk to the crowd before introducing the next track. "This is a sweet love song," Vince said, "and for those of you who are 24-25 in the crowd, your parents probably conceived you in the back of their car listening to this." Being 24 myself, I couldn't help but giggle. As the sliding guitar opener of "Without You" played, sparks rained down over the band like a curtain of stars as Vince serenaded the crowd. I'd only seen them perform this once or twice before, the first time being in 2009 when they played Dr. Feelgood in its entirety, and I'll admit, it made me well up a little, but no tears fell... yet.
The boys brought the crowd back to the present with Saints of Los Angeles' "Mutherfucker of the Year". The crowd chanting along to the chorus of "Here I am again. Hey now, hey now. I'm the mutherfucker of the year!" Tommy's drums, Mick's guitar, Nikki's bass, and Vince's vocals had never sounded so blended as they then took us back into 1991 or 1999, depending on which album you have in your player, with Decade of Decadence 81-91 and Supersonic and Demonic Relics' cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK". It was the oddball out compared the set lists from the previous shows on the tour.
Across the screen came the mimic of a heartbeat monitor as "T.n.T. (Terror 'n Tinseltown)" played across the hills, followed up by "Dr. Feelgood", which threw the crowd into an absolute frenzy. After finishing up the songs, the stage went black, and on the screens appeared that famous silver pentagram that graces the cover of the Shout at the Devil vinyl. I laughed my ass off, because from where I was standing, just above the screen off in the hills was a lit up crucifix, which shone above the pentagram. It was the kind of thing you could only see at a Crue show in their hometown. It was as if I was transported back into the 80s and Tipper Gore herself, along with her PMRC cronies, put it there. The opening track to Shout at the Devil, "In the Beginning" played and you could hear the crowd chant along. Following it was of course "Shout at the Devil". The band carried out the intro a bit longer than it normally went, and the crowd still chanted "Shout!" as the crowd turned into a sea of devil horns pumping with each "Shout!" Above the stage, I noticed the rig holding up the lighting, was in the shape of a pentagram. During the song, Nikki brought the flame-throwing bass out again, setting his hanging microphone attached to an upside-down pentagram ablaze. It would remain lit for the entirety of the show.
A few songs went by and then it was time for me to screw up my voice from screaming. Vince introduced Nikki to the stage, who invited the crowd to have a seat. "Go ahead and relax. I'll even have a seat with you!" Nikki said as he sat on a monitor towards the edge of the stage. He proceeded to tell the crowd the story of Motley Crue. From being in the band London, to meeting Tommy and deciding that the bands that were out at the time with their clean cut ways, like The Knack, were not where they wanted to be. They wanted something heavier. The search for a guitarist ended when reading the The Recycler newspaper. Mick Mars had posted an add stating he was "a loud, rude and aggressive guitar player" and for only serious people to inquire. Then it came down to the vocals. Tommy had gone to high school with Vince, and after the trio saw Vince make the crowd go wild, especially the females, with his band Rockandi at the Starwood (which made people cheer, and Nikki say "You guys are all too young to remember the Starwood!"), Mick exclaimed "That's OUR singer!" From there, one of the biggest bands in the world, who took everything to the extreme, was born. It had all started just a couple miles away from the Hollywood Bowl, and there we all were. The band, the crowd, all together as a family in the town that started it all with the band that helped put the scene on the map, saying goodbye.
After "Too Young to Fall in Love" and "Girls, Girls, Girls" (the song that taught all of us about strip clubs, I got a little too excited driving past the actual The Body Shop the next day thanks to the song), came the final song of the night, "Kickstart My Heart". This is easily one of their heaviest songs that NO ONE should drive to, and live it is even better. After 33 years, the line "I'd say we're still kicking ass" never meant so much to hear, and I am sure it never meant so much to sing. After the pounding vocals of the song, and Mick's adrenaline rusher of a solo, the band said their goodnight. Last off of the stage was Tommy, the big kid that he is, with a "Hell yeah! Fuck yeah!" that was shouted back to him.
About 5-10 minutes passed by as we sat in the blackness of the night. The air was chilly, or at least it was to me. You gotta love that whole thin blooded Vegas thing, ha. The Crue appeared on the stage that was set in the middle of the crowd. They waved to everyone, and Tommy sat down at the piano that helped produce one of the band's biggest hits. The king of all "ballads", a song that will never quite be the same, "Home Sweet Home". I tried to hold my emotions in the best I could as I sang along with the crowd and Vince, but across the screens a montage of photos from the beginning to the present day, a history of Motley Crue, The Saints of Los Angeles, now began to play.
Home Sweet Home - Final song of the night at the Hollywood Bowl- ( video from You Tube)
All at once, it hit me. I was standing in Hollywood at one of the biggest venues, watching my favorite band who I had loved since a very young age, who I had seen so many times before, taking in a moment in rock n' roll history that I would someday tell my kids and grandkids about. I was watching the band that helped make me who I am today. I had spent my high school days with their albums playing so loudly in my ears that my teachers, who would run into me in the hall, would often make fun of me saying, "Do you think you have Motley Crue loud enough, Steph?" I had a boyfriend who knew nothing about Motley Crue try to dedicate songs like "You're All I Need" to me without listening to the lyrical content, thinking it was a love song, just to try and impress me, and I dragged him to see the band for his first concert. I watched Motley Crue: Uncensored and their Decade of Decadence videos. I did my makeup like Tommy Lee's, with the two stripes under my eye. My very first guitar, although not a bass, was a B.C. Rich Warlock, just like Nikki Sixx had. The tears began to fall from my eyes, and my voice began to crack as I tried to sing along, realizing this could very well be the last time I ever get to see them on stage together.
The moment was bittersweet, and I tried to stop crying and just enjoy it and take it all in. I'm not sure if it was the fact that it was possibly the last time that I got to see them, or that the song finally made perfect sense to me, but I couldn't control whatever it was. The outro began, the crowd humming the final notes together as one, and Motley Crue took their final bow in Hollywood as Motley Crue. It was a concert that I will never forget. A 2 hour moment that will forever be engraved on my heart, and in my memory. I didn't live through the actual decade of decadence; 1981-1991, but since the announcement of the Red, White, and Crue tour in 2004 after the band reunited, up until now, I've had my own decade of decadence, all thanks to them.
Saints of Los Angeles
Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
Looks That Kill
On With the Show
Too Fast For Love
Smokin' in the Boys Room
Mutherfucker of the Year
Anarchy in the U.K.
T.n.T. (Terror 'n Tinseltown)
In the Beginning
Shout at the Devil
Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Kickstart My Heart
Home Sweet Home
People have questioned whether or not this farewell tour, All Bad Things Must Come to an End, is for real, stating that the cessation of touring agreement they all signed at the press conference back in January is probably bullshit. People think that they will probably do what every other band who has had a "farewell" tour does and in 5 years get bored at home and go back on tour together. People seem to forget that the guys all have their own stuff outside of this band. Vince has his solo career, vodka, and restaurant as well as being the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of RockStar Investment Group. Nikki has Sixx A.M. which he has stated will begin touring as soon as possible. Tommy does side project work with his band Methods of Mayhem, along with other artists, and is an active PETA member. Mick has made mention of putting out a solo album as well as working on his memoirs. Overall, I think people tend to forget that they have more to their lives than just Motley Crue. Crue has never been a band to pussy out. If they say they are going to do something, then out come the blinders, and they do it. In my heart and soul, I believe that this is truly the finale. Nikki has made mention that Crue doesn't want to be like other bands who seem to be "beating a dead horse", and why should they? They remain one of the biggest bands in the world. They've done it all. They've seen it all. Why not go out while they are still on top of the world?
Do I want to say goodbye to these 4 guys who have formed something so disastrously perfect? No, I don't. Just like all bad things must come to an end, as the old saying goes, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Thank you, Vince, Tommy, Mick, and Nikki (and John, Randy, and Samantha) for all of the smiles throughout the years. Rest in Peace, Motley Crue. \m/