Motley Crue. The Final Tour. (with special guest, Alice Cooper) Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 26, 2015
For those of you that read my reviews, you may remember that I attended Motley Crue’s show in Virginia last August. At the time, I thought it would be my last opportunity to see the ultimate bad boys of Rock and Roll as it was announced that this would be the band’s last tour… ever. It was an awesome show last year… and what I assumed would be the closing chapter for me and the band. But, the final tour was scheduled to run for 2 years… and as luck would have it… the tour came around my way one more time. Was I going to party with the boys one last time?… Oh, hell yeah!
If there was ever a band that took the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” philosophy to the extreme, Motley Crue was it. In the early 1980s in Los Angeles, they were “The Band” you had to go see…… and quickly, because everyone was sure they would burn fast and die young. Miraculously, despite the early excesses of sex and drugs, through years of fights, breakups, auto accidents, rehab, and even a DOA, Motley Crue is here, 34 years later, with the original four members still intact! Alright guys! Let’s do this! One more time!!!
The show was at the Royal Farm’s arena in Baltimore Maryland. The opening band, I think, was called The Cringe. I missed their set due to a meet and greet with Motley Crue prior to the show, but it was worth it. The meet (with Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, and Mick Mars), was more rushed than last year, but the band was very friendly with smiles and handshakes… and I got some great photo memories!
Like lasts year’s leg of the tour, Alice Cooper was the main support act. I’ve said it before… It takes a lot of confidence to book Alice Cooper as your opening act. He has been in the music industry over 40 years and is a master showman. I have seen him many times over the years and he never puts on a bad show!! His songs are classic and timeless. His stage shows are elaborate. And his band is made up of phenomenal musicians that he allows to be in the forefront of the show, entertaining the audience just as much as he does. Defiantly a tough act to follow! Alice’s band had a similar lineup to the one he has had for the past few years with, Ryan Roxie, Nita Strauss and Tommy Henriksen on guitars, Chuck Garric on bass, and Glen Sobel on drums.
As expected, Alice did put on a great show! His set was 13 songs long (a lot for an opening band), and contained many of his classics including “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Eighteen”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Poison”, “Dirty Diamonds”, and “Go to Hell”. “Feed my Frankenstein” included (as always) the creation of a giant Frankenstein’s monster that wreaked havoc on stage. My favorite performance is always “The Ballad of Dwight Fry” in which Alice is tortured, stabbed, and ultimately beheaded by a ghoulish nurse (played by Alice’s wife)! The set ended in classic fashion with “Schools Out” (With a little bit of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” thrown in). Audiences always love Alice’s show and there was a lot of audience participation and singing along. The music was great and you have to love a band with three lead guitarists!! As many times as I’ve seen him, Alice Cooper’s concerts never get old.
Motley Crue’s stage set up was elaborate and similar to last year. There were some changes though as the back was more open and the various platforms around the stage had these long pyramidal shaped structures jutting out… that I don’t remember from last year. The venue itself was dominated by two coaster tracks that rose up from the back of the stage. Last year they came up almost to the ceiling and then curved out over the audience, resembled a giant rearing cobra. This year, they continued in a wavy track across the entire ceiling before descending to the floor again at the back to the venue. Tommy Lee’s drum set was suspended between these two tracts and it was obvious we would be treated to a very elaborate drum coaster ride.
Motley Crue hit the stage hard and heavy with “Girls, Girls, Girls” and what followed was a 16 song thrill ride that spanned their entire career. Their set was disappointingly shorter this year than last (19 songs last year). Two of the songs dropped out were from their first album: “On With The Show”, and “Too Fast For Love. “Too Young to Fall in Love” and “Without You” had also been dropped. “Louder than Hell” was to only song added to last year’s set. The remaining songs were the same, but played in a different order. The songs played spanned Motley’s entire career. “Live Wire” was the only remaining song from their first album Their second album was represented by “Looks that Kill” and , of course, “Shout At The Devil”! “Shout at the Devil” was an over the top pyro extravaganza that began with Nikki shooting a 20 meter stream of fire from his flamethrower bass to hit a suspended pentagram causing it to burst into flames. As the song continued, there were constant explosions and balls of flame coming from the onstage pyro canons while Nikki continued to discharge his massive flame thrower. Other classics played included, “Wild Side”, “Primal Scream”, “Same Ol’ Situation”, “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room”, “Don’t Go Away Mad”, “Dr. Feelgood”, “Anarchy in The USA”, and “M**********r of the Year”. The main set ended with the energetic “Kickstart My Heart”.
I’ve seen Motley Crue perform many times over the years and this tour (this year and last) was, hands down, the best I’ve ever seen them perform. This was musically, the best I’ve ever heard them play. Vince Neal’s voice was also the best I’ve ever heard it. It has been no secret that the guitarist, Mick Mars has been in declining health for several years, and although this was apparent in his pale gaunt appearance and in the stiff way he moved around the stage, that man is still a great guitar player… and he proved it again with a great guitar solo! Everything about the show was over the top; the lights, the explosions, and the pyro. How they didn’t burn the entire place down and us along with it; I have no idea! Tommy Lee’s drum solo was a sight to see as his drum stage rose up the coaster tracts, constantly spinning so that half of the time he was upside down. The drums stopped mid solo at the back of the venue where he played to the fans at the rear of the auditorium, before making the return coaster trip back to the main stage.
Following “Kickstart”, the band came out and took their bows. Like last year, the band did not return to the main stage for their encore. After a few minutes, a second stage with a grand piano rose up toward the back of the arena and the band played one more song…. “Home Sweet Home”! The band played the song facing the fans at the back to give them a better view than they had for most of the show. I was pleased they played the original and not the acoustic version. The stage then lowered and the band disappeared for good while a recording of the Frank Sinatra song “I Did It My Way” played. They did it their way, and they did it well!! I had mixed feelings leaving the venue. This was it… I would never see Motley Crue perform again… But, as their final tour logo states: “All Bad Things Must Come To An End”. It was a grand funeral! Motley Crue wanted to go out on top… and I think they did just that!