Hinder, Theory of a Deadman, The Last Vegas
UCF Arena, Orlando, Fl • March 4, 2009
Twenty five years of being pronounced dead and yet hair metal refuses to stay buried. Their hair isn’t quite so large, their spandex may fit a little more snug, and decades of partying may have hindered their ability to remember their own songs, but Mötley Crüe can still fill up arenas all over the world. And the fans, now mostly middle aged and married, will still happily dish out their hard earned cash for 90 minutes of ’80s excess. God bless ’em.
A premature, and unannounced, early start caused most fans to miss both The Last Vegas and Theory of a Deadman, whose sets began before the publicized door time. By the time Hinder took the stage at 8pm, the security check lines still stretched far outside the UCF Arena doors. No explanation was given as to why the show jumped the gun — so I can only assume that sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has a curfew these days.
Once inside, the fans themselves were quite a sight to see. Aqua Net was once more helping the hair of men and women alike reach for the heavens; moms and dads were rockin’ mullets and bandanas; the stereotypical metal groupies were out in abundance; and I spied a couple of muscular men dressed up like the Crüe men in their makeup and lace heyday. These fans had clearly left their inhibitions at home!
After the Buckcherry-influenced Hinder closed out a well-received set with the audience favorite, “Get Stoned,” the glorification of sex and intoxication was firmly laid. There is a certain breed of band that can pull off a level of debauchery and offensive behavior that would otherwise call for a jail sentence, or in the very least a slap in the face. Mötley Crüe is one such band.
Anyone who has seen their Behind the Music, or read any of the autobiographies that proudly celebrate their decadent past knows that the mere fact that all four original members (Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, and Tommy Lee) are still alive, let alone touring together, is a major feat! “It’s amazing that we’re all still here… it’s a White Trash Circus,” as Neil himself put it — before launching into the song of the same name.
Near fatal overdoses, tragedies, reality shows, porn scandals, god knows how many STDs, and an ever-fickle music scene — none of these things have been able to keep these dudes down for long. And, unlike most bands of their hair metal peers, they’re still making music that gets the fans off of their feet and throwing up devil horns with almost as much excitement as when the old greatest hits are tossed out.
“Motherfucker of the Year,” which was introduced by Lee after he talked with the crowd from the lip of the stage and then sweetly sent a bottle of Jägermeister circulating through the floor seats, was a particular high point from their most current release, Saints of Los Angeles. As the song played, the Jäger made its way through dozens of hands and proved once and for all that Tommy Lee is the coolest member of Mötley Crüe!
Of course the night would not have felt right without some old sing-a-long favorites so, fear not fans, this tour features “Kickstart My Heart,” “Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” and a slew of other old Top 40 hits. For the first time since it appeared on 1987’s Girls, Girls, Girls they’ve even included “Jailhouse Rock” in the set.
“We’ve been playing this for the last week and haven’t gotten through it without fucking it up,” Neil confessed with a laugh.
This night was no exception, nor was their Elvis cover the only song suffering from forgotten lyrics, false starts, or wrong notes. The band often seemed to be playing different parts of the same song, and sort of going through the motions. The light show, the pyrotechnics, the lesbian porn videos that played on the large video screens — it all seemed to pose a distraction from the fact that these guys aren’t the greatest live band. Dazzle the crowd and they’ll be blown away by the “show.”
Well, it worked. The audience was dazzled, and the Crüe is still as decadent as ever!
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.
Mötley Crüe: www.motley.com