Posed in front of sweltering balls of fire and a giant drum roller coaster, Motley Crue continued their 30th birthday celebration last night. “Years gone by…I’d say we’ve kicked some ass,” sang Vince Neil as fireworks exploded during their final song at the Bill Graham.
Poison was also there, turning 25. And the New York Dolls, who formed before either of them. It was a slice of rock history, served with pyrotechnics and plastic cups of beer.
Motley Crue crashed onto stage with a few firecrackers smashing through the intermission tunes. The curtain dropped and “Take A Ride On The Wild Side” kicked off our hour-and-a-half burlesque adventure.
The show was tame in many aspects, but amazing nonetheless. There were no drugs, no fights, hell; there was hardly any nudity. In its place, a more matured heavy metal band with a kick-ass set list. Of course, Tommy Lee still acts like a corrupted child, but that might explain his awesome drum contraptions.
Tommy’s drum kit sat at the bottom of a large metal circle, innocent looking enough with lights and fireworks attached around it. Late set he was strapped in, and the entire platform – drums being pounded all the while – begins sliding back and forth, and eventually around the entire loop.
He then did the same ride with a lucky audience member, this time an ecstatic blonde, while “Love Rollercoaster” played.
The set held many other high points: Tommy jumping on piano for a sing-a-long of “Home Sweet Home,” Justin Beiber’s face being quickly projected during “Girls Girls Girls,” a cover of Cee Lo’s “Fuck You,” – and every single one of Vince Neil’s melodies.
It’s not hard to see the band has aged, but the hand-huddle they all shared over that piano told it’s the same old boys. “It’s been 30 years,” Vince said around the start of their set, grinning. “And we still haven’t killed each other.”
Poison came out with “Look What the Cat Dragged In” as Bret Michaels ascended to the stage via hidden platform. They’ve still got a knack for playing to the crowd and quick costume changes, and their 25 years of experience shows.
Each member made their job look way too easy. Bret stares at the ladies, C.C. DeVille shreds his fingers off during a well deserved solo, Rikki Rockett and Bobby Dall hold down the hits. It’s a formula that’s worked this far.
“We’re coming to your town, we’re gonna party down, we’re an American band!” sang Michaels during their Grand Funk Railroad cover. Yeah, it’s as cheesy as it sounds. But this is hair metal. Plus, this is the band who wrote “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and whose lead singer had a his own reality show (make that a few).
And have you ever seen a bunch of buzzed Harley riders trying to slow dance while rocking out? It’s all embarrassingly great.
The openers of the show, and the oldest band, the New York Dolls served up some of those songs and swagger that arguably went on to inspire these other two acts, not mentioning the countless others.
Though a bit motionless, the crowd was mostly receptive towards the history lesson in rock via tracks like “Trash” and “Personality Crisis.” Both bands gave the Dolls warm thanks during their set, and while noticeably aged and without all their original members, it’s hard not to appreciate them still playing.
If you ride a motorcycle, haven’t cut your mane since the last time you saw the Crue, and actually smoked in the boys room when “Smokin’ In the Boys Room” was a hit – this was the place to be.
Almost a century’s worth of some of the most memorable and important rock music, ever, was in store last night. And while much past their heyday, it was nothin’ but a good time.