Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cruefest Part Five - August 23, 2008

This is the final piece in a five-part series discussing CrueFest 2008. Last week I discussed Buckcherry's time on stage during CrueFest. This week, we will delve into the final act, the headliners, Motley Crue.

Motley Crue
At the end of a long, hot, summer day, the headliners and main event prepared to take the stage and rock their assess off for 90 minutes. A curtain draped the stage and with a slow buildup being pumped out of the PA, a shadowy image of Satan appeared behind it. He was equipped with a rather large member that was standing at full attention. It made me wonder if Tommy Lee was the stand in for the shadowy image. Suddenly, in front of Lucifer, the image of a woman appeared. She got to her knees and began to please Satan, much to his delight and to the roar of the crowd. Bring on the sleaze, the Crue is here.

The curtain dropped and Motley came storming to the stage in all their glory. Kickstart My Heart was the opener and the familiar classic felt like an old friend. Nikki looked much better being where he belonged, on stage with the Crue, and for this band, he was front and center, basking in the attention rather than hiding in the background.

Vince Neil was still looking a little heavy. You would think that he would be inclined to lay off the doughnuts and workout a little harder, but the rock star lifestyle must have taken its toll.
Vocally he sounded decent. Kickstart was a strong opener and the band was in superior forum. Having not seen them since the lousy winter show at Madison Square Garden back in 2005, I had almost no expectations, and just hoped for the best. Well, they gave me their best that night and I was quite pleased.

Shout At The Devil came early in the night, and it sounded like Crue was playing a fast version of this song. It seemed they were playing the song out of necessity and fan desire, and not because they wanted to. Of course we all want to hear Shout At The Devil, but give a proper performance, or don’t bother to play it. The rushed version was not done well and left me feeling slightly disappointed that they wouldn’t give the song the respect it deserved. That would be my only complaint of their set.

As mentioned, Nikki was basking in the headline spotlight and talking it up with the crowd, sometimes more than Vince. He looked great, like he really cleaned up his act and committed himself to music, leaving the drugs long behind.

Mick Mars was the coolest guy on stage the whole night. I know his condition causes him severe pain and he is unable to move around during performance, but that just adds to his super cool creepiness. Standing in the far left corner, looking like a zombie, and playing some amazing guitar licks is what helps to make Mick superior. The guy doesn’t quit and despite the pain, he’s out there playing the riffs and looking as cool as can be. He gives Keith Richards a run for his money in the awesome guitarist department.
And then there was Tommy Lee. Still acting like the typical frat boy prankster that never grew up. I know that everyone loves Tommy and he’s the fun guy, and blah, blah, blah. I never particularly cared for him. I think he’s immature and never grew up. Some people eat that up. Not me. I like a musician to be serious about their music, and the ability to keep time while drumming would help too.

The now infamous Tit E. Cam also made an appearance. Tommy ran backstage to find the cam in a dressing room full of scantily clad women, which he had to scold Cam for, since Tommy was not invited to be back there with him. I’m not a big fan of Tit E Cam. I like looking at breasts as much as the next guy, but I just think the Cam takes away from the concert. I came to see the Crue. If I wanted to watch breasts bouncing around, I’d go to a strip club. Although, I will admit, I would much rather watch Tit E. Cam, than listen to Tommy Lee attempt a drum solo. So, if it’s Cam over solo, then sign me up for Cam.

Highlights of the Crue’s set include Wildside, MF of the Year, Girls Girls Girls, and Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away). The band sounded great, well rehearsed and able to perform at a top level. This concert was much better than my last Crue experience and changed the way I feel about Motley live.

Don’t Go Away Mad was one of the best songs of the night and the Crue performed it note perfect. The entire audience from the front row to the back of the lawn was feeling the groove on this one, and they all sang at maximum volume, happy to be a part of such a great song.

Toward the end of their set, Nikki took the microphone and asked us what we were all doing around this time next year. Would we be interested in a Cruefest 2? OF course the place went bananas. We would love a Cruefest 2. Bring it on and we will be here. Nikki said that the festival was a lot of fun for him and they plan to be back next summer with a whole new lineup.

After the main set, the Crue came back for a one-song encore. Home Sweet Home. The most well known piano introduction in the history of rock and roll started the song off. Tommy was at the piano, Mick and Nikki standing next to him, and Vince just behind them, started singing the song. The first verse was performed this way, and then when the chorus was ready to kick in, all members of the band went to their respective instruments, the drums crashed into place, and the chorus was launched. Tonight, tonight/I’m on my way/I’m on my way/home sweet home. On my way indeed.

When Home Sweet Home finished, the Crue took their bow. Tommy freaked about how fucking cool we were and how much he loved us. Nikki thanked us for being fans and looked forward to seeing us down the road. I look forward to it too. CrueFest was an experience that I won’t soon forget. This show was definitely worth every penny spent on the ticket.

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