Saturday, March 21, 2009

CrueFest Part Four - August 23, 2008

Papa Roach
Sixx: AM

Last week, I discussed Papa Roach’s amazing turn on the stage during CrueFest and how they turned me from casual fan to devoted die-hard with one performance. This week, I’ll delve into BuckCherry’s live outing.

With their new disc, Black Butterfly, a few weeks from release, Buckcherry was technically still supporting 15. I was expecting a typical set with Lit Up as the big closer and maybe even an encore. What I got was a totally unexpected turn on my head.

They ripped out onto the stage with Broken Glass from 15. This was never one of my favorite songs. It’s a rocking tune, but there’s something about it that never grabbed me. It didn’t bother the rest of the sold out crowd though, as they were all singing along.

Lit Up was the second song on the setlist, and I stopped in my tracks when they launched into it. I was shocked. Lit Up that early? Something special had to be planned. I sang/screamed along to their first ever hit with a big grin on my face. I always loved that song and to hear it that early in the performance meant good things ahead.

Josh Todd is a decent frontman, but much different than Jacoby Shaddix. Todd is subtler, slowly leading the crowd where he wants them to be, whereas Jacoby is in your face with demands. Both styles work for their respective bands. Todd spoke to the crowd with respect and gave his thanks for letting them perform so many shows. At that point they had done over 300 performances in support of 15.

They then launched into their new song …Too Drunk. A silly song, it sounded pleasurable live. The song has grown on me over time, but during the concert, it was one of the weaker songs played.

I must admit I was a little disappointed with Buckcherry’s setlist. I had seen them the year before as headliners and they played songs from every disc. Now, I know they had less time to work with as a supporting act, but they still could have worked in one or two songs from Time Bomb, which they ignored completely. The debut disc gave us the aforementioned Lit Up and two others. There was no Slammin, no Porno Star, no Check Your Head, no For the Movies… What the hell?

The big closing number was a drawn out, 15+ minute version of their biggest hit ever, Crazy Bitch I like the song as much as the next guy, and sometimes drawn out songs are good in concert, but I think they could have trimmed this to a 7-8 minute version and fit in a couple of other classics. (Like the ones I just mentioned).

This was Josh’s moment to work the crowd and he told a little story about what a crazy bitch is to him. It was comical and he did well eliciting crowd response. Gyrating and false fornicating on stage, Josh was being the sleazy rock star and it worked on that hot August night. The crowd loved it! A portion of Billy Squire’s The Stroke was inserted into the middle of their jam. When the band finally got back to the chorus after the long buildup, the entire theater was on their feet singing along and enjoying every word.

The band left the stage after that. No encore for Buckcherry either. While I thought they gave a solid performance, I still think it could have been better with the addition of one or two songs and a trimming of Crazy Bitch.

Before the concert I had read a lot of reviews on the tour and I had heard that people felt Papa Roach should be going on right before Motley. When I first read that, I thought that the writers were Buckcherry haters and didn’t know what they were like live, or that they hadn’t witnessed the full power of BC. However, after seeing the Cruefest, I am inclined to agree with those who said it before me. Papa Roach was the better band that night, and they should have had the slot before the Crue. They really whipped the crowd alive.

Next Week: Motley Crue Takes Us Home

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