Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vince Neil - January 9, 2004

Prior to his second (or maybe third) reunion with Motley Crue, Vince Neil went out on a solo tour with no new album to support. He just wanted to be on the road. Neil decided to go clubbing, performing at local area clubs across North America. In January of 2004, Vince made a stop at Double D’s, a rock club with a strip bar upstairs. It was the perfect place for Vince (who loves strippers) to perform.

My cousin’s husband, Greg, is a huge Crue/Vince Neil fan, and when he heard that Vince was performing in Morristown, New Jersey, he said that we had to attend this show. I had always been a fan of the Crue. Up until that point I had not seen them or Vince live. I was curious. It was set. I would attend the concert with Greg and our mutual friend, Caesar.

Double D’s rock club is a small environment and a tight place to perform a concert. This is great from a visual perspective, but an absolute nightmare from a hearing perspective. Seeing as how I was still pretty young back in 2004, I was foolish. I decided that ear plugs weren’t necessary for me. This was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made.

We started the night upstairs in the strip club, like any good rock and roll boy would. We had a few beers and in between tipping the strippers, we talked about what Vince would perform. It was a strange experience to know that I would soon be leaving the strip club to walk downstairs and watch Vince Neil perform live.

Greg, Caesar, and I headed downstairs prior to the first act performing. We sat through a lot of opening acts, none that I recall. After each opening act, Greg kept pushing his way closer and closer to the stage. He wanted to practically sit on the stage when Vince came out. It was almost as if he had a man-crush on the California boy. By the time he was almost on top of the stage, I had to peel back. My claustrophobia kicked in and I knew it would be a matter of moments before I started having breathing issues and a panic attack. I relocated myself to the back of the club, which still wasn’t that far away from the stage.

When Vince came onstage, the crowd roar was intense. Here he was, Vince Neil, the golden boy from California, playing a small club in New Jersey. He had a backing band of musicians we never heard of, but from the opening notes of the first song, you could tell they were good. The band had been practicing. Old Crue was the sound of the night, as Vince decided to play mostly classics from the first two Motley Crue albums. Too Young To Fall In Love, Shout At The Devil, Ten Seconds To Love, Live Wire, On With The Show, and Too Fast For Love were all performed that evening. The well known Crue hits such as Kickstart My Heart, Girls Girls Girls, and Home Sweet Home were also mixed in.

What was notably absent from Vince’s solo tour setlist was the Vince solo material. He performed no songs from his solo albums, although he had two solo albums out at that point. I was hoping to hear You’re Invited (But Your Friends Can’t Come), but it was not meant to be. We got Crue songs sung by Vince with a backup band playing the parts of Motley Crue.

That’s not to say they were bad, because they weren’t. The band actually sounded sharp, and at one point, Vince let the audience call out songs, and the band would play them live. It was hard to tell if this was staged or not, but when the band launched into Bastard from Shout At The Devil, no one really cared. They were all having a rock and roll blast.

As I stood in the back of the room, I noticed that the volume continued to get louder and louder. What I didn’t realize was how much it was hurting my ear drums. After the concert, I had to shout to speak to Greg and Caesar. My ears rang for two more days, and I was really worried that I might have blown out an ear drum. Thankfully, I was able to recover, but I learned a lesson from that concert, always have earplugs, just in case.

All in all, Vince gave an amazing performance. He performed for more than 90 minutes, and for most of that time, Greg was pressed against the stage, hoping Vince would slap his hand, or touch him, or acknowledge his presence in any way. I smiled. I knew that if it was Kiss on the stage, I would have done the same thing. At the end of the night, we all went home tired, happy, and partially deaf. It was a great experience though. Vince came to the East Coast and showed us how a party is done. He kicked our ass and left us wanting more. Long live rock and roll!

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