KISS and Motley Crue
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Two of the earliest albums that sculpted my music tastes were that of Kiss's Destroyer and Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil. As a child, my head would have exploded if you ever told me I would see both KISS and Motley Crue together in concert. Rightfully dubbed “The Tour”, both behemoth bands unpacked their over-the-top concert antics to destroy the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater last night.
A gigantic stopwatch was displayed on a jumbo video screen slowly ticked away like a time bomb that eventually exploded when Motley Crue bounded onto the stage. It was a smorgasbord of fire, explosions, scantily clad dancers all served up with high-energy hits songs from the band. Nikki Sixx thrashed his sparkling Gibson Thunderbird bass while singing the background harmonies on “Wild Side” while Vince Neil worked the whole stage.
You could feel the blazes of hell and music scorch your face as the pyrotechnics during “Shout At The Devil” raised the overall temperature of the venue a few hundred degrees on an already warm evening. One of the perks of being in Motley Crue is having an attractive female topless guitar technician who brought out a guitar to Neil for their new crunchy number “Sex.”
In order to keep the sardine-packed crowd from potentially overheating, crew members of the Crue rushed to two pressurized water cannons to hose down the audience to cool them off. While they are from Los Angeles, the Irvine date was the closest to home and it was fitting that Tommy Lee came out from his drum kit to display his piano skills for “Home Sweet Home”.
The rest of the band got a breather when Lee returned to his specially designed roller coaster drum kit for a upside down drum solo that fused his hard hitting drumming and incorporated sketchy electronic beats. Mick Mars may be one of the more underrated guitarists from the '80s as he ripped through the riff of “Live Wire.”
Seeing that the crowd needed medical attention, they called up “Dr. Feelgood” for a remedy that only Motley Crue can provide. The backup dancers kept my eyes occupied for “Girls, Girls, Girls” which eventually gave way to their fiery closer, “Kickstart My Hear.t” Fans pretty much already got their money's worth and KISS hadn't even played a note.
A giant black Kiss scrim obscured the whole stage eventually fell to the ground as the dueling guitars of “Detroit Rock City” rattled your eardrums as the members of KISS descended from a platform from the top of the stage. Most of the crowd who hadn't lost their voice still screamed the lyrics to “Shout It Out Loud” as lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Stanley strutted across the stage only like he can.
Gene Simmons still looks menacing in his demon persona stomping his huge platform boots while plucking away at his puny bass during “I Love It Loud.” While I've always been partial to Ace Frehley, guitarist Tommy Thayer still holds it down on his Gibson Les Paul blazing through the riff from “Firehouse.”
While Kiss doesn't need to make new records anymore to tour, they still managed to put together some songs for new album. “Hell or Halleluah” was a new song that possessed that classic Kiss punch with its driving guitar riffs and sing along choruses. Thayer took center stage for a spell with his vocals during “Shock Me” that was embellished with fireworks spewing from the headstock of his guitar.
The earth rumbled during Simmons' classic bass solo, punctuated with blood gushing out of his mouth as he ascended to the top of the stage to level the audience with the steamrolling destructive bass riff from “God of Thunder.” The only slight technical problem of the evening occurred when Stanley flew out into the crowd during “Love Gun” as it appeared his platform shoe was momentarily stuck in the metal ring that propelled him into the crowd.
It was surprising to see them play “Lick It Up” from their non make-up days. Stanley also got bonus points for correctly addressing the crowd as Irvine instead of Los Angeles. “Black Diamond” sounded so good to Stanley that he repeated the first verse with the audience singing along with what little voice they had left. “Deuce” and the ultimate party anthem “Rock and Roll All Nite” capped a raucous evening that only bands the caliber of Motley Crue and Kiss can provide.
Critical Bias: I grew up listening to Motley Crue and Kiss for years–as you can tell.
Crowd: Surprisingly not as old as I would have suspected. It appears that the music from both these bands will be timeless.
Overheard: “Bring back Ace”
Random Notebook Dump: Mick Mars had a large “Pimp” sticker on the back of his Fender Stratocaster. I concur.
Motley Crue Setlist:
“Saints Of Los Angeles”
“Shout At The Devil”
“Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
“Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”
“Home Sweet Home”
“Girls, Girls, Girls”
“Kickstart My Heart”
“Detroit Rock City”
“Shout It Out Loud”
“I Love It Loud”
“Hell or Hallelujah”
“God Of Thunder”
“Lick It Up”
“Rock And Roll All Nite”